HEALTH PLUS: Alcoholism - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

HEALTH PLUS: Alcoholism

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Alcohol is a poison when consumed in large doses.  That's what one local recovery counselor says.  In Health Plus, an eastern Iowa man talks about beating his addiction before his heavy drinking landed him in jail or killed him.

This Evansdale man does not want to show his face.  He says today at 56-years-old he is much different from the guy he used to be.  The guy who started drinking in junior high and didn't stop until he was married with two kids in his 30s.

"It gives you a lot of pleasure and a lot of happiness and a lot of things you can do but it turns its back on you," he says.

This eastern Iowa alcoholic was arrested thirty times from age 15 to 32--all alcohol-related, he says.  But his wife and a judge sent him to Covenant Medical Center's Horizons treatment program in Waterloo and 24 years later he is still sober.

"In order to maintain sobriety, I don't worry about the future. I concentrate on what I'm going to do today and if I can go one day without a drink that's a victory," he says.

Counselor Denny Feltz says drinking too much is not a problem you can maintain.

"People either get better or they get worse. It's not neutral at all," says Feltz.

He says half of all alcoholics also have anxiety or depression that needs to be treated, too.  And 60 percent of addiction is hereditary so no matter what contributed to your drinking problem, there is never any shame in getting help.

"Trying to do it alone. Trying to do it their way is what got them where they are," says Feltz.

Treatment worked so well for this man he says it taught him how to be a good father and husband.

"One of the biggest gratitudes i have in life today is that my grandkids have never seen me drink," he says.

Quite an accomplishment for a man who started experimenting with alcohol at the age of ten.

Covenant's Horizons is a family-centered recovery program for alcohol, drug and substance abusers.

Online Reporter: Tara Thomas

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