Brad Seavers has a candid conversation with Inside Addiction of his journey from addiction to professional racing. Listen in on his success story and how he’s now Living the Dream!
Use your passion for your recovery, concentrate on something that you can let yourself go in.
Highlights from the Podcast
Tell Us a Little Bit About Yourself
I come from an alcoholic childhood. My father is an alcoholic. His mother was an alcoholic. So alcoholism is definitely in my bloodline, for sure. Then I grew up with it with a tough childhood, with a lot of drunken rages and stuff. I fell into that same path of addictions at a very young age. At about the age of 13 I started drinking. By the age of 17 I was pretty much a full-blown alcoholic and drug addict. A lot of coke and marijuana and a lot of drinking. Started going down a really tough path.
When did you realize you had a problem with addiction?
It’s kind of weird. Until probably I was 16 or 17 years old, I thought that was the way I was, being brought up and the way I was. The way my family was that that was normal. I didn’t realize that there was an issue in the way I was being raised with certain other aspects to it, that I really started to go, “Hey man. There’s a reason why I don’t see all of my friend’s parents in the bar. There’s a reason why I don’t see them drunk. So I started to realize it. Unfortunately I was already pretty deep into that group of friends where that’s all we would do is drink and do drugs to try to cope with it.
The bad thing about that is, I looked up to these guys. I think that was the hardest part is you look to somebody who is into drugs and into drinking really heavy and to not go down the path that we need to to make our life better. It really draws you in because I didn’t have that at home. It was drunken rages and not wanting to be there. Being told that you’re no good. You’re nothing. To go around this group of people who invite you in because they need to feel good about themselves too, and mentor you to the drugs and alcohol. It’s a vicious cycle.
A little after I turned 18 years old. I decided to join the Navy. I thought that would get me away from it. I went through my basic training out in California. Out in San Diego. Went through my basic training and did really well and had no issues. Then once my basic training got towards the end, I started hanging around guys and I was drawn to it again. With that drug and alcohol-type deal. I found myself in a little bit of trouble and the Navy said, “Dude, you have a problem. We think you’re a great, great sailor.” Of course I was to naïve to believe that so I pretty much told them, “I have a problem,” and they sent me home.
I think at that point, once I got home and I fell right back into the drugs and the drinking and the not being focused on anything, it wasn’t long after that I just recently turned 20 years old at that point, March 11th, a few months after I turned 20 I went into drug and alcohol rehab.
How Did You Find Treatment?
It was kind of inspired by my mother. I came home one night, it was March 10th, I came home and I was completely wasted and drunk. My mother was sitting in the dark. I walked in the house and she had tears in her eyes and I really thought it was because of something my father did, so I was ready to take care of her. She says, “No. It’s not your dad. It’s you.” I says, “What?” She goes, “I failed you as a mother. As a parent.” I says, “What?” So she had all this blame on her for the way I am. I says, “Why do you feel that way?” She goes, “Brad, what is the thing in your life that you hate the most?” I said, “The way dad is.” She goes, “And you’re just like him.”
That hit home pretty hard because I watched him beat up on my mom, me and my brother. And I’m like, “Oh my God. I don’t want to be that person.” Probably for the last 18 months I really knew that there was an issue, I just wasn’t sure. At that point, I didn’t want her to ever have to take blame for this. For staying with my father because he is an awesome person. An awesome man. Unfortunately just not when he drinks. I think my mother made a phone call to the police station and they said, “Here’s a phone number you can call for help.” We called that phone number, they sent us to a treatment facility in Marshfield, Wisconsin. I’ve been clean and sober ever since.
How Much Did You Know About Addiction?
We were so blind to it because of, in our family, we talked about it. My grandmother was recovering at a very older age, but was still very proud of her. I didn’t quite understand. I thought it was something you did when you couldn’t handle the drinking anymore. When I went to the treatment facility, it wasn’t your top-notch treatment facility, you really had to go there with a super, super open mind and realizing that you’re making the right choice. I sucked in all the information when I got there. I learned more about alcoholism and what it does and Al-Anon and all that stuff. It really made me realize that, “Oh my God. I need to break this chain. I need to.”
I have other family members who have, in the last five to seven years, been recovering now. They’re like, “Wow. We do have an issue.” I’m like, “Yeah, I tried to tell you guys that.” But as an addict and an alcoholic, we are the ones who need to make that decision. No one else. They can sit and tell you all day long that you have a problem, and guess what? Until we admit it, we’re not going to do anything about it.
What Do You Recommend To People Looking For Treatment?
Oh my Lord. There is so much information out there. I’m part of many recovery groups and other people who are recovering. There is so much out there. The best thing I can do is tell you to pick a place that’s been around a long time. A place that’s got good recommendations because the knowledge that you’re going to learn, is going to be so important. The way it’s presented to you needs to be in a way that you can understand it.
I’ve been clean and sober 25-plus years and I’m still re-learning things because of the old school way they used to teach it in the 12-step program. Now there are mulitple programs that are working really well that are just unbelievable. Everybody needs their own way to learn it. They need to have those options. When you go into treatment, you need to have those options. And you got to have the support.
Family support. Friend support. And people need to understand that this is something, like you just said, you’re dealing with this today. You’re 25 years clean, but every day you’re learning and every day you’re practicing and doing things to stay sober. It’s not one of the things where you go into rehab, 30 days, 60 days, and you’re clean and you don’t ever have to worry about it again.
I recently did a live video on Facebook and I told everybody, I says, “Life if life. We all Struggle with it. Unfortunately for us addicts, we have a little bit more to struggle with everyday.” I used my social media to be able to talk to people through social media to help me. Everybody’s like, “Brad, you helped out my buddy. You helped us out. Want to know something? That’s awesome and that’s why I want to do it, but you guys have no idea how much that helps me.” It gives me another reason to stay clean and sober because I inspired this one person or these three people to maybe search for help.
What if I was to relapse? They’d be like, “Jeez, I’ve been following Brad for three, four years and he relapsed.” They are just one more reason why I stay clean and sober.
How Did You Pay For Treatment?
I had some insurance. I did have a full-time job but at that time they didn’t really cover a lot of this. I did have to get a loan, but let me tell you what, it was the best $32,000 I’ve spent. In my life. They could have charged me double, triple, it didn’t matter. I figured it was about a thousand bucks a day deal. It has saved my life. I’ve learned so much from it and I continue to keep learning from it. So yes, I had to get a loan and I think it took me seven years to pay it off.
How Long Was Treatment?
It was a 28 day program. But because the day I went and the day of the discharge, it wound up being 34 or 36 days.
We didn’t come on weekends. We did our own thing but we still went to meetings and things like that on the weekends. Monday through Friday was head to the grindstone. The really cool thing about that is they had family week, where your family actually stayed at the treatment facility.
How Did Racing Play a Part in Your Recovery?
Yeah. When you grow up in a, I don’t want to say dysfunctional family because we did have real good values there, but there was a lot of drugs and alcohol involved in my childhood. Not your normal childhood. When I became clean and sober, after about a year, I was still struggling on staying focused on the task at hand and trying to find my thing to really pour myself into. I always had this childhood dream, Evel Knievel. I know the guys from my age would remember that. That’s what I dreamed of so I went and bought a dirt bike in 1989, an RM 125.
We got it ready and we went to an Ice Oval race. That is where I found in this hole outside of my life. We actually won our very first race. I went out there and I felt all these people, people who never knew me I never went to a race before, people would congratulate me, they were hugging me, they were shaking my hand. They were saying, “If you need some help racing let me know.” It grew into this, where that’s all I did is race. I raced from 1991, late in ’91 to 2007 on motorcycles. I did dirt track oval, [a and a 00:13:00] stuff and I did some ice racing and some asphalt racing. It was awesome.
What Else Do You Do To Stay Sober?
I do travel a lot. My meetings are calling my friends. We talk about stuff. I’m on a lot of groups online on Facebook and Twitter, on Instagram. Those are kind of my meetings. I’m out in New York and I have done the meetings. You go online, you look at your local AA meeting and there’s phone numbers on there. I’ve called, guys have came down and got me. We went to a meeting, one had coffee. I do like, especially on my sobriety day, I love going to a meeting or two or three for that day.
Meetings are very important to me. Especially in the beginning because listening to other people on what they struggle, made me realize that, want to know something? I’m very blessed to be able to have a chance to attack this addiction at such an early age.
What Advice Would You Give To Others About Finding Their Passion?
The first thing I would do is when I leave treatment is definitely use your passion for your recovery. Get a good, good foundation of that. Get that going. Then as you get that rolling and you’re feeling good about things, you’re feeling really good, then I would concentrate on something that you can let yourself go in. Whether it’s art. Whether it’s hunting or fishing. I’ve got a couple friends that have been recovering and they are huge into their kid’s sports. That’s awesome. These people, they want to be successful now, emotionally and physically and against addiction. They want to be successful at it and what is a better place than in a school? Watching your kids play sports, helping them to practice all the time. There’s so many things to do.
I know the hunting and fishing thing is big. I have some friends that are recovering that and they’re totally, totally crazy about hunting and fishing. They take other people and they show them how they do it and to teach them. I think anything you can do to help other people grow or to be part of something that helps other people grow and entertains them, I think it’s really, super important. If our only job was to stay clean and sober, what is the gratification from that unless you could enjoy being clean and sober.