Archive for June, 2012

I would do ANYTHING…

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Click here for Audio version of this blog article

I would do ANYTHING

“Yeah, except quit drinking.”

I hear a lot of stories of wreckage and sadness. I hear pleas and impassioned words of a desire to quit drinking so the person can rebuild a stable family life, rekindle a relationship, get along better with their kids, advance their career, whatever.

These are all wonderful things to want, but many drunks want something (respect, love, healthy relationships, sobriety, etc.), before they have earned it.

The best parallel I can give is this: Can you go to your employer and say, “Pay me now for 40 hours of work and I’ll come in next month and do it?” That isn’t going to happen. You have to do the work first, and then you will earn your pay.

Along with all of these impassioned pleas I also hear a lot of excuses. (Don’t worry, I did the same thing in my life, I made plenty of excuses for everything, but I’ve changed that behavior.) Sometimes I have to come right out and say, “You know what? Those are all excuses. Sorry, but you ain’t gonna do shit.”

So back to the statement of, “I would do anything…” This is what I hear:

“I’ll do anything for my kids (son, daughter, spouse, partner, parents, brother, sister, insert any name here). I want to spare my children the pain and agony I’ve had to go through. I don’t want them to have to deal with me like this. I’ll do anything for them.” Pretty impassioned isn’t it?

That’s when I respond with, “Sure. You say you’ll do anything, anything except quit drinking.” (Ooooh that hurts doesn’t it?)

Another excuse I hear, “I’d go into detox (rehab) but I would go crazy if I couldn’t see my kids.”

My typical response to this is, “Well if you end up in jail (or the court or your spouse takes your kids away), you won’t get to see them for four years or however long it is. And right now, while you’re sleeping on the couch or hanging out in the bar, you aren’t seeing them anyway. So are you trying to bullshit me or yourself? Cuz I’m not buying it.”

Another variation of trying to massage this over is: “I’d do anything to get sober for my kids.”

“Okay, then quit drinking. Problem solved.” Ahhh, then the laundry list of excuses flow.

Another classic statement is, “My friends (or family) tell me I’ll never be anything but a useless drunk. Those fuckers. They have no confidence in me. Why don’t they believe in me?”

Then in my compassionate way I say, “Well, at this point in time they’re right. You’re drunk and talking to me, wasting my time. You’re proving to them, right now, that they’re correct. Why should they believe in you?”

Hey, I know this sounds mean, but let’s speak the truth here. The truth is:

“You love drinking MORE than you love your kids (spouse, partner, parents, siblings, friends or whomever you claim you’ll do anything for). If you honestly love them and would do anything for them, then quit for them.”

“Yeah but, (here come the excuses and rationalizations), a person has to quit for themselves, they have to want to do it.”

“Sounds great. And you obviously don’t want to do it. So at least quit lying about how you’ll do anything for them because evidently you won’t.”

“Well that isn’t fair. That isn’t how it is. It’s like this…”

“NO. That is how it is! And you’re right, it isn’t fair. But it’s the truth. You love drinking MORE than you love them. When you think about it, that’s pretty shitty isn’t it?” (Ouch that stings, doesn’t it?)

So here it is… here’s your opportunity to show those people that you are willing to do anything for them. Here’s your chance to show them that you love THEM more than you love drinking.

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy or fun for that matter. No one else can make you sober or live sober for you. You have to live sober within your own body. But you can live sober FOR someone else.

But here’s the catch: You can’t make it conditional. “I’ll live sober for you if you love me more, obey me, give me money, stay with me,” whatever. You do it because you love and respect that person and you can only hope that you will get what you want in return. Sobriety doesn’t guarantee shit.

I sobered up to show my wife that I loved HER more than I loved drinking. She kept drinking and we ended up divorced anyway. I didn’t get what I hoped for, so be it. But I’m still sober today. And that means that I will be sober for someone else tomorrow. I sobered up for another person, but I am ultimately reaping the rewards of my sobriety.

Look, here’s the truth of the matter. I may love drinking and I may love getting drunk, possibly even more so than I love some other person. But if that other person is important to me and important in my life, I will forego getting drunk and I will stay sober for them. I express self-control out of love and respect for them. I do this because of my desire to be with them and to be fully alert when I am with them.

Yeah, I may have loved drinking, but I love my family, friends and relationships more. So I will stay sober for them. And I expect nothing from them for me doing this, I expect everything from myself. If I gain anything it is because I have earned it first.

What about you? Which do you love more? Here’s your opportunity to show those people that you are willing to do anything for them. Here’s your chance to show them that you love THEM more than you love drinking.

Hey, or you can drink all you want, but at least be honest with yourself. The choice is yours.

My site is FREE. If you like my website, the blog and you feel you’ve gotten something out of it, please make a contribution. You can do it securely thru PayPal - click here to go to the “make a contribution” page on my website. You can see a complete accounting of my costs and contributions that I have received. NONE of your information is ever shared. You will NEVER receive junk email or be put on any email lists. Thank you for your contribution – Mark.

Trusting myself and trusting others.

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Click here to listen to audio version of this article.

When I was drinking, I didn’t have much genuine trust in or of myself, but I seemed to trust whatever any other drunk would tell me. Oh sure, I bought into my own stories of, “I’m gonna do this… I’m gonna make that… I’m going to become this… I’m planning on blah, blah, blah.” If the story (which meant my plans), didn’t have anything to do with drinking I could pretty much be assured that it wasn’t going to happen. But boy did I ever buy into those stories from my drinking friends at the bar. I believed that they were going to do everything they said they would do. I even believed myself that I would eventually do everything I said I would do. (See next article titled: You ain’t gonna do shit).

Now that I’m sober it’s the complete opposite. I trust myself and I have very little trust in drunks (and many other people for that matter). This is NOT a criticism of humanity. And this doesn’t mean that I don’t have faith in people.

Additionally, I’m not inferring that everyone who drinks is a liar or that all sober people are trustworthy. I have friends who drink (and get drunk), but I have full confidence in them. I know that they are honest, trustworthy, moral, ethical and will stick to their word. I also know some sober people who I wouldn’t trust with a bag of dog shit.

So let me clarify my statement of, “I don’t trust many other people.”

I do trust my friends. I trust that my friends won’t steal from me, lie to me or spread false rumors about me. I trust that my friends will stick to their promises. I trust that my friends will be there if I need them. I trust that my friends will give me honest feedback when I ask for it and that they will offer me advice which is in my best interest. I also trust and respect that they will say “no” if something isn’t right or healthy for them.

But these are friendships that have taken time to develop and aren’t based upon drunken story telling. These are friends who have come to trust me, because I have behaved in a trustworthy manner with them – I have earned their trust.

Yet there are still limits and boundaries to the trust. I can’t burden my friends with unreasonable requests such as handling my responsibilities for me or asking them to do things for me that I wouldn’t be willing to do for them in return. I must also take the depth and intimacy of our friendship into consideration. Do I want to burden this person with my tales of woe and wreckage? Is the private information I may share pertinent and relevant to this particular friendship? (If it’s a business friend, why would I discuss my love life?) This is not being closed and guarded; this is tact, respect for the other person’s time and it’s done for my own self-protection. I don’t need to disclose everything to everyone.

There is also a level of trust that I have built with the public. I’m not a celebrity, but I have opened myself up to public scrutiny by writing books, through my website and this blog. I have an obligation to maintain the trust of people who may follow my work. Many have come to trust me and I can’t let them down. This trust is solidified by me being consistent in my behaviors. Through consistency is how trust is built.

And trust can be a double-edged sword. If you’re consistently getting drunk or consistently lying, then I (and other people) will come to trust that you will go get drunk in the future or lie in the future. If you consistently disappoint on your word, others will trust that you will disappoint them in the future. You may even come to not trust yourself, just as I came to not trust myself. That’s when the self-destructive cycle of drinking and truth evasion kicks in.

No matter what career field you are in, you are exposed to the scrutiny of your coworkers, superiors or customers – and you will be judged on your trustworthiness. If you are a parent, don’t you want your children to trust you? Don’t you want your partner to trust you? And when that trust has been established, then it’s time to work even harder to maintain and strengthen that trust. This is done through your behaviors, actions and consistency.

The trust I have in myself is that of confidence and self-confidence. I am confident that I will do the right thing when no one is looking. Sobriety does bring this higher level of self awareness. I know that if I cheat, lie, steal or succumb to temptation I am only harming myself and eventually I will be caught. That is a part of sobriety that sucks – self deception is not an option – reality is always ready and happy to slap me in the face. As a side note, it’s nice to be caught in a truth when you are initially suspected of lying.

Even though I fully trust myself, this does not mean that I am almighty and infallible. I can express incorrect or foolish judgment. This can happen as a result of letting my emotions get the better of me in a situation or by being the recipient of inaccurate information. The inaccurate information may be due to my own lack of knowledge, lack of performing proper and thorough research or by deliberately being given false information (being lied to). But my sober mind helps me to spot deception before I am suckered in by it.

I’m protected by trust because I don’t hold on to false hopes towards others who have proven to be untrustworthy. I avoid relationships and friendships that have proven to only bring disappointment. Instead, I focus my effort and attention on nurturing relationships and friendships that will bring mutual benefit and collaboration. Through my sober mind and sober soul, I have higher faith and trust in my genuine friends. Through my sober mind, I have come to better understand what trust is, how to build it and I have become a better judge of character – my own character. If I can’t trust myself then I can’t expect someone else to trust me either.

My site is FREE. If you like my website, the blog and you feel you’ve gotten something out of it, please make a contribution. You can do it securely thru PayPal - click here to go to the page on my website. You can see a complete accounting of my costs and contributions that I have received. NONE of your information is ever shared. You will NEVER receive junk email or be put on any email lists. Thank you for your contribution – Mark.

You ain’t gonna do shit!

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Audio version of this article.

Those are words you typically hear right before a bar fight breaks out. But I use them in my motivational presentations. You might be thinking, “How does this motivate people?” Well consider when someone says one (or more) of the following:

  • “I’m going to get a new job.”
  • “I’m going back to school.”
  • “I’m going to start working out.”
  • “I’m going to lose weight.”
  • “I’m going to start my own business.”
  • “I’m going to write a book.”
  • “I’m going to quit drinking.”

That’s when I ask, “When?” Then they either give me a date or the excuses begin flowing.

The next question out of me is, “Do you have a plan of action?” Again they either tell me what their plan is or they offer up more excuses.

All I can say is, “How are you going to do it without a plan, a start date or a completion date?  You know what… You ain’t gonna do shit!

At that point the individual may get angry and make a personal resolution to prove me wrong. Out of anger towards me they will accomplish what they said they were going to do. In that case, we BOTH win.

The person doesn’t necessarily have to get angry, but my statement may propel them to accomplish what they said they would. Again, we BOTH win.

The person may also realize that they are not being taken seriously and will go and find someone else to peddle their bullshit on. That’s fine by me because I only want to associate with constructive, productive and creative people.

I can speak this boldly because I have had to say the same thing to myself and I have to ask myself the exact same questions: “When are you going to start? What is your plan? What activities must I perform to make it happen? When do I expect to complete it?”

I am honored to know and to be friends with many people who do DO SHIT. And they follow the same strategy. They decide what they want to do, they decide on a start date, they make a plan of activities to be performed and they establish a completion date. They may have to adapt and adjust along the journey. And sometimes their wants, desires, need and plans will change, but they are always moving forward doing something.

The common theme that I have noticed is that they do small things. This makes them trustworthy and reliable. They return phone calls, emails and texts. They do what they say they are going to do. They are willing to forgo immediate gratification and superficial bullshit to ultimately get themselves into a position of comfort and security. This means they work when others don’t want to work. They are willing to do the jobs that others feel are “bellow them.” They are willing to work as long as it takes to get the job done. But they also know how to live and thoroughly enjoy their life.

I posted examples about a few of these people on my Facebook page. I explained the type of work they do and how they reward themselves. I am in the midst of interviewing many more people whose stories will be cited in my next book.

The bottom line is that these people do what they say they are going to do. Which also means that they are careful and cautious about saying too much. They understand that they are better off NOT saying anything until they have actively started working on their goal or have completed their goal. Nothing blows your credibility like constantly talking big stories and never doing shit about it.

So which group do you want to be part of? The one’s who get shit done or the one’s who ain’t gonna do shit? The choice is yours.

My site is FREE. If you like my website, the blog and you feel you’ve gotten something out of it, please make a contribution. You can do it securely thru PayPal - click here to go to the page on my website. You can see a complete accounting of my costs and contributions that I have received. NONE of your information is ever shared. You will NEVER receive junk email or be put on any email lists. Thank you for your contribution – Mark.