By Jack Smith
With a presentation to 50 people a few hours away, I had more energy than a cocaine user on his highest high. Only it was 4:00 a.m. and I had not yet slept.
I felt larger than life, drinking beer after beer while listening to music in my hotel room. I was traveling alone and enjoying a party of one.
Thoughts raced through my mind as the alcohol warmed my blood. I would leave my current job and conquer the world. I would become a high-flying consultant to big companies and write a book. I would be rich and would retire at 50. I might even become famous.
I ordered room service and more booze, giving the waiter an absurdly high tip. I partied alone and plotted my future until 6:00 in the morning. A couple of hours later, on precious few hours of sleep, I walked into the conference room and knocked it out of the park.
The reviews participants left were some of the best I received in my short consulting career. They said they liked my energy and enthusiasm. Some said it was one of the best presentations they had ever seen.
Another time I was alone in a big city with no real work obligations. I stayed up most of three days, meeting strangers with ease, buying rounds for people I didn’t know and making repeated trips to the ATM so I could keep gambling, which isn’t something I even know how to do.
That episode ended with a spectacular crash. I was reduced to sobbing on the sofa, calling my wife and confessing what I’d been doing. I so quickly descended into depression and panic, we had to call a friend staying at a different hotel to come and get me. The next day, I made the long drive home, devastated by depression and anxiety.