A few years ago I worked with a man who would end up being one of my best friends in the world. We were livin’ large in college athletics, he a fundraiser, me a publicity guy. We were traveling the world watching ball games for a living. It was great.

Our paths diverged along the way, but we kept in touch and whenever possible, met up for a weekend getaway to watch a baseball game or three … and drink a cocktail or three. It seemed like whenever we got together, we did what boys do … we drank. I have a taste for good Kentucky bourbon, as did he. Neither of us ever really got out of control, or so we thought, so we never saw a problem with what we were doing.

The Healing Place - Drug and Alcohol RehabilitationUnfortunately, we did have a problem. We just didn’t see it.

My friend wound up facing a drunk driving charge (unrelated to one of our nights out, to my knowledge) and was told by the judge that he’d better get his life together. He lost his job and got frowned upon by the old boy network of athletic fundraising because he’d done the one thing they weren’t allowed to do: get caught.

Thank the good Lord, he came out of rehab a changed man. He went back to college athletic fundraising and, after a few short months, quit. He told me the environment there was so predicated on drinking and hob-nobbing with donors at the bar that he couldn’t stay sober and do what he was so good at doing. He walked away from a career.

In the meantime, he was going to his weekly meetings, even conducting some and serving as a counselor to others who were addicted. He went health crazy and started running marathons, drinking pineapple juice and all sorts of other things that he and I both would have made fun of just a few short years before.

I was proud as hell of him.

And then he made a new career choice that put that pride to shame. He decided to go back to school, earn a degree in counseling and be a drug and alcohol counselor, for real. As part of that training, he spent some volunteer time recently at The Healing Place here in Louisville. He is investing his life in turning other people’s lives around.

You call me a rock star? Bullshit. He’s a rock star. I’m just a dumb guy with a blog.

When I found out The Healing Place was trying to drive 120,000 individuals to donate just $10 each by year’s end to help support it’s better-than-the-national average recovery rate and service the addicted and afflicted in my community, I knew I had to share this story.

And my friend didn’t tell me about the effort. The Healing Place is a pro-bono client of Doe-Anderson, my former agency. They asked if I would point folks to a good cause for the holiday season, which I’m always happy to do. Little did they know this one had a stronger connection for me.

Not only did I take the place of 10 people and donate $100 to the cause, but I’m going to give my friend something he probably wasn’t expecting.

I’m going to stop drinking, too.

You read that right. Jason Falls is pledging to not be Mr. Bourbon anymore. And yeah, I’m going to need your help to do that. But not more than the help you can give The Healing Place this holiday season.

It’s $10. And it’s going to make a world of difference for a lot of people.

It sure has for my friend.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://humanvoice.wordpress.com tomob

    Jason:

    I routinely ignore these blegs, but I appreciate the real, human quality of this story and am going to give my $10.00.

    Tom O'Brien
    @tomob

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thank you, Tom. It means a lot to me that you would. Very much appreciated.

  • http://twitter.com/DeptofDoing Kellee Magee

    Jason: I don't know you, at all. But somehow I glimpsed two separate tweets with your name today and felt compelled to click on the link. I am the guardian for a person whose addictions are so out of control she can't manage her own life anymore … and places like The Healing Place are truly a godsend for those ready for help. Your story resonated with me, and I'm donating, because $10 *can* make a difference. Social media spreading ideas that help people really does work, and so does what I call “blue collar charity” (we don't all have to have wings at hospitals named after us to make a real difference.)

    I'm in Louisville at least twice a year for work – the next time in January. On the off chance you're around, I'd love to buy you … a coffee. -Kellee (@deptofdoing )

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      I'd be thrilled to meet you in person. Please let me know when you're in

      town again. Thanks for contributing!

  • http://askaaronlee.com Aaron Lee

    Your story and blog post always inspire me.
    I just donated $10 too. Hope it helps.

    His story even inspire myself to be a better me.

    Thank you

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Aaron. Very honored you'd chip in and that it inspired you. Glad to

      be useful.

  • http://thoughtwrestling.com/blog Mark Dykeman

    Holy cow. That's a powerful move, Jason, but I think it's one that'll work out well for you in the long rung.

    Kudos and power to you, friend.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, dude!

  • http://twitter.com/benasmith Ben Smith

    Great stuff! Kudos to you Jason, heading over to donate my $10

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Big thanks, Ben. Appreciate it.

  • http://SweetTeaGroup.com Kathy Drewien

    Faces and voices of recovery are powerful. I am proud to be one of those faces and voices for more than 30 years. It is with humble gratitude that I make a donation to The Healing Place and the similar program in my backyard.

  • http://twitter.com/KellyeCrane Kellye Crane

    Jason- know that your friends and fans are here to support you on your journey! I greatly admire the way you're putting it out there for the benefit of The Healing Place — that's the real rockstar move.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Kellye. It's a small sacrifice for me. I'd shudder to think of that

      kind of commitment if I had a problem. A lot of people have been through a

      lot worse for the cause.

  • http://www.corporatebloggingtips.com Douglas Karr

    Awesome. And done! They got a donation from me, my son and my daughter. Addiction is why I'm a single father and I know how much of an impact these organizations have.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Doug. You're a gem, my friend.

  • http://mediaemerging.com Scott Hepburn

    Dude. Epic.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Scott.

  • Emily Kirkpatrick

    You're something else, J. Off to make my contribution.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      I've heard that before. And thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/DonnaPapacosta Donna Papacosta

    Happy to help in a small way. I know too many people whose lives have been destroyed by addiction.

    Jason, your own pledge is amazing. Good for you.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Donna. On both counts!

  • http://everydayemstips.com Greg Friese

    This is a powerful story. Thanks for sharing. Alcohol addiction touches us all and often more personally than many people are willing to admit. Congratulations to your friend and best wishes for your efforts to stop drinking.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Many thanks, Greg. My first “dry” holiday party is tonight. Looking

      forward to it!

      • http://ariwriter.com Ari Herzog

        How'd it go?

        • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

          Very well, Ari. Thanks for asking. We had a nice dinner and “drinks” with a

          few couples friends of ours (me and the wife, that is) and I had a couple of

          cranberry juices and a couple of diet sodas. And had a lovely evening.

          This week will be a bit more challenging, I'm sure. SMC Louisville's holiday

          shindig, a client's holiday party and my bourbon-loving father is coming to

          town for a couple of days. But I'm not afraid of it. Kinda liking this new

          thing.

          Wish me luck.

  • Melissa Deaver

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention so we can support it.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thank YOU for supporting it!

  • Sven Markert

    Thank you for the head's up on this great organization and this great cause. Have a very Merry Christmas!

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      You too, Sven.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shawn-Morton/500320191 Shawn Morton

    Dude, I'm in for The Healing Place as well as supporting you in your pledge however I can.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, bro! Just don't offer to buy me drinks! Heh.

  • http://twitter.com/klrichardson Kevin Richardson

    Great story JF. Thanks for sharing. Yes, your buddy is a rockstar! I've given for 10 people as well. The story just moved me.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Humbled, my man! Thank you, muchly!

  • http://twitter.com/allenmireles Allen Mireles

    Jason, that's a powerful story. Thanks for sharing and for making it easy to offer help. I think many of us are willing, even eager to help out with small donations if the story is compelling and making the donation simple. Both were true in this case. I'm happy to do my part.

    And, kudos to you for pledge. Good luck during the holidays. You can do it! :)

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Allen. It's surprisingly easy when your mind is right.

  • http://twitter.com/phillygrub Philly Grub

    As someone who has had a few drinks with you – I commend you on your not drinking efforts!

  • http://twitter.com/phillygrub Philly Grub

    Meant to comment w/ my Marketing account. Oops.

  • http://nickhuhn.com nickhuhn

    i'm somewhat disappointed that your christmas gift [EC] will have to find a new home, but i'm mighty proud of you for once again putting first things first. here's to a prosperous 2011!

  • Leah Steinbrink

    Good for you, Jason. Good for you. As someone who once lost everything to a chemical, I can tell you that your undying support of your friend – by not only being his friend through it all, but also pledging to stop drinking, too – well, you just earned real rock star status in my eyes. Happy holidays and thank you. Leah

  • http://www.youintegrate.com Kneale Mann

    Bravo, Jason. I had a friend who was caught with half a beer over the line and it changed his life. There by the grace as we all think back to college days driving after much more than half a beer. It's been years for me since I had “one too many” behind the wheel but I think the entire reason I'm still here some sort of miraculous intervention. Your buddy IS a rock start and so are you for sharing this within your trusted community. Happy Holidays, sir!

  • http://jeremytanner.com Jeremy Tanner

    Respect.

    • http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com Jason Falls

      Many thanks, my man.

  • ldiomede

    Truly touching Jason. Life is about living and learning from our mistakes & hopefully becoming stronger, better people as a result. And because your support is so sincere, you *are* a rockstar in my mind. Thank you so much for sharing this with us all.
    Lisa

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thank you, Lisa. It's great to get support from so many folks. Here's to

      trying to make a difference!

  • http://www.changeitmarketing.com kevinurie

    Wow, Jason! I am late to that party here, but congrats! This is probably the hardest time of the year to stop drinking, but if anyone can do it you can.

    You keep leading the charge my friend, and I will pray for you for strength and power to continue.

    Much love from all your friends up in Seattle!

    Kevin

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thank you, Kevin. Glad so many good folks are so supportive. You rock!

  • heatherwhaling

    Jason, this is very timely. We just discovered that a close friend of mine has been fighting alcoholism for YEARS — and none of us knew. It's cost this person their job, license, relationships, etc. I can't “fix” my friend, but I can support this organization in hopes that it helps those struggling. Getting my credit card now to make a donation …

    Thank you for sharing. :)

    Heather
    @prTini

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thank you, Heather. And good luck to your friend. It's not an easy thing to

      face or beat, but with the right support and a little bit of effort, life

      gets better. Or so my buddy tells me. I've been blessed to have not had a

      problem with alcohol (despite the fact the addiction runs in my family) and

      putting it down is just a matter of willpower and decision making. For

      others, it's not that easy. Here's hoping we can help and inspire those that

      need some extra pushing to get through it.

      • http://mikewhaling.com Mike Whaling

        Apparently my credit card has already been spoken for, but the first round of pineapple juice is on me at our next meetup. Thanks for stepping up and putting this out there.

        • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

          Just became a much cheaper date, didn't I? Heh. I'll take you up on that!

  • http://www.thetrainingfactor.com/ Jonathan Saar

    Jason I am so happy that my Monday started out with this post. You and your friend have amazing courage. I especially like the part about how your friend had to actually change his social group in order to achieve what he needed. Those types of decisions are not easy and it shows some awesome strength of character. I applaud this post and to you and your friend for supporting a cause that is more important that perhaps many realize.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thank you, Jonathan. I appreciate the comments and support.

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  • http://twitter.com/jmitchem Jim Mitchem

    If you want to vent or confide in a stranger who gets it Jason, you're welcome to contact me. 19 years done w/booze. Backstory here: http://bit.ly/gyEVgA And no, I'm not link baiting. I'm serious. We don't follow each other, but we could. After all, change is the core idea for you right now. And kudos on the Healing Place news. The world needs more places that provide hope to the hopeless.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thank you, Jim. And congratulations on your 19 years! I'm thrilled to have so much support, but feel a bit guilty. I don't necessarily have a problem with drinking, just decided to quit to support a friend. But I'm sure inspired to stick to the pledge from all the great folks like you adding to the warm and fuzzies over this. Much appreciated, my friend.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aaronperlut Aaron Perlut

    Good for you bro.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks man. My 2011 mission is to have 10 times more fun but sober. I'll

      still be at all the events and parties. I'll just last longer and not make a

      complete ass of myself. Heh.

  • http://www.mommybrainreports.com MommyBrain

    Jason…

    If I get the honor of meeting up with you at a 2011 conference, I shall buy you a drink of your choice… I recommend Pineapple Juice :) You rock, and you are an inspiration to many…. Congrats to your friend as well for changing his life for the better.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      The honor … and the drink bill … will be all mine! See you soon.

  • http://twitter.com/juliezizka Julie Zizka

    Hi Jason. Everything happens perfectly, right?! Just found this post thru @chrisbrogan. I'm in. Not just for the $10 (I'll do that in a sec). I'm in for quitting drinking. I think it's time to see what I'm really capable of.

    Thanks for the inspiration. Keep me posted on how you're doin. I'm on twitter @juliezizka and @TheToteBuddy.

    much love.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Wow! Glad you're in, here, quitting and one of my new favorite people!

      Will find you one day soon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lesa.seibert Lesa McDavitt Seibert

    Did the $10 x 10 donation. They do great work and help lots of people. Congrats on the quitting. We are behind you. Happy New Year!

  • Hollyhi

    Jason, this is a great story! Thanks so much for sharing it! I have such a personal connection to the Healing Place. The Healing Place was the salvation of my boyfriend who lived there for nine months last year to kick a really bad alcohol and narcotics habit. He is that person that others would have said would never change, but he really has transformed his life. During that nine months, I went to countless AA meetings with Chris and along the way I changed some too. Even though I don't have a problem with drinking or drugs, I feel so much more connected to my life and what is truly important when I stay around the recovery community and let the 12 steps guide my life as well.

    Just a couple months ago, my son, who is 24 and has struggled for years to get his addictions under control, went to the Healing Place and he is living there now, so back to going to meetings there a lot. In some ways, whenever I go to a meeting there, I feel like I am coming home, too. The stories of pain and redemption I hear there continues to strengthen my faith and have me believing in miracles. About six months ago, I started volunteering at JADAC. Once a month, I go and lead the short worship service on Sunday mornings. It has been some of the most gratifying volunteer work I have ever done. Thanks to you for using your energy and personality and clout to help The Healing Place — an eminently worthy cause!

    Holly H.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thank you for sharing your story. It's awesome to see the impact The Healing

      Place has. I'm sure glad it's in Louisville.

  • http://www.hippiespelunker.com lisamariemary

    Jason – share your story, I definitely shall! Congratulations my friend! For you to use your platform for this specific cause, means an awful lot to me personally, too. I was stuck in that glass at one time. (Though it was a very cheap beer bottle. Never did like wine. LOL Same diff…) I'm coming up on my sober birthday at the end of January and I'm blessed to be sober for a number of years. I wish you well in quitting and I would love to be of service to you in any way that I can in that regard. You ARE a RockStar – and I'll never see you as anything different! You are a real, genuine, loving person – and you just can't top that!

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Lisa. Appreciate the kind words. And congrats on your upcoming

      anniversary!

  • http://www.GregFleischaker.com/ Greg Fleischaker

    Always happy to contribute to a worthy cause, such as this one. Hope to catch up with you at an event or two this coming year.

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