When Tom began drinking as a teenager, he knew he was becoming addicted—but it didn't seem to matter. "I never made any bones about it," he says. "My posture was, 'I don't get in trouble with the law. Financially, it's not that much of a burden. I don't get into altercations with family or friends—where's the harm?'"
Tom says he was addicted to alcohol for 50 years, and no one in his family made a real effort to stop him. "I'd say, 'Mom, you know, some people fish. Some people hunt. Some people collect stamps. I just happen to drink as a hobby,'" he says.
In the decade leading to his ultimate sobriety, Tom was so hooked that he would wake up in the middle of the night to get a drink—sometimes up to a fifth of whiskey straight from the bottle. After ruining his marriage and having health problems, Tom says he realized his addiction was killing him.
"My health started deteriorating so bad. … I'd always been kind of an upbeat sort of person, but I was getting kind of depressed because I knew that I wasn't doing the things that I wanted to do," he says. "I wasn't achieving anything out of life. I'd drink, sleep, get up and drink again."
Finally, Tom decided it was time to take action. He enrolled in a research program and was given experimental drugs that he claims helped stop his cravings. He says he has not had a drink in two years.