A little over 10 years ago when I was 29 years old, I hit a rock bottom that could only be described as a blessing. I spent my 20s between Chapel Hill, Charlotte, and New York City shaving years off of my life with one poor decision after another.
I was set on continuously perpetuating a cycle of consumption, depression, and consequence…until it finally came to a crashing halt. A lawyer told me, “Well son, it looks like you are going to do a year in state prison for this one”… and all of sudden sh*t got real.
What was the crime, you may wonder? Well, my crime was addiction. I hadn’t spent one day/night without consuming alcohol since I left home when I was 18… literally. Not one.
For some reason, I had been able to handle my self-sabotaging ways as best I could to this point. And by “handle,” I mean suppress the feelings associated with them by continuing to drink alcohol, despite failing out of school, losing friends, being fired from jobs, hurting myself, getting arrested multiple times, and suffering from debilitating anxiety, panic, and depression.
I wasn’t convinced that I couldn’t continue living the way I was, even though I had nothing but guilt and shame to show for it. It was time to change.
So fast forward 10 years later to May ‘16 and I have a master’s degree in mental health counseling, I am happily married, I have an angel of a 6-year-old daughter, I haven’t had a sip of alcohol in 10 years, and I have sweat equity in a start-up company.
This all sounds wonderful compared to the horror of my 20s but something was still wrong.
I still had those same thoughts and feelings that caused me to drink for all of those years – I just wasn’t drinking.
They call that a dry drunk.
I was still prone to addictive thinking and I had an extremely negative narrative in my brain that came from years of being raised by another alcoholic. Even with all of these successes and “wins” under my belt, I still told myself that I was a piece of sh*t and not worthy of any love or happiness.
Anything good that happened, it was, “Yeah, you SHOULD be doing that. That is what SHOULD have happened.”
I had been a client of mental health services since I was in college, so almost 20 years. I really loved it. So much so that when I got clean, I decided that was what I wanted to do.
Needless to say, I had been entrenched in therapy (both sides) for almost two decades. I had worked through just about every minute of every experience of my life multiple times. I was very familiar with who I was and why I was this person.
I had dug into my relationships and my feelings about my relationships and my shame and my guilt and my Mommy and my brother’s car wreck and my insecurities about being skinny and my blah blah blah.
In other words, I was done.
I envisioned being someone at this point in my life that I WAS NOT, and I had to figure it out.
One morning I was reading the Charlotte Agenda newsletter in bed and I saw an interview with a career/life coach named Sarah Olin.
For some reason, I had not thought about seeking out a life coach during my recent “what is wrong with me?” episodes. I could not wait to contact Sarah.
What really stood out was her answer that “Therapy is typically a conversation about healing. It’s usually a past-based conversation about something (or things) that happened to you. Instead of spending a long time talking about why things are the way they are, coaching is a conversation about your future and what you want.” Bam!
I had spent the last few years of my life making grand statements and goals about what all I wanted to do and where I wanted to go and who I wanted to be.
Some of these things happened, but most of them didn’t.
I contacted Sarah about what I was looking to gain out of working with her and very quickly it was a match. Since then, we have worked not only on goals but also how to reach them and why I wasn’t reaching them before.
Accountability is only a small part of the equation despite most people thinking, “If I just had someone to MAKE me do it, I would be fine.”
Well, the accountability helps but if you don’t want to do something, you aren’t going to do it. Sarah helps you really want to do it. Also for me, I still had that as*hole voice in my head that was doing everything to keep me in that low place I had always been.
Sarah helped me realize that voice was simply a narrative created, that could be re-created.
That voice was (and still can be) my biggest hurdle in reaching goals.
That voice is uncomfortable when I am doing great things so it tries to keep me in my comfort zone of laziness and 70% effort.
It’s kind of like the term, “drama queen.” Drama queens (or kings) prefer to be where there is drama. They like it. They are most comfortable when they are out of control. It’s weird, but oh so common.
Sarah has helped me identify and stay very aware of that voice, to the point where I almost say “yes” to any challenge, simply to automatically override that voice.
Since I have begun working with Sarah, together we have literally changed my life.
I quit my job that I was unfulfilled in, I have begun pursuing my passion as an addiction specialist, I have trained for and completed an Olympic length triathlon, I have played the best basketball and golf that I have played in years (maybe ever), I have begun writing articles for a website that have been very well received, I have changed my diet to eat much healthier and feel better than I have in years (maybe ever), I am a much better father, husband, brother, and son, and I have begun attacking a 25-year nicotine addiction.
I am truly a different man.
I have become the man that I have always envisioned myself being but just could not get there. I have no one but Sarah to thank for these changes.
Life coaching is real. Some may think of it as a trend or a gimmicky type of therapy but I am here to tell you that it works. I look around at my life today and when compared to where I was just 6 months ago, it is like a miracle has occurred.
For those out there who are stuck. For those out there who have been through years of therapy and are ready to do more with their lives. For those who want to change to be the best version of themselves they can be. Consider this service.
I could not be happier that I found Sarah.