How Modeling Keeps Alex Minsky Sober

By McCarton Ackerman 07/26/13

The underwear model and Afghanistan war vet tells The Fix how he turned his misfortunes into gains.

Alex Minsky bares all Photo via

Alex Minsky overcame addiction and a severe war injury to become one of the most popular underwear models in the country. Discovered by a photographer at just two days sober, he says his modeling career has helped him stay clean. "I was starting to get antsy even after two days," Minsky, 24, tells The Fix, "but knew that I had to stay sober for my photo shoots, so I knew that going to the gym would keep me away from the bar." The former Marine lost his leg when he was blown up by an IED in Afghanistan in 2009, was in a coma for 47 days and suffered traumatic brain injuries. He says the trauma of the accident, along with the death of his younger brother a year later, threw him into a downward cycle of daily substance abuse. "It made an ongoing problem already worse," says Minsky. "I would drink on the weekends and it wasn’t anything extremely heavy, but there were occasions when I would get really drunk. After the accident, every single day was an occasion."

After leaving Afghanistan, he was court ordered to out-patient rehab after getting three DUI's in under three months. This, along with modeling gigs, helped "keep me accountable," he tells us. Eventually, "things just fell into place little by little, and I eventually realized that I don’t need a drink." Not that it's always easy. He says he still battles the occasional urge to use. "There are times when everything sounds better when there’s a drink involved," he says, "But that’s the game and I just tell myself that when there’s a down, there will eventually be an up." During the low points, "I try to do something productive to get myself out of my head, whether it’s texting people, calling my sponsor or calling my mom," he says. And though recovery has its fair share of challenges, it has its perks as well: "I can be successful, shit, I can be more successful, girls will want me even more, if I just do what I’m supposed to do."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.