To whomever this may concern,
This is a personal post in so much that I need to clear out that I am not speaking for my employer or any other organization that I may be affiliated with. It is also personal on a level where I will not go into discussions in comments, on twitter or any other forum than face to face meetings. However, I think it is important enough to put this out there.
I have lost acquaintances, colleagues, friends. I have not lost them because of fate. I have lost them for stupid reasons. I have lost peers for things that I, we, could have prevented or at least I think I, we, could have. I am DONE with losing people I love for the wrong reasons. I hope WE are done with losing people for the wrong reasons.
My experience with losing started at a rather young age. I was working at my first employer when we were all gathered in a meeting room when we came in on a fateful morning. Some of us were sure that they were going to be fired, some of us were excited because maybe we would get a raise. Nobody was prepared to hear that one of our colleagues has lost his life when he crashed his car against a lighting pole very early in the morning. I was shocked, not surprised. A few weeks prior to his death we had been on the road for an engagement in a remote part of the country. While I was driving, this guy started to roll a joint and it was his clear intention to light it. As I was the lead on this engagement I told him not to but he laughed at me and lit it nonetheless. I kindly asked him to put it out or I would have to remove him from the car. He obviously thought it was funny enough, until I stopped the car and told him to get out. After he got out I returned to the office, told my boss what hat happened and somebody went to pick him up. He wasn't fired, just reprimanded. To this day I believe I did the right thing. It's obvious that a joint didn't kill this person, not enough persons being available to him to guide him about his substance abuse did. I'm also pretty sure that it wasn't just weed. It doesn't really matter WHAT it was, I lost a friend and an awesome colleague.
We have lost enough people for stupid reasons. We have lost enough people because I, we, fail to notice subtle changes in behavior. We have lost people because they felt lost. I believe everybody has at least this one person they can think of right now and say "I wish he or she was still here. I wish I could've helped". I want this to stop.
Over the years I have also witnessed substance abuse in our community and the stupid things people do to "fit in". It doesn't get more pathetic than seeing a dude fake snorting a line of coke to make sure he remained "one of them". I've seen alcohol, weed, cocaine and heroin do things to people you wouldn't wish to your worst enemies. I've seen a lack of support and understanding do the same.
I'm the first to admit that I like to get my drink on. Damn, I got more than enough stories to fill a pretty funny book with. However, I can remember the times that I was absolutely and utterly shitfaced on one hand. In almost 22 years that I'm legally allowed to drink.
So, from here on going forward I won't stop being the guy that wants to have fun. But I will be that guy that asks if you are ok. I will also be that guy that takes you aside and says "I think you had enough". Fuck, I will probably ruin your night but only because I don't want to see you ruin your life.
I will definitely be that guy that you can call 24/7/365 because I don't want to lose anymore. I hate losing, I want us all to win.