Brian Cuban inspires students to be themselves and always help others


Mara Revitsky, Editor

“You are not defined by a question, but you can be changed by an answer. There is no shame in saying you need help,” said Brian Cuban, a recovering alcoholic, bulimic, and drug user.
Drugs and other addictions are a constant problem in society, so many people try to tackle the tough task of talking to teenagers about the dangers of making these issues a part of their lives. Cuban is one of these courageous individuals whose life mission is to share his story in hopes of making a difference in someone else’s life.
Cuban, a Mt. Lebanon native, spoke to Greater Latrobe Junior and Senior High October 19, 2015 about his story of addiction, dangerous habits, and eventual recovery.
His public speaking began about two years ago, around the same time he wrote his book, Shattered Image: My Triumph Over Body Dysmorphic Disorder, about his struggles with addictive substances and practices. “I felt like I had to have gone through all this for a reason, and you don’t worry what others think when you have a purpose,” said Cuban.
A large part of what Cuban explained to the student body about drugs and self-destructive habits involves the desire for acceptance. “Everyone wants to feel accepted and be a part of the group, but temporary actions don’t fix deeper problems,” said Cuban.
“I think he inspired us as a school to be more accepting so that people don’t resort to these harmful behaviors,” said Rachel Douglas, senior.
Throughout his speech, the idea of acceptance kept coming back, and this acceptance doesn’t just include friends and peers. Cuban said, “People seek acceptance and love from family and society too, but you should be yourself first. You are enough.”
Cuban’s mother insulted him about his weight, illustrating that generational comments and psychological issues happen. However Cuban explained that when it matters most parents have unconditional love and are not willing to let you destroy your life.
Another one of the issues Cuban and many other men struggle with is Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). “BDD is when you have an image in your mind of a defect, and you exaggerate that defect to the point where you don’t want to leave your house, want to always be alone, or turn to drugs to attempt to fix the problem,” said Cuban. He had an embarrassing incident as a young kid with shiny, tight gold disco pants, and that incident scarred him for the rest of his life.
According to him, about 30 percent of BDD sufferers also have eating disorders like Cuban’s bulimia and anorexia.
Cuban left the students and faculty with something important to think about: “we all have the ability to inspire and the gift of empathy.”