Experience is the Best Teacher; Just Ask Those Who’ve Failed

Published: 21/12, 2021

“They got a name for the winners in the world

I want a name when I lose…”

--Steely Dan, “Deacon Blues”


Losing. Nobody likes it. Yet along with death and taxes, failure is something that everyone experiences in his or her lifetime. It runs the gamut from coming up short in a video game, to the break-up of a long-term relationship, to the financial and legal ramifications of an unsuccessful business venture. 

As even older song advises, we usually pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again. And there is no shortage of adages and other resources to help turn those losses into insightful learning experiences that can sometimes prove more beneficial than if we hadn’t lost at all.

Unfortunately, not all losses are as easily resolved as hitting “reset” on a game console, refreshing an online dating profile, or even regaining a clean credit slate. Those whose situations are complicated by factors such as addiction to drugs and alcohol are often trapped in a worsening, self-destructive cycle of loss, one often compounded by the effects on those who care about and rely on them. 

Fortunately, there are resources that can help break this vicious circle, enabling addicts literally and figuratively to regain their lives—a “win” in anyone’s book, though that hard-won victory may be fragile given the multiple temptations to regress and resume bad habits anytime the going gets rough.

Unless you’ve experienced addiction—either personally or via a colleague, friend or family member—it’s not always easy to understand what leads to such behavior, or what it takes to successfully emerge from it. That’s why we’re grateful to have Talisha Bryan share her story in this issue of PDa. 

Though Talisha has lived most of her life in the Salt Lake City area, the self-described “Diamond Cutting Queen” has become known worldwide for her YouTube videos in which she details how concrete cutting work helped lift her from more than a decade of addiction struggles. Talisha is not shy about discussing what she’s been through, or how it affected her family, including her two daughters. Indeed, she could’ve kept her past quiet and made a name for herself simply by being a woman in a male-dominated industry. 

Yet openly taking responsibility for past mistakes enhances both the value and urgency of Talisha’s message. As we’ve reported before, the rate of addiction among construction workers is nearly double the average for all full-time workers. Finding a way out is never easy. But sometimes, simply talking with someone who’s been there, done that is all it takes to start the process of positive change. And when that person has, like Talisha, overcome other types of obstacles on her way to building a career, it truly shows that anything is possible, including winning one’s personal battle with addiction.  

So yes, they’ve got a name for the winners in the world. In this case, it’s Talisha. But it’s also the name of anyone willing to that that proverbial first step on a journey that’s not always easy, but always worth the effort.


Jim Parsons, Senior Editor


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