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Letting Go Of The Past

March 19, 2012

Happy Monday morning to you all!

Today’s post builds upon my post last Friday. I hope you all had a happy and safe St Patrick’s Day over the weekend and that your week is beginning well. A very important event (and learning) occurred for me over the weekend.

A little over a year and a half ago, I walked away from a company (and it’s leadership) that I had been involved with for over five years of my life. It started off as a potentially very rewarding endeavor. From the outside, the company looked very affluent and promising, but the view from inside the ‘Ivory Tower’ was much different. I was initially lured into this opportunity by GREED (I was going to use a softer word like insecurity, hope, but greed is the core!) I was at a very low ebb in my life: the year before, my business partner had unexpectedly died, my wife decided to leave me, move away, and take away my two children, money was extremely tight, and emotionally I was a wreck.

The big, shiny, golden ring was too enticing NOT to try and grab!

Potentially, if I could help turn this company around, the money involved would clear up all my old business debts, catch me up with Child Support, and perhaps allow me to rekindle a relationship with my children (or at least pay a lawyer to fight for them!) Everybody in the company had bailed once the going got tough, and it was just the original husband and wife team left. It really looked like a ‘golden’ opportunity: a chance to work closely with the founder and owner – a very charismatic and brilliant-minded individual – and a sweat-equity opportunity to have ownership in the business. I took a gamble and threw myself into it 100%.

Over time, it became apparent that the owner had more than just an alcohol problem, they had drug issues (and what appeared to by psychological issues, too!) It was an incredibly abusive environment to be in. Rather than running away at the first opportunity – which in hindsight I really wish I had done! – GREED convinced me to ‘play out this hand’ to my advantage. In that instant, I was trapped! Like a poker game, I was ‘all-in’, I had to ride out the pot in the hope that things would improve and I’d eventually win that golden ring. Boy, what a mistake that was!

I ended up lying to those few friends I still had (including family and very close friends!) It was like a cancer: everybody I came into contact with, I had to tell the ‘cover story’ to. ‘Fake till you make it’ is one thing, but when your life becomes the lie, it’s a horrible place to be, you can never truly be yourself, anywhere. It’s stressful and abusive. I can totally relate to that scene in the Godfather where he says, “…every time I try to leave, they keep sucking me back in…!” Every year the stakes kept getting higher, my problems kept mounting, but all I could see was winning that pot in the center of the table as a way of solving all my challenges. If I just put in more effort, if we just got that one break, things would all be ok. I did a number of things that I am not proud of, but thankfully I never got sucked into the world of drugs! Two and a half years in, I had an opportunity to walk away, and took a part-time job to actually earn some money, but the owner turned up to my work drunk and abusive, and I was sucked back in again. Finally, almost two years ago, I just had to walk away from an ever-growing nightmare – for my own sanity!

Over five years of my life lay in the center of that poker table. I walked away with nothing: no home, no money, no car, no friends, a mountain of debts, and barely my ‘soul’ intact. As hard as it was to walk away, instantly it was like an enormous burden was lifted from my shoulders, like I’d finally managed to shrug off an iron coat of negativity and evil. Very quickly my life began to rebuild itself. This time, I was better prepared for him turning up drunk, and it didn’t lose me my new part time job. After years of being blamed and abused for what was going wrong with his life and his company – since things were getting worse – I knew that had all been part of the lie. He was still trying to suck (or ‘sucker’) me back in: the same routine, the same lines, lots of promises, lots of potential money, but this time I wasn’t buying any of it.

When my Father unexpectedly passed away last year, and I realized the real opportunities I had missed out on to spend time with my real family back home, I realised the stupid, selfish, and GREEDY gamble I had made. The guy wasn’t even remorseful when he learned about my Dad’s passing!

At that point, you would think I’d learn, but just recently, he approached me with yet another lucrative opportunity, which I did seriously consider. THANKFULLY, all my new friends were telling me how crazy I was to even be talking with him again. Sufficetosay, after an extremely abusive episode last week and this weekend, I had to come to my senses and say, “Enough is enough!” We have totally parted company… Phew!

I’m sure they’ll try and track me down again, but I truly hope not. They only ever contact me when they want something, it’s never for my benefit. So, what is the moral of this story? Well, I hope that if you are in a similar situation and you feel trapped, but your heart and gut is telling you to run away, RUN AWAY! It feels so much better once you do. Don’t focus on the money (or the potential) focus on what feels good and right. No matter how big and shiny that golden ring may look, if the things you have to do to reach for it are wrong, DON’T DO IT! It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how bad things are, you can ALWAYS start over.

There are good people in this world. I’ve hurt a few of them on this journey. I’ve made amends to some of them, but there are others I have still to get up with. There is always hope for turning over a new leaf. I wish this person all the very best, they have some serious addiction issues, I have tried to help them, but it is their journey, their path, and only they can decide that they want to change and become a better person.

I’m living my new life, it feels great, and if you are one of the victims I’ve hurt along the way, I’m truly sorry.

Boy, did that feel great to get off my chest at long last…!

Have a wonderful week…

  1. Powerful tale –

  2. Hey Anthony!

    Wow, your post is such a long one. It was very well written!!

    I am glad you didn’t return to the poker table. There’s temptations everywhere from everyone, and bluntly speaking, these days, people are too materialistic. They focus on money more than anything else. What they don’t realize is, they might get more money, but they are losing priceless intangibles, such as family relationships, friends, marriage, siblings, just to name a few.

    Your post helped me a lot, and thank you very much!

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