Long before finding success as an entrepreneur, I reached a point where I was nearly $100,000 in debt. Yet as hard as they were, the crushing financial debts were far from the worst obstacles I faced. My addictions had taken me to a place of struggle and despair. At age thirty-one, I found myself living with my parents and having suicidal thoughts. I didn't believe there was any other way for me to end my insane behavior. I felt unworthy, unlovable, and unemployable, with self-esteem so low that I was consuming a gallon of vodka daily just to dull the pain.
Just before my thirty-second birthday I started having delirium tremens (also known as the DTs), an acute state typically caused by withdrawal from alcohol and characterized by convulsions. Thinking I was having a heart attack, I went to a doctor, who immediately called an ambulance. I was taken to a detox center that offered a four-day detox program followed by a twenty-six-day treatment program. My first night there, the pain had become great enough for me to make a change.
I made a decision that night that I would never take a drink again.
I have been able to keep that commitment, one day at a time, for the past twenty-four years.
Was this decision hard or was it easy? For me, it was very hard to get to that point—but once I'd made the decision, it was easy to stick with my commitment.
That one simple decision has been the most important of my life. I didn't know it at the time, but that decision to change, to transition from attempting to control my addictions to letting go and discovering the joy of sobriety, created a foundation for my eventual success.
In 1990, two years after my decision, I became a full-time network marketer. Network marketing was the perfect place for me to heal and reinvent myself, because I could see and develop the greatness I saw in others even when I could not see it clearly in myself. Within eight years I had earned over a million dollars.
The real payoff on this journey has been not only the financial rewards, but discovering my authentic self. I believe it is not what you get but what you become that matters most in life.
Is it hard to change, or is it easy? It's a matter of perception. Resisting change and continuing a pattern of self-sabotage can last a lifetime, yet at any given moment, we can choose to make decisions in that moment that allow us to change, right now.
These decisions, repeated in the face of perceived challenges, moment by moment, each and every day, are what allow us to succeed in every endeavor we are willing to approach.
JEFFERY COMBS is an internationally recognized
speaker, trainer, and author who is committed
to assisting people with personal growth and development.