Overcoming 23 Years of Addiction Instantly and Effortlessly
Hey, I'm Kevin...
When I was young, I was a straight-A student, won a spelling bee as one of the youngest kids in middle school, and was a Little League all-star baseball player.
Then, when I was 12 years old I started drinking alcohol.
Soon after, I started experimenting with other drugs — weed, hash, coke, shrooms, acid, angel dust, ecstasy, opium, and all kinds of prescription drugs for pain, anxiety, and ADHD.
Even though I used a variety of drugs, alcohol was always my drug of choice.
I would drink it as often as possible whether I was using other drugs or not.
When I became a teenager, I stopped caring about getting good grades in school and lost interest in playing baseball.
I began suffering from severe depression and anxiety and even thought about suicide quite a few times.
In fact, one night when I was 18 years old, I took my dad's .30 carbine semi-automatic pistol and shot a bullet about an inch above my head.
I was so tired of living in hell and couldn’t imagine my life getting any better.
But I guess I had just enough hope that I could turn my life around that I aimed high when I pulled the trigger.
I hadn’t even graduated high school and I already had a Ph.D. in getting fucked up and living in misery.
My addiction became my identity and I had no idea who I truly was anymore.
I felt lost, alone, hopeless, and helpless.
And I was drowning in guilt, shame, regrets, and self-hatred.
My life was literally a merry-go-round of addiction, anxiety, and depression.
These issues made me hate school, so I skipped so many days that I had to go to a truancy meeting with the school board to make sure I didn’t fail.
I also started meeting with some local counselors and none of them were any help.
I became a monster and I couldn’t control my rage.
After high school, my addiction continued getting worse.
My first DUI came just a few months after graduation.
I had been day drinking with some friends and then my cousin had to leave to go to an AA meeting.
I told him I would go with him, but he didn’t want me to go because I was drunk.
When he left, I tried to follow him but I lost sight of his car and didn’t know where the meeting was so I decided to drive home.
Still living with my parents and not wanting them to know I had been drinking and driving, I decided to drive around the neighborhood a few times to try to sober up.
It was a dumb idea.
I passed out and hit a truck that was parked on the side of the road.
It’s probably a good thing that I hit that truck because I might have driven into a house or run over someone walking around the neighborhood.
I think I stopped drinking about 90 minutes before the accident and it took a little while for a police officer to show up at the scene of the accident, but my breathalyzer result was still .29 which is 3.5x the legal limit.
The judge restricted my license for 6 months, only allowing me to drive to and from college and my job during certain hours of the day.
I was also required to have a breathalyzer installed in my car.
But that didn’t stop me.
I taught people how to blow in the breathalyzer so I could keep drinking whenever I wanted to and driving wherever I needed to go.
I was only 18, so I needed people to buy alcohol for me and I preferred drinking with friends and family instead of drinking alone.
Eventually, I got caught driving when I wasn’t supposed to be and the judge suspended my license.
At that time, I was in community college taking random courses because I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life other than getting drunk as much as possible.
After a couple of semesters, I stopped going to my community college classes because I had enrolled in a university in Florida.
I thought moving away and earning a degree would help me change the direction and quality of my life.
I was confident that being in a new environment, meeting new people, and learning a new skill would help me break free from my addiction.
My addiction followed me and intensified while I was in college.
I don’t remember much from my college days, but I do remember being incredibly drunk one night, falling to my knees, and praying to God to help me end my addiction because I was so tired of feeling like a slave to alcohol.
I also remember driving a few times when I was so drunk that I would have to close one eye to try to see straight.
I could barely see in front of me because my vision was so blurry and the lines on the road appeared to be moving.
It’s an absolute miracle that I’m still alive and never accidentally killed anyone because I was so reckless for so long.
One night, I even pulled a knife on another student who was drunk in my apartment.
He was being aggressive and instigating the situation, but I still shouldn’t have done it and wouldn’t have if I wasn’t intoxicated.
We began scuffling as he tried to take the knife from me.
One of my neighbors called the cops because they heard all the commotion, but no one was charged.
Better yet, no one was injured or killed.
Despite my addiction and reckless behavior, I graduated from college with a great GPA, and then I moved back to Virginia.
When I returned, I moved back in with my parents because I was a poor college graduate and didn’t have a job yet.
I started working at a sports equipment store, but I quit within 2 weeks.
One afternoon, I went to the liquor store on my lunch break and never went back to that shitty job.
Shortly after that, I had my second alcohol-related car accident.
I passed out driving about 55 MPH on an overpass and the driver’s side quarter panel of the car smashed into a road sign in the median.
My car spun 360 degrees as it bounced over the concrete median strip.
I woke up and quickly turned the steering wheel to drive back over the median.
I made it to my parent’s house and passed out immediately.
My mom woke me up a few hours later to ask what happened to my car and I remember looking half-dead after I sluggishly got out of bed and looked into my bloodshot eyes in the mirror.
I was ashamed and resented myself for who I had become.
The back window of my car was busted out and the driver’s side quarter panel had a huge dent from hitting the road sign.
It’s hard to believe I didn’t kill myself or anyone else.
Next, I started working at a data processing company and I would stay up so late drinking that I wouldn’t show up to work, and when I did, I was usually late.
But I was still one of the best-performing employees.
I was what society refers to as a “functional alcoholic,” but just barely.
Eventually, I had to meet with the company leaders (supervisors, managers, directors, etc.) and was given a warning about my attendance.
A few weeks later, I came to work late with an intense hangover and hid in the restroom because I was so tired, dizzy, and nauseous.
I don’t think I slept at all the night before.
So, I locked myself in the stall, sat on the toilet, and fell asleep leaning against the stall wall.
About an hour later, I woke up and walked out of the restroom.
One of the supervisors approached me and said they had been looking for me.
I just handed them my security badge and quit.
I’m not sure if they would’ve fired me, but I didn’t care.
I was just ready to go home so I could sleep and I knew I could find another job.
That night, I was drinking again.
A few months later, my new girlfriend (we’re married now) and I moved to North Carolina with her cousin and his family.
It ended up being a bizarre situation, so we decided to move out of their house and rented an apartment.
I found a job at a call center and continued drinking about a fifth of liquor almost every night.
There were times when I would go back to the liquor store to buy more and they wouldn’t sell it to me because I was already so drunk.
Six months later, my work schedule was changed from 12:00 PM - 8:00 PM to 6:00 AM - 2:00 PM.
I’m sure you can imagine how this interfered with my drinking routine.
A couple of weeks later, I came to work hungover at 6:13 AM.
I distinctly remember thinking “Life has to be better than this.”
At 6:28 AM, I took off my headset (while a customer was on the line) and walked out of the building for good.
A week or two later, my wife and I moved back into my parent’s house in Virginia.
I remember my mom checking my bank statements and telling me that I had spent over $9,000 on alcohol during the 9 months we lived in North Carolina.
I thought it was ridiculous that anyone would waste that much money on alcohol.
Then, I realized that it was actually much more because that was only the amount spent on my credit card at the liquor store.
It didn’t include the money I spent to buy alcohol at bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, grocery stores, etc., or the times I paid cash or used my wife’s credit card.
Anyway, a couple of months after moving back to Virginia, I landed a job at an insurance company.
While I was there, I worked in customer service and sales and became one of their highest-rated agents.
I earned many awards as a top performer, coached other agents, and was even ranked as the #1 overall agent twice.
I worked there for 7 years and the whole time only a few of my co-workers even knew about my addiction.
During that time, my drinking amplified and I was inevitably charged with my 2nd DUI.
I was driving home around 4:00 AM and passed out at a stoplight with my foot on the brake.
I didn’t regain consciousness until I was in the hospital.
To this day, I’m not sure how they woke me up, but I was still very intoxicated so I was acting belligerent and rude toward the police officers in my hospital room.
It was embarrassing and depressing.
I knew I had to change how I was living, but I didn’t know how.
Since I was in high school, I had been prescribed a variety of depression medications, met with counselors, tried willpower, voluntarily went to 12-step meetings, and nothing worked.
I thought I was “diseased” and “powerless” and destined to live as a slave to alcohol forever.
Eventually, I heard about Antabuse (disulfiram) and made an appointment with my doctor.
She wanted to prescribe me another type of depression medication instead of Antabuse because she knew about my alcohol-related issues.
I told her I didn’t want to try another depression medication and insisted that she let me try Antabuse.
Reluctantly, she agreed.
If you don't know, Antabuse is a pill that people take to help them stop drinking alcohol.
If you take the pill and then drink alcohol, you'll feel very sick.
I would take it with good intentions to stay sober, but a few hours later, I would start drinking and keep on drinking through the sickness.
I stopped taking it within a few weeks because it wasn't worth the extra misery.
A couple of years later, my doctor said I needed to stop drinking alcohol immediately after she did a test to check the condition of my liver.
It was a little disturbing to know, but I wasn’t surprised.
Actually, the bad news was enough to make me want to drink more and more — and more often.
At first, I slowed down a little bit, but after a few months, I stopped thinking about what she said and just kept pouring shots like there was no tomorrow.
My life was a nightmare, and I couldn’t wake up no matter how hard I tried.
I hated myself for allowing alcohol to control my mind and ruin my life, that I took my anger out on others – including the people I love the most.
I never hit my wife, but once I was so upset that I flipped our mattress while she was lying down on it.
I also yelled at her and said hateful things more times than I care to recall, and I hated myself for it.
She didn’t deserve my verbal abuse and I’m so grateful that she stayed with me while I was trapped in that vicious cycle of addiction, depression, and anxiety.
I also treated my parents, my sister, and some of my closest friends in the same way.
When I reflect on my past behavior, I realize how cruel and reckless I was, but addiction puts a chokehold on your soul and that bitch doesn't like to let go.
I kept drinking because that's what I knew best; it was my comfort zone.
Bad day, I would drink.
Good day, I would drink.
Sunny day, I would drink.
Rainy day, I would drink.
During holidays, social events, birthday parties, road trips, poker games, and everything else in between, I would drink and drink and drink and drink.
Even though my world didn't appear to be crumbling on the outside, the internal conflict was hell.
I had to apply for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) because my addiction was making my depression and anxiety unbearable.
FMLA requires covered employers to provide employees with job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons.
Basically, FMLA allowed me to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period to attend to my serious health condition.
As soon as my paperwork was approved, I took a leave of absence for about a month to try to get my life under control.
It didn’t work.
I went back to work and my issues were worse than ever.
I started calling out and leaving early on a regular basis.
About 6 months later, I quit working there and decided to start my own business.
Getting clients was a struggle, so the alcohol kept flowing to “help” me cope.
Then, I started going to AA meetings again, online and offline.
They weren’t helpful at all.
I would start drinking as soon as I left the meetings.
You see, I've never been like the people who stay sober all week and then get shit-faced on the weekend because it seems like the cool thing to do.
I could never have two drinks with dinner and call it a night.
I don't even know what it means to be a “social drinker.”
I was like Billy Bob Thornton in the Bad Santa movie.
The movie is funny, but when your whole life turns into a shitstorm of blackouts, bad decisions, hangovers, blurry memories, shame, and regrets, the laughter fades away.
I was drinking a fifth, liter, or a half-gallon of whiskey almost every night by myself until I blacked out or passed out.
I would put food in the oven and then pass out until the smoke alarm woke me up.
Actually, most of the time it wouldn’t even wake me up.
It would wake my wife up, and she would have to turn the oven off and throw the burnt food in the trash.
I would also pass out with a lit cigarette in my hand and burn our chairs, couches, and carpet.
It's a miracle that I didn't burn our house down.
I’ve even been so drunk that I’ve passed out and peed in my bed a few times.
Now, as a man, how do you think I felt when I woke up soaked in pee with my wife beside me?
But I wasn't a man back then.
A man doesn't behave savagely towards his family and friends or get so drunk that he pees on himself in his sleep.
I was a slave.
A slave to my mind.
As Epictetus said, "No man is free who is not master of himself."
Clearly, I was not the master of myself.
I was allowing alcohol to dominate my life.
Constantly feeling worthless, soulless, and lifeless because it controlled the majority of my thoughts and emotions.
Eventually, after driving home incredibly drunk from a friend’s house around 5:00 AM one morning, I finally made the decision to quit when I woke up feeling worse than ever.
Seriously, it wouldn't surprise me if I had been just one sip away from death the night before.
So, I decided to quit drinking for good and I was going to do whatever it took to make it happen.
I used willpower and didn’t drink for 9 months.
I couldn’t believe it!
How was this possible?
But then I went on vacation to the beach with my family and got drunk a few nights we were there.
I learned that willpower will fail you when you need it the most.
I started drinking again for more than 2 years.
It was devastating, but I didn’t give up.
I kept trying to figure out how to conquer my addiction so I could become a better role model for my daughters, a better leader for my family, and live a more fulfilling life.
I started reading A LOT of books about psychology, neuroscience, habits, self-therapy techniques, etc.
I started making some progress.
Only drinking 2-3 days each week and cutting way back on drinking liquor.
I would mostly drink beer and sometimes wine.
However, one night on a family vacation, I was angry with my sister so I decided to buy some whiskey.
I stayed up late, drinking straight from the bottle.
The next morning I was hungover and very tired because I only slept a few hours.
On the way home, I fell asleep driving with my wife and 4-year-old daughter in the car with me.
I was driving about 65 MPH and woke up when my tires hit the rumble strip on the left side of the highway.
I jerked the steering wheel and zipped into the other lane.
We’re soooo lucky that there wasn't a car beside us.
Plus, if I had jerked the steering wheel just a little bit more, I probably would’ve flipped the car and killed us all.
Of course, if there hadn't been a rumble strip on the edge of the road to wake me up, we would've crashed into the embankment and been seriously injured or died right there.
But guess what?
I still didn't stop drinking.
Alcohol had put me within inches and within seconds of death multiple times, and now I was within an inch and within a split second of killing my wife and daughter along with me...
AND I STILL DID NOT STOP DRINKING.
About 4 months later, I discovered a little-known secret and I quit drinking alcohol instantly and effortlessly!
Then, I quit smoking cigarettes instantly and effortlessly too!
It still blows my mind how simple it was to overcome all those miserable years of addiction.
Once I knew I had a proven method, I decided to dedicate my life to helping people end their addictions.
I became a Nationally Certified Recovery Coach and started helping as many people as I could to quit alcohol, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, gambling, self-harm, and all kinds of other addictive behaviors.
I was facilitating support group meetings, giving lectures at a rehab, doing in-home consultations, and much more.
Now, due to COVID-19, I help people end their addictions online.
If you're serious about ending your addiction, schedule a free strategy session with me and I'll help you figure out the best way to end your addiction in the comfort of your home based on your situation, goals, and preferences.
Trust me, your future self will thank you.
Thanks for reading my story and I look forward to helping you make the rest of your life the best of your life.
Kevin Edwards is the founder of Unaddictable, creator of the Identity Emergence Method, and a full-time Relapse Prevention Specialist.
When he’s not helping his clients, he loves having fun with his family, traveling, reading books, writing poetry, watching movies, and playing poker.