Branch: United States Marine Corps
MOS: 2311 Ammo Tech
I was raised around addiction my whole life. My mom was addicted to pain killers and later on much harder drugs. I grew up around addiction my entire life, to top things off my father was emotionally abusive. Addiction is all I've known my whole life. I survived childhood doing anything I could to get by. By the age 17 my parents split, that's when I started to be allowed to use, at this point I started using with my mom and other friends. I was never taught that it was bad or wrong to abuse drugs and alcohol. My addiction started with alcohol, progressed to marijuana then onto hardcore drugs I got down to 115lbs. I started out a great student, but half way through my junior year I no longer cared about anything but getting high. My high school principal only allowed me to graduate under the understanding that I enlist. Ironically because of my addictions I got into a lot of trouble with the law and was given a choice, enlist in the Marine corps or go to JAIL.
My recruiter had to pay off my warrants just so I could enlist. The Corps taught me work hard, play harder which only fueled the addiction problem I had. I got into trouble twice in the Marine corps for underage drinking, I ended up having to go to military rehab, I was clean for a year and went sky diving to celebrate. However I never felt that sobriety was a life long goal it was just the short term answer. I fell of the proverbial wagon hard and started to drink and using drugs. Deep down I knew something had to change.
THE TURNING POINT
A month after my 37th birthday I realized I had started abusing drugs and alcohol at 17 and had given 20 years of my life to addiction. I realized that this was long enough to give myself to addiction. I figured if I lived to be 100 years old, 20 years was a pretty good amount to give to addiction and enough was enough. I will never drink or use again, that lifestyle does not help with my goals of being a fantastic father, great coach, mentor and business owner. Everything is better not using.
HOW HAS VO2 CHANGED YOU'RE LIFE?
VO2 has changed my life in so many ways its incredible. I have now been participating in obstacle course racing for 5 years, the first 2 I was still using, which drastically hindered my performance. Ever event I take part in is for or representing VO2. Now that I'm clean, sober and healthy my body mind and soul works better and in unison. I changed my mindset and got involved in yoga to help guide my spirituality. Now I can hold my head up high and lead my other veterans by example thus in turn showing them there is a better way. Within the veteran community my story is not unique, so many of my brothers and sisters struggle with addiction, but by staying sober I can help show them there is a better path.