Surrounded by his family, Enos looked up to them. He looked for acceptance from his older brothers. So when his family thought it would be fun to see how quickly they could get 10-year-old Enos drunk, he happily obliged. Now decades later, he’s trying to piece together a life of alcohol abuse, shame, and embarrassment.
Living in a world of alcohol abuse
“I was ten years old [the] first time I had a drink,” Enos described. “Ten years old sitting at the table with my family — it was a drinking game.”
Due to family and household instability, alcohol became a huge part of Enos’ life. “I had the best childhood ever, I had no supervision. I literally could do whatever I wanted and I did.”
Enos began to experiment with drinking different types of alcohol; his favorite — beer. He started drinking it whenever he would get the urge. While many young teenagers are focused on grades and hobbies, Enos was focused on the effects that alcohol had on him and his alcohol abuse. He started to attend parties throughout middle school and into high school.
Academically, Enos began to struggle. He describes his time in high school as “chaotic” due to many factors, one being his alcohol abuse. His home life was crumbling due to his own parent’s addictions. He was also never really present in school. Enos even stopped wrestling in his freshman year due to not making his grades. He took it incredibly hard and began to attend parties even more to distract himself.
A chaotic home life
While Enos was struggling with his education, his home life also began to unravel. His mother was forced to admit Enos to foster care because ‘she couldn’t take care of him.’ Her sole purpose was to try and get Enos with a family to help him graduate but to Enos, it hurt just the same.
It crushed me. I hated living with families. Now, I know where their heart was and I’m blessed to have them but at that moment, I absolutely hated it.
His grades turned around and he began to wrestle again but his alcohol abuse began to grow. After spending a year in Washington with a foster family, he came back to Utah to take care of his younger siblings. He also learned he had psoriasis in his senior year. Now living with a fairly intense skin disorder, Enos became familiar with both physical and mental pain that life can sometimes bring.
“Psoriasis overtakes any stress, depression … you see it visually, the plaques just cover your whole body. I just remember thinking, ‘I’m a senior, I shouldn’t be looking like this,'” he said. “I was not physically, spiritually, mentally, in a good state.”
Enos ultimately overcame all of the odds. He graduated high school and came back to Utah to help support his family but his pain didn’t stop. After high school, he started to focus his energy on a newfound passion — Jiu-Jitsu.
Allowing his alcohol abuse to thrive
He had begun envisioning himself becoming a world-class Jiu-Jitsu world champion. Unfortunately for Enos, his drive to become a great fighter also introduced him to a lifestyle that he wasn’t ready for. He would train throughout the week and once Saturday came, Enos began to drink all day with his fellow fighters. His drinking became so bad that “blacking out” was a common end to his night’s drinking.
“I was able to hold down a job, work, train, and drink,” he said. “I was a functional alcoholic.”
Luckily, that all changed when he met his now ex-wife. Like Enos, she had her own stories of abandonment so connecting with her came naturally. He stopped drinking alcohol and committed to living a different lifestyle — they even had two boys together. “From that point, I was under the impression that I had to grow up, had to get a job, had to get a house, had to have kids,” he said.
A brewing resentment
So he did just that. He began to live a more family-centric lifestyle. But not being able to completely chase his dream as a world-class Jiu-Jitsu fighter caused him to become resentful. With hopes and aspirations of creating his own training studio, anger for feeling like he was given an ultimatum also came along.
“I couldn’t drink. I was white-knuckling for years, as I stopped,” Enos said. “There were times when I was craving [alcohol], thinking, ‘Wow, how am I going to do this?'”
Enos’ addiction got even worse once he became a member of the Salt Lake City Police department. For six years, Enos would train new recruits and even describes himself as being “great” at his job. On paper, he should have been living the dream. But on the inside, he felt a different emotion.
“Deep inside I was just empty,” he said. “That internal struggle of ‘When am I going to be happy and what’s it going to take’, because this isn’t it.”
How Enos’ alcohol abuse took over
The unresolved issues of being young and not taking care of those before you start something else weren’t going away. He knew he had problems with self-esteem and the depression that came from his psoriasis. So, after the birth of their second son, Enos asked his wife for a divorce. He thought he would be a better father and partner if he were outside of the house. He realized that he had given up on the relationship since attending counseling.
Unfortunately, things got worse, much worse.
“[Life] just spiraled [out of control]. I started drinking heavily. Working in law enforcement, that’s just an outlet,” he described.
Enos’ alcohol abuse eventually got him arrested for driving under the influence while employed with the SLC police department. He ultimately resigned from the force, but never stopped drinking. His tolerance got so severe that he would frequently blackout — just as he did when he was younger. Until everything fell apart.
Living in a world of alcohol abuse
Enos was pulled over again while driving under the influence on January 7, 2019. Due to his previous DUIs, he no longer had a license and gave the officer his ID as an alternative. While the officer was running his information, Enos drove off. He eventually rolled his vehicle due to the snow-covered roads. Then, Enos ran from the scene, covered in broken glass. He started to jump over fences and barriers trying to escape; until he came upon an officer who had his back towards Enos.
For a moment, he thought he could end it all. He could stop all of the running, the depression, the pain. In his mind, he thought about wrestling the officer into submission, he could take his patrol car, drive home, and end everything right then. But he didn’t. As Enos describes it, he experienced a “moment of sobriety.”
He woke up the next morning handcuffed to a hospital bed surrounded by officers — officers who had come to show their support. Enos finally realized the trouble he had put himself in; he realized the pain he had put upon so many around him.
He attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, participated in an in-jail program for 90 days, and became a house supervisor while in jail.
With the help of in-house educational classes and support of others, he was able to completely shift his mindset into a positive light.
“I think, for now, that was the best thing to ever happen to me … I walked out of there a changed man; educated and ready to take on the world,” he said.
Enos has now been sober for more than four years but is still trying to grip with the reality of the choices he has made. He’s learning how to live again, one day at a time. He says he’s blessed to be able to have patience, live in the moment, and give back to those who need it.
If you or anyone you know may be struggling, you can reach out to LifeLine directly at (801) 936-4000 or you can visit the ‘Project Recovery‘ page on KSLTV.com.
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