That night didn't seem any different from my typical Wednesday night.
Only instead of getting drunk and going to a bar, I decided to get drunk and have people over.
During this particular phase of my life partying on a Wednesday night wasn't unusual. You could count on me to get belligerently drunk around 4 nights a week.
I loved it.
I was a personal trainer at a chain gym in Ottawa, Canada at the time.
Trainer by day, drunken attention seeker by night.
I didn't realize it at the time, but my drinking wasn't all in good fun.
I was an emotional and mental wreck.
I stumbled on a way to numb my senses and escape my intense perception and interaction with the world.
I'm wildly sensitive. I always have been. And although I consider this one of my greatest gifts, at the time, I was too immature to handle it.
So instead I spent night after night so drunk that I wouldn't remember a thing.
Stifling my gifts, escaping reality, and pissing away my life.
Literally. On more buildings in downtown Ottawa than I'd care to admit.
I was fucking up, and I was too drunk to realize it.
A vicious circle that only perpetuated in speed and intensity as time went on.
Until one night God snapped his fingers and said,
"Look at me. And listen."
That night, which felt like any other vodka soaked train wreck of a night, was the single worst night of my life.
And it was the greatest night of my life.
Thank God for that night.
That night, for reasons unknown, I decided to get in my car and drive.
I don't know where I was going. But I was in a hurry.
Speeding down highway 17 westbound on the west end of Ottawa, I swerved and hit a guard rail.
There was no one around me that caused me to do this.
It was the 60 oz of Smirnoff vodka that did it.
As soon as I hit the guard rail my tiny Hyundai Tiburon flipped over sideways.
It rolled over multiple times, and for the first time that night I felt sober.
It's like time slowed down to a quarter of it's regular speed, just so I could snap out of my drunken haze and soak in the moment.
I remember thinking, this feels like it'll never end.
It finally did. It ended with my car on its roof. All the windows were blown out and crushed down to about half their size.
In a panic I unbuckled my seat belt and scrambled out of the window as if my life depended on it.
I tried to push my car back into its tires so I could drive away without anyone noticing.
A harsh reminder that despite such a sobering experience, I was still in fact drunk as fuck.
"Do You hear me now?"
I hate to quote God as if I was spoken to audibly. I wasn't.
But as I lay in bed feeling sorry for myself, that's the feeling I got.
"Do You hear me now?"
See, that night is what it took for me to finally listen and see.
I was squandering all I had been blessed with.
I had to have this precious gift almost snatched from me to realize that this life of mine can be taken without warning.
Any day, any time... any breath could be my last.
Everything I do is based on that idea.
Every decision I make is predicated on the fact that I will die one day, and if I'm lucky enough to have the chance to look back over my life, I want to be satisfied.
When you live this way, fear evaporates, decisions become easier, you don't give a shit about naysayers, and you begin to leave the mark you were born to leave.
So please, if you find yourself wasting your life away with pettiness and fear, remember...
You're going to die. And you don't know when.
So do what you're hear to do. And be who you're here to be.