'My Life Had Been A Party All Over The World': A Few Things About Getting Clean and Sober Without The 12 Steps
Welcome to the second installment of "A Few Things About", an interview series with fascinating characters, exclusive here at brandonsneed.com.
Evan Morgenstein recently tweeted that he had been clean and sober for a full year. This is remarkable for two reasons: one, his life revolves around giving people a good time, and people have that good time most commonly by getting not sober. And two, he didn't go through the usual 12 Steps program to make it happen.
Evan is the president and CEO of several integrated companies that focus on representing talent and corporations. He’s started six companies since 1997. He’s a self-described “prototypical Type A control freak." He says, "I live for the excitement of closing new deals. Not the money. It’s being in the throws of negotiation that fuels me.”
And yes, that's him with Buzz Aldrin above.
So without further ado, here's Evan, about life as a newly sober partygoer.
A Few Things About Getting Clean and Sober
with Evan Morgenstein
I grew up in a sports family. My father played football at Syracuse.
I’m around athletes and sports fans all the time. I love sports. They defined my life since I was an infant. There were always in my life and will always be in my life. They establish seasonality and time of year. I always know when the summer is over because I am going crazy for the U.S. Open.
I love to play basketball. I used to love banging my body around. I loved working my competitor into exhaustion.
Also, running. Before my hip replacement surgery, I ran all over the world. No freedom like it. I dream of it every day. I also love watching the last 10 laps in NASCAR, a big boxing match, or one of my clients.
I don’t play at all since my hip replacement surgery.
I worked in technology for years. I hated it. Everything was bullshit. “State of the art” is a salesmen's term—I was back selling someone the new state of the art in a year. Got tired of it. Got fired. Hooked up with a company that repped NBA athletes in 1991. By 1995, I started Premier Management Group (PMG).
I am in a young, fun, adolescence-charged world with most of my athletes being 20 to 30 years old. They train and compete hard. Athletes like to burn off steam after competitions, not all the time. At least not my clients. So after events, if I have 15-20 clients there, afterwards everyone goes out and I would throw a party. Well, add this to the entertaining I was doing for corporate clients, meetings, and potential business partners, and I was in a bar 100-plus nights a year.
It was more of a lifestyle than an addiction. I didn’t crave it. I was just always in it. My life was a caricature.
My life had just been a party all over the world since my freshman year of high school, and never slowed down. Not in China, Denmark, London, Spain, Australia, Canada, Caribbean, Brazil, Italy, on and on.
My lifestyle, business, money, and opportunity got me into it all. It was and is easy.
It desensitized me to all that was going around me, with those that cared the most about me. My family. It is so common for business people to live this lifestyle. Eat shitty food. No sleep. Live on the edge. And your family deals with the emotional waves that come with all the travel and partying.
I didn’t see how a 12 Step program would do anything, since I didn’t have cravings, feel addicted, or long for a drink. It was like everything else in life. It comes down to self-esteem. Do you value yourself? Do you feel like you can do better? How can you put yourself in a position to be happier, healthier, and help others?
I don’t read self-help books because creating your own path is what wakes me up every day excited to live my life.
To be a follower is an addiction unto itself that I will never prescribe to.
A lifestyle modification facilitated by my need to change my life and add some context at 45 years old is what prompted the change.
I think the 12 Steps are great for certain people. Not people like me. I am a bronco that is too old, too dumb, and too steadfast to listen to others.
I go out as much as I did before. It’s impossible not to.
Staying sober isn’t hard. Having those pings of memory regarding impulses and past experiences is interesting. I will go to a place I have been before, had been trashed, and now I walk in and for a split second I can smell the alcohol and get a rush. It’s really cool because I never feel the weakness to go down that road, but surely I can’t deny that memory of being drunk.
I feel healthier. I feel that every day has purpose. I am completely focused. I feel like I am a better person, father, husband. I am no angel. I am just a guy trying to provide for a lot of people.
Now, to my meeting. It’s how I pay my bills, brotha.