40-year-old pastor Adam Stump from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania would black out, slur his words, and become incredibly aggressive every time he ate carbs. His 37-year-old wife, Jana Stump, was convinced he was a secret alcoholic – but there was another explanation for his strange behavior.
Initially, Adam Stump’s ABS (auto-brewery syndrome) may sound like a great way to get drunk without spending tons of money. Because of the rare condition, his gut is able to create its own alcohol whenever he eats carbs. But having ABS is far from living a frat bro’s dream: it has only brought the father of four despair and trouble with family.
Some people can be funny when they’re drunk but that isn’t what auto-brewery syndrome is. It’s a personality changer. It’s like having a hangover and being drunk at the same time. I wasn’t a very pleasant person to be around. I felt like I was going to snap.
At the start, Jana didn’t believe I hadn’t been drinking. She thought I was sneaking it somewhere. I had to convince her that I hadn’t been drinking. It was terrible for her to think that I was living a double life. When I was diagnosed, she collapsed and said she couldn’t take any more stress.
I would slur my speech, black out and walk around talking but not remember any of it. I was quite belligerent and combative. I didn’t hurt anyone but once I threw the dining room table and had to get a friend round to calm me down.
There were a few times where my wife would be looking for me and I’d be in strange places like the garden or laying on the basement floor with no recollection of how I got there.Pastor Adam Stump
Stay at home mom Jana realized something was wrong with Adam when breathalyzers revealed that he was over the drinking limit, despite the fact that the couple had been together all day without a sip of alcohol. She began researching his symptoms and discovered ABS after she was certain he wasn’t an alcoholic.
Adam underwent testing and discovered he was suffering from ABS in February 2021. He began treatment in March by taking antibiotics and living a diet primarily of meat, cheese, and eggs.
The lack of alcohol caused him to go through painful withdrawal symptoms. He took off three months of work in order to fight through nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
Adam hasn’t let this deter him from continuing his treatment, saying: “I’ve got to the point where I’ve realized it’s better to be healthy so it doesn’t bother me to see people eating and drinking. It’s worth it to be a husband and father.”
Interested in learning more about alcohol and its effect on the body? Here’s how going sober can change your life for the better.