@SAMUELGEGEN

Samuel Gegen

A story about hitting rock bottom. From down there you can only rise up.

Willpower means life. I am a huge believer in discipline. Discipline is the key to success, the key to achieving goals and the key to freedom. Willpower to me is the same as discipline. 

 

Without willpower, I wouldn’t have a damn thing that I have today.

Oh, man! Where to begin?

 

I was born and raised in a small town in Kansas (by Wichita) and have always felt out of place. I grew up with conservative teachings and religious views projected onto me,  so I found it very difficult to find my place in life. It was really challenging. I knew I was different at an early age and felt like I had nowhere to turn. I remember telling myself, “Sam you will be normal. You will like girls. You will live this life no matter what it does to you.”

I held onto that mentality for a long time, into my mid-20s.

 

I have 3 sisters and a supportive family, and they all were there for me but also thought I was something I wasn’t. I knew deep down I was a gay man with suppressed feelings buried deep inside me, but I had no idea how to handle it all. 

Then at 16, I discovered alcohol, and that was a progression in itself that led me to a rock bottom many years later.

It was pretty gradual. I started drinking in high school. I did occasionally get blacked out but not often. Then, when I got to college, the frequency and level of getting blacked out, not 

remembering, getting in trouble with the law and all that increased. My first realization that this was problem was when I started to drink vodka early in the day, in the morning and by myself. I knew that wasn’t right but ended up doing that for several years. It felt as though my only way to go about life.

Here was my rock bottom. One thing I want to mention is I had several cases that felt like rock bottom. This was just the last one that made me realize that I felt too tired to continue with this lifestyle. I knew I had to change.

A few days after, the depression and dark cloud of the 2016 election was hovering over me. The day after Trump was announced our next president, a coworker who very vocally supported Donald leaned over to me at work and had a question. He prefaced his question with “Hey Sam. You’re gay, so you’ll probably know this.” I brushed it off, but it really upset me. I felt like… this man, the new 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 buzzed. I went straight to the freezer and pulled the Rumplemintz out and drank that for breakfast. I was actually so drunk that my good friend had to pick me up to bring me to work. The same coworker was there, and I lost it. I was drunk. I was emotional. I threw my work headset. I was making a huge scene and went off on him. Things got so out of hand that I had to leave. 

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. 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 unfazed by the argument and continued to do what I wanted to do which was to finish out the night of partying. When I woke up Sunday, my mom was very angry with me, my coworkers were embarrassed by me, and I was unaware of every detail that occurred. The clear choice was Sunday Funday, so I pulled out some fireball and drank it by myself and continued the 3-day frenzy. I met up with some friends out at the bars and went to a karaoke bar where it was just me and my friend.

 

Just the two of us. 

What kind of pathetic sign is this?

 

People are going on with their normal, productive lives preparing for a workweek. I’m so drunk beyond belief, and the only thing I’m thinking about is getting my next drink. Because of the scene I made at work, I lost a promotion, and 11.13.2016 was the last day I ever took a drink.

I’ve tried and failed several times. Some friends and family would make comments but were not much assistance. The thing with addiction was I had to be ready. If I wasn’t ready, it wasn’t going to work. I wasn’t officially ready until I was on the verge of turning 30. This last time in 2016, I was exhausted. I was ready and never looked back. 

To some extent, you’re a product of your environment. The environment needs to change sometimes in order to create a better life. With my new life, I don’t hang out with the same people anymore. I don’t go to the same places, and I don’t fill my free time with the same activities. Evaluating your environment and making some tweaks can really elevate your life.

 

I learned that self-care and taking time to balance out your life with vacations, free time, trash tv, a good book, etc. is just as important as working hard. I need it to stay sane and thrive; it keeps me in a good mental space.

I’ve always been driven; I just knew I was not maximizing my potential. That was the hardest part. I always thought man I’d be so much better at _________ if I could just stop drinking. I could fill in the blank with a lot of things (fitness goals, my job, paying off debt, my relationships, etc). Once I got sober, I devoted and still devote a ton of time to improving my mindset, emotional intelligence, and fueling my drive. Getting adequate rest definitely helps. I work hard and have a lot of things I’m trying to accomplish. Getting a good night's sleep is critical. I also practice meditation in the

morning and make sure I stay disconnected from the internet, social media, and everything for at least one hour. We are connected all day, so it’s nice to start your morning with peace. I am always seeking great podcasts and thought leaders to listen to. Rachel Hollis, Tony Robbins, and Tom Bilyea are a few of my favorites. Lastly, I am very cautious with whom I allow around me and into my life. Must be positive and must be driven. Steel sharpens steel, my friend.

My best friend inspires me!! She is truly a badass mother of 2 (one on the way,) but she makes no excuses and gets sh*t done. She is the top closer at the company I work for, pushed the sled in the gym at 5 am while 9 months pregnant and says she will do things rather than making excuses. She inspires me daily, and I am so lucky to have her in my life. Second is my boyfriend Adam. He is the kindest, sweetest soul I’ve ever met, and he's incredibly driven. He makes me want to be better and pushes me to do so even though he is somewhat of a soft-spoken person. The beauty is he pushes me without even having to say a word! I am very lucky to have found him.

It gets better. It absolutely does! Speaking as someone who is sober, it gets better. Coming out and accepting who you really are and being authentic, it gets so much better.

 

Life is more fulfilling when you finally feel free and out of hiding. The people who care about you stick around. They support you.

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NATHAN WRIGHT

a writer

Naturally, I read a lot of plays. The ironic thing about reading plays, of course, is that they are not meant to be read. To me, the fundamental thing about a play is that a play is not something that is meant to exist on the page or in your mind, but it is something that must live in time and space.  In my opinion, the best plays are the ones that can only fully function when plugged into this equation : time + space.  

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JOHN MACCONNELL

a portrait artist

Something important to remember too is tp not let Instagram “likes" determine what you make. Make what you want to make. You should be dictating the content of your work. The number of likes does not determine your interests, what is quality, or even what people want to buy.

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ANDREW MORRILL

fitness & nutrition

As a young man I hated my muscular legs because they made it difficult to fit into clothes.  It’s funny because now I think they are my best physical asset.  A lot about body development is accepting who and what you are and recognizing your own assets.

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