I am a person in long term recovery. What that means to me is that I have not had a drink or drug since September 14th, 2015.
I was born in Walnut Creek California and was heavily involved in sports at a very young age. I was racing BMX bikes before pre-school started and sneaking onto my brother’s little league baseball team before I was old enough to play myself. Throughout my early childhood I shifted my focus to baseball and began playing travel baseball every weekend, traveling as far as China to play.
Upon entering high school, I was introduced to drinking and drugs and it began to play a pivotal role in my everyday life. I quit baseball a year into high school and began to focus on football where I excelled. By that time as well I was smoking pot nearly every day and drinking every weekend. I never went half ass on anything, on the field or “partying”. I was a blackout drinker from day one and that never changed. Going into my senior year of high school I had the opportunity to play at the next level, but drugs and alcohol weighed heavily on me and I decided to not play in college.
When I got to college things changed. My attitude changed and so did my actions. I was never the best student, but given the freedom of college and the endless supply of drugs and alcohol at any given time sent me down a road I would find nearly impossible to escape. I was introduced to oxycontin back in high school and never took it too seriously, but with my new lifestyle in college and being re-introduced to the feeling it gave me, I took off and ran with it. By August of 2013 I was completely addicted to it and had to use it every day, just to function. I was sick more times than not and it made me do things I never thought I would never do in order to maintain my habit. I pushed my loved ones away and became an outcast at school. I was surrounded by so many people at all times, but I had never felt so alone.
It only took me 6 months to hit my first of many “rock bottoms” and was intervened on by my family and friends. I went to my first rehab in March of 2014 and did not grasp the concept of my disease of addiction. I played it off like I was ok after my 30 day stay and did not think I needed to attend AA meetings because I was strong and could control my actions. I was wrong. It did not take more than 2 weeks for me to relapse and once again begin to hide my disease and use from my family by whom I was now living with at the time. My disease had me locked in and I could not do anything about it on my own. I had graduated from oxycontin to heroin by that time and for another 9 months suffered tremendously until I went to my second treatment center in January of 2015.
I moved to Colorado and went to Jaywalker Lodge, an all men’s treatment center and was surrounded by amazing people. However, it did not matter how many good people I was surrounded by I did not surrender and work a program. So shortly after my 3 month stay in treatment, I was high yet again. And this time it took me to living on the streets temporarily. It wasn’t until this that I knew I really had to change and seek help, not for anyone but myself. I was miserable, and I wanted to be better. I begged my parents to give me one last shot and on September 14th, 2015 I moved to Florida where I went to treatment one last time.
Upon arriving to Florida, I decided my way did not work and I needed to choose something different. So, I chose the 12-Steps. I got a sponsor and worked the steps immediately. I took any advice that people had for me and put it into action and began to feel the promises mentioned in the Big Book. It was then that I realized that by living by certain principles and helping others that life was now everything I have ever wanted.
I was welcomed into CrossFit HYPE and brought into their family, and after 6 months of working out there, was asked to be a part of the coaching staff in the fall of 2016. It was around that time to that someone very dear to my heart asked me what I wanted to do in life. My answer was to combine the two things I loved so much, fitness and to help other people who struggle with this disease of addiction and show them there a healthy alternative lifestyle beyond drugs and alcohol.
Temperance Training was born. With the help of this individual, my sponsor, and the owner of CrossFit HYPE we began our journey to help other people by providing free community based fitness classes. In April of 2017, we started with Sober Sundays. Every Sunday at 9am we hosted a CrossFit class, free of charge to anybody in sobriety. As time went on, people started to talk about it and it began to grow. With 40+ people showing up to CrossFit HYPE every Sunday at 9am for Sober Sundays and grabbing attention from people out of state we had to re-think what we should do. So we made Temperance Training a Non-Profit Organization and began hosting classes 6 days a week. We now have a massive following and it continues to grow and grow with each week.
I never thought any of this would be possible. Especially while in active addiction. I always knew right from wrong, but during my struggles it was unclear to me. When I finally decided to put down the drink and drug and dive into the 12-Steps and helping other individuals is when the miracle took place. The community I am now a part of is like having the biggest family you could ever imagine. There is nothing better than getting active and sweating out your worries. The high you get from working out does not even compare to my best day using, it is unlike anything you have ever tried before. I am so happy that I get to share my passion of fitness and the pursuit of living a happy and healthy life with the people in my life today.
I am a recovering addict and alcoholic
Feelings of not belonging, not being pretty enough, not being smart enough, and not being good enough plagued me as a youth and into my young adulthood. Where it came from, I don’t know because I had an amazing family who supported me in everything and I exceled at most of the things I participated in. These internal feelings along with life circumstances lead me to start self-medicating with drugs and alcohol at a young age. Through the use of these substances, I gained a false sense of self and achievement that carried me for some time, until it eventually bankrupt me of all self-respect and dignity due to the horrible things it led me to do – The worst of which was hurting and betraying the people who I loved the most. I stayed trapped in the ugly cycle of addiction for over a decade, until it left me merely a shell of a person. Through treatment and the continued support of my loved ones, I was able to get the help I needed and began my journey into recovery. Through vigorous work, I began to love myself and re-discover my passions in life for health and wellness. I got involved in a 12 step program, quit smoking, started eating healthy, and found CrossFit. I eventually began coaching and working in the treatment industry, allowing me to give back to those who are where I once was. Through these platforms, I have not only found empowerment in myself but I am blessed to be able to help empower others to do the same.
This journey is life long and is something that I cannot do alone. The parallels between the recovery community and the CrossFit community have been undeniable for me. Both involve getting groups of like-minded people together working towards a common goal. Both communities thrive on the “old timers” helping the “new comers.” Everyone is welcome, regardless of background or skill set. Both provide safe places where I can process whatever I’m going through and always leave me in a better mood. And both have provided me with an endless family that supports me and inspires me to be a better version of myself – mentally, physically, and spiritually.
My journey in recovery and fitness has afforded me a life beyond my wildest dreams. I have discovered myself and have overcome the feelings of insignificance I grew up with. Today, I am an empowered woman and am no longer a victim of my circumstances. My goal in life is to help others, especially women, find that in themselves, to overcome their battles and to live their absolute best lives.
I did it to feel good. I did it because it was fun. I did it to fit in. I did it to connect. I did it to disconnect. I did it not to feel.
When I had my first beer at fourteen it felt right. I finally felt like myself. I was funny and easy going, I liked what I saw when I looked into the mirror. I was comfortable in my own skin. I remember thinking to myself that alcohol made me better, it made me how I was supposed to be. But what alcohol really did to me was far from making me better. Shortly after I began drinking, a darkness emerged. I was a mean and destructive black out drunk and by the time I was fifteen I had been hospitalized for overdosing; this would happen 3 more times over the course of fourteen years.
Growing up in Westchester, New York I was an avid athlete. I did everything from horseback riding to skiing to soccer and I was good at them all. Playing sports made me feel alive but I let that go once I started abusing drugs and alcohol. My main focus became about getting that high or that buzz because then, “everything was alright,” life was manageable, but life was everything but manageable.
By the time I got to college I had no interest in the athletic activities that had defined me for so long, the athletic activities that provided my life with meaning and gave me a sense of self and self-confidence. My college years were some of my darkest years, the shame and guilt of my lifestyle began to catch up with me and the more shame I felt the more I wanted to consume drugs and alcohol to feel those feelings less and less. I spent the next fourteen years of my life very disconnected from my true self.
Throughout these fourteen years I attempted to quit drinking and seek help many times. I went to numerous therapists but none of them could help me, “they didn’t get me.” I’d have periods of time when I wasn’t drinking but I wasn’t ready to give up it up, drinking provided me with so much relief and comfort, imagining my life without drinking was a life I could not envision.
When I was in my early twenties I began running again, it was the only reprieve I had from my drinking and destructive lifestyle. My life was falling apart but when I was alone on the road with just my thoughts and running shoes I was in control, I was strong, I was capable, and I was
content. I found absolution in running.
By the time I was twenty-nine years old realized I had no self-esteem nor confidence in myself, and I existed as a shell of a human being. Each day I moved further from the woman I wanted to be; I didn’t know how to embody and achieve the life I wanted for myself . At this point in my life I was so powerless over the drugs and alcohol, but I didn’t know how to stop.
In May of 2015, I awoke to find myself hospitalized again for overdosing, the feelings of despair and defeat were so intense, the following day I admitted myself into detox and then entered treatment. During my years of drinking I ran five half marathons and in 2012, I ran the Chicago Marathon in four and a half hours, but it wasn’t until I was sober that I was able to fully commit to my training. In 2017, I ran the iconic New York City marathon, the race of my home city in under four hours. Looking back, going to treatment and getting sober was the best decision I’ve ever made albeit the hardest thing I have ever done. The suffering that I put myself through prior to treatment and the discomfort of treatment itself prepared me for the running that I became passionate about in recovery. Through the support of my family, the work I continually do on myself every day, and my mindset that perseveres no matter what, I’ve found myself in a life beyond my wildest dreams.
I am an aspiring professional golfer and former scholarship athlete at Temple University. And I am an alcoholic. My life, once so low, shallow and seemingly meaningless, completely changed on May 7, 2016. That was my first day of recovery. I have not had a drink or used a drug since. Here is my story.
I was born in Eastern Pennsylvania on June 10, 1995 to an Irish Catholic family who gave me every opportunity growing up. From the earliest days I can remember, life revolved around sports. Although born with a hampering leg condition known as "miserable malalignment syndrome" (femoral anteversion combined with tibial torsion), I grew up playing football, basketball, baseball, tennis, and, the biggest part of my life, golf. My parents supported me in whatever I wanted to do. Their love was boundless.
As I got to high school I switched my focus mainly to golf. As a freshman, I was all-league and fully discovered I had a talent for the game. For the next three years, I was voted the outstanding golfer in our area and rose to All-State in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, I never fully believed in myself. Worse, I had no work ethic, practiced very little and did not even come close to my potential despite my high achievement.
Strangely, and though I loved golf, I reached my full potential much more in basketball, my first love. My father was a standout basketball player in high school and college and a member of his college's Hall of Fame. I didn't have an innate talent for basketball like I did with golf but I worked hard at improving (despite my uncooperative legs). It was the first time in my life that I had ever put 100% effort into anything. Although slow, weak and with no real jumping ability, I developed a deadly outside shot and became a starter on a very good team. I hustled every second on the court. Without those basketball years and the example of what could be accomplished with great effort, I would never be the person I am today.
Following high school and a gap year at a top golf academy (it did not go well), I accepted a scholarship to play golf at Temple University. Despite every opportunity at Temple, including the support of the coach and my treasured teammates, I fell into the throes of addiction. I began by drinking every weekend and progressed to drinking every day. I barely went to class. Almost every time I drank, I blacked out. By the end of sophomore year and after chance after chance to succeed, I had lost just about everything and everyone I loved. I was an addict, a failed college student and a dismissed golfer from a top program. I hated myself and my life.
Three days after returning from college my sophomore year, I tried to reject the intervention of my parents and loved ones who offered me a chance at recovery through in-patient treatment at the Caron Foundation. In the end, the resolve of my parents won out and I grudgingly agreed to a five day evaluation. It lasted seven months.
It was a cold and wet day driving through the hills of Pennsylvania to get to Caron. The date was May 7, 2016 and I have been sober ever since. It wasn't easy, as I spent 30 days at Caron (PA) and then relocated to Caron Renaissance in Florida where I stayed for almost 6 months. I remember thinking that my life was over, that nothing would ever be right again. I was so wrong.
After fighting my treatment for months, I finally began to see the life that I could have. I started at the bottom. When I was sixth months sober, I was finally ready for employment. I got a job as a bag room attendant at a country club. For the first two months, and while living at a halfway house, I woke up at 3 am and walked 6 miles to work for my 6 am shift. It was hard, but I just did it.
Now twenty months sober, I am holding a full-time job while competing in major amateur tournaments with an eye to pursuing a career in professional golf. I am also active in assisting others recovering from addiction. I have my whole family back in my life, plus amazing friends and a support system that helps me grow each and every day. I love every second of my sober life and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
I am truly blessed and honored to be an ambassador for FROPRO. Matt and I met when I first came to South Florida. We immediately had a close bond. I believe in what he is trying to do and the company he is building. I am happy to support his vision and dream.