Dear Danny, Please Don’t Kill Yourself…

Two nights ago I had a phone call from a guy who I’ve known for a while.
Quite a while.
Danny.
Over the last few years he has had two major physical and psychological battles; drugs and food.
And of course there’s been some emotional stuff as well.
Yep; it’s all intertwined.

He’s not a buddy as such (although we get on), but I know him reasonably well as I have worked with him on and off over the years with varying degrees of success.
It is fair to say that I like him and care about him.
He’s an intelligent, creative, nice guy who’s currently killing himself with excess food, a crap lifestyle, zero exercise and some seriously stinkin’ thinkin’.
And he’s not doing it slowly either.
He’s in his early thirties and may not make forty unless he makes some massive life-changing decisions and pulls his head out of his butt in the near future.

He stopped using drugs over a year ago.
And more than a decade of drug abuse has seen him spend inordinate amounts of money, wreck friendships, lose the trust of others and destroy virtually every tooth in his mouth.

I saw him a while after he got ‘clean’ and I nearly fell over.
His weight had ballooned from about 75kgs (165lbs) to 125kgs (275lbs) in a relatively short amount of time.
He had substituted one drug for another.
Simply switched addictions.
And while some would say that he’s much better off to be abusing food than drugs… he ain’t.

He gave up drugs and took up food.

Back to the phone call…
It went something like this (he calls me Harper):

“Craig speaking”
“Harper, it’s Danny… I’m fat and I need help.”
“How fat?”
“Very.”
“Gimme a weight.”
(I haven’t seen him for a while)
“At least one-fifty (330lbs).”
(stunned silence).
“You are (insert bad word) kiddin’ me. What did you do… eat your parents?”

We talk a bit more… I tell him that I need to think about his situation and that he should call me twenty four hours later (last night). I also tell him that I don’t want more empty words, meaningless promises and time wasting. I don’t wanna go down the same futile path with the same frustrating outcome; he has a history of stopping a starting fitness/weight-loss campaigns.
It hurts me to see him ruin his life and waste his considerable potential.

And it’s killing his parents.
I know them well.
So I tell him that he needs to think seriously about it and call me back.

Not too many years ago he was a lean, athletic, good looking young guy with the world at his feet. Now he is a morbidly obese, unhealthy man who despises his looks, is embarrassed to be seen in public and can’t find clothes to fit him.

Yet he continues to eat.

So last night the phone rang again…

“Harper?”
“Yes?”
“Waddya think… wadda we gonna do?”
“Waddya you gonna do?”
“Start training again.”
“I don’t think that you’re ready to change… as in do whatever it takes, no matter what”
“Why?”
“Well, we know that money’s not a problem, resources aren’t a problem, time’s not a problem and support is not a problem… on a practical level you have everything you need to turn your reality around… yet you continue to find ways to stay fat, eat crap and do nothing.”
“Yeh, I know…”
“I just don’t hear it in your voice. I know when people are absolutely, totally, desperate to change their reality… and you’re not are you?”
“Not enough I guess..”

Despite the fact that he has the love and support of his family and all the practical resources to do what needs to be done, he continues to sabotage his health and his life. Surrounding himself with the best people and the best resources will amount to zero long-term change if he keeps rationalising, making excuses, procrastinating and talking crap.

When will Danny get healthy?
When he’s READY.
When he makes that choice.

Real change is not about words, it’s about behaviour.
And thinking.
It’s not about making another call to me.

A letter to Danny:

Dear Danny,

I can’t ‘fix’ you; only you can do that.

Your life can be amazing if you make that choice.
When you change (your mindset), your life will change.
A year from now you can be a different person, on every level.
A new and improved version of you.
Or you could be more out of control than ever.
When you change, then you will lose the weight; not the other way around.
I am not the answer for you.

You are the answer.
Everything you need to create an amazing life, you already have.
I can support you, educate you and encourage you.. but I can’t change you.

The ball is in your court Dan.
Make a decision.
A ‘forever’ decision.

Love,

Harper.

*Danny has gone away to think.. he’s gonna call me when he’s really ready to do what needs to be done. I wonder when that call will come… or if it will come at all.
Yes, I had his permission to share this story, yes it’s all true and yes, that’s his real name.