Toby Joseph

Lesson 5: The Changer – Self-Discovery


Acknowledge that a precondition to becoming drug and alcohol free is deciding to take the first step.


Conduct a personal assessment of what is “won” and what is “lost” by ridding oneself of addictive behaviors and habits.

The Changer

This role is referred to as the “magician” in the traditional hero’s journey.  It’s a place of self-awareness.  This is the stage where you realize you possess the strength and wisdom necessary to bring about change.  These are qualities you had all along, but the act of the journey reveals them to you.  This is the place of realization and revelation.

Making Choices -- Getting Grounded

“It’s about being human and the choices that we’re making in harmony or out of harmony with the natural cycle of things.”  Toby Tafoya Joseph

“I wandered aimlessly, from place to place, woman to woman, experience to experience.”           Toby Tafoya Joseph

Toby has spent several years trying to find himself.  He has made dramatic changes in his life—which he largely attributes to making a conscious choice to become—and stay—sober and drug free.   His choice forced him to sacrifice many “pleasurable” aspects of his life, even if the “pleasures” he experienced from “partying hard” were illusory and eventually took their toll on his closest relationships and sense of well-being.  In the process of confronting the debilitating aspects of his addiction, Toby also discovered the desire and motivation to make the necessary changes to gain control over his life.

To Drink, Or Not to Drink

I knew I wanted something better.  I knew what I didn’t want.  I didn’t want to be drunk.  I didn’t want to be angry.”

Toby Tafoya Joseph

Where is your personal comfort zone?  What would you lose if you stopped drinking and/or using drugs?  What would you gain from leading a sober, drug-free existence?  If you made a list of pros and cons….how would these lists compare?

The following are lists of consequences taken from Toby’s own life.  Using this chart as a guide, construct your own columns of “wins” and “losses.”  Each list can be as long as necessary to reveal the personal consequences of your life choices.

“Wins” of Drinking

Angry feeling go away for awhile.

My friends Jim Beam and Jack Daniels keep me company.

Helps me forget my personal trauma.

Have exciting adventures

“Womanizing” and partying.

Lets me live in a comfortable “fog.”

“Wins” of Not Drinking

Have a successful marriage relationship.

Ceremony (not booze) helps me control my anger.

Not having a gun pointed at my face.

Being a faithful husband and loving father.


Courage to go back to school.

Becoming a role model.

“Losses” of Drinking

Failed marriage.

Becoming a convicted felon.

Creating situations where my life is threatened.

Feeling that life “sucks.”

Having to undergo treatment several times.

Feeling depressed unless I’m drunk or high.

Feeling afraid to be the “real me.”

“Losses” of Not Drinking

Ending a marriage to maintain my sobriety.

Struggling to find new ways to solve my problems.

Having to face my responsibilities (e.g., 6 paternity tests)

Giving up old drinking buddies.

Being alone.


Keeping “score” of your wins and losses can be an exercise you repeat from time to time.  Add each new achievement or triumph to the “win” column.  Comparing your lists over time gives you evidence of progress toward your desired goals.