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Buzz Aldrin

Buzz Aldrin, born Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr., is an iconic American astronaut. After Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin is the second person to ever walk on the moon. Aldrin was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 11, which was the first manned lunar landing in all history. Aldrin set foot on Moon at 03:15:16 (UTC) on July 21, 1969. Coming back to Earth, what lay ahead was alcoholism.

Buzz Aldrin

Despite Aldrin's great achievements in the name of space travel, he has had to cope with some serious battles against depression and then alcoholism. The book Magnificent Desolation documents his battles with both diseases.

Buzz Aldrin had a particularly tumultuous relationship with himself that was heavily rooted in a sense of not knowing exactly what to do with his life after going to the Moon and back, a feeling he described as "the melancholy of all things done".

As there were few people that Buzz felt he could share his pain with, he was deeply introverted in trying to decipher the meaning of his despair. He turned to alcohol in order to ease his mind and see himself through rougher times.

Because Aldrin believed that he could hold his alcohol well, he was not significantly worried about losing control of himself after consuming a very large amount. Aldrin was very open about his battles with depression, but not extraordinarily candid about his constant battles with alcoholism.

Aldrin didn't believe that there was anything particularly wrong with drinking heavily due to the fact that so many of his peers shared similar drinking habits.

When Aldrin wasn't drinking, however, his thoughts of a loss of purpose came into full swing. Self-evaluation ran rampant in Aldrin's mind whenever he was sober. Because he had set out to accomplish all that he had ever wanted to do, Aldrin had trouble understanding exactly what there was left for him to accomplish.

After he had left NASA and the Air Force, Aldrin felt as though he had no more structure in his life to hold him together. With no one telling him what to do or sending him on a mission, or giving him a complicated work assignment, he felt as though the drive, which led him to be great, had evaporated. He didn't feel an exuberant amount of freedom as much as he felt a crushing sense of isolation, aloneness, and uncertainty.

As a fighter pilot in Korea, making life-or-death decisions in the fraction of a second, and then as an astronaut who had to evaluate a constant stream of data, he considered himself good at making sound decisions. Years later, as Aldrin thought of divorcing his wife, he felt that the simplest decisions were too hard for him to make.

According to Buzz Aldrin, "I moved from drinking to depression to heavier drinking to deeper depression. I recognized the pattern, but I continually sabotaged my own efforts to do anything about it."


Buzz Aldrin's alcoholism, unlike many others, was not borne from a sense of not accomplishing anything. While the emptiness was indeed there, Aldrin suffered more from believing he had already fulfilled her purpose and that there was nothing left for him to strive towards.

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