Fall is my favorite time of the year because I enjoy the cold weather, Thanksgiving, my birthday, and the anticipation of all the hot-tub parties I’ll be attending with the random ski bunnies I meet annually on the slopes. Yes, my life is amazing. It is similar to a high-budget motion picture that has been running full-tilt for over three decades and the producers are not thinking of shutting down production. Why would they? I’m just getting started.
How many people have sat in a high school English class and read The Iliad and The Odyssey? Millions do it every year but how many of those students think, ‘I don’t want my life to be a boring journey down the Plinko board of life’? Plinko is one of the few games I can remember watching on the Price is Right. It’s the game where the contestant drops a disk onto a board that is on an incline and has bumpers. After several feet of bumpers the disk drops into one of nine slots – each giving the player a cash prize between $0 and $10,000. It gets old after watching the second contestant and so does a life that follows the “American Dream” frame-work of a couple kids, working for “The Man” during the best years of your life and saving money for your last decade on ‘God’s green earth’ where you are hoping to be healthy enough to enjoy it. I don’t want the Plinko board. I want something real.
I can see the comfort in the predictability of chasing the “American Dream” but I can’t melt myself into what society deems “Normal” because it feels unnatural to me. The opportunity cost is too great to join the chase for the McMansion and the low six-figure executive position.
It has taken years to find what I want in my future and to get comfortable with my “new normal.” I’ve enjoyed every stage of my life and the work that I performed but I lacked the passion to continue. The Plinko Board way of life was not working out and I drank heavily at times in order to deal with the disappointment of my day-to-day activities until I was stopped for my second DUI which is when my life took a turn for the better.
My second DUI can be defined as short-term pain for long-term gain. It was difficult to wait three-and-half years for the State of Connecticut to set a trial date. The wait was aggravating and was exacerbated while letting go of business opportunities and relationships that were difficult to pursue due to the pending DUI charge. But I needed that time to examine why I wanted those things. It has been over five years since my second DUI stop and over five years since my last drink. I’m glad that I spent much of that time defining what I wanted with my life going forward.
Let me be clear. My progress during the last five years was not obtained by only reading self-help books and taking notes. There were plenty of people that helped me through the rough patches and Jeff was one of those people.
Without Jeff I would have never gotten comfortable about my chances of not being harmed in jail. He was a major cog in the machine that abated my anxiety of living in a level four prison with violent inmates. There is no doubt in my mind I would have started drinking again if Jeff did not help lesson my fear of jail. He told me what to expect, how the other inmates would look at me and how to stay out of precarious situations.
You don’t meet guys like Jeff every day. Our world is dominated by self-seeking individuals that will not let their own good deeds go without a “Twitter-bombing” or Facebook “Liking” campaign on the social networks of the world. Most people are driven by self-promotion and the never ending quest for the next “political victory lap.” I’m happy that I put my trust into somebody who does not fit the common day mold. I’m glad that I was smart enough to listen to Jeff because his honesty and refusal to sugarcoat my own faults is what helped me move forward in my life. He is a man that wants to help everybody he comes in contact with not because he is hungry for recognition but because he is driven to make his own experiences benefit the future of others.
Thanks again for all of your help. You have played a major role in helping me make the right decisions that continue to pay me large dividends in the game of life.
Lynn Springer, Founding Advocate, Innocent Spouse & Children Project
George Bresnan, Advocate, Ex-Pats
Jim Gabal, Development
Babz Rawls Ivy, Media Contact
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