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Loser to Leader––Or, How to Quit Drugs (or anything else you might want to quit!)

If I was going to live through the 1980s I had a decision to make. It wasn’t an easy one.

I had to quit drugs…

At most SENSEI LEADER events, I tell a short story about the day I quit. I want to be clear. I don’t tell this story to solicit any sympathy and I certainly don’t want to glamorize drug recovery. I hate it when people do that. I share my story for a number of reasons that become apparent through my presentation, but most of all to highlight the importance of the process of transformation.

If you’re going to survive and thrive in this world––you’ve got to change. Always. Everyone. Individuals, organizations––doesn’t matter. These days you either commit yourself to never-ending transformation, or you get left in the dust.

And you can do it. That’s another reason I share my story. I am one of those people who can say “If I can do it––so can you.”

After a presentation, it’s pretty common for people to ask me about my drug experience. Most people want to know about “the turning point.” Understandably, they’re looking for one moment of enlightenment where I realized my self-destructive path and changed course.

It doesn’t quite work that way. Anyway, at a conference just a few days ago someone threw me a curve ball. She asked me a slightly different question…

“How did you quit?”

That may sound like the same thing, but to me it was radically different and I have to admit, I answered poorly.

I gave the standard answer about substituting a healthy high for the drugs. For me at that time, martial arts fit the bill. Now that answer is certainly valid––you’ve got to substitute constructive behaviors in place of the drugs, but there is a lot more to it.

Anyway, her question inspired me to look back and see if I could find a way to express the key elements of this transformation––not just for people looki