Why I Wrote The Book
I began writing 1 + 1 = 2 MANY at the beginning of 2015. The desire to tell my story had been building for some time and, as you'll read in the book, was really ignited with the death of my best friend. Paul died in a freak accident at age 21 and his passing forever changed my life. Paul's death is important because it was the turning point in my life. When most people think of death as a turning point, usually it is viewed with a negative connotation, but for me, his death provoked me to reevaluate my life.
Up until the day Paul died, I was living the party life and it was an incredibly crazy lifestyle. Now this itself would not be significant in and of itself, however I was just coming off my second driving-under-the-influence (DUI) conviction. I had been living this lifestyle for a year and a half. Nothing stopped me – not the first DUI and car accident at 80mph after I fell asleep at the wheel, not second DUI, not being a passenger in another DUI stop, and not losing my license and a significant amount of money spent on lawyers and court fees.
But when Paul died, the world changed. Although I sunk into a massive depression on the inside, I reacted in a positive manner outwardly. Instead of drinking away the memories, I channeled in my energy into my work, family, friends, and most importantly, finding God.
In an attempt to save youth from making my mistakes, I decided it would be my mission to educate them. I am not far removed from them in age (24) so I believe that will help connect me with them. Hopefully, by hearing my story, they consider making healthy decisions.
Educators and youth group leaders will benefit heavily from the content in 1 + 1 = 2 MANY as will parents and counselors. The book covers topics everyone can relate to, but it especially useful as a guide for teenagers and young adults. The driving force behind the book is the desire to make a difference and to convince youth to consider the ramifications of their decisions.
Moreover, 1 + 1 = 2 MANY at its core is motivational. The audience will discover both the self-imposed difficulties I faced as well as the external difficulties, namely the loss of Paul. Building off these experiences, I provide recovery techniques that give hope even in the darkest of times.
Lessons Illustrated in 1 + 1 = 2 MANY
The title itself it a lesson which I demonstrate by using basing arithmetic and algebra. Building off my experience in the area of game theory, I illustrate that life is already complicated enough; adding another complication such as drinking and driving creates too many problems. Game theory is central to the lesson of decision-making. It proves that even if there is a strong chance of nothing bad happening (car wreck, injury, death, etc), the negative consequences far outweigh any perceived benefit. In my game theory model, two options are weighed against each other using probability of either happening and the rewards (positive or negative) of each option.
Other Lessons Include:
Making healthy decisions: my own negative decisions have left me with some consequences I will never overcome.
- The value of life: Paul's death occurred at a time when I truly gave no thought to the value of life. After he died, I reevaluated my life and found myself regretting the time I wasted and the opportunities I carelessly threw away as I drove while intoxicated.
- Recovery: Instead of wasting even more of my life after Paul died, I rebounded by channeling my energy into positive endeavors.
- The power of redemption: My reckless behavior was during a part of my life when I was far from God. His healing grace by way of my wife led me to redemption.
Table of Contents & Summaries
- Meet Daniel – Eagle Scout, Student Senator, and straight-A student. I thought I was immune to bad decisions and the consequences of driving drunk. Statistically speaking, I had everything going for me to choose the right path. I could never make a mistake like driving under the influence. Right? I have never been more wrong. No one is immune. In my lecture and forthcoming book 1 + 1 = 2 MANY, I educate youth on making healthy decisions. You're already playing the difficult game of life; don't add another complication like driving under the influence. This is the story of my recovery, how I transcended my past mistakes and failures. I invite you and every youth to hear it and learn from my mistakes.
- A Cold Morning
- On December 3, 2011, I wrecked my car going 80 mph down the interstate. I had fallen asleep at the wheel on the way back from a party. Before leaving at 3 a.m. I took a two hour nap. Feeling fine and thinking I was okay to drive, I went behind the wheel and didn't think twice. This was the beginning of my traffic trouble that span two years. This incident would span 8 months as I fought in court for a diversion.
- After losing my car and suffering familial embarrassment, I finished the semester strong making a 4.0. But it was not easy and the added stress of taking finals less than a week after being charged with a DUI and losing my car was not pleasant.
- I gained summer employment for the first time in my college career and managed to buy a car I deeply enjoyed, my first Ford Mustang.
- Bleeding Crimson
- Immediately after transferring to the University of Kansas following the summer of rebuilding, I was initiated in the party life. I lived in the on-campus apartments with the student athletes who invited me out several times a week.
- I also reconnected with a close friend from high school and we were soon finishing 30 packs of beer in one night, in addition to hard liquor. This led to some incredibly stupid decisions such as driving completely drunk 100 mph in a 30 mph zone and urinating off an apartment rooftop.
- A Celebration Behind Bars
- The night before the Fourth of July 2013, two friends and I went out. I thought we were playing it safe and, being the least drunk among us, I drove after a night of partying. The result? I was arrested after the police pulled me over for what they said was running a red light. I was out of jail at 7 a.m., but the whole holiday was ruined not just for me, but for my family as well since I caused them so much stress and anguish.
- On my lunch break at work, I received a message from Paul's cousin asking if I "had heard about what happened to Paul?" In my heart, I had wanted to believe he had won the lottery or something great had happened, but my world ended when I was told he passed away the night prior. Passed away from what? He didn't have a disease or illness. How could he simply no longer be there?
- Paul was the greatest guy on earth. Unlike many of my other friends, he was mature far beyond his years. Most importantly, he was always there to help me; he was irreplaceable.
- I returned to work the day after the funeral and vowed to make my life one of positive decisions, but I didn't quite know what I would do.
- I found strength in inspirational figures such as Steve Jobs. Although I recognized I could never have his impact, I knew I had to change the world some way, some how, if only to immortalize Paul's memory. From this point on, I lived my life for Paul.
- Letting Love In
- On December 4, 2013, I married my wonderful wife and became the dad for two great children. This was my chance to be a positive influence in the lives of others and taught me how to give selfishly and generously.
- Aya not only gave me someone to spend the rest of my life with, but she also brought me back to God. I had not been to church since I left for KU in August 2012 and she encouraged us to go as a family.
- Marrying Aya, I became the dad for two children (ages 7 and 8) and was introduced to two different cultures: Middle East and French. Our household speaks several languages (Arabic, French, and Hebrew); this reenforced my passion of learning languages.
- A Wasted Week
- I decided to take my family on a day trip to Manhattan, KS. On the way to the museum, I was yet again pulled over. This was the fifth time I had been pulled over since my DUI and amounted to my second driving-while-suspended conviction.
- Unable to avoid jail this time, I spent five days in Riley County Jail. It was a tremendous waste of otherwise valuable time. Having just graduated, I gave up time spent looking for work to sit behind bars. More than anything, the experience taught me just how much my mistakes had compounded upon one anther. Two DUIs had turned into years worth of legal and financial difficulties.
- Camelot Falling
- The first two years of our marriage was full of incredible highs and extreme lows. One of the extreme lows came at a point where my wife had exhausted herself preparing several family events. Selfishly, I wanted more of her for me and upon her refusal, a great fight ignited. Without hitting or kicking her, I managed to dislocate her jaw.
- As she ran out of the house calling 9-1-1, I fled to a relative's. Upon returning home, I was served a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order and was essentially kicked from my home – I certainly deserved it. I had the police officer take me to a suicide prevention center. In reality, I just wanted someone to talk to, but suicide was definitely on the forefront of my mind.
- Less than a month later we reunited for Independence Day. I am forever reminded of how close I was to losing my family and forever ashamed of my actions. While in a mental health hospital, I made a plan to further my formal Middle East education after reading a Time article about Henry Kissinger. I decided I needed to rededicate my life and live it for a higher purpose rather than myself.
- Great Forfeiture
- In September 2015, I was called for an interview for a lucrative position in my former city Houston. After several rounds of interviews, my family and I left for home. We had made it a nice Labor Day vacation on the beach, but it wasn't cheap – the bill nearly totaled $2,000 after hotel and gas expenses. But I thought it was worth it to get the job.
- A few days after returning home, I was informed that I had been removed from consideration and talking to the managing director, was told I had no future with the company; don't even reapply. This could only be due to my tarnished background.
- Furthermore, after visiting with three branches of the military, I was also given their refusal, but this was kind of a no brainer; I simply wanted some conclusion.
- My DUIs and all the traffic violations since them had made me unemployable. This consequence is not often told when high school students are lectured on the dangers of drinking and driving and I feel it really bears mentioning.
- A dominant majority of my difficulties were self-imposed by selfish acts of stupidity. There is no room in life for bad decisions of this magnitude. Furthermore, they are incredibly naive decisions that give no thought to the future: How will this affect my future employment ability? Will this affect my future family? What options does this remove fro the table five or ten years from now?
- Paul's death reawakened me. Unfortunately most of the damage had already been done at this point, but his passing encouraged me to dedicate my life to a higher cause.
My primary objective is to secure publication with a major publisher so it will reach a broader audience. However, if I am unable find a major publisher to publish it, I will self-publish using the money as follows:
- $2000 – book publishing
- $5000 – online marketing (social media, ads, etc)
- $3000 – traditional marketing
Total Need: $10,000
Alongside the book, I am already offering public speaking engagements for schools and youth groups. Currently I am book for several schools in April 2016 and I anticipate booking more for early next year soon. My public speaking engagements offer the ability for me to share my story and connect on a personal level with teens who are most in need of alcohol education. They also offer me the chance for me to promote my book which is vital for sales.