PINE BELT - Carver Brown said he led a double life for years.
"What I was presenting to the world (that I) was someone who had it all together. I became second in command of a 30 million dollar company," Brown said.
While he traveled the world handling his family business, Brown felt tormented behind closed doors.
"Shame about what I really am inside, and trying to hide what I really am to the world and then just fear of being found out," Brown said.
Brown said he did not know it, but he was suffering from addiction.
"This is a brain disease. Addiction is a brain disease," Brown said.
Brown said he took his first drink as a teenager. He said he can tell you every detail about the moment it happened.
"The first time I tasted alcohol...it was like a spiritual experience," Brown said.
He said the years of feeling different, separate and alone all seemed to go away. He said eventually alcohol was not enough. He found himself dependent on pills, powders, herbs, food and relationships.
Brown said for years he lived an illusion of control. He kept it a secret from his family, until he said the evidence mounted and came to a head.
"What happened to me was a three-day black out," Brown said.
Brown remembers being terrified of losing everything so he check into a treatment facility. It was there, for the first time, he heard about the signs of addiction.
"I got on my knees of the edge of this bed in this little bitty treatment center, and I folded my hands together and I put my elbows on the mattress. I lend forward and I begged God to save me," Brown said.
Brown is now in long term recovery.
"That means that I have not found it necessary to take a drink or a drug or act out in an addictive behavior since June 14 of 2004," Brown said.
Brown has found a better way of life with friends, family and a new career. For seven years, he has served as the alumni coordinator at Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addictive Services. He said he has helped those who are at the beginning of their fight with addiction, and those who are in recovery.
"I can sit with somebody and I can literally say,' I know exactly how you feel,' and then I can share part of my story that identifies with where they are and all of a sudden they realize that they are not alone," Brown said.
Brown added as a recovering addict for almost 12 years, he knows the disease only progresses. So, like the people he mentors he has to continue his sobriety sessions or there is no recovery for him, and no way he can help others. Brown said if anyone is struggling with addiction they should call Pine Grove at 1-888-574-HOPE.