When I was in college, I had a professor who forever changed my life. I am proud to say that after 30 years, he is still my close friend. I was a graphic design major at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. And on the first day of Graphic Design 101, Professor White asked the class a very simple question:
What is the one thing you have to do to be a designer?
The class had a wide variety of answers, including: “read about design;” “buy a computer;” “learn the history of design;” “buy a pencil;” “pass this class” one student joked…
All the while, Professor White stood there shaking his head in response to all of these guesses. After a bit, when he couldn’t take it anymore, Professor White held up his hand and said, “Stop! Let me ask you this. What’s the one thing you have to do to be a runner?” Again, the class broke out in a flurry of wild guesses: “buy good shoes;” “hire a trainer.” And then someone said it. The real answer. Someone shouted out “RUN!”
Professor White smiled and said “Yes!” In order to be a runner, the one thing that you have to do, is run. Therefore, in order to be a designer, you have to design. Sure, those other things like buying good shoes or passing Professor White’s class were helpful, but on their own, they would not make you a runner or a designer.
So as I work my way through early sobriety, the words of Professor White are again helping me in ways I am sure he could not have imagined. I mentioned in a previous article that I am only recently sober — 8 days (in a row) and counting. Throughout this time, I keep asking myself one very simple question:
What is the one thing I have to do to be sober?
And as much as I’d like to fill my head with things like, “go to meetings,” “call my sponsor,” “read This Naked Mind,” the real answer is: DON’T DRINK. The one thing I have to do in order to be sober is not drink. Everything else is helpful, for sure, but if I were to take a drink, then nothing else would matter.