Craig Schmell Article Featured In The Sober World!

I recently was asked to write an article for The Sober World! Please read the following article, and pick up your copy to support this wonderful magazine at https://www.thesoberworld.com/.

SOBER WORLD: LIVING THE AMENDS

By Craig Schmell

I’d been sober seven months by then. As a recovering alcoholic, I knew how important it was that I made amends to the people I had harmed when I was drinking. God knows, there was a long list of them. But I had to start somewhere, and I decided my father should be at the top of the list. He had tried so hard, loved me so much, given me so many second, third and fourth chances—well, there was no one I had disappointed more than my dad.

It’s not easy figuring out exactly what to say to someone you love dearly and have also hurt badly. But now that my thinking was clearing up, I really wanted to find the right words to make amends to this man who had meant so much to me.

I prepared for two solid weeks, trying to capture just the right words to express what I was feeling. I sat down, and I wrote up a whole speech. I had so much I wanted to say. My journey to the bottom had been a long and destructive one: years of lying, cheating and manipulating as I drained my father’s faith in me and also his checkbook.

I was committed to getting this right.

I called him and said I wanted to come see him.

He said sure.

I went to his house and joined him at the kitchen table, which in our family was always where important conversations occurred. He looked at me without saying anything, just letting me begin.

I took a deep breath and opened my carefully crafted speech.

“I want to tell you how sor--,” I began.

But halfway through the word sorry, before I could even complete a single sentence, my father cut me off.

“Stop talking,” he said.

I was momentarily startled.

“Just stop talking,” he said.

“I don’t want to hear what you have to say,” my father continued. “Your apologies mean nothing to me. Absolutely nothing. Nothing you say means much to me because you are a liar and a cheat.”

How should I answer this? The thoughts were racing through my head. Should I argue? Should I plead? Should I just stop? Before I could settle on a strategy, my father continued.

“I want desperately to be judged by my intentions,” he said. “But the world continues to judge me only by one thing, and that is my actions.”

My father is a lawyer. He has spent his whole adult life representing clients. He is used to making arguments in court. But I never remember him speaking so firmly to me in such a deep, insistent voice.

“Don’t tell me what you are going to do,” he said. “Just do it. Just live it. I will know when you are living the right way. You won’t have to tell me. I will know. Great men never have to tell anybody how great they are. People know.”

And that, right there, ended my first, halting attempt to make amends to my father and to the rest of my family, as well.

I have just written a new book about my wild ride to sobriety and the life-changing lessons I learned as I pulled my careening life back from the abyss. “The Uninvited,” the book is called. “How I Crashed My Way into Finding Myself.” The book, which is being published November 14 by Post Hill Press (Simon & Schuster), recounts an array of  alcohol-fueled adventures I can hardly believe I lived through: Sneaking into the Grammys at Radio City Music Hall, then singing on stage with Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. Driving in President Reagan’s motorcade. Getting stoned inside the Kremlin and marching in Moscow’s May Day parade. Hanging backstage with major rock stars at Live Aid and the MTV Music Awards. I wasn’t a celebrity or a VIP–just a booze-fueled jerk with a knack for smooth-talking my way into places I did not belong. I thought those hijinks made me feel good about myself. Really, they proved only that I could drown my low self-esteem in gallons and gallons of cocktails, wine and beer.

It was only when my mother and father burst into my apartment one Saturday morning—their apartment since they were paying the rent—that I finally began my long road to becoming an honest and decent man. With the help of a brilliant shrink and the beautiful support of daily meetings with other brave souls on the same difficult path, I am proud to say I am twenty-six years sober now and feeling better all the time. That’s twenty-six years of acting—not just saying—my amends.

Earlier this year, as I was finishing work on my book, The Uninvited - How I Crashed My Way Into Finding Myself, I wanted to do something special for my father, who is now eighty-three years old. I had spent a lot of time thinking about our relationship while I was writing the book. Since I gotten sober, we really had grown extremely close. But I felt like there was still some unfinished business between us. I still had never said to him exactly how I felt or just how thankful I was for everything he had done for me.

I called him on a Thursday morning, and this time I didn’t give him a chance to cut me off. I told him how much I loved him and what a wonderful father he is now and has always been. I told him I wanted to take him on a two-week trip to Israel. I’d pay for everything, I said. I wanted us to have that time together, just him and me.

As my words sunk in, my father started to cry on the phone.

Overcome with emotion, it took a moment for him say anything.

Then, he answered that he would love to join me in Israel. He said he really looked forward to spending that time together and taking this special trip with me.

“For the last twenty six years,” my father said, “you have made me the proudest father in the world. You did what you said you would. You have lived the right way. You have become a man of honor, dignity and commitment. I told you, ‘Live it. Don’t say it.’ You have lived it, and I have watched everything.”

My father and I had a wonderful trip to Israel.

We walked together through the old city of Jerusalem and marveled, like millions of visitors before us, how the world’s three major religions all grew up there. How all these centuries later, the holiest sites of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, are just a short stroll apart. What a shame it is, we agreed, that these three great faiths can’t find full peace and acceptance with each other.

“They can’t just say it,” my father reminded me. “That’s not good enough.”

“They have to live it,” I agreed.

WHERE THE UNINVITED WILL BE AVAILABLE

The Uninvited - How I Crashed My Way Into Finding Myself will be released November 14, 2017!

You can pre-order your book today at the following online locations:

Amazon

Bookazine

Barnes & Noble

BAM! Books-a-Million

Indies

The Uninvited and Craig Schmell have already been featured on People.com. The Uninvited has also gotten some pretty impressive hits on Amazon.com, including:

  • #1 New Release in Self-Help and Psychology Humor
  • #2 Movers and Shakers
  • #62 Best Selling Books

Follow The Uninvited's journey on Facebook (@iAmTheU), Instagram (@iAmTheUninvited), Twitter, and let's connect on LinkedIn!  

Subscribe to The Uninvited Blog and get all the latest updates!

 

 

WHEN - THE UNINVITED OFFICIAL LAUNCH DATE NOV 14TH 2017

Tick-tock... November 14th is almost here, and I am both excited and nervous. So far there has been incredible feedback on Amazon, as well as from the few people that have read The Uninvited.

I gave my book to a few random people in order to see what the response would be. You can imagine how nerve racking it is to publish one's life story to the world! To date, everyone has loved it! And I mean really, really loved it. I was, and am overwhelmed by the positive feedback.

The journey to this book has been quite interesting. Coincidence after coincidence has led me to this point, and I'm truly in disbelief. I am dedicating an entire blog about The Uninvited's journey called, "How the Uninvited Got an Invitation," which I will publish next week.

November 14th is coming FAST! Pre-sales of the book are astronomically important, so please order your copy today at https://www.amazon.com/.

Thank you!

AMAZING AMAZON NEWS!

THE BOOK LAUNCH IS CREEPING UP QUICKLY, AND WE HAVE SOME AMAZON NEWS!

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS ALREADY BOUGHT A BOOK (OR MULTIPLE COPIES)!  IF YOU HAVE NOT YET, HELP SPREAD THE MESSAGE AND BUY THE UNINVITED BOOK ON AMAZON, TODAY!

SUBSCRIBE TO THE UNINVITED BLOG TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!

PLEASE FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK (@iAmTheU), INSTAGRAM (@iAmTheUninvited), TWITTER (@iAmTheUninvited), AND LET'S CONNECT ON LINKEDIN

WHAT IS THE UNINVITED?

Craig is a young man of promise and ability, which he is - choking on bong hits and vodka shots. Like many bright slackers, he glides through school but can never quite launch a grown-up life and career. What does he care? His parents are always there to rescue him. He spends his nights conning his way into exclusive nightclubs, championship locker rooms and sold-out concert VIP areas. His brushes with fame and celebrity make him feel like he matters, too. As his adventures grow grander (the Grammy's, the Stanley Cup, the World Series, the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame, the Summer Olympics, The Kremlin), he cannot see that his life is built on a crumbling foundation of ever-expanding lies. He is bouncing from job to job, stealing his girlfriend’s ATM card and dulling his pain with more pot and alcohol. When he fails the bar exam for a third time and his parents threaten to cut him off, he has no choice but to confront himself. After wasting a month in a residential-treatment program, he finds his way to Dr. Arthur Knauert (Dr. K), a street-smart New York psychiatrist with a unique understanding of addictions and how addicts can rescue themselves. Dr. K traces the issue to Craig’s inconsistent nurturing and his refusal to take responsibility for the choices he makes. The doctor demands that Craig begin performing “esteemable acts.” Craig stumbles at first, but soon takes to Dr. K’s demanding prescription. Craig gradually turns his life around, coming to find his salvation in this new set of life-affirming principles. His friends and family start to notice, as do Pope John II and Rabbi Mechachem Schneerson, as Craig establishes personal audiences with them. Gratified by his progress, Craig begins to share them with other lost souls. When Dr. K comes down with terminal cancer, Craig fears he will be lost again. But in a deathbed conversation, Dr. K gives Craig the confidence and wisdom he needs to carry on. As new challenges enter Craig’s life, he is at last prepared to confront them—with openness, honesty and Dr. K’s esteemable acts.

 

Set primarily in New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Moscow, the main action occurs in the late-1980 and 1990s. Chief characters are Craig and Dr. K, supported by Craig’s parents, brothers and friends. Cameo appearances by many top celebrities include Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Jack Nicholson, Donald Trump, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Madonna and Dion.

 

The book builds with detailed descriptions of Craig’s many celebrity incursions— including his how-to techniques. The meaning and insight arrive gradually as he comes to see that by seeking proximity to the famous he is actually wasting his own precious life. Lost and despondent, he continues to fall until he finds Dr. K, who shares a way of living that turns everything around. The tone is inspirational and often humorous.

 

The book will appeal broadly and be of special interest to several segments: Young adults attracted to colorful coming-of-age stories. People in recovery from alcohol, drug and other addictions. Readers drawn to backstage celebrity stories from the 1980s and 1990s. Fans of self-help and personal-improvement books. Written in fast-paced, accessible prose with a funny, self-deprecating edge, The Uninvited as a feel-good story with a message that creeps up on you. The con-man and celebrity stories pull you in, but it’s the deeper insights that will stick with you.

WHO ARE THE UNINVITED?

THE UNINVITED ARE THE MOST AMAZING PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. THEY DO NOT PRETEND TO BE PERFECT. THEY VOW TO CONTINUE IMPROVING AND THEY NEVER GIVE UP. SEEKING TO TRANSFORM THEIR THOUGHTS AND ATTITUDES, THEY RESPOND TO LIFE WITH INTELLECT INSTEAD OF REACTING WITH EMOTION. THEY FACE THE WORLD WITH COMPASSION, AND THEY TRY TO REMEMBER THAT YOU NEVER MAKE ANYTHING BETTER BY MAKING IT WORSE. THE UNINVITED ARE PEOPLE WHO HAVE RISEN FROM THE DEPTHS OF DESPAIR AND HAVE FOUND THE COURAGE TO SOAR.

WE ARE ALL THE UNINVITED