• Samuel Gegen

Environmental Shift


New move. New man. New life. Same habits. Took an underpaying, over-demanding job. One quality about me is I never live or spend above my means. I knew I had bills, debt and other things to pay but sometimes that meant meeting the minimum and the downside of that is it leaves little room to get you ahead. That’s neither here nor there. Just one month into my job I was invited to our Christmas holiday party. Even though I wasn’t making great money I felt like I was in my first career. Clearly the binge drinking and bouts of depression continued because that was part of my lifestyle but it seemed to be amplified when I was anxious, uncomfortable or around any humans. Why? I think because it stemmed from not being able to be myself or be open with the lifestyle I wanted to live out and proud. Anyways, this party was on a Sunday evening which meant SUNDAY FUNDAY to pregame for this professional event with Doctors and PhDs. Not only did I have bottomless mimosas and smash shots but also got high with my friends. Naturally, I invited a girlfriend because I was uncomfortable bringing my guy so I talked her into driving us into the city. We had to stop at the gas stations so I could get Mt. Dew for my vodka as if I wasn’t already lit enough. We arrived stumbling at the party at the Medical Center and that’s all I remember. When I arrived to work the next day late, ashamed and unaware of the chaos. A coworker, from which I only worked with for a month told me I passed out the table with the heads of the PhD program and department. This among many other instances was one of the most embarrassing things of my life I’ve gone through. I felt like my drinking and addiction problem was RADIATING out of my pores along with the vodka. It was one of thousands of days I was depressed and didn’t eat anything, didn’t work out and went home to bed at 6 pm. This was my Monday occurrence for years. Sometimes it seeped into Tuesday but sounds like quite the fulfilling life, right?


A couple weeks after that I made my first real attempt to get sober! It started in January of 2014. I started to do amazing at my career and job, saved more money, hit the gym harder, improved my diet immensely, got much better sleep and even went to AA meetings. This was extremely relieving! I wasn’t making stupid mistakes every weekend and I was being honest with myself for the first time about my problem and held the true desire to get better. I even sat down and made a list of how much money it costed me and how many problems it created. Looking at this list was mind blowing. Why the f*** was I doing this to myself? I really dived into why I drink and why I could not control how much I drank. First, I used alcohol as a huge escape. This seems to be very common especially in the LGBTQ community. Not everyone but some people drink or party when they have tough times or are going through bad shit because it enables the mind to temporarily escape. When I went to this place, I ONLY thought about myself. I didn’t care what I did, who I hurt or the awful decisions I would make. All I wanted to do was drink until I forgot my pain, my past, my present and to not think about the future. Second, drinking became less fun and more work. After binge drinking, I had to make apologies. I had to trust the process of a weekly recovery. I went through 2-3 days of enduring pain, depression, terrible sleeping habits, dehydration and bouncing back into the real world. I had to live and repair the shame I caused myself and anyone that came through my path of destruction. This in itself was not worth it. After 4 months of being sober I broke up with my first boyfriend. We outgrew the relationship. When I look back on it, it wasn’t a relationship one has with a significant other. It was really a roommate that was there when you needed them, a drinking buddy and someone to get hammered with. Codependency at its finest. No one wants to be alone. The relationship was not what I wanted and getting sober was what made me realize this.

After being sober 6 months, I met a new guy who I started dating. This guy was not good for me. Shortly after dating I relapsed and went back on the drinking bandwagon on July 4th. I assured I could manage my drinking. That first night drinking again I binged, blacked out and threw up. My new guy thought nothing of this as it was the lifestyle he led often. Our relationship grew tumultuous and rocky. It became emotionally draining, damaging and abusive. It abruptly ended a few months later and I was heartbroken. Now feeling like I had no one, I was back to drinking and felt more alone than ever. I made friends with his friends and once the relationship ended, I hardly had any friends or a boyfriend to lean on.

During this time, I became tired of my job. I had a built-in incredible work ethic (when I wasn’t hungover) and always did more than asked or required. I was working overtime and putting thousands of miles on my car to make crap money. My boss at the time thought I would be good at sales so I started applying for sales jobs. I always loved talking to people but one thing I loved about sales is the fact you are directly impacted by your effort. I took his advice and found a sales job that combined with another one of my passions – Health & Wellness. I would like to thank my old boss. Thank you for the suggestion. Thank you for not valuing my hard work. Thank you for paying me a low salary to help you accomplish your goals, not mine. Thank you for not believing in me. Without you I would have never found an amazing career in sales with an amazing company.

This is where one of the most important and critical shifts of my life begins…

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