Triple A Personality & Alcoholism/Addiction With David Essel
Episode 346: Triple A Personality & Alcoholism/Addiction With David Essel
Staying sober has long been one of the most challenging tasks for many. Today, Mitch Stephen interviews David Essel about his own addiction journey and shares how he turned his life around through faith, taking action, and staying true to the Twelve Steps program. David is a counselor, life coach, and the author of Focus!. Through years of staying sober himself, he narrates his own experiences with alcoholism and sobriety, and shares some stories he gathered as an addiction counselor. Being sober has amazing benefits and David shows us how it has helped him find true friends, become healthier, and live better.
I’m with David Essel. This guy has never ever quit bettering himself because he’s a fanatic personal improvement never ends kind of guy, this will be fun. David, how are you doing?
It’s great to be back with you. I’m doing good.
We’re going to be talking about alcoholism and the Triple A personality. In the circles that we run in, I see a lot of high strung people. I, being one of them. If you think I’m high-strung, you should have seen me years ago. People in my whole life have always thought I was on speed, cocaine or something because they figured it like, “You had to be like this guy.” In high school, on Fridays before the big game, I’d play running back for high school and football was a big deal in Texas. I’d be walking up and down the halls and every doper in the school would be saying, “You got what you need? Did you get your speed?” Everybody figured I took speed before I play football and I never did. I got along with everybody, the ropers, dopers, and kickers. It didn’t matter.
I just said, “I got it handled.” I never told him yes and I never told them no. I just let them believe what they wanted to. The point is there are these people that talk fast, run fast, and play hard. A lot of times, there’s this little addiction that we don’t see sneaking up on us. It’s called alcohol because it’s acceptable and it’s what we do. In Texas, when I got my driver’s license in the 1970s, the driving position was 10:00 in Beer 30. You could drink and drive in Texas when I got my license. It was not unusual at all to see grown men hand their seven-year-old son and have a sip of beer. It’s not unusual at all to have it at the picnic table. As a matter of fact, at my school on Friday night, the teachers and the coaches would all come over to where our parents and I were, and we would all have kegs and drink altogether. You couldn’t do it now to save your life and be in front-page news. Tell us a little bit about your background. I want to know not just the psychological background, but give us some bullet points of your life.
I’ve been in the industry of personal growth as a counselor, life coach, and bestselling author. I’m even a minister. I spoke to a huge congregation in the State of Florida and I love giving sermons. I have an absolute blast doing that. My whole world is in the world of personal motivation, inspiration, helping people to overcome roadblocks and more. Also, when we talked about that A personality, I am right there, Type A to the 100 degrees. What we’ve found over the years and what I’ve found is that most of us who have a high motor that we’re Type A is that there’s a lot of us that struggle with addiction.
Mine began at twelve, a lot of us begin young. It was 30 years of struggle, battle, and trying to break and get rid of it. All along Mitch, as a successful business person, such as yourself, there were these messages being given to me by my friends and by the society that successful men drink and create more business over drinks with other successful men. “This is how we relax. We work 10 to 12-hour days and we deserve it.” Mitch, that’s a big one.
You can’t watch a football game without drinking.
You can’t go to a game without drinking. I was like that for years until one day, there was this shift inside me. There were several major things that happened in my life but I never got in trouble, Mitch. I never got a DUI and never got in trouble with the law. There were no outside pressures like a judge saying, “You have to go to rehab,” but there are a couple of things that happened in life that continued to wake me up. I knew I had an issue. It wasn’t a surprise like, “That’s weird. You have an issue.” I just didn’t want to deal with it. I found all these ways to justify it for years until finally, I said, “Enough is enough.” The change was difficult. Probably one of the greatest changes and greatest successes that I’ve ever had in life, quite frankly, is getting sober.
In all transparency, I’ve been drinking since the seventh grade for the longest time. Weekends were for getting that twelve-pack of Tallboys and seeing how many of them you could drink until you start giggling, laughing and doing whatever. I don’t think I would raise my kids that way, but I am not faulting my parents. I don’t think they knew. A lot of the people that I know that I grew up with didn’t make it or they’re having a difficult time because of it. It was cool at the time. I once read something that said, “Be careful about the choices you make early because they’re going to begin become habits that are going to be hard to drop late in the game.” All these things progress.
I’ve been drinking my whole life. I have learned to be happy and funny drunk because when I was not a happy and funny drunk, people wanted me to stop drinking. I learned how to make sure that it didn’t happen. I’ve seen people in huge denial over alcoholism and then there’s people like me and you, who knows there’s an issue. I’ve never gotten a DUI. It never stopped me from waking up in the morning and do my job. My firm rule was, “If you were going to dance, you had to pay the fiddler.” If you’re going to stay up all night, drink and party, that was no excuse. You need to get your butt out of bed at whatever time you always did. You go and you do whatever it is you always do. As painful as it might have been that day or ineffective as you might have been, even though you thought you were out there doing it.
I’m here to talk about this subject. This isn’t a normal subject for this show, but we see so much of it in this entrepreneurial business. Any entrepreneurialism because a lot of the people that start these businesses are high strung. They’re Triple A personalities. If we help one person make a decision or change something, then this is going to be a worthwhile show. This is a community service thing. I wanted to talk to you about it personally because my issues are ongoing, too.What you feed yourself, the words that you say to yourself, are crucial. Click To Tweet
One of the hardest things I learned to do and one of the things that woke me up was that I would go to the Christmas party and get happy, then I would make promises to business people that I woke up in the morning and wish I didn’t. I sit in the mirror, slap my forehead and go, “Why did I make that commitment?” The important part to me was like, “It didn’t matter if it was right or wrong.” I did not renege. I followed through with what I said, but I learned not to talk that level of business at the Christmas party a long time ago. Where do we start with this subject? First of all, where are you sitting at physically? Where are you at in the world?
I’m in the State of Florida.
Were you a surfer guy?
No, but I get asked that question all the time. People think I’m from California.
Tell us about your first idea that maybe I’m going to contemplate this idea of not drinking anymore.
It usually comes after a series of hangovers. When we have one after another and we finally wake up one day and say, “This is enough.” There were two incredibly important times in my life that woke me up to the fact that I had an issue. One was in 1996 and I had an issue with both cocaine and alcohol. I never missed meetings. I’ve run my own business for 40 years and I never missed appointments and speaking gigs. I was never high during my sessions, but the minute 8:01 came in the evening, that’s when I started and I would hit it hard.
I interviewed this guy in 1996. His name was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and he was the founder of Transcendental Meditation. He’s one of the most influential people that have ever walked this Earth. The guy was incredible. He’s passed on, but his form of meditation has changed millions of people’s lives. During the interview, what came up was that we went to a break and we were talking about meditation, relaxation, Type A personalities, and all these kinds of things that you and I are brushing on. He said to me, “You’re a real big fan of positive thinking.” I said, “Yes.” He said, “You do believe in affirmations?” I said, “Absolutely.” He said, “What’s your favorite affirmation?” I said, “I’m David Essel, a child of God. I’m happy, healthy and sober.” He said, “How long have you been saying that?” I said, “Twenty years.” He said, “Is it your reality?”
This was my first wakeup call because when you say that you’re happy, healthy and sober every day, and you drink every night, there’s a disconnect somewhere along those two statements. I lied to him and I said, “Yes, that’s my reality.” He said, “All of those things you mentioned are who you are.” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Keep saying them. However, if you ever get into a situation where you’re repeating positive thoughts or affirmations and they’re not true, stop saying them. Until you do the work and they’re true, and then you can start.”
We ended the interview and he was awesome. It got me thinking like, “Here I am lying to this gentleman.” I started thinking, “I’ve been saying these affirmations for years and they don’t work.” What’s the issue here? The issue is that I was hiding behind positive thinking. If any of our readers say, “I’m going to start my new workout routine. I’m going to start eating clean and healthy on Monday. It’s Friday night and that’s it. I’m going to play this weekend and then I’m going to start.” That’s the positive thought process. That’s absolutely a bunch of BS.
He called me out in a loving way and he didn’t even know he called me out. He could have known I was lying, but I did a good job at convincing him I wasn’t. That was the first thing that said, “You’ve got an issue. This mindset of yours, the affirmations aren’t changing a darn thing. You’re going to have to get to work.” Of all the different things that could have happened to me in life, DUIs and all that that didn’t, it’s interesting that the one thing that woke me up was a simple question by a guest and my answer. Afterward, realizing I had lied again, it started to move me towards that place of saying, “I need help. I can’t do this alone.”
I’d been an addiction counselor for many years and I don’t know too many people that successfully get clean and sober on their own. The percentage is maybe 0.5%. Most people to get clean and sober do it by working with someone like myself or going to meetings. There’s a variety of types of recovery programs like SMART Recovery, Celebrate Recovery and Alcoholics Anonymous. They all have pluses and they all have minuses, but doing something when you revise that there’s an issue is the crucial movement. That’s doing some action steps towards sobriety. Not thinking it’s time to get sober, but doing it.
The thought of stopping drinking for people who have drank their whole life scares them. They may not even know all the things that are going to have to change, but a lot of things have to change though. I’ve personally gone down through the list because I’ve started to realize how much time it takes. Not that money is an issue for me, but how much money it takes. Probably it’s not more of an issue of money because I’m a giving person. After the third drink, I’m a big giver. I’ll buy the whole bar all night long.
The other main thing that I’ve noticed is that people with addictions pick the addiction over more important things in life. Even though they’re not getting DUI or not getting out of fights, not getting put in jail or anything, they’re spending hours upon hours catering to this addiction. In this case, I’m talking about alcohol, but it could be any addiction. When you go to an AA meeting, Alcoholics Anonymous, you walk in that room and you say, “I’m so and so and I’m an alcoholic.” That is counterintuitive to everything I’ve ever heard about how you’re supposed to talk to yourself. Why would you label or brand yourself with that forever?
If you’re a paraplegic and you stand up and you walk again, you are no longer a paraplegic. Why would you keep telling yourself, “I’m a paraplegic,” and you’re standing there on two legs? Plus, the way that our brain works with both positive and negative feedback seems counterintuitive. Am I out in a left-field here because I’m not slamming AA? It’s helped a lot of people, I suppose. I don’t even know any statistics on it, but it seems counterintuitive.
Mitch, you’re 100% right on. As a matter of fact, Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous has been around for many years and they only have a 10% success rate, which means they have a 90% failure rate. Why do people talk about it strongly and why do people always say, “You need to go to a Twelve Steps meeting. You need to be in an AA meeting. You need to go to the rooms.” For the 10% of people that work, don’t change a thing. Keep going. If you’re happy and sober and you go to Twelve Steps meetings, keep going. There’s no reason not to.
For the 90% that it doesn’t work for, one of the reasons is that we know in the past years, I was in sports psychology when I first started in the ‘80s. I became a traditional counselor as well as a sports psychologist. We know that what you feed yourself, the words that you say to yourself are crucial. If you drank and you went into a meeting to say, “I’m David and I’m an alcoholic,” is valid because you just drank. It’s not out of your system for 72 hours and you’re in a meeting because you have a problem. The first time you go in to say, “I’m David and I’m an alcoholic,” is not a bad thing. There are people that have been going for 10, 20 or 30 years and every day, they go into a meeting and they say, “I’m Jim and I’m an alcoholic.” That’s insanity.
Doesn’t that bring the devil right to the front door again every single time you say that? At some point, you would say, “I’ll beat this. I don’t even want it anymore and I don’t even know why I’m here.”
I went to meetings when I first got sober. I went 120 straight days because my counselor told me I had to, so I said, “I’ll do this for you,” and then the 120 days after about the first probably seven or eight meetings, and because I have a background in psychology, I’m listening to these things. These people are saying and I’m saying, “This is wrong to say, ‘I’m Jim. I’ve been coming for twenty years and I’m an alcoholic.’” It seemed insane to me.
I’m sitting in the meetings and I’m not happy. They’re going around the room asking people to say your name and say you’re an alcoholic. We get to this one guy and I’ll never forget it. He looked around the room and he said, “I’m Phil and I’m happy to be here.” I thought, “What a refreshing answer,” instead of people claiming they’re an alcoholic. Afterward, I pulled him aside and I said, “Can I talk to you?” He said, “Sure.” I said, “How is it that you have the strength in a room full of 100 plus people that are all saying they’re alcoholics? How’d you have the strength to say that you’re happy to be here?” He said, “Because I’m not an alcoholic anymore.” I go, “Thank, God. Someone is finally talking common sense.”
Phil became my sponsor. What that means is that I met with them once a week and we went over the Twelve Steps. At the end of 130 days, he still goes. I see him every once in a while out in public. He was the guy that broke it wide open for me. With my clients, it doesn’t matter where they are in the world. We work with people from all over the world via Skype and other apparatus and they go, “Is it important to go to a meeting?” I said, “Let me tell you the one most important concept as a counselor of why the meetings are important even if you just go once a week. When you walk into a meeting, you have to be humble and vulnerable. Those two keys are the things that alcoholics hate to face.” We hate to get humble. We hate to say we’re wrong. We hate to say we need help.
Any addiction in the world is the same thing, a food addict, a nicotine addict, a drug addict and an alcoholic. We don’t want help. We want to figure it out on our own. When you walk into a meeting, you’re just who you are, you sit down and you start talking to people, it takes a lot of strength. For someone who’s supposedly confident in life, it took me a lot of strength to walk into my first meeting. I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t know how they worked. It was awkward, but that is your power. When you surrender, walk-in, and admit that you have a problem, if you haven’t drank in several days, you don’t have to say you’re an alcoholic. You can say, “I’m David and I’m glad to be here.” Walking in that room is a great idea for people that truly want to get sober because you have got to be humble to walk in the room.
That’s the reason why you have to keep the Sabbath holy and you’ve got to go one time a week to the church because I find that when I go once a week, I’m closer to God than if I don’t go for months. At least there’s that one hour of contemplating this one subject. How to put it on, wear it, walk it, and all that other things. I certainly get about the meeting and I want to make something clear. I’m not bashing Alcoholics Anonymous. I’m just struggling with the idea and it’s tough for me to say it. I’ve been contemplating giving it up and postponing for years. I’ve been doing this for a long time. You start to see your mortality. There’s a lot of health and time reasons. There are a lot of good reasons that I can think of why if I never touched the stuff again, I’d be better off for it. I don’t understand walking in there and claiming it every time.Being humble and vulnerable are the two things alcoholics hate to face. Click To Tweet
When I first went in, I had a negative attitude about Twelve Steps programs and my attitude hasn’t changed dramatically. It’s not like I love them, but they serve a purpose. If the purpose is just you admitting that you have an issue, you need help, and you’re doing it in public, that’s a great reason to go to at least one meeting a week. The other thing that I say about the Twelve Steps, which I’m a little concerned with is that when they have these people that they call sponsors. These aren’t people that have had extreme education in updating their knowledge about the power of the mind. Even some other things went into our holistic addiction recovery program. We teach a lot. There are brain chemistry supplements. There are supplements you can take over the counter with no negative side effects to help decrease cravings for alcohol.
There are supplements you can take to increase the function of brain chemistry. Over the years, our brain chemistry gets affected by the amount that we drank on a regular basis as well. When we remove the alcohol in our program, we help people by recommending certain supplements. Some people take 4, 5 or 6 supplements a day to help in the recovery process. The other thing that people don’t think about is low blood sugar. If you have a long space between meals and your blood sugar level drops, we get irritable, impatient, and tired. When someone has a drink, when their blood sugar levels drop and they reach for alcohol, it changes everything in about a minute. You start to feel better. You’re not tired anymore. It’s incredible. The first two drinks are amazing.
What we teach people is one of the ways that we need to decrease the chances of relapse. Brain chemistry supplementation, working with a counselor, going to meetings, and then eating every 3 to 4 hours. That keeps the blood sugar levels normalized so that you don’t have a craving to drink from low blood sugar levels. There are all these things that I mentioned that you’ll never hear in a Twelve Steps meeting.
How old is the Twelve Steps of AA?
Certainly, there have been a lot of realizations since then and they haven’t changed it at all. You’re taking the best of both worlds. What we know that works and you’re putting them together to make a holistic approach to alcoholism or beating any kind of addiction.
That’s the interesting thing. There’s no addiction in the world that’s caused by our genetics and this is an important point to say. Many people say, “I have the disease. I have the allergy. I have the gene and it’s out of my control. My mom’s an alcoholic and my dad was. My grandfather died of alcoholism.” It’s all nonsense. It is all complete fallacy and let me prove it. If alcoholism was caused by our genetics, then the only way to heal would be through medication or medical intervention. You could never heal a disease caused by genetics via your thoughts, meetings or anything else.
Cystic fibrosis is a disease caused by genetics and there’s medical intervention. It doesn’t mean that a person’s life’s going to be easy, but there is some medical intervention available. Type 1 Diabetes is a genetic disease. The child is born with it. Those are genetic causes. That percentage has dropped dramatically over the years. No one comes out of the womb craving alcohol and needing alcohol unless the mom was an alcoholic. The general birth of a child has nothing to do with alcohol. What we find is millions of people have healed without any medical intervention, without any drugs, and without any surgery. That proves that genetics has nothing to do with the cause of addiction or cause of alcoholism.
To follow that up, there is a gene for alcoholism that I have and you might have it. We have a long family history of addiction generations ago and the addictions passed down. We have the gene, so what does that mean? The gene still does not cause you to go into a bar and to grab a beer, and go into a liquor store and grab a bottle. The gene doesn’t have control of your car. It doesn’t have control of your hands to pour things in your mouth. Let’s say you have the gene for alcoholism and you have three or four drinks. If that gene is tripped on, you’re going to want to have 5, 6, 7 and 8. That’s how we know that you have the gene for addiction.
It doesn’t matter if you’re reading, you’re 80 years old and you’ve been drinking since you are four. Anyone has the ability to beat alcoholism when you’re in the right program. There is no gene that can force you to drink. When you make a decision that you’re going to go in the opposite direction with the tools that we teach. People have to get that out of their heads. All I ask is for everyone to remember this, if genes caused alcoholism, the only treatment would be medical, but we don’t have any medical treatment that works in the world of addiction.
You might find some people that say that they take a certain medication from their doctor and it cut their cravings by 20% or 30%. I can tell you prior to getting sober, I went to my doctor and we tried every medicine on the market, so I didn’t have to go to rehab. I didn’t want to go to rehab. I wanted to try anything in the world first. We used every medication, not a thing worked. Finally, I looked at my doctor one day and I said, “I’m going to have to go do the work,” and he laughed and said, “It’s probably time, David.”
I’ve also heard of people who will their way through this. Someone called himself a dry drunk. They were sober in the term of the word, but they were angry and not happy. It was working, but it wasn’t working at all. It was unsustainable either for them or the people around them. The ones that they love would leave because they were unbearable.
A dry drunk is a serious condition. One of the reasons I never mentioned how long I’m sober is because there are many people that brag about their length of sobriety and they have crap marriages. They have crap relationships with their kids. They’ve got crap attitudes and they’ve cross-addicted to food or something else. They’re not happy at all in life and you’re 100% correct, Mitch. That’s a dry drunk. The reason for that is they haven’t taken a strong look at the personality traits that they need to work on to change.
When you’re an alcoholic, you’re extremely self-centered. Most of us believe that we know everything to do the right way and no one else knows a thing. We have all this attitude and arrogance issues like, “I don’t need help. I’m not an alcoholic.” When they get sober, if they don’t do the psychological work to become humble, vulnerable, open, and honest, and if they don’t go through the forgiveness for the mistakes they’ve made in the past, forgiveness of themselves, as well as others, then they turn into dry drunks. They brag about the fact that they’re not drinking, but they’re not happy people. They’re not fun to be around and that’s a waste of time to me.
In many years of being an addiction counselor, there was only one client that I worked with that came to me who was a raging dry drunk that I fired. He had been sober for seventeen years and hadn’t had a drink. His wife made him come or she was going to divorce him because his attitude was bad. He was emotionally abusive to the kids and to her. She said to me when she called me on the phone, “David, nothing changed. When he’s drunk he was emotionally abusive to us. When he got sober, he still was that angry, emotionally abusive man.”
She told him that if he didn’t work with me, she was going to divorce him. He came in and in the first session, I knew it wasn’t going to last long. He told me that he didn’t need to follow any rules and he wasn’t going to do the homework I gave him. He wasn’t going to read the books I asked him to read and he was only there for his wife. If it wasn’t for his wife, he wouldn’t be there. I said to him, “In my work as a counselor, if clients don’t do the homework, I fire them. It’s easy. Your wife told you that if you don’t go through the eight weeks with me, she will divorce you. Here’s your option. If you want a divorce, come without your homework and I will fire you. You will go home and you’ll have to tell your wife that I’d fired you and then she can make a decision if she wants a divorce.”
He comes in and he sits down, smug, and arrogant. “I told you I wasn’t going to do the work.” I said, “This is it.” He started to get belligerent with me. I said, “I told you the rules. You do the homework, you come in, and everyone’s happy.” “I don’t need to do the homework.” He starts screaming all this stuff and I said, “I’ve never said this to anyone, but I’m going to say this to you as you walk out the door. If I were you, on the way home, I’d get a case of beer. I’d go into a spare bedroom, I’d lock the door and I’d live by myself in my own house. Don’t mess with your kids and with your wife. Go get drunk and leave us all alone.” I’ve never said that in all my work. I’ve never told one to go back to drinking, but that guy was arrogant and he was such a belligerent individual that there was no way I was going to waste my time with him.
What did he do?
I never heard from him again. His wife did contact me, but she sent me an email saying, “Thank you so much for being real and honest. Now, I have a big decision to make.” I never heard from either of them again and what they did. I am hoping that she had the strength to follow through with her threat because if she didn’t, then he has no respect for her. Sobriety is great, but sobriety is not enough. We have to do what’s called recovery. Sobriety is simply not drinking. Some people white-knuckle it, they get up and say, “I’m not going to drink.”
What we want people to do is to wake up and be grateful that you’re not drinking anymore. I can tell you from my experience, I would wake up in the morning driving to work and go, “I wonder if I need to grab another couple of bottles of wine,” or if it’s a Friday, “In case some people come over, I better grab some wine.” My brain was constantly thinking. At 7:00, I’ll look at my watch and go, “One more hour of sessions and I can open that first bottle of wine.”
The amount of space it took up in my head and the amount of energy that I put into making sure I have enough or if I was going to go to a party to make sure I could have a few drinks at home or on the way to the party, it was always on my mind. One of the greatest benefits that I’ve found in my sobriety is the fact that I don’t ever think about it. It has never popped back into my head. I’ve gone through stressful experiences in 2008. I went into foreclosure on multiple homes. I bit the bullet with the recession back then, but even going through all that and losing everything, I never had the thought, “This would be a great day to have a drink.” That tells you that your recovery program is extremely solid.
You moved on past it and the struggling and worse is not what you do anymore. It doesn’t pertain anymore. That would be the goal of everyone there. There’s so much alcohol everywhere you go. Do you avoid places like that or you just walk in? If someone had a whole bunch of cocaine at a party, I would never walk over there and put my nose in it. That’s not what I do. Is that how you walk in the bar?When you're an alcoholic, you're extremely self-centered. Click To Tweet
In the first year of my sobriety, I decided not to go into any facilities, restaurants, and bars for the first 365 days of my sobriety. I didn’t go out to dinner, weddings and funerals. I wanted to get solid and truly understand the power of sobriety and recovery before I put myself in a situation where I might be tempted. It was the greatest move I’ve ever made, Mitch. It allowed me to focus solely. I never had a temptation in the first 365 days. If people wanted to meet for dinner, I’d say, “I can only meet for breakfast. My schedule is too busy.” I had a ton of breakfast meetings. My friends that I used to drink with, those that kept calling me saying, “We’re going to be at this bar.” I would say, “If you want to grab breakfast.” They’d say, “At 3:00 in the morning at Waffle House, we’ll have breakfast with you there.” I found that a lot of those people left my life. I lost 90% of my friends when I got sober.
That’s got to be a big pressure for people that are thinking about making a change. Some people like to be around or enjoy being around. They’re probably going to alienate themselves. I quit for a year one time and I found quickly that when I told people that I wasn’t drinking at this time, they seem to not think I was any fun anymore, so I quit telling people that I had quit drinking. I get there a little early and I would tell the waitress, “Here’s the twenty. When they say another round, my round is soda and lime. Put the straw in it and bring them that can make it look like a drink. If they’re standing in front of you, put your thumb over the bottle. Let them think I’m drinking. Let me know I’m not.” The party went on like nothing was going on and everyone had a great time. The minute someone figured out that I wasn’t drinking anymore, they thought I was a dud. I was also first addressed that.
That’s a natural part of any major change in life. If someone decides that they’re going to lose 200 pounds, they quit eating and going out for just dessert. I’ve worked with people that used to have a group of friends that get together just to go out to restaurants and eat dessert. When someone says,” I need to lose 200 pounds. My doctor says that there are some things going on. I have to be careful.” There’s a good chance that the people that they hang out with, who are addicted to food are going to be disappointed and could walk away because we don’t have that common denominator anymore.
Even though I lost 90% of my friends, there were two guys I met and we released two books and we’ve got a book coming out. That book is on relationships and I talked about my two best friends that when I got sober, they supported me. One of them is Troy. The minute I got back from rehab, he was texting me every day, “How are you doing? Are you staying sober? Can I help you in any way?” We used to drink together and when I came back, he said, “Let’s figure out something else to do once a week when we go out and it’s not going to be alcohol. Anytime we go out, I’m not going to drink.”
He was supportive. I saw him in the gym one time and he goes, “You’re still sober, aren’t you?” I go, “Yes.” He goes, “I’m proud of you.” That’s a great friend. When he said, “Whenever we go out for lunch, dinner or anything, I’m not going to drink.” After that first year, going to restaurants and everything is not an issue. He said, “If we go out to dinner with a bunch of friends, I’m not going to drink if you’re there.” That’s the beautiful support that real friends will give you. They’ll be happy that you’ve made a choice that is healthier for you, but the people that we connect with where our common denominator is drinking, they’re probably going to fade away, Mitch.
Also during that year, I was trying to prove to myself that I could because my goal was a year and maybe I should have made a different goal. I set a goal for a year and I made it until that year and then a year and one minute, it was, “Jack, how are you doing?” I was also worried that during that year that I was going to lose my creativity. I’ve been writing songs as a hobby and I’m taking it as seriously as I can with my real living and flipping houses. I was worried that maybe that’s switching off. A lot of times when we wrote songs, the guys will bring their guitars and it would be 10:00 until 3:00 in the morning event. There was always whiskey, beer and cigarettes. That was how you did it. I thought that I lose my creativity, but I did not. As a matter of fact, I wrote more songs during that year and they were quality songs. I don’t know if I was just getting better as a writer because I was applying myself or if my clarity had anything to do with it. I noticed that I was writing some good songs during that time as far as my level of songwriting was going. Is that a big fear among people?
A lot of individuals fear that they’re going to lose everything, their joy, fun, how they relax and creativity. We’ve written eleven books and when I look at the books that I wrote when I was drinking versus the last five books that I’ve written sober, it’s amazing. My writing improved dramatically. I had total clarity in my brain. There wasn’t a day that I woke up feeling a little slow. There wasn’t a day I woke up with a hangover because I wasn’t drinking anymore. In 16 to 18 hours, I wrote an incredibly deep and intense book in two days. This is mind-blowing, especially to people that have ever tried to write a book. I never could have gotten myself into that mindset had I been drinking. The book before that, I wrote in seven days and the book before that, I wrote in 30 days. What I’m finding is that my creativity is increasing dramatically over the years.
It’s not just the creativity, you’re substituting time. When you go out to watch a game and drink with your friends, it’s six hours of a football game and drinking beer. When you sometimes stop by to have a drink, it’s three hours. You’re at the bar, you’re talking to the bartender, and the guy and friends come in, sometimes, it’s eight hours if you start looking at your watch. One of the reasons why I’m contemplating setting it down myself was the time. What could I have accomplished if I to take all that time and not done that and I have done this?
You have to do like writing a book, which requires just you and you’ve got to be there by yourself. That’s how I got to this conversation. I’m halfway to finish in my fourth book and I am not finishing it for some reason. I find myself sitting at a bar for four hours going, “If I had been writing all this time for a week, I would have finished this book a long time ago.” That’s where I look. You said you had to go five until the hour. We’re about there. Tell us about the top books you’ve written on the subject, so someone might find you.
When you go to Mitch’s page, you’ll go directly to my website. You can look at my book, Focus. It would be a great program for people that are trying to set a new goal. That book was selected as the Top 100 Goal Setting Books of all time. It’s the greatest award right next to Dale Carnegie. It’s the greatest award that we’ve ever received. We also have free giveaways. You can sign up and we have a daily video program right on the homepage that when you sign up for free. Every Monday through Friday, you’re going to get a short inspirational video in your email box to start your day.
You can go to the website underneath with Mitch’s program and you’ll find it. Look for the book, Focus. Look for the free videos that you can get five days a week. There’s a bunch of other free stuff. Mitch, we have a free meditation audio program there. There are tons of free stuff on the website. If people want to work with me one-on-one, they can find out how to do that there from anywhere in the world. If you want to be more successful, get sober or whatever the goal is.
Go to 1000houses.com/Sober. If this is an issue that you’ve been struggling with or a challenge that you’ve been thinking of conquering, but you had the same holdups, I’m definitely going to be calling David and have this conversation because this is what I want. It’s a new chapter of my life. It’s time to do something for me. I’m going to try this. I want to make a change. My life has held up good the way it goes, but I see where it can be better. It’s been a long time and it’s time to do something else. Go there and get the free stuff.
The reason why I brought this up is I’m around a lot of Triple A personalities and some people have a harder time with this stuff than other people. Everybody could be better off, including me. I wanted to do this as a community service announcement. I’m right there in the middle of a whole bunch of people struggling with this, too, and I see it no matter where I go. I thought, “If a person has a different approach than just AA and telling yourself you’re an alcoholic every day, maybe that’s not working for you either. Maybe that rubs you the wrong way.”
There’s another approach. David has a holistic approach that works with the science of the mind that we know that works, combined with the good stuff that works. He got my attention and I thought there’s a little voice in the back of my head saying, “I need to bring this forward and put it out front. Maybe it’ll help somebody and maybe it’ll help me to improve my life.” I don’t know how much more honest I can be about it.
Thank you for being real with your audience.
One thing that I’ve never done is when I went through the recession when my brother committed suicide, I had this weird reaction to it. I didn’t jump in a bottle. I set it all down. I get sober when the chips are down because I needed to feel that pain of my brother’s death. I didn’t want to mask it. I wanted it to pummel me. I wanted it to kill me, but I didn’t drink that whole time during the recession when I was having problems. I don’t know what it is about me. I’m sure it’s not normal. I pushed all the stuff away and I wanted and I needed to focus on what I needed to handle.
What’s happening is I have several big storms on my horizon coming. My parents are getting older though those issues. My wife has twelve years in Parkinson’s and I need to be present with all my heart and all my soul. It got me built up, so I’m going to take a challenge. David, I’ll talk to you soon. I want to thank everybody. If you’re contemplating, at least have a free consult. It can’t hurt anything. This has been different, David. Thank you.
Mitch, I loved it. Bye.
About Davis Essel
David Essel, M. S. O.M., is a number one best-selling author (10), counselor, master life coach, international speaker and minister whose mission is to positively affect 2 million people or more every day, in every area of life, regardless of their current circumstances. Celebrity Jenny McCarthy says “David Essel is the new leader of the positive thinking movement.”
His newest book went #1 bestseller in 3 months, a mystical romance novel set in the Hawaiian Islands called ” Angel on a Surfboard”, which offers the 6 keys to deep love.
Another #1 best seller ” FOCUS! SLAY YOUR GOALS…THE PROVEN GUIDE TO HUGE SUCCESS, A POWERFUL ATTITUDE AND PROFOUND LOVE”, was recently selected by the influential blog BOOK AUTHORITY.ORG as one of the top 100 GOAL SETTING BOOKS OF ALL TIME!
David’s work of 38 years is also highly endorsed by the late Wayne Dyer, “Chicken Soup for the Soul” author Mark Victor Hansen, as well as many other celebrities and radio and television networks from around the world.