Bruce was as an only child who grew up in a loving family in Massachusetts. His father was a prominent business owner and community leader and his mother was a career oriented professional who, for as long as he could remember, had a serious drinking problem.
Bruce attended private schools and lived a strictly regimented life. When he went away to college the newfound freedom and liberty that environment afforded him meant partying, binge drinking and ultimately flunking out. After holding down a few odd jobs, he joined his father’s insurance company and began to find success. He got married in a storybook atmosphere that included a large wedding with all the social trappings. As his career took off, he became a routine “social” drinker, entertaining clients on the golf and tennis courts.
When tragedy struck, Bruce’s storybook life took a turn for the worse. After a night on the town while his wife was out of town, Bruce connected with a woman, brought her home and she accidentally fell to her death. As a result of the accident, he was accused of murder. The news made headlines and shocked the small community. After years of derogatory publicity, all accusations were dropped and the case never made it to trial, but the damage was done.
Bruce shares, “My wife left me. I experienced extreme psychological and emotional turmoil because of the impact it had on my parents. My mom was an emotional wreck and this made her drink more.” He got psychiatric help for many years which helped him cope and he was prescribed medication to help him sleep, but the drinking problem continued and progressed.
Bruce eventually bought his father out of the business and became president, continued to be very successful, but all the while was dying inside. His drinking became less social and was completely out of his control. He had brief bouts of sobriety, but when his father died, he relapsed… hard. He was depressed and began drinking a bottle of vodka a day. He had seizures, heart problems and high blood pressure. He knew mentally and physically he could not continue like this.
Bruce adds, “I was drinking without my permission. I wanted to stop, but couldn’t and didn’t know a way out. I thought about suicide many times. I was tired of living the life I was in. I didn’t want to die a slow death. I had had enough.” He entered his fourth and final detox where he spent a week on the ICU and then entered the David Lawrence Centers Crossroads residential substance use treatment program – a decision he knows saved his life.
Bruce, now sober for over six years, has retired to Naples and is living a “wonderful life”. He is very active in the recovery community helping others find their way and he volunteers regularly at the David Lawrence Centers . He shares, “My experience at Crossroads was life-changing. The best thing they taught me was that I didn’t have a drinking problem, I had a thinking problem.” Today, Bruce has all the tools he needs to cope with life. “I am thoroughly enjoying my retirement. I have all that I could ask for… the best life I could ever imagine.”