I don’t know you, but if you are here reading this letter, you are probably at least somewhat curious about BJJ and maybe considering training.
This letter is for you, and I hope that you will read it. Technically, this letter is actually to me, to the “me” of just over two years ago, but I want you to consider that this letter could just as easily have been written by you, about two years from now. I hope you will continue reading.
You don’t know it yet, because right now you are just staring at that business card you picked up in your favorite Mexican restaurant, but that card in your hand is very important. It says Gracie Jiu-Jitsu on it. You have been staring at it for about an hour. Your food is getting cold.
Since the divorce, this has been your routine: Take a long lunch alone to escape the office, eat way too much and wonder how in the hell you ended up in such a strange place. Fat and unhappy. Sleep apnea. Cigarettes. If you have 3-4 beers really fast before bed, you won’t remember your dreams, and that is a really good thing these days. Melatonin doesn’t work anymore. Your dreams are never good these days.
No, you are staring at that card because the logo on it reminds you of a time in your life long past. It reminds you of Before. Before you stopped doing martial arts so you could finish up school, before the stress of a bad relationship that turned into a bad marriage that turned into a gut wrenching divorce.
Before you were self-medicating with food and alcohol.
Just about every time I see someone I stop. I kind of got out of the habit in the last couple of years, moved to a big city and all that, my girlfriend wasn’t too stoked on the practice. Then some shit happened to me that changed me and I am back to offering rides habitually. If you would indulge me, it is long story and has almost nothing to do with hitch hiking other than happening on a road.
This past year I have had 3 instances of car trouble. A blow out on a freeway, a bunch of blown fuses and an out of gas situation. All of them were while driving other people’s cars which, for some reason, makes it worse on an emotional level. It makes it worse on a practical level as well, what with the fact that I carry things like a jack and extra fuses in my car, and know enough not to park, facing downhill, on a steep incline with less than a gallon of fuel.
Anyway, each of these times this shit happened I was DISGUSTED with how people would not bother to help me. I spent hours on the side of the freeway waiting, watching roadside assistance vehicles blow past me, for AAA to show. The 4 gas stations I asked for a gas can at told me that they couldn’t loan them out “for my safety” but I could buy a really shitty 1-gallon one with no cap for $15. It was enough, each time, to make you say shit like “this country is going to hell in a handbasket.”
- If you can make a reasonable living doing what you love, DO WHAT YOU LOVE.. You may not get rich, but you’ll get to do what you love. Don’t quit your day job until doing what you love pays the bills, but don’t incur big debt getting a law degree or an MBA if you really want to be an artist.
- It’s amazing how easy life is when you’re honest with yourself and others. This doesn’t mean you should be rude and inconsiderate, but it’s better to be upfront when you have to rather than concealing things and letting them grow.
- Set up a safety fund. Yes, I know the savings account interest rates suck right now, but having 3-6 months of expenses in readily accessible cash can save you a lot of hassle. It also allows you to loan money to friends when needed (do this judiciously).
- Start lifting weights yesterday.
- Don’t get fat.
- Stand up for yourself. People will do anything for their own personal gain at others‘ expense: Cut in line, take money/property, bully/belittle, guilt- trip… Do not accept this. These people know they’re doing the wrong thing and back down surprisingly quickly when confronted. In a public setting people tend to keep quiet until one person speaks up.
- Staying in shape is dirt simple. Body fat is dictated by what you eat and your activity. Working out affects 2 things mainly: fat and muscle. Aerobic exercise burns fat and builds a little muscle. Resistance training builds muscle and burns a little fat. If you’re fat you’re eating too much and/or not doing aerobic exercise. Period.
My wife was addicted to cocaine. I should rephrase that, my now ex-wife was addicted to coke. We were married a very short time, three years, but we have a child together… so I’ve had to deal with her, her temperament, moods, druggie boyfriends, and addictions until our son turned 18. We met when I was 26 and she was 22. I had one more year left in the Marines and had met my future wife at a party where she did a monstrous line of coke. I had naively thought that she could walk away from drugs if she wanted, at any time. I was so very wrong. It took her almost 20 years to kick her addictions: alcohol, drugs, and sex. It would start with one drink on a Friday night with girlfriends. By the end of the night, she would have progressed from a drink to coke to whatever drug was also available to leaving with strangers to having sex with strangers for more drugs and she would find a way home by Tuesday or Wednesday.
If you respect yourself and everyone in your life, please stay away from meth. It’s not something to be fucked with and will rob you of all your dreams, aspirations, sanity and happiness. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk and friends certainly don’t let friends do meth. Please pass the word on and watch this video and read this testimony.
I spent two years addicted to meth. I broke the addiction cold turkey. It was fucking horrible, I was seeing shards and pipes EVERYWHERE (hallucinating).
I was never as bad as the video, but I was about four months away from that. I had lost so much weight that the callouses on my hand would shift when I gripped the steering wheel. I lost so much weight that when I bent down, my belt buckle would jab me under the ribs, painfully. One time when I came down from a tweakend, I slept for 30 hours straight.
It killed my best friend, twice. We had been friends for eight years when he robbed me, and then two years after that he killed himself (accidentally).
My wake up moment was when I took a look at my surroundings. I was in a trailer with five guys, none of us had taken a bath in five days, it was 3 in the morning. One of them had a crater on his forehead, where he’d been picking at a zit (and picking and picking and picking…), another was telling me about how he sucked dick in jail, and just… I knew I didn’t belong there. I left. I never went back to that life. The withdrawal was cruel, and I didn’t have a friend in the world anymore (when you’re a tweaker, all your friends are tweakers too… funny how that works out).
There are things you lose, that you can never get back, when you suffer from an addiction. I can’t remember the last time I was happy. I can find amusement in life, but it’s no replacement for -joy-.
I should clarify. I used meth for five years. For two of them, it was the only drug I was on. The only time that I wasn’t using was when I was asleep, or at work, and I would only sleep two days out of the week. I made enough money, and it was cheap enough, that I was never without.
The guy who robbed me wasn’t the friend I grew up with. He wasn’t my high school friend who came to hang out with me from 2am to 6am one night when I was feeling depressed. He wasn’t the same guy that helped me spend time with my first high school love. He wasn’t the same, awesome, best friend that I knew. Meth killed that friend of mine. Turned him into a scumbag that broke into my house while I was at work, and stole my computer and a big jar of loose change.
Two years after he robbed me, he accidentally hung himself (auto-erotic asphyxiation gone wrong). I had suspected him of the theft, but had confirmation after his death through a mutual friend. He bragged about how he stole from me.