From the bottom of a whiskey glass… How sobriety has been good for my mind, body, and soul…

I think I can safely say I have come out of the fog of the drunken stupor I was in last year… I haven’t had a drink in 9 months… but more importantly, other than a couple times I just wanted a quick sip, I haven’t even wanted a beer. I think it is safe to say that I have been able to take back control of not only my drinking problem, but more importantly my attitude toward life.

10 months ago, I hit rock bottom. I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t exercise, I was drinking a couple bottles of Fireball and at least a case of beer every week. I was caught up in a life I wasn’t proud of, I lost my family as I knew it, I was watching my dreams fall right through my hands and for the first time in my life I felt completely powerless…. Of course, deep down inside I knew I was the only person that could fix my problems, but I couldn’t even get out of bed… how was I supposed to put myself back on the right course??

I woke up a couple weeks before one of the biggest challenges of my life and I couldn’t move. My mind woke up, but my body was frozen. Something that had become the center of my life wasn’t even something I cared about anymore. I had worked so long and so hard on my goal of finishing Leadville and then I fell apart. I can think of many reasons, but I had let so much negativity into my life I became consumed by it… The negativity took over my life. It was the negativity I allowed into my life that made me want to kill myself… When I knew I couldn’t end my life, I tried to fill the gap with even more alcohol…

I looked for love in the bottom of a whiskey bottle and in the end my heart and glass came up empty…

It’s been a while since I had that feeling. It’s been a long road to recovery, from not only the alcohol abuse but the loss of the life I used to know. I have lost many battles over the last couple years. I have lost pretty much everything including many thoughts, beliefs, and feelings I have held within my heart and mind for over 30 years.

It’s weird to think that a year ago I was a completely different person. My friends, family, beliefs, actions, fitness, mindset, job, home, monetary status… everything is completely different. It’s weird to think that I have lost so much from around me, had so little stability headed into the future, yet I have never seen life and the future with so much clarity…

After I failed in Leadville last year, I got a wakeup call that I could not continue my current path and live a life I would be proud of… let alone accomplish my goals and dreams. A week later, I made some stupid decisions and when I woke up in the morning and realized what I had done, I quit drinking on the spot… I saw my future and realized I could not become the person I wanted to be by being the person I was surrounded by the people I was with.

I saw two endings that morning. One ending was a life full of regret, shame, and disappointment. The other was a life full of love, accomplishments, and success.

The person I was, was the person who deserved nothing… I had to make a choice. Not knowing what the future held, I choose the harder path. I chose the path filled with unknowns, hard work, no payoff, no money, lots of change, no guarantees… In August of last year, there were very few people who would have bet on me winning… If I saw my self from the outside, I wouldn’t have even bet on me…

To this day I don’t even know why I chose to bet on myself, but I’m so glad I did. If you would have asked me in August of 2017 where I would be today, I wouldn’t have had an answer for you… If you would have told me I would be sober, broke, and loving life a little more every day, I would have thought you were crazy. But through all the unknowns, the risks, the failures, the heartbreaks, and the day to day struggles… I have learned a couple valuable lessons.

  1. It’s a cliché, but as the saying goes, “It’s One Step at a Time”… The only step you can focus on is the next stem forward. Look to far ahead and you are sure to stumble. Look to far behind and you’ll lose your focus.
  2. Take the risk. Just because you can’t see the end now, if you trust in yourself to take the massive action every day, you will eventually get to where you want to go, if you don’t quit.
  3. When I had a lot of money, my soul was empty. When my back account emptied, I learned to fill my soul with different forms of love, gratitude and appreciation.
  4. Live today for today and your tomorrows will take care of themselves. What you plant today, you will reap tomorrow. If you plant seeds of negativity, you will harvest your worst fears … If you plant seeds of positivity, you will reap rewards beyond your wildest dreams.
  5. You cannot find love in the bottom of a whiskey glass, commas & zeros in a bank account, or even the thoughts and feeling of others… The feeling of love must come from within. You must learn how to be fulfilled from the inside before you can find love from the outside.
  6. Just because you fail at something doesn’t mean you are a failure. You must learn to separate actions from results. When you come up short on a goal, reevaluate your action plan and try again. The only real failure in life is quitting.

I know in the eyes of most I am still a failure. In the traditional sense, I will never be a success. But if there is one lesson I have learned in the massive storm I have come out of… What I do in the dark only has value to me. The outside world can and will judge you, but they can only see from the outside in. As the outside world uses sarcasm and negativity to pull you to their level, you must remain focused and steadfast on your goals and actions. When the world discourages you remember the words others speak reflect their views and their fears… You see the world different and that is what makes you, you.

When we compare ourselves to others, we will always be disappointed… We don’t see the inner struggles of others and what they have done to get to where they are. But more importantly, we are not them and they are not us. Because we are on different paths, we will not arrive in the same place at the same time. More importantly, we cannot use their goals to reflect our own self-worth…

Go out today and be the best version of YOU for that is all the universe asks.

Published by Gary Stotler

Gary Stotler is a father, running, fitness, weight loss and personal development addict. Formally 400 pounds, Gary has naturally lost 200 pounds, created a coaching & speaking business and has become a 100 mile ultra-runner. Holding a degree in Psychology & Sociology, certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer, mindset & behavioral modification coaching, a certification in DISC personality assessment coaching and he is a certified speaker, coach & mentor with the John Maxwell Team. Gary firmly believes, if we take One Step at a Time, nothing is impossible. He is determined to let his actions show people what is possible and hopes to help you shake up your thoughts, change your actions and create your future.

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