“If I can do this, what else can I do?” The first thought that entered my mind in the morning after I turned Pro. I have an elite total my first year in powerlifting. I at myself the question again. I cannot tell you how many times I quit. How many times I’ve said, “it’s just not worth it I’m tired.” The inner negative self-talk I can’t seem to keep quiet, “you’re washed up.” A few times I was validated in that thinking by a mentor and of course I’d rather obsess over a negative comment than anything positive anyone has to say. “Must be true. I suck. I’m dreaming.” This way I can justify my low self-worth. If it comes as a surprise to anyone that an athlete at a high caliber (in two sports) feels these things, you should think again. Sometimes, these negative feelings were driving force behind my training. Sometimes, these negative feelings caused me to stay in bed for three days staring at the ceiling fan contemplating why I exist. These thoughts are always toxic, and you can train your brain just like you train your body to adjust yourself. Work on it whether it’s talking it out with a friend or professional or journaling, reading literature that can help guide you back to sanity. I was 90 days sober. I was working my 12 steps and doing my best to live life on life’s terms.

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I detoxed during that prep. Unknowing, alcohol is the one substance that can kill you if you quit cold turkey. The first couple of days I was in jail. Don’t get arrested on a Friday because court doesn’t reopen till Monday morning and it is very busy. The court on that Monday morning was very interesting because my “victim” was also my counsel. The judge had never experienced that before. We bucked the system three times that day because the judge kept having us postpone and return, three times that day. Once charges were dropped, I was able to go home.

My husband suggested, “a meeting.” I had clients Tuesday morning after he got me out of jail. My first one was a new client. I was sweating, shaking and feeling like I was about to vomit. There were a lot of “floaters” obstructing my vision. I broke down and told her what was going on. As it turned out (because God has a great way of letting you know He is watching), my client was in recovery from drugs and food disorders. She sat with me and we looked up meetings in my area. Tuesday, 5:30 pm. I went. The meeting had been canceled but four people showed up, including me. One young man informed me where the “good” meetings are. Wednesday, I went to the 7:30 am meeting. At this point, I couldn’t read. I could hardly see at all. My head was throbbing. This would be the beginning of what I now suffer from in the form of ocular migraines. Headaches that literally blind me. But I was in prep! No time for this.

By the following Monday, I dropped body fat and weight. I had to increase my carbs. I was eating and hardening up. My body really loved not being poisoned. Go figure! The increase in nutrients fueled my training. The recovery I was receiving filled my heart and woke up my soul. Every day, I woke up, hit a meeting, worked, then trained. The structure and discipline not only helped with my prep, but I was starting to love life. I felt great. I was lucky to be alive. I knew that. Every breath was a miracle. Not one of those breaths were wasted. I knew I was getting my pro card, or making the judges look like idiots, one more time. One hundred twenty meetings, 90 training sessions and by the grace of God, I earned two pro cards that weekend. The pro card was a symbol of my recovery not just from drinking, but from a life of codependency, abuse, and self-destruction.

This prep wasn’t all pink clouds and happy miracles. The result of my arrest stuck with me for a while. At one of the most vulnerable points in my life. I’ll never forget who was there and who wasn’t. Addiction is merely one, usually of many symptoms, there is a bigger problem. Somewhere, some time ago, I developed the notion I was not loveable. There were things “wrong” with me. As long as I can remember I thought these things. I still do sometimes. Now, the difference is I know it’s not true. It’s just the mental illness part of my addiction/codependency. I have tools now that I can access. Just like equipment for training and developing strength where there was once weakness. When we suffer in these miss beliefs about ourselves, we deteriorate. We hand ourselves over to darkness. We must train our brains. We can’t just focus on our body. We create imbalances when we do that and we can’t sustain it for long. The tools I use for my mind-training are first, God. Then I have accumulated people, literature, podcasts, meditation, and many other things to get me out of that destructive way of thinking and back to my true self. The one who loves and wants to be loved. The one that was pure before the abuse and family dysfunction. The child, still inside before all the ugliness happened, who is precious, happy and free.

The featured picture here was the day before my last drink. I had canceled this shoot two other times because I was too sick from drinking the day before. I felt horrible and wanted to die. You can't see this kind of sickness. it's isolating and absolutely destructive. If you need help, please get it. You do not need to suffer this way. I hope my story helps you in some way. I pray you can find the inner child in you. That your days are full of hope and gratitude and your nights are peaceful without the fear of “what if’s” keeping you awake at night. Keep the hope in your heart and be the person you need in your life. Remember, you may have been a victim, but you are not one now. If you are, start reaching out. Get help. Thank you so much for following along. Please feel free to question and/or comment. I want to be here for you. It helps me more than it does you. God bless!

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