In spring 2000, pediatrician Paul Thomas was cleaning out his Portland, Ore., shed when he made a horrifying discovery. It was a vision board he’d made in 1989, when he was 32. At the top of the board, which mapped out his plans for the year ahead, were the words “stop drinking.”
“I froze, because I realized that after 11 years that was still my primary goal,” Thomas, now 61, tells The Post. “Most mornings that past decade, I’d wake up hungover and think, ‘Damn it, I did it again.’”
Looking back on those years, Thomas describes himself as “a functional alcoholic.” Each day after work, he’d swing by the liquor store, fill a Diet Coke can with vodka, make dinner for his wife and nine children, finish off the vodka, then pass out for the night.
“I couldn’t put it down,” he says. “I knew I had a problem.”
But it wasn’t just Thomas — it was most of his family. His wife, Maiya, battled opiate dependence after a series of painful surgeries. Several of their kids began to abuse drugs and alcohol as teens and young adults.