Note: I am releasing this earlier than the 1 year mark as I want that day to be something I can reflect upon on my own with no outside noise. For me ist going to be a special day that i will have to continue to work at.
July 19 2019.
I awake in bed hundreds of texts messages. “What the hell were you thinking”. “Are you kidding me”. “Dude you just lost the respect of so many people”. These are just a few of the messages I received. Still in a daze, groggy and foggy from a night of drinking IPA’s and Vodka not remembering how I got into my bed, to my wife looking at me with this look of disgust. That’s how I woke up. Not having a clue about what I did, said and posted to my social media group I run. Even after a cup of coffee I still had no idea what I was about to endure.
That day was probably the most terrifying and horrible day of my life. In one well swell swoop everything I’ve built, my reputation and more were about to go the way of the DODO bird. Here I am in bed sweating, trying to figure out what I said or did to make so many people not only angry at me but concerned.
To me I just drank a bunch of beers and I passed out the night before. To my wife and my father in law, I drank so much I apparently passed out, fell off my chair, and layed helpless on the concrete patio. Not even they knew the extent of my issues that were about to arise. They just picked me up, put me in bed and thought that was the end of it. If the only knew.
This was the beginning of the end for my old life, the old me and the man that took up drinking to cope with life issues and more. My whole life I drank, I drank with friends, family, and at social gatherings. I just felt like I was like everyone else. Little did I know that starting in 2017 I would end up consuming alcohol on a regular basis. Where there reasons this happened? Sure. For starters, I engaged in my lawsuit with the notorious AMC Coester VMS. I had sued them for hacking my email accounts only to be hit with a bogus $20 million countersuit. $20 million dollars is enough to put anyone over the edge even if it’s not justified. The incurring costs to defend myself, the weekly updates from my lawyers as well as trying to live my life and run my business seemed to be putting more weight on me that soon I just couldn’t hold it up. Add to that having people that you thought had your best interests at hand and at one time were your trusted partners ask you to choose between them and a conference that you came up with and they helped put together or your lawsuit. The pressure was mounting more and more and the only escape that I knew was the Bottle and the Beer.
It didn’t stop there. My personal life was taking a hit as well. My wife and I during this time were also trying to have a family. We are both in our 40’s and due to some health conditions of my wife, we weren’t able to conceive the natural way. We set out to try IVF. After a failed attempt, then a miscarriage and more failed attempts, life wasn’t going the way we expected and combining these aspects with the above mentioned aspects..the recipe for disaster was made. It was just a matter of when was Mount Mark going to blow. That day was July 19th 2019, a day I will remember for the rest of my life just like September 11th and other life changing days.
That day I went with my wife and checked into an alcohol treatment facility. For the next 6 weeks, I would be put to the test. I would begin my quest to reclaim my life, my friendships, my reputation, and my acceptance. Wait. Who am I kidding? Reclaim? No. That’s not it. It would be the beginning of really finding out just who I am, who I want to be, and where it is I wanted to go in the future. Its the beginning of uncovering everything that was buried so deep inside me for so long. At first, it was hard and yet it still is today. It was hard to admit that I had a problem. It was hard to be sitting in a room full of others who had the same issue, some worse and some that have been here over and over. It was hard to have to accept the issues I created, the people I hurt and have to go through every day knowing that I myself was the problem. Having to admit to yourself and others that you indeed have a problem and a disease is not easy. Personally, I’d rather deal with an angry homeowner each and every day questioning my appraisal value than to ever again have to admit to my loved ones and myself that I have a problem or the cause of so many issues. But here I was, 4 hours every day for 3 weeks and then 4 hours 3 days a week for another 3 weeks attending classes, meetings, family days and more, having to open up about my disease and issues to therapists, counselors, and strangers (who have since become good friends). These 6 weeks of being tested for alcohol, sharing stories, taking part in discussions, and learning more about this disease of alcoholism were at the time terrible, but looking back at them today, they not only saved my life they started the transformation into the person I am today.
It would be foolish of me to write this and just say that entering the program is what turned it around for me because of that’s, not the total truth. I had the help and support of my family and wife, who gave me every ounce of love and support they possibly could. My wife is a trooper. She went through so many days and nights of me struggling with this disease yet stood by my side throughout it all. Without her, I have a feeling that I would not be standing on this earth. I had the support of friends and peers. I had the help and support of a man that I will forever be grateful for. I met him not too long before all of this transpired and looking back now I can see how he was trying to help me even before I got to this point. That’s the day he held me accountable. During it all, he was there. Afterward, he basically took me under his wing, gave me his time, and started to teach me things no one else has ever tried. When you combine all the love, support, and lessons from others along with your lessons from treatment, its amazing how much clearer and easier you see life.
So who am I today one year later?
I’m a man who has to battle his disease every day but understands the importance of it, understands the consequences, and understands that there are other ways to deal with problems. I am a man who has a completely different outlook on life and business. The man that was once so negative, in pain, and wanted to forget, became a man that seeks positivity every day, looks to the future, lives each day as a blessing, and no longer seeks affirmation because he’s a man that wants to give it and help others. For the past year, I was on a mission to make amends to those I hurt, went against, and treated unfairly and as of today, the list I created has been completed. There are some people That I just cannot in my heart forgive or make amends with and I am completely ok with that but for the ones I did seek out and do so, they were the ones that were going to haunt me if I did not. I am a man who now has a much better relationship with his wife. The laughter and the fun have come back into our lives as well as higher respect her. I am a man who finally feels like a man.
Business-wise.. what a difference. The mental clarity of this journey has presented me with opportunities that I never knew could exist. I have begun to use a clear mind for good. I created a podcast, I’ve been blogging more, my views of my profession have been completely changed and I have been more successful this past year than in the previous 15 years combined. I have reached out to many professionals that in my past I caused issues with and at that time could never see myself working with them. Today we work well together and the relationships we have formed are going to be the ones I will cherish the most. They gave me a second chance and for that I’m grateful. That person I spoke of earlier that took me under his wing… Hes become a mentor, a brother and well eventhough we are close in age, hes become sort of a father figure for me to look up to in both business and in my personal life.
I’ve learned so much in 1 year. Ive learned so much about myself, business, hard work and my disease. A disease like alcoholism will be with me forever. It’s up to me to decide how I will let it take a hold of me, how I will defeat it, and how I will continue to go forward. I allowed a disease to take control of me. I allowed it to take over, make decisions for me, treat others the way it wanted, create more issues instead of seeking solutions, be negative instead of positive and most of all I allowed it to take away 3 years or more of my precious time in life.
Blaine Feyen of the Real Value Podcast says it best. “ Our most precious resource is time”. I may not get back the time I spent drunk, incoherent, and negative however I can spend my time going forward utilizing it to be a better husband, business owner, teacher, and most of all a better all-around man.
Life is hard. We will always have hard decisions to make. We will always endure tough times in our lives but it’s up to us alone to decide how we will let them affect us. For me, it’s no longer letting the negatives around me that I cannot control take over me. For me it’s never taking an alcoholic drink again. For me its living life in a more positive light, seeking solutions, creating opportunities, and making the best with what I have in front of me. It seems to be working so far.