Whenever I bring up the subject of substance abuse and addiction in general (see yesterday’s update), I’m always overwhelmed by the massive response. I think the reason the subject of addiction elicits such incredible feedback is because it’s something many people have struggled with at some time in their lives. I’m not just talking about drugs, either: food, tobacco, gambling and alcohol addictions are also very common – and many of us have suffered from (or are currently suffering from) several of these addictions at the same time. I know I did. That’s a lot to deal with, and sometimes it seems like there is no way out. I felt like there was no hope for a very long time, but I was wrong: there was an answer to my problems, and for me the solution was fitness.
Some people wonder why I’m so passionate about fitness, health and exercise. It’s simple: those things changed my life forever and gave me the strength to overcome my addictions. After well over a decade of constant drug abuse (and not just chronic/daily pot use), today I celebrate 3 years without drugs. After 13 years and a 3-pack a day habit, I’ve not had a cigarette since October 31, 2000. I used to get drunk every night, now I drink maybe once a month, sometimes less. I used to drink far more alcohol in a month than I’ve had in the past 3 years combined.
I remember there were days when I would look at my reflection the mirror and think to myself “you are going to be a loser for the rest of your life”. I was so numb from drugs, depression and alcohol that I didn’t even care – admitting that I was giving up gave me the freedom to continue my downward spiral free of guilt. Thankfully there was still a spark of life somewhere in me, and exercise was the fuel that turned that spark back into a raging fire. Now I live life with passion – healthy, and free of the demons that almost killed me.
I talk about these things because I want people who are suffering from addiction to know that the fat lady has not sung; your life is not over – you can fix things, because there is always hope. There is a solution to your problems, but you’ve got to really want to change. Because you are reading a health and fitness web site, I suspect that you do want to change. For me the answer was exercise and improving my health, maybe it is for you, too. Today every single one of us is one day closer to the end of our lives than we were yesterday. Make this one count.