William's Story 

"Alcohol was a long term problem for me. I started drinking and smoking pot when I was about 14. By 15 or 16 drinking and smoking pot was a regular weekend activity. Binge drinking proliferated in my late teens and early twenties. I drank beer, mixed drinks, and shots. I began blacking out fairly regularly by my late teens and would do terribly embarrassing things: kicked out of bars, fights (sometimes with my best friends or strangers), and basically made a fool of myself many times in front of friends and family.

I was in and out of college for about 7 years-finally graduating at the age of 25. I had extreme anxiety and panic attacks during these college years which was the primary reason it took me so long to graduate. At times I would be too hungover and nervous to sit in class rooms.

I moved from RI to Florida in my twenties. Decided to quit booze at age 26 in Tampa. Stayed sober about 2 years primarily because I met a bunch of new friends in AA. I never cared much for the 12 step talk. Always thought it was a bunch of religious mumbo jumbo. But I did enjoy the camraderie and new friendships I acquired in the group. It was a fairly social time. Fast forward and I fell off the wagon after meeting an attractive female who I married. I started getting drunk again and she divorced me 2 years later after witnessing too many blackouts. For the next 18 years I continued to binge drink. I usually would get drunk 4 times a week with usually one blackout (or brown out) per week. I tried quitting intermittently by going to AA-but never recaptured the magic I found when I was 26.

At age 49 I finally quit for good after experiencing a heart attack-via tachycardia event. I didn’t go back to AA. I saw a therapist and psychiatrist to get treated for the underlying cause of my alcoholism-general anxiety disorder. I got online a lot with SMART and learned to think rationally. I also started to meditate and exercised frequently. But most of all it just seems I outgrew the desire to drink. I always liked the bars but I was growing tired of “going out”. Today I feel great and have full custody of my 15 year old son."

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Addiction Recovery Research Center

Fralin Biomedical Research Institute

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