Bret's Story

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Bret Cochran's Success Story


Growing up in small town in Louisiana was not easy for a kid like me. Being born a premature twin, sickly and sheltered, I didn’t get to do a lot of things that the “normal” kids got to do. 

As I got older, things just got more complicated. 

I was the weird kid in high school who smoked too much and stayed to himself. I didn’t realize it then, but there was a dark void inside of me that deep down, I knew I would never be able to fill. 

I never knew who my true friends were. I struggled constantly in class.

I had my twin brother Brad, though. He was one of the cool kids in school, part of the popular crowd of jocks and cheerleaders. Brad got invited to the parties, he played the sports, and he got the girlfriends.  

But he always had time for me, and he was my best friend. 

I don’t think I can ever repay him for that. 



I left my Louisiana hometown shortly after high school. I finally found my calling playing music in a band. We toured the country playing rock shows, and I thought I had it all.  Well, everything except stability. Much to my mother’s dismay, I was living the good life. Different cities every night, being in the limelight, adoring fans we made happy just by doing something we loved. I had the world in the palm of my hand, and I finally felt seen. 

I found something else during that time on the road as well…alcohol. That dark void inside of me that I mentioned earlier? It grew larger by the day. Despite having everything I thought I wanted. 



I eventually went back home. I got a job and a house and paid my bills on time. I did what I was “supposed” to do. But underneath that whole facade, I was absolutely miserable. My mental health was declining rapidly, and I was using alcohol to self-medicate. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the beginning of a 15 year- long battle with addiction. But I was in control, right? I mean-I was doing all the right things. If I chose to have a few drinks after a hard day’s work, who cares? It’s my life!  



After a few years of living the mundane, I was ready to move again - this time to the Sunshine State. 

So, I booked a one-way ticket to paradise on earth and was ready for my new adventure. 

You know what I found in Florida? Cocaine. Easily accessible cocaine. The void felt full once more.  

So now, I was still drinking every single day just to keep the shakes at bay, but I was also doing copious amounts of cocaine daily.

But I was young and carefree, and nothing was holding me down. I was just living the life I thought was making me happy. My brother even joined me! Unfortunately, he also joined me on the dangerous road of addiction I was barreling down. We spent years living like that, thinking we had everything we ever wanted… boy, were we wrong. 



November 3, 2019. That date will forever haunt me. I received a telephone call that would turn my entire life upside down. The police officer on the other end of that call informed me that my brother had died from a drug overdose. My twin brother, my best friend in this entire lonely world, was gone forever. 

And my dark void grew. It festered. I was angry, heartbroken, and absolutely lost. I didn’t care about anyone or anything, especially not myself. I told the people around me I was okay, and I had my addiction under control. Everyone knew that was a lie. 

They let me get away with it because I was grieving. The world was falling apart around me, and they couldn’t do anything to save me. I didn’t want to be saved. 



I ended up in the ICU at a hospital in Florida.

Someone had found me passed out drunk on the sidewalk, where I had apparently taken a fall, and called an ambulance.

I was in liver failure, and I was dying. 

My body shut down. Somehow, by the grace of God, I regained consciousness and was alive.

I’d like to think it was Brad saying: Not yet! You still have work to do. 



I lost my ability to walk at the age of 34. Broken and lost, I had no one to blame but myself. I was that sickly little boy all over again. My mom came to get me and took me home.

I learned to walk again, and my liver numbers started to improve. They would continue improving - if I did not drink. But I was a full-blown alcoholic at this point, and I couldn’t stop. Not on my own at least. 



I sought treatment at Avenues Recovery Center in New Orleans. I had never attempted to go to rehab, but this was my only option if I wanted to stay alive. 

Something clicked inside my brain when I was there. I finally understood the dark void inside me that I had been feeding with substances all these years.I looked it in the eye and battled it head on. Addiction wasn’t going to win this time. I was going to survive and live to tell the tale. 



I’ve been sober now for 2 ½ years. I’m employed at the same treatment center that saved my life, and I give back to those that are still sick and suffering every day. I help them fight their own villain of addiction. 

For the first time in my life, I feel alive and free. 



My villain will always be lying in wait, hiding in the shadows in the corner of my mind, just waiting for me to slip. But I will not falter. I slay that villain every day by putting in the work to stay sober. By doing the next right thing and never again taking my life for granted. 

I’ve been humbled by my addiction. Without it, I wouldn’t have learned who I am and what I was meant to do. 

My void is filled with spirituality now. Self-acceptance and accountability keep it full. 

I get to be the hero of my own story, and I’ve saved myself. And for that I am forever and truly grateful. 



“Never forget that fear is but the precursor to valor, that to strive and triumph in the face of fear, is what it means to be a hero.”

-Kelsey Grammer 

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