Content Notice: This story contains references to Substance Abuse.
I began my career in the loss prevention field at the age of 20. This unique and interesting job, at the entry-level, consisted of catching shoplifters and dishonest employees. I loved the excitement and adrenaline that came with the job. I also realized there were many opportunities for growth, and I became very motivated and driven to succeed.
Over 10 years, I was promoted six times and became a regional director in the extremely challenging New York City region. When the company went out of business, I went to another organization where I was also a regional director. But now I was also responsible for 88 specialty stores throughout the Midwest and east coast of the United States. I frequently traveled throughout this area, was highly motivated, and had outstanding performance statistics.
Two years later, I was promoted to the corporate level as director of loss prevention in northern California. I had made it to the top of the industry, and life was really good. Until it wasn’t.
About a year and a half later, amid an intense political war between various factions in the corporate office, the position I worked for many years to attain became a brutal battleground, and I found myself right in the middle of it.
In January 2005, I left California and moved to South Florida, where I became a licensed private investigator and founded a security consulting and investigations firm. The business did well, but my heart was never really in it, especially as the focus became more on investigations and less on security consulting.
For the next seven years, my life was on a downward trajectory. In other words, it was a complete disaster. I did what some refer to as parking in your pain: continuously replaying painful experiences again and again in the movie theater in my head. I soon became completely tormented by my own thoughts, which were intently focused on the previous job situation. It was a horror movie consisting of deep-seated anger directed toward others and myself. If you’ve ever seen an aerial view of a tornado as it tears through a small town, you’ll have an idea of what my life became. There seemed to be no relief in sight. I was in an extremely dark tunnel with no light to be found.
In January 2006, my suspicions were confirmed. I came to learn that I was the target of lies and manipulation as a result of others’ selfish ambitions. The emotional anguish began to escalate with an ever deeper round of resentments. When in this tremendous prolonged emotional pain, I looked for an escape in all the wrong places. After a few years of this torment, excessive drinking and gambling became the new tools of my trade. It was truly a perfect storm, and I mean perfect for all the wrong reasons. I had cashed out large sums of stock options I had accumulated over the years with the previous company.