Spending a night bent over a toilet might not be most people’s idea of a good time, but Simon (not his real name) is thrilled. He’s a loud and excitable person, the kind of guy who says your name frequently in conversation, and at the age of 36, he’s had a serious drinking problem for most of his life.

“Let me tell you, Katie,” he said. “Ever since I started drinking, back when I was a child—there’s something in me, Katie. I just can’t stop.”

Simon has been in and out of recovery (including Alcoholics Anonymous and rehab) since he was a young teen. Even if something worked briefly, even if he could white-knuckle it through sobriety for a while, it wouldn’t stick.

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