Motivation

3 Business Lessons I Learned from Being a Drug Addict

Business lessons I learned from being a drug addict

I am not a fan of labels.

Imagine my surprise when I found myself being labeled as “a drug addict.” It is a label that I admit to be true. Over the years I have learned to embrace it. I am getting ahead of myself.

My name is Tim. This is my first article on Motivation Grid. I am humbled and honored for the opportunity to network and share my thoughts with other like minded people. I am in a fortunate position in my life, but it wasn’t always this way.

I used to be a full blown drug addict. I’m not talking about smoking a few joints on the weekends. I am talking about the real drugs. Let me tell you, it didn’t end well.

Eventually I got my act together. I am happy and proud to say that I haven’t touched a drug or a drink in over six years. March 4th 2010 was the last time a mood altering substance went into my body.

If I told you that I regret it, I would be lying. I learned a lot about myself through the terrors of addiction, living below the poverty line and suffering through withdrawals. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to look back at these life experiences from an objective standpoint. I see how valuable some of the lessons I learned have been.

I would like to share some of my experience with you.

3 Business Lessons I Learned from Being a Drug Addict

Lesson Number 1 – Nothing Is Forever

Bad times don’t last, but neither do the good times. Everything changes.

I was an opiate addict. I don’t feel the need to explain the details to you, so use your imagination. What is important is to understand how they make you feel. Opiates are heavenly. As soon as that magic enters your blood stream, all of your troubles melt away. For those few hours you are a god, you are the ruler of your domain. The trouble is that your problems don’t actually disappear, you are just wearing blinders.

I have found the same to be true in business.

In my early days, I loved to celebrate good news. I loved to eat at nice restaurants after I closed a deal, I loved to buy 5 pairs of new Chuck Taylors and I loved buying plane tickets to see new places.

The problem becomes when you get back from the weekend vacation only to realize that the money you made is all spent and you still have bills to pay.

Money had become my new drug. It was all part of the chase. I would chase the high of a “yes” and the intoxication left me always wanting more.

It is a tough lesson for anyone to learn, but in my experience only the ones who learn this lessons ever become successful in the long run. It is so easy to let the high of temporary success be your blinders. It is so difficult to know that with every upswing comes a down swing, and you are better suited to stash your money for a rainy day.

Don’t let it burn a hole in your pocket. Nothing lasts forever, and the race is long.

Lesson Number 2 – Fear is the Only Foe

People do drugs because they are afraid, myself included.

Every addiction is rooted in some kind of fear. It is a complex issue but fear is at the center point for any addict. It’s the biggest motivator for why drug addicts do what they do.

Maybe they are afraid of feeling pain, maybe they are afraid of cleaning up issues from their past. Maybe they are afraid of what other people think of them or maybe they are afraid of being alone with their thoughts. The list of potential fears is endless. The same is true in entrepreneurship.

For every one of me, for every guy or girl who escapes death by addiction, there are thousands of others who don’t. We all see it, we all have family members and friends who can’t escape the death grip. It is fear that holds them back.

The ratio is the same in business and entrepreneurship. For every guy like me, who didn’t let the fear of failure keep him from “giving it a shot,” there are 1000 others who drive home from work and dream about the day when they could “live life by their own rules.”

What I learned, and what I wish more people understood is that the fear never actually goes away. Right this second, I am sitting in a Starbucks writing this article and I am in fear of what people may think of me when they read this. I have doubts and I second guess myself. Will it be well received? Maybe I should write about something else. Maybe I should try to be something I am not.

The truth is that this is who I am and I refuse to let my fears be my failures. Everyone has fears. Everyone get’s stage fright or get shaky knees or anxiety from time to time. The only difference between the people who have accomplished their goals is that those people didn’t let fear dictate their actions.

When they failed, they got up and tried again.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to work through it.”

It’s so true.

Lesson Number 3 – Pain is the Greatest Motivator

I feel as if I have an unfair advantage over anyone I meet. I have suffered.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of how awful that life was. Every day I remain grateful that I am sober and that I am no longer living that nightmare.

Everyone has problems and I am no victim. However, I feel comfortable saying that addiction is a special kind of pain. Only people who have suffered the way I have suffered could possibly understand.

The funny thing is, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I embrace the suffering.

Anytime I come up against a new challenge, I know that I can overcome it. No matter what the challenge is, there is no way it could be harder than being a drug addict. There is no way it can be harder than that first year of my sobriety. Nothing could be harder than the withdrawals and the detox and being hungry and depressed and broke and scared. Once you have been to the bottom, anything else seems easier.

If you want to see what someone is made of, see them through pain. Pain will do one of two things, it will either break people or it will strengthen people. Unfortunately, most people break. Our world is now full of Tempur-Pedic mattresses and second place trophies. Everyone is so easily offended and hurting someones feelings now makes you a bad person. People are soft and they are afraid to get hurt. People are afraid of pain.

I am not. I do not fear it. My tolerance for pain is the single great attribute I have.

I may not be the smartest or the fastest. I never had a trust fund and I don’t have a degree, but you will not out work me. You will quit before I quit.

Use Your Failures to Fuel You

Every person on this planet has value. We all have some experience that can help someone else.

The greatest gift my sobriety has given me has been the willingness and the ability to help other people. It goes against human nature, but helping other people get what they want is the best way to get what you want.

I have learned more about myself from helping other people then I have from anything else.

Help people. Provide value. Think about someone other than yourself and I promise you will live a fulfilling life.

You have the keys to the kingdom.

 

 

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Shantal

    March 28, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Thank you for this amazing article Tim 🙂 And great job on getting sober!!!

    • Tim Stodz

      April 2, 2016 at 4:48 pm

      Thanks Shantal.

  2. Dianne

    March 29, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Tim, that was a great piece – wonderfully insightful and inspiring. Thanks, rock on!!

    • Tim Stodz

      April 2, 2016 at 4:48 pm

      Thanks Dianne. Those are very kind words.

  3. Jayson

    March 30, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    Thank you. Your meaning was well received and from the heart.

  4. Teri

    March 31, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    I read this through tears, I’ve experienced addiction from the outside helplessly. Your points hit home and make perfect sense. Thank you for being exactly who you are, there is a purpose for everything. I’ve been through rough times and agree with your statement, I would not change a thing, our suffering shapes who we become. thank you for sharing your story, it was perfect. Love the hair by the way.

    • Tim Stodz

      April 2, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      Wow Teri. Thank you so much. I try my best to always be myself. I find life makes more sense when you are able to accept yourself for who you are. Please keep in touch. I am flattered again by your words and I appreciate your insight.

  5. Lawrence Berry

    April 1, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    I know that being a drug addict is a terrible, but once you overcome a hardship like that, you have the ability to overcome anything. I agree with you that you can use pain as motivation and as fuel. Remembering where you came from and the pain you went through is going to push you to never be in that situation again. Every hardship that I go through, I use that as opportunity. I truly admire your bravery for sharing your story!

    • Tim Stodz

      April 2, 2016 at 4:52 pm

      Thank you Lawrence. I obviously agree with you whole heartedly. I looked at your website, looks amazing. I would be honored to have the opportunity to expand upon this article on your site. Shoot me an email at tim@stodzy.com. Thanks so much!

  6. Vernon

    April 4, 2016 at 12:50 am

    Hi Tim,

    I use to hate being called a crackhead when I was out there killing myself.

    I remember feeling the hopelessness and that nothing good can come of my life.

    April 8 2010 is my clean date I’m coming up on 6 years too.

    I can relate to everything you said and I love how you took your using experience and apply it to your daily life.

    Im glad I had the opportunity to had read this great post.

    Thanks, Vernon

    • Tim Stodz

      April 4, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      Thanks Vernon. Congrats on your success and I can certainly relate.

  7. EJ

    April 19, 2016 at 12:50 am

    Hey bro, great to read an article from someone a little further down the same road as me.

    Hi, my name is EJ and I’m an addict. Lol, NA reference. But to be serious, I was addicted to opiates and amphetamines for…. 4 years? 5 years? Kind of hard to know when it started for sure, but I know one of the major triggers for me was not living up to my potential.

    As a kid, I was always praised as being a “smart kid”. Made me somewhat of an outcast, being seen as a nerd or a show-off (I happened to understand math and spelling…. because I paid attention in class. Great reason, eh?). To be honest I might have acted know-it-all-ish, my ego was inflated at a young age from having an extremely above average reading level, I was doing algebra by 5th grade, I was in the GATE after school program (Gifted And Talented Education), etc. I’m not trying to brag, actually leading up to my “trigger”.

    I was a regular reader of a site called “TOTSE” when I was 12 or so. The site contained a HUGE database of text files, with topics ranging from gardening to politics to electronics to “Anarchist Cookbook” type stuff to, you guessed it, drugs. My mom had told me she had taken LSD when she was younger; she described being in a car and seeing colors from traffic lights “bleeding” down the car windows. Maybe I’m crazy, but that sounded like an experience worth looking into! Something about being “smart” and understanding the world on a higher level than most makes it seem dull. People with higher IQs are often the ones who wind up going crazy, getting on drugs, becoming depressed, anti-social, etc. That is what makes a “genius” who actually makes an impact on the world is so rare.

    I realize this story is getting long already lol, so I will sum it up right here: I was told I would do big things in my life, and I believed it. Shit, I still do! But it wasn’t happening fast enough for me, and all my research on drugs made me more and more compelled to try them (weed and alcohol were my first drugs, for obvious reasons).

    I got into the rave scene, started doing MDMA and acid. Tried shrooms. Etc. I had a “bucket list” of drugs I wanted to try, and I systematically worked my way to the “top”. When opiates came into the mix, I was ~16 and I had a source for morphine, SUPER CHEAP. By this point, I was selling weed, and my morphine source let me trade like $10 in weed for 5-10 MSContin 30mgs at a time. Things got progressively worse, my family found out, kicked me out, wouldn’t talk to me much, and I went into a depression, which continued this downward spiral.

    I think you get the idea. I tried quitting a few times unsuccessfully, until I got an appointment at a Buprenorphine (Suboxone) clinic and got a prescription last year. MIRACLE DRUG! I don’t use that word “miracle” lightly, either.

    Since I was a kid though, I have always been fascinated by business, and I know for a fact that this whole “I am going to do big things” thing has something to it. Sometime last December I saw a Youtube video (not sure which one); it woke up that part of me that has been dormant for years. I never want to work for anyone again, and I am OBSESSED with making progress on this front. Some people say they want to start a business, or claim they are entrepreneurs. and say they work hard at it…. Well, like you said, I have the ability to work circles around ANYONE. I have not taken a full day off of my ritualistic business and self-development habits in months. I feel like I am on the brink of something, but I don’t know what yet. The hard part is trying not to let compulsive behaviors (not necessarily drugs) get in the way of my success.

    It is pretty cool to see someone with the same idea as I had though: bringing awareness, empowerment, hope, and a path to those people suffering through the same things as I have been through. I’ve lost several friends to drugs, whether they OD’d or they just stopped being themselves. I don’t care if it is a friend of mine, an enemy, or a stranger; no one should have to go through that shit. I know you would agree!

    Anyways, appreciate the post. Keep up the great work 🙂
    -E

    PS: No biggie, hopefully this doesn’t come off as self-promotion on an unwelcome level…. I have a site and Youtube channel with similar content to this, self-development, social skills, etc. I would love some feedback on one of them if you are not too busy! 🙂

    http://www.mypathtoself.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The #1 motivational website full of inspiring articles for entrepreneurs. Core topics include business, entrepreneurship, success advice, quotes.

Copyright © 2016 MotivationGrid LTD.

To Top