By 8 a.m., I’d already showered, packed and enjoyed a hot cup of coffee on my fifth floor balcony overlooking the unparalleled beauty of the white sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach.

I felt great!

Twenty three hours earlier, I’d just completed the opening keynote speech of the Gulf Coast 9-1-1 Conference.

On past trips, I would have been full of beer and struggled just to be awake prior to the mandatory checkout time.

On this trip, I was full of energy, good food and gratitude.

I’ve been making better decisions as of late, and my life, both personally and professionally, has never been better.

I’ve tried to rid myself of three things that took up much of my time. I had to put them in check.

First of all, I haven’t been drunk in more than five months. To put that into perspective, barring my three tours in Iraq, I haven’t gone five months without getting drunk since the five months before I ever got drunk.

I’ll still have a beer or two here and there, but those beers are few and far between, and, on occasion, I’ll have a glass of wine with dinner. Be that as it may, most of the time, it’s lemonade, water with lemon, or unsweet tea for me.

Yes, unsweet tea. If given the choice, that’s how I roll. Oftentimes, sweet tea can be just too sweet and can be poured on pancakes if you’re running low on syrup.

But, I digress; I haven’t been drunk since May 14, 2013. I had a slight “buzz” after a couple of strong beers at a brewery in Northern Michigan two weeks ago but called it quits when the buzzing commenced. I was only a block from my hotel.

The drinking and the extracurricular activities associated with it were very time consuming. Whether it was the consumption of alcohol itself or sleeping off its effects, it was just a complete waste of time. Oftentimes I would drink enough to ruin the entire next day which lead to little, if any, productivity.

Secondly, I was spending way too much time playing stupid games on my phone. The objective of the first game I got hooked on was to knock things over with different types of birds. Yes, birds – angry ones, at that.

After I’d tamed the birds, I had words with friends in a game that was a lot like Scrabble. I really can’t remember what made it so special, but it was my longest addiction. One time, I had a word worth 180 points, but it was still stupid, but I was even stupider.

Lastly, there was Ruzzle. It was stupid, too.

Thankfully, I was never involved with the mafia and never had a farm. Furthermore, I do not currently have a crush on candy.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, chances are you have a Buick in your garage, but trust me, you aren’t missing a thing. A glass of cornbread and buttermilk is much more interesting and beneficial. These are more stupid, time consuming games at the fingertips of many Americans who own smart phones.

To be called “smart” phones, they sure are filled with a lot of stupidity.

Luckily, I gave up the games, which led to more time to focus on things that are truly important.

I said there were three things I’ve tried to rid myself of, but, for the life of me, I can’t remember what the third one was. Now I know how Gov. Rick Perry felt at the November 2011 GOP debate when he couldn’t remember the third government agency he would shut down if elected President of the United States.

I feel you, governor. Oops.

I guess, in my case, it wasn’t very important since I can’t remember what it was. That states volumes, so good riddance to whatever it was.

It wasn’t food. I know that for a fact. I will never give up my affection for good food.

We are all so busy these days and for many legitimate reasons; however, most of us have many unnecessary distractors in our lives, too. Try putting your distractors in check and focus on what is truly important. You’ll be amazed by the results.

Jody Fuller is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier. He can be reached at For more information, please visit