Cocaine. A gateway to self-love until it no longer serves its purpose. A high that will never be as good as the first. A Band-Aid on life that can’t stop the bleeding. From the outside looking in, it might seem farfetched for a middle-class boy like Brian to end up battling bulimia for decades, an alcoholic, and hooked on cocaine. But, as much as society wants to label and define what things should or should not look like, addiction doesn’t have a type. The gold pants. Those gold pants were gifted to Brian from his cool, entrepreneurial, older brother, Mark Cuban, and now it was Brian’s turn.
Maybe the popularity would rub off though those pants and for once Brian could be accepted by his peers. Sure, his belly hung over them and they clung tight to his body, but they were a gift and Brian loved his brother. As cool and hip as they were, kids are cruel. The desire to fit in and be accepted unraveled as quickly as did the pants when the children pulled the threads out of the pants as Brian was walking home on that fateful day, leaving him pantless and embarrassed. The whole world was going to know. As Brian ran home crushed, life shifted. As an attempt to control his weight, Brian walked down a road of eating disorders, not even realizing at the time of any clinical diagnosis, he just knew he was tired of being a Fat Pig, as he was referred to by his mother.
Brian didn’t know what an eating disorder was, but he was pretty sure talking about the shame of over eating and throwing up wasn’t couth with anyone he’d come in contact with. Thus began the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. What couldn’t be seen, didn’t exist. He went off to college and in an attempt to drown the unpopularity he lived, he started long distance running. Why face the fact that everyone was having a good time and going to the football game when you could be out running 10, 15, 20 miles- just long enough of a run to miss the entire game. Plus, long distance running corroborated his story he was painting through his eating disorder. Of course he was fit, he was a runner, not a bulimic. And then, there was alcohol. Being sober meant feelings could be felt, being drunk drowned them out. And of course, when drinking, it made binging and purging less shameful and more normal. Normal. That’s what Brian’s life had become. Normal to isolate. Normal to binge and purge. Normal to exercise excessively. Normal to drink alone. Normal to hide from the world. With graduation quickly approaching, it seemed like the obvious choice to go to law school since it would extend the normality of the isolated life he had created and punt facing life with real responsibilities down the field for another few years. Punting life just meant he had more time to run and hide from the world and from the one person that could offer him the solution to his problems; himself.
Then, the day Brian finally loved Brian. The self-love he had wanted to find his entire life he found when he took his first line of cocaine. It was in that moment that everything seemed to make sense with the world, but it was a feeling that he would keep chasing. The love, the feeling of being on cloud nine, quickly became paranoia, frustration, more lies, more deception, divorce, hurt relationships, jail, and a revolver next to his bed. Sure, Brian had become a lawyer and was sort of scraping by through life, but was he living? Well, it depends on the life you want to lead, and Brian knew deep down there had to be more.
The lows were bottoming out, the level of deception was at an all time high, but family remained consistent in his life. Brian was the brother of the now owner of the Dallas Mavericks and privilege was something he was all too familiar with. His name alone could open doors, and his free tickets to basketball games were, at times, his ticket to free cocaine.
It’s not always easy to see the forest through the trees, just like a Monet is almost undistinguishable when you’re too close. But there was one thing Brian knew. There was one thing Brian’s father instilled in him and that was the importance of family, which was always there. That fateful night he wrote an email to his brother while coked up with a revolver next to his bed, it was his family that showed up to help. It was his family that took him to rehab. It was his family that stood by his side.
It could have been any number of lows that finally made things click into perspective for Brian. When it came down to it, after decades of deceit, multiple divorces, and a constant cocktail of substances to numb reality, it was the idea of family that made it all click once-and-for-all. Brian’s girlfriend, Amanda, took him to rehab for the second time and it was there that Brian took to heart the lesson his father instilled in him; the importance of family. He had the love of his mother, his father, his brothers. It was Brian that needed to show up, and it was only him that had the solutions to his problems. It wasn’t the high from the first bump of cocaine that Brian needed again, it was doing the work and connecting to himself, his purpose, his family that was going to get him through. And that wonderful woman who took him to rehab, well, she stood by his side as he went through recovery and eventually became his wife.
And now for the real first time, the sober first time, Brian loved Brian.
Brian is now 15-years in recovery and holds nothing back when sharing his story. In his book, The Addicted Lawyer, Brian details the story of his journey with bulimia, drugs, and alcohol while navigating life that eventually led him to be a lawyer. He interviews others that have also struggled with addiction while in the legal field and gives advice and encouragement on seeking help. He normalizes the fears and challenges people face in the profession, giving addiction a relatable, human face.
Brian has written several books, including his most recent novel, The Ambulance Chaser. He can be found at BrianCuban.com and on Amazon. He offers a plethora of additional resources; Law Firm Programs, Suicide Awareness, Eating Disorder Recovery, and more.
We wish Brian all the success in his journey and applaud him on his most recent milestone in long-term recovery. Tune in to our interview to hear this storytelling genius and the story from his own words.
Special thanks to Rob Bliss, CEO of Purple Cow Marketing, for the beautiful studio space in Farmers Branch, Texas.