It is a real treat for me to present & share the story of professional life coach & widely-known author David J. Saffold. (I’ll actually be displaying, with gracious permission, some more contact info for this very talented man.) Dave possesses, without a doubt, a genuine desire to help other addicts to achieve happiness and fulfillment in their own lives. This I could glean simply by taking a look at his Twitter, and by reading about his personal encounter with SUD (substance use disorder).
Photo courtesy of GuideToPerfection.com
Please read his whole story from start to finish. Honestly, I can say that it is certainly worth the extra few minutes it may take. In addition, not only is Dave able to thoroughly entwine his experiences into a sequential order, but he’s endearing. He writes from the heart, without a doubt.
My name is David Saffold. I was born in April 1964. My last drink or drug was in March of 1990. I have been clean and sober since then.
I started drinking alcoholically when I was sixteen. I did well in high school because I mostly drank on weekends with my buds or at parties. I had blackouts immediately and would be the one who usually drank to unconsciousness. I was pretty outgoing and athletic as a teenager, but I was also terrified of not being liked. I had no inner foundation on which to anchor myself and so I was always trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be in order to be acceptable and likeable. I was always looking for a way to be important so I would feel important. This mentality makes for a life full of anxiety and fear, since no matter how much people like you, or how numerous the accolades you’ve won, it is never enough to remove the pain of life. Thus, I was a prime candidate for drug & alcohol addiction as they initially granted me the highly-sought relief from the pain of my existence. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad and I had many good times, but the anxiety, fear, and emotional pain were always present and growing.
My drive to succeed and feel important landed me an appointment to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. I subsequently received a plethora of awards and honors recognizing my achievement! After high school graduation, however, I sought to get myself into the “Kingdom of Heaven,” where I would truly feel loved and worshipped. I got in so much trouble with my drinking escapades at the academy in fact, that I ended up leaving in the middle of my sophomore year. The failure and shame I felt after this was overwhelming. Instead of a titan of success, I was the biggest failure. The pain of my existence was horrible, so my drinking and drugging increased to a regular, day-to-day pace. I was eventually forced to live off my parents and seek menial jobs in a vain effort to, at the very least, create some kind of semblance of [financial] self-support.
The academy made me go to meetings, so I was aware of AA. I started going again because I hoped that it would help get me “back on my feet,” on the road to success. I had a cycle wherein I would go to AA, quit drinking, enroll in some college, and feel like I was actually getting somewhere. It wouldn’t be long before I was drinking again – but only moderately this time. After about a year, nevertheless, I was worse off. I rode this cycle several times before I finally got so hopeless that I thought about “the only way out” that I thought would “really work” – suicide. To elaborate, I had come to see myself as the biggest failure that God had ever created. I was defective because I could not do the things in life I saw others doing – things that I thought meant succeeding in life. I had gone to AA and even that could not help me! The emotional pain of existence is tortuous when you believe these things about yourself. I had long wanted to stop using drugs and alcohol because I knew they were preventing me from the life success I so dearly desired. However, wanting to quit was of no avail.
This was my state of existence when I finally took a pistol and put it to my head. I was 25 years old and at the end of my life! As I sat there summoning the courage to pull the trigger, I thought about all the talk of God I had been exposed to in AA and its literature. I didn’t get it and could not see how this God, that I didn’t understand or know, could turn my life around and save me. Then something weird happened. I saw myself as I really was – drunk with a gun at my head.
That was the best my thinking could do! This thought hit me hard and right then I made a deal with this God I didn’t understand. The deal was that I would keep one bullet in the gun, spin the chamber, put it to my heard and pull the trigger. If I lived I would do just what this God wanted me to do. However, if I died, I would see what God was all about first-hand. Well, then, I pulled the trigger– CLICK! I never drank or drugged again after that loud click.
Thank you, Dave. I genuinely mean this; your sharing of this gut-wrenching personal account has done a service to addicts (past & present) everywhere! His website is GuideToPerfection.com, and he can also be contacted via e-mail. Please check out this direct link to David’s Amazon page, too, where you’ll be able to find out more about his book! (**PLEASE NOTE: This blog maintains NO commercial intentions, by the way; I’ll only plug books/products/etc. as long as I believe in them.)
STAY TUNED for PART 2! Thank you so much, Dave.
God, please bless all of you,
P.S: Please check out SAVE, a non-profit with a mission to prevent suicide via EDUCATION, a general notion in which I firmly believe. ALSO, TO MAINERS: If you’re in the 207 and you’re feeling low, really wishing you could just talk to somebody, call this wonderful “warm” line… 207-774-HELP (4357). **I held a fundraiser for the helpline a few years back as I’ve had to call the number a few times myself. I still have it saved in my phone, too. If you need an ear, they’ll provide one, even if it’ll take a few minutes. Whatever you do, don’t hang up!