“I’ve always wanted to be the drunkest.” Norfolk man shares sobriety story to help others during Men’s Health Month

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – On a crisp fall morning, Patrick Riggin chased his son Rowan through the park before starting kindergarten. It’s something he could never have done 14 months ago.

“Even 13 hours sober sounded like a death sentence,” he told 10 On Your Side.

Riggin told us he started drinking in his teens. “I was always there on the weekends to party with my friends, but what they didn’t see was that I was always eating at least a six-pack in my dorm room.”

Riggin said he did it every night and eventually couldn’t get out of bed without it. “I would always make sure I could have a drink first thing in the morning,” he said.

Alcohol addiction affects men more often than women. A 2019 report showed that 14 million people over the age of 12 had an alcohol addiction. 9 million of them were men.

“Men are more likely than women to try most different types of illegal substances, so they are at increased risk because of their willingness to try,” says Riverside Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Omari Peterkin.

Peterkin told WAVY that it also puts men at a higher risk of overdose and hospitalization.

“Risk factors out there for this behavior, the main one out there is family history,” Peterkin said.

Other risk factors include:

  • Starting at a young age
  • Depression or psychological problems,
  • History of trauma
  • Poverty

Riggin’s drinking led to a diagnosis of liver disease, but his addiction was stronger than the threat of death.

“I lost pretty much everything. Those who loved me the most couldn’t have me around anymore. I was a risk,” he said.

Only when he could no longer see his son did his eyes finally open. Patrick then entered a psychiatric hospital and began the road to recovery.

Now Riggin has taken up a new healthy hobby. The multiple weeks of rehab and months of support group meetings have given him the tools to address his cravings and navigate difficult social situations.

“It’s a little crazy, but I’m really into RC racing,” he told us with a smile.

Now he doesn’t reach for a drink every morning, but Rowan. “My son, yes, that’s how I start my day… every day… with a hug and a kiss from my son.”

Riverside Behavioral Health Center provides both hospital and outpatient services for people who are addicted.
Alcoholics Anonymous also has dozens of support meetings each day in Hampton Roads, both in-person and online.

“I’ve always wanted to be the drunkest.” Norfolk man shares sobriety story to help others during Men’s Health Month

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