• Samuel Gegen

This isn't how I want my story to be.

Updated: Sep 8, 2019


This is where my life in sales begins. Boy was I ready! I was ready to be compensated appropriately for my hard work. I was ready for the competition. I was ready to challenge myself in the realm of the uncomfortable. I was ready to grow. I was lucky enough to stumble upon this opportunity and fit well into a company that strives for acceptance, wellness, and growth.

I did well. I was always at the top of my class and worked hard to perfect my skills. At first, I had a hard time calling people. I began to think if I was unable to make a phone call, how was I supposed to work hard for a sale? Well, it first started with some mentorship. I went to veteran salespeople, the owners of the company, and the COO for honest advice on how I could surpass expectations. I’ll never forget one sales call that I completely bombed. One of the owners was listening to my call and came over afterward and said that I did okay. Then proceeded to say, “You’re going to call that prospect back and tell them you messed up and didn’t do your job right. Then you’re going to start over and really dig into what they need.” WHATTTTTT!? Talk about pressure mixed with humility. I did it. Failed again. However, after this time, I felt a sense of accomplishment. This was one small example of something uncomfortable I did that made me better at my job.

As the job went on, I found myself improving day over day and finally earning good money after six months of grit. I started comparing myself to other top salespeople, but found I did better when I only compared to myself. You’ll hear me say this time and time again but one of the most debilitating things is to compare yourself to anyone other than the person in the mirror. Sounds silly but as a leader and a coach now it’s critical that I teach this to my sellers! More to come on this in a future post!

After one full year of selling in 2015, I was at the top and crowned sales rep of the year. I was promoted to a senior sales representative. I maintained success in my job while binge drinking and happy hour-ing on the side. Yes. This affected my work. I was good but deep down I wanted to be great.

As I previously talked about, I still could not control the drinking. That shit doesn’t just go away. Having this unhealthy relationship resulted in bouts of depression, missing work (typically Mondays or Fridays), bad sleep, bad skin, bloating, a roller coaster mentality, and many other issues. Addiction to alcohol is really having an unmanageable and unhealthy relationship to alcohol.

Let me give you some real-life examples. We often had to work on Saturdays. Sales isn’t 8-5 bull shit. You have to work hard all the time and when the buyers are ready to talk you make yourself available. Often on Saturdays, I would come in still buzzed, most of the time late for my shift with a bottle of vodka. I would pour it straight and drink it at my desk in the morning. This would be my breakfast and done on an empty stomach so I could feel the effects quicker. I would take shooters into the bathroom and chug them in the stalls. All by myself and in secret. When done I would toss them in the trash, grab some napkins, and throw them over the little bottles so no one could see. That’s what alcoholics do. They cover up their messes. No one really knew how much I drank and the relationship I had with booze because no one saw it. Yes, they noticed my erratic and excessive party behavior but nothing about what happened when no one was watching. I tried to maintain a normal shift at work until I started noticeably slurring my words. This is normal right? Not even a little bit. Cute? Nope. I was clearly suffering and felt tons of pain. I felt that this was my only way through. Liquor offered me the temporary relief I was looking for. In turn, it led me to more shame, more depression, roller coasters full of emotions and instability. It was a short-term comfort giving me long-term negative effects mentally, physically and emotionally.

11.11.2016 – 11.13.2016

This weekend. THIS weekend. THIS WEEKEND. A few days after the depression and the dark clouds of the 2016 election were hovering over Americans, I was dealing with it as everyone else was. Getting fucked up with my people.

The day after Trump was announced our next president (typing that phrase still hurts), a coworker who very vocally supported Trump leaned over to me at work and had a question. He prefaced his dumb question with “Hey Sam, you’re gay, you’ll probably know this.” I brushed it off, but it really upset me. This man, the ‘leader’ of our country, is empowering this fool to publicly and vocally tear me down in my safe place– work.

A few days later the weekend hit, and I was in full binge and rage mode. I chugged vodka alone at my home. Eventually, I joined some friends to drink, cry, and dance the night away. I woke up Saturday morning still highly wasted. I went straight to the freezer and pulled the Rumplemintz out and drank that for breakfast. I was actually so drunk my good friend had to pick me up to bring me to work. The same Trump-loving coworker was there, and I lost it. I was drunk. I was emotional. I threw my headset. I was making a huge scene and went off on this Trump supporter. Things got so out of hand I had to leave so my friend took me back home and I continued drinking with my sister. My parents came to pick us up for dinner for my mom’s birthday and I was so blacked out that I forgot what happened. I do remember that my mom and I got in a huge fight and dinner ended early. She dropped us off and I was unphased by the argument and continued to do what I wanted to do which was finish out the night of partying.

When I woke up Sunday, my mom was angry and upset with me, my coworkers were embarrassed by me, and I was unaware of every detail that occurred. The clear choice was to Sunday Funday, so I pulled out some Fireball and drank it by myself and continued the three-day frenzy. I met up with some friends at the bars and went to a karaoke bar where it was just me and my friend. Two of us. What kind of pathetic sign is this? People are going on with their normal, productive lives preparing for a work week. I’m fucked up beyond belief and the only thing I’m thinking about is getting my next drink. I don’t hang out with these people anymore. Not that they are bad people, but we now have very different lives. More to come on that as well!

11.13.16 was the last day that I drank.

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