While eternally grateful for the opportunity to oversee a business as fulfilling and successful as Treatment Solutions, I sometimes find myself getting lost in the day-to-day intricacies of business and lose sight of the big picture with regard to recovery. This is a troubling realization but I thank my Higher Power for the wherewithal to recognize when it is happening. It reminds me of early recovery when the excitement of getting your life back sometimes acts as a distraction from the urgency and importance of putting recovery first.
It always amazes me when my Higher Power steps into my life and slaps me with a perspective shift. I am so lost in mistaken priorities that I never see it coming. I temporarily give importance to the unimportant and forget what it is that TSN and I are all about. I am writing today to share my latest experience and explain why this particular slap still has my face and spirit throbbing.
The Wake Up Call
While in my office reading through countless business related emails and slipping into that CEO cruise control that switches on at about the 214th email pertaining strategic planning, I had my world absolutely rocked by an email I read from Kim, a TSN case manager. Kim was informing me that a young lady that recently completed our adolescent program had committed suicide.
Needless to say, that piece of information blew my mind on several levels. To me, her untimely passing far outweighs Michael Jackson’s in terms of overall importance but I have a sneaking suspicion that Larry King won’t be covering this one. Regardless, it was exactly the stern reminder I needed from my Higher Power to realign my priorities and remind me of who I am and why I created this path in the first place. At the end of the day, I am a salesman who has successfully sold everything from Heroin to long distance service. Selling was a gift and depending on where I was with my personal struggle with addiction, that gift was sometimes a curse.
Buying Into Hope
I was once a hopeless dope fiend but thanks to my Higher Power, I write this today as a dope less hope fiend. Take away all the titles and BS, and we are simply in the business of selling hope. TSN is such a well-oiled or well-loyaled machine, built on integrity that I know we are the best at what we do…deliver hope. However, I am sad to say that with regard to this young lady who saw death as her only option, we fell short and that is an unbearable realization. In fact, from the moment I received the news about her suicide, I have been excessively angry. I guess it was the moment I caught myself as I was preparing to throw my phone through the TV during a minor argument that I realized I better share, journal, blog, etc. This is saving my life as we speak but we were unable to save hers. I know I will hear “you can’t take responsibility for this girl’s decision” and other things of that sort but at the end of the day, I can’t help but feel we failed this young lady. We could not convince her to buy into hope and that is something we all need to look at.
For me personally, this Higher Power slap just makes me that much more determined to make TSN even better. While running a business has its fair share of mundane tasks, my team and I must never forget that every encounter we have is not just life and death, but also an opportunity to actually save someone’s life and deliver hope…what a gift!
“Don’t let them say you ain’t beautiful, They can all get F—-ed just stay true to you”
* It is estimated that suicide is the third leading cause of death among the age group 15-24. If you have a child or friend who is demonstrating any of these signs talk to them and encourage them to seek help; if they won’t, intervene. The worst thing you can do is nothing. Here are some of the signs that someone may be in trouble:
- Obsession with death
- Poems, essays and drawings that refer to death
- Dramatic change in personality or appearance
- Irrational, bizarre behavior
- Overwhelming sense of guilt, shame or reflection
- Changed eating or sleeping patterns
- Severe drop in school performance
- Giving away belongings
For more information please go to:
1.800.SUICIDE (784-2433) - National Suicide Prevention Hotline