Groton man hopes many will learn from 'Addict Behavior'

A man whose addiction brought him from a corporate job in San Francisco to a shady, now-defunct sober home in New London has written a book about the ordeal, and he hopes many will learn from it.

Forty-four-year-old Daniel Beyfuss, who lives with and takes care of his father in Groton, published “Addict Behavior” in May after working on it for about a year.

Reader beware: The memoir includes adult language and musings to which some may take offense. But it also takes readers inside facilities and meetings they otherwise may not experience.

“I knew I had to write it,” Beyfuss said. “I knew from the minute I started the process” of becoming addicted and trying to get sober.

Beyfuss loved working with CNET Networks in the early 2000s, writing articles and attending events in the greater San Francisco area. But a change in his job — he was pushed into marketing when CBS bought CNET — coupled with untreated mental illness made his fall swift.

Beyfuss began drinking so much, he stopped showing up to work. His family stepped in about 2010, bringing him back to New Jersey, then Connecticut.

Connecticut is where Beyfuss first tried heroin, but it also is where he found Suboxone, a clinically effective opioid medication that reduces withdrawal symptoms.

Beyfuss credits Suboxone and writing with keeping him mostly sober over the past two-and-a-half years, and he believes others can follow similar paths to stave off their addictions.

Beyfuss is the first to admit his self-published book — $8 for a paperback, $2.99 on Kindle — isn’t perfect. Readers will find some grammatical errors as well as typos that seem to have been missed when new versions replaced old.

Still, "Addict Behavior" is filled with interesting anecdotes pulled from notes Beyfuss scribbled in piles of miniature composition books. Beyfuss had one in his pocket during most of his more than a dozen stints in detoxification and four trips to rehabilitation facilities.

Beyfuss weaves among the serious, the mundane and the funny. In Chapter 5, for example, he writes about how two men overdosed in his sober house a day before he arrived, discusses how the residents spent most of their time smoking and chatting on the porch, then details a burly resident who had a soft spot for cats.

In conclusion, Beyfuss likens the place to a fraternity house but one “with very low standards for membership.”

“You have to have a sense of humor about things,” he said in a recent interview. “It’s all too serious and horrifying. That’s my coping mechanism — to find humor in things. I’ve always done that.”

In perhaps the darkest moment of the book, Beyfuss explains how he stole mouthwash from a CVS store, chugged it, then called for an ambulance. He had tried to steal vodka from a package store minutes earlier, he said, only to be scared off by a clerk with a box cutter who likely was more scared than himself.

The ordeal, he said, drove him to give sobriety a more serious try.

Like his book, Beyfuss' sobriety hasn’t been perfect. Through the worst of his addiction, he never landed in jail. Yet he was arrested last month after fighting with his father, who woke Beyfuss from an evening nap to ask for a flashlight.

Beyfuss said the arrest came during his worst relapse to date, one that spanned a few days after a bad breakup. But he has since been sober — he can't get Suboxone unless his urine tests negative for drugs and alcohol.

Beyfuss, who often walks to the Starbucks and the Big Y off Poquonnock Road, still thinks about stopping into the package store in the same complex. Most often, he takes the long way home instead.

“I don’t have a ‘30 days sober’ coin,” he said, referring to a practice common in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. “For me, it’s a moment-to-moment kind of thing.”

l.boyle@theday.com

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