What 5 years of sobriety has taught me…

blog what 5 years of sobriety has taught me

This is my first blog post on nickborsellino.com. How appropriate that the day I finally figure this platform out, it happens to land on an anniversary of something so symbolic to where I am again in life. The only difference is this time I’m trying to make a different kind of change. I couldn’t think of a better first topic for me to talk about than my personal journey in sobriety.

Over the last five years, I have spent an enormous amount of time and energy working on myself. The years preceding that I spent most of my energy working on work, and in between work shifts, “partying”. Work hard, play hard. That was my motto.

It feels much better now being able to wake up early after a good nights sleep, instead of waking up with a hangover and groggy. It feels better to spend my free time reading, meditating, walking my dog Piper, cooking, and a million other things I now have the time, focus and energy for. It feels good knowing that the decisions I make are actually mine and not persuaded by a substance.

One thing that still hasn’t changed is my perfectionism. When it comes to my work, I have a hard time asking for help. In my drinking days, I would work on site with my employee(s) and subcontractors all day, then work every available night and weekend that I possibly could to pick up the slack of what couldn’t be done during the day. If I wasn’t at work, you could almost guarantee I was under the influence of something. I thought this was normal and was kind of impressed with myself for years that I could keep it all afloat. That is, until I burnt out.

That burnout happened 5 and a half years ago. My business and personal life was falling apart. Although to the outside world, it seemed nobody knew how broken I had become. I couldn’t handle the daily stress at work, even though I did my job extremely well. I put so much pressure on myself and that stress carried into my personal life. It was a vicious cycle. One frantic night I called up my sister, Chrissy. She recommended that I call my doctor and a counselor. I was so ready for change that I actually did. This was my first step in the journey to recovery. That simple act of reaching out for help, and being willing to do what the other person said.

I had to change just about every aspect of my life. This was difficult, but necessary for me. I have made a lot of great friendships and connections over the years with like minded people. I started eating better, sleeping better, exercising, going to therapy and just taking care of myself in general. I could literally write a book about all the change that has taken place in the last five years, but I’ll be brief here.

Instead of having multiple employees and working as many hours in a week as possible, I started working alone. I started turning down jobs that I really didn’t want to do and taking on less and less work. Sure, at the end of the day, I had less money in the bank. But I was gaining a new kind of wealth; health and happiness. As the years crept on, something still felt off. Even though I was turning down more work than ever, my list seemed to get longer and longer. I have told many people that I have a 2 year wait list. “Just add me to the end of the list”, they said. So I did.

As you can see, I have now created my own pressure cooker. The mandatory lock down during Coronavirus Covid-19 has helped me take a step back and see just how high the pressure had gotten. And the time off from work was like unplugging the machine and slowly releasing the pressure valve. I started to calm down and ease into being home, instead of always being on the go. I started thinking about what was going to happen when we reopened. The longer I have been out of work, the farther behind schedule I get. Something needs to shift.

This gift of sobriety to me has shown me that I want more out of life than working myself to death. I have been fighting chronic back pain for most of my career in construction, which started in 2001. After missing a total of months of work being layed up, pain medications, muscle relaxers and physical therapy I finally took the next step. Last year, I started seeing a chiropractor. It helped slightly, but never gave me the relief that I really needed. But the thing that has helped my pain more than anything is the break from physical labor. Within a month, I was feeling better than I’ve felt in years. Of course this made me start wondering even more what things were going to look like when we reopened.

The thought of going back to a job that caused me so much physical pain for the last 19 years made me cringe. That’s when I started thinking outside the box of what I could do. Without a clear, sober mind and a forced break from work, I’m not sure I could have ever seen any other option than the only way I had ever known. That is exactly what has driven me to start this website and put it out to the universe for direction and help.

If you are reading this, thank you for being here and supporting me through this journey. Some of my amazing customers, who are like family to me, have reached out somewhat concerned, and with good reason! Let me be clear. I don’t plan to close down my business and I tried to give that disclaimer in my proclamations. Apparently I didn’t do as good of a job with it as I had thought. I just plan to ask for more help in my business. Which has already transpired into me finding a professional tile installer to help me with my bathroom projects I have on the schedule and in progress. I will be outsourcing a lot of work to lessen my load. I hope to be able to shorten my 2 year list by asking for help from other professional tradesmen. I will be letting go of the reigns a little and overseeing the projects and making sure everything gets done properly. I will be hands on with everything along the way. I still plan to do all of the carpentry work, but give up the tile, drywall, painting and other things that I don’t need to be doing or don’t particularly enjoy. I have a great network of amazing guys who have helped me over the years, and I plan to build on that network to be able to be more efficient with my time.

If this actually frees up some of my time, I plan to use it pursuing my other interests such as the YouTube channels, writing the book and blogs, the podcast and whatever else pops up along the way. These new creative outlets have sparked so much joy and enthusiasm in me. While these ventures aren’t currently profitable, they definitely have potential to become income generating. At which point, if that becomes the case, I would then start to reevaluate my construction work. But I’m nowhere near there, yet.

I know that this trailed off from the sobriety thing somewhat, but in my mind it is right on topic. Without my sanity, I don’t have a chance of sobriety. And without sobriety, I don’t have peace and serenity. And a life without peace and serenity just isn’t appealing to me anymore.

Until next time,


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