When he enrolled in a 12-Step Program in 2007, Brian Cuban was okay with admitting that he’d been addicted to drugs and alcohol. What he didn’t want to talk about? The fact that he hated what he saw when he looked in the mirror, and still felt like the young boy he used to be — weighed down by excess body fat and an even heavier load of shame.
“I knew I wasn’t the only addict out there; I knew I wasn’t the only alcoholic,” said Cuban, a Preston Hollow resident and author of the book Shattered Image. “But I thought I was the only guy with an eating disorder.”
Specifically, the only guy whose eating disorder had taken the shape of anorexia, bulimia, steroid abuse, and a psychological condition known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Although he saw a psychiatrist off and on throughout his battle with addiction, Cuban always managed to reveal just enough to get a prescription for the anti-depressants he needed. After nearly taking his own life, however, Cuban finally came clean — which enabled him to get clean, too.
“I told [my psychiatrist] everything — about cocaine addiction, eating disorders, [and] my three failed marriages,” Cuban said.
On April 8, 2007, he checked himself into a critical care psychiatric facility. He hasn’t looked back since.
“I walked in there, never drank again, never did cocaine again, never binged or purged again, never did steroids again,” Cuban said.
He has since left a career in law to pursue full-time writing and motivational speaking.
“I’m now ready to use the pain I’ve gone through and what I’ve learned in the recovery process to help others,” Cuban said. “I knew from my experience that — especially for men, and the eating disorder component of the book — there’s a lot of shame, there’s a lot of silence. There are a lot of people who don’t seek treatment because they think they’re alone.”
Although Cuban used to be recognized for his last name — you’ve probably already guessed this, but he’s the brother of billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban — these days, he attracts more attention for the message of hope he’s committed to spreading.
He uses social media to mentor men and women of all ages, has shared his story with Katie Couric, educates parents on how to discuss bullying with their children, and has written op-ed pieces for multiple national news outlets. At the moment, he’s in the middle of putting together his 2015 college speaking schedule and is working on another book. The topic? “Name fame.”
“When he started doing this, there were a few people who would show up to his meetings and presentations, and in the last several months to a year, some of these things have been huge,” said long-time friend Angelo Marchese, whom Shattered Image is partially dedicated to. “It’s almost painful to sit there and listen to the things that he went through. But you can relate to it. It’s almost an evangelistic experience for some of the people in the audience.”
Although some might say that Cuban is now “living the dream,” the author has his own definition of success.
“I am passionate about what I do, and I am truly happy and a complete package for the first time in my life,” Cuban said. “I don’t like to say ‘living the dream’ because I like to stay in the moment. The dream can change at any second.”
One of his dreams, however — that everyone wrestling with addiction will experience the kind of freedom and purpose he has found — will never change.
“My full-time deal is to spread the word of recovery and let others know they are not alone — to let people know they can recover, reinvent themselves, and live a successful, happy life,” he said.