In 2014 I successfully gave up tobacco, alcohol, and the 13 different medications I was on, FOR GOOD. I was at a functional neurology brain treatment center in Dallas, TX where I was being treated for traumatic brain injuries incurred in combat. I was called out by their medical director at the time and my life has been forever positively altered. The following excerpt is taken from our upcoming book Tales From the Blast Factory.
“The doctor said, “You’re still on the battlefield and there are forces attempting to kill you. The next time you feel like you need a drink, ask yourself, Is this more important than my wife and children? Make up your mind right now. What’s more important: your family or having another drink? If it’s your family, then put the drinking behind you. At your current rate of consumption, it will kill you sooner than anything else. Choose to win the fight today and everyday hereafter.” Right then and there, I made the decision I would not consume another drink. That was in October 2014, and I’ve honored it. I was, and continue to be, grateful for the reckoning.”
I came to realize that the reasons that I had experienced any success in my life came from ability to create goals that were in alignment with my highest ideals. In my experience, a goal became real after a mental price tag was put on it. For me, the price tag always came down to a situation of life or death. Fulfill said task and live or come up short and die.
My job entailed one life or death decision after another. That’s how I handled everything as a Special Forces Operator. We can choose to pay the price and live or accept the fact that we’ve chosen the alternative. I’ve found when it’s life or death there is no alternative. Identify what’s important and then execute.
These types of decisions usually need to be made only once. So, when 5:30 am rolled around I didn’t allow any negative inner dialogue, I got up and went to work. That decision was made way before 5:30 am rolled around. When it came time to train it didn’t matter if I didn’t feel like it, that decision was made long before any feelings of procrastination got in the way. I made the immutable decision to win and to live for something, to contribute and perform to the best of my abilities in the service of others.
That was one of my epiphany moments. Find your why, and then make the pursuit of fulfilling it a life or death scenario. I could continue with tobacco, alcohol, and the meds and leave a legacy of failure and suffering to my children. Instead, I decided to make the changes that I deemed necessary in my life. The flip side of that decision would leave me facing certain death and the destruction of everything I love.
I gave them all up, and as of today I have not allowed those substances any power over me nor will I. It starts with why. You must find and pursue your why as if your life and everything you love depends on it, because it does.
More details appear in TALES FROM THE BLAST FACTORY: A Brain Injured Special Forces Green Beret’s Journey Back From The Brink. These lessons were paid for in blood, it is my honor to give them to you. What I once thought was the worst thing in my life is now one of the best things in my life, it can be the same for you.