Beating addiction: A personal story

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GAINESVILLE, Fla -- You hear a lot about the consequences and aftermath of drug and alcohol addiction, but not always about the recovery process.

"The single most important decision I made in my life was to seek recovery," said Thomas Edwards, an attorney in Gainesville.

As time and Edwards' career progressed, so did his addiction.

"I liked the way alcohol made me feel," he said.

He said he drank for nearly 40 years. The alcohol beginning to interfere with his daily activities.

"I never got up in the morning and went into my office after drinking, anything like that. But I would certainly miss days because of drinking too much the night before. A hangover, something like that."

On the brink of losing his family, career, everything... quitting became his priority.

He joined UF Health's Florida Recovery Center in 2013.

September is National Recovery Month and is meant to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders.

One in every two to three people is affected by someone with a drug and alcohol use disorder.

"This is the time to recognize and celebrate the beauty of recovery which often does not get recognized and to see that side which often does not get that much media attention," said Scott Teitelbaum, Medical Director at the Florida Recovery Center.

Since participating in the program, Edwards said he has not and will not touch another drink.

"I'm willing to do this because of the people that are still suffering. So individuals out there that may see this on TV and say, wow if he can do it, I can do it," Edwards said.