Father, Husband, Entrepreneur, and Recovering Alcoholic
My name is Brodie Kern. I’m a father, a husband, an influential entrepreneur… but most importantly, I’m a recovering alcoholic.
If you are newly sober, battling addiction, or have a family member who struggles, keep reading. I am about to share with you why every single day when I wake up, the thing I am most grateful for is the fact that I possess the disease of alcoholism.
Right now addiction is a hot topic of conversation. The opioid crisis is at an all time high and the rate at which people are overdosing does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Addiction is one of the most violent diseases known to man. It will thrash a career, a family, and quite frankly, anything in its path.
Addicts will completely change everything they know to be true about themselves in the pursuit of their next drink or drug. Anything for a single moment of relief from the uncontrollable insanity that they experience inside their own minds.
The mind of an addict can be an absolute prison; an inescapable hell created by the only person who knows you well enough to build it – you.
I look at my own mind as a nuclear reactor, something that has the capacity to generate more power than anything on the planet… we will get into this a little bit later.
Understanding the disease of alcoholism is one of the hardest things for the average person to wrap their head around. “Why can’t they just not drink?” “Why are they willing to destroy their entire lives over something as small as a beer?”
On the surface, these are quite possibly the most reasonable questions I’ve ever seen asked. But in the mind of the alcoholic, it’s a very different story. To me, the fact that someone can drink two beers and stop is as incomprehensible as how far away the sun is. It simply just does not compute in my brain. The alcoholic doesn’t just process the consumption of mind altering substances this way.
From a very young age I heard the word moderation A LOT. It was a broken record always playing with my parents, teachers, friends and family. This stemmed from my tendency to become obsessed with the things I wanted or enjoyed. They thought this was a flaw, a chinc in my armor. Little did they know, I would go on to turn my kryptonite into my superpower.
Six Overdoses, One Flatline, and a Miracle
Ultimately, my obsessive nature did lead me deep into addiction. I was by far one of the most turbulent young men in all of the midwest. At the age of 21, I managed to make hospital visits a regular thing as I overdosed six times and became prone to seizures.
After arriving at a Springfield, Missouri hospital with a .457 BAC (Blood alcohol content) – I flatlined.
I woke up in a treatment facility and I was eventually transferred to a rehab in middle-of-nowhere, Missouri. It was there that I was introduced to an annoying and utterly stupid cult known as Alcoholics Anonymous.
That might seem a little harsh but it accurately describes how I felt when I arrived. I was stuck in podunk Missouri for 30 days with no friends, no family, no cell phone… and worst of all, NO DRUGS.
I was overwhelmed with panic as I felt like the life I knew was so far away. Then it happened. Each and every day that I was unable to drink or use, I gained clarity. I started to see parts of myself that I hadn’t seen in a very long time, and didn’t realize still existed.
To this day one of the top three moments of my life occurred because of this transformation. My father, who had supported me through everything I put him through and after I gave him every reason not to, looked at me with tears in his eyes and said “this is the first time I have seen my son in five years.”
For the first time in my life I sat and reflected on all the carnage I left in my path and the turmoil I caused for those around me. My life had become a trail of complete destruction, but here I was with a fresh start.
Those 12 Fucking Steps
When I started the 12 steps of AA, I had no clue nor would I have wanted to admit that they’d be the catalyst for what my life would become.
For nearly a century, no doctor, therapist, shaman, or amount of willpower has been able to cure the hopeless alcoholic. Then in the 1920’s two men named Bill and Bob stumbled upon a solution that would go on to save an innumerable amount of lives. A simple way of life, a spiritual solution for the disease of alcoholism. This went on to become the 12 Steps of AA.
“Brodie, contrary to your belief you are not special. We have done it, so can you”
For me, that was enough because I was at a loss. I didn’t have any other solution, so I thought: why not?
From Kryptonite to Superpower
I started to follow their advice of living in the present moment and taking things one day at a time. After leaving rehab and following these simple steps, my life started to change – and I’m talking FAST.
I got a job at a restaurant and seemingly overnight, I was managing the entire place. After becoming fed up with the ceiling I had essentially reached, I got into real estate and within 8 months had sold 46 homes.
The transformation was almost unfathomable. I was literally one of the most successful first-year agents to hit our market – ever. I started running ultra marathons, taking on new hobbies that created radical life change and was able to do them 10 times faster than anyone I knew.
It wasn’t because I was incredibly smart or incredibly talented, I just approached everything with the same level of tenacity that I did addiction. I hear the word moderation today as much as I did when I was that obsessive little boy, but today the people in my life understand it. They understand the hunger and passion in which I take on the world.
As we are approaching the end of whatever this collection of words is, I’m sure you can tell I don’t write for a living. In fact, I’ve never published an article in my life, but felt compelled to tell my story. That’s because the narrative around what it means to be an addict or an alcoholic has to change. The individuals who are struggling must know that, like me – their disease is also their gift.
So here I am stepping outside of my comfort zone to share my thoughts, however unpolished, in hopes that I can reach someone who needs to hear it.
If you are struggling with substance abuse, weather the storm and find help. If you can make it out of the darkness you will find yourself to be more powerful, more passionate, and more capable of creating impact for others than anyone in the world.
Just as I was told as I got started in all of this – I’m not special, but in five short years I have built a beautiful family, healthy relationships, and multiple companies that create worldwide impact. It’s all because of the disease of alcoholism and the gifts it has given me, so think what it might give you?