MountainsWhat is the greatest challenge you face? How do you react to difficulties? Are past life experiences standing squarely between you and greater future success?

I choose to be completely self-revealing and transparent. I do so for a variety of reasons. It does me no harm to recall past mistakes. Each time I do so, my gratitude for my current happy situation in life becomes more tangible. It is also a hope of mine that as you learn of some of the challenges I have faced and changes I have made, perhaps this dialogue will give you some measure of encouragement that your success is about the future, not the past.

For many years I used and abused alcohol and cocaine. Others knew full well that it was a problem long before I did. At the behest of others, I was a patient at a series of drug and alcohol rehab programs. This continued for nearly a decade. Today I know there was scant chance of success. I was there to please others, not because I wanted real change in me.

The problem came into clear focus for me when finally the inevitable happened and I was arrested for cocaine possession…by the way, not the sexy and alluring white powder portrayed in glamorous Hollywood scenes; no, I was found to be in possession of crack. I said I was in possession of it; a more correct statement may be that it was in possession of me.

My financial success then conspired against me. Though jailed, I knew my credit card numbers, and so I bailed myself out. Today I understand that addiction is a threefold disease. Those who have fallen beyond periodic or recreational use as I had, know the unrelenting physical craving which does not go away until the last remnant of the substance in question is out of our bodies. I was out of jail physically, but indeed prisoner of a physical craving beyond my ability to control. I went back to the neighborhood to buy more.

In less than two weeks, I was, again, arrested. Another felony charge, plus resisting arrest. I still knew my credit card numbers. The substance was still in my body. I bailed myself out and like a dog returning to his vomit…I returned to the dealer’s door.

Less than three weeks later I was arrested for the third time. I had a third felony possession charge. I am living proof that there is a kind and loving God who knows us each by name and loves us more than we can understand. I could have been in prison for a very long time.

That experience is now many years in my past. Two of the felony charges were resolved with no judgment. The third resulted in a conviction, which has since been expunged.

Today, I am actively involved in two 12 step recovery programs. I have learned that the other facets of addiction are a mental obsession to return to the substance, and that overlying all is a spiritual malady. The physical craving ends with abstinence. The mental obsession is overcome through full participation in proven recovery processes. The spiritual malady is overcome a day at a time by developing a relationship with God.

That which I resisted for so long has become among the very most positive parts of my life. Today I can find joy in the entire experience as it relates to me. I do still have regret for the pain my experiences caused for those who love me.

I am today recognized as among the very most successful people in our industry. I am financially secure, and most importantly to me, my relationships are healthy most of the time (I do not live in a fairy tale world…life is still challenging)….and life continues to get better in all respects.

It is my hope in sharing these life experiences with you that you will find the needed courage and resolve to address whatever may be holding you back in life. I also encourage you to believe as I do: we can learn from the past, but it makes no sense to live in it. The past is just that…PAST.

Whether or not you believe it….I believe you can have magnificent success. Not just in our business, but in life!