I have been thinking about this topic for awhile and trying to put it all together in my head. From the outside it looks like I have this pretty cool and privileged life. Well the truth is I do, but the road to get here and stay here has been anything but easy and serene. 12 years ago today I took my last drink of alcohol. I wish it was as easy as just choosing to stop because I realized it wasn’t healthy for me. The truth is I stopped because it had kicked my ass, and even after the ass kicking I fought the urge to drink for some time. It took a ton of support and help from lots of people and there were many moments that a drink wasn’t too far away. The good news was I didn’t end up a with a criminal record or anything tragic to get me to stop, but I was a wreck mentally and emotionally and I had begun making some really horrible life decisions that were hurting many around me. I had tried to quit for a few years, but every attempt was pretty short lived. A month of no alcohol followed by 3 months of heavier drinking than I would like to admit. It was a cycle that felt impossible to break. New Years Eve 2005 I had set out for a night partying and had the resolution to quit smoking cigarettes that night. Yeah I smoked heavily for some years too. That night of drinking didn’t go as planned. I drank my favorite Jack and Diet Pepsi and the happy place I usually got to didn’t come. It was like alcohol had lost it’s effect. I kept drinking and that happy silly feeling couldn’t be achieved. I remember staring at another full glass in front of me and falling asleep. I woke the next day and realized it was over. I needed to get help, I waved the white flag and humbled myself to get help. I had attempted to quit many times with no luck, and for some reason that morning was the end. I am pretty sure if I hadn’t tried to quit all those other times I may not have had the moment of clarity New Years Day 2006.
I sought some help, and I remember some crusty old guy saying something to me along the lines of if you drink again, just don’t quit quitting your life depends on it! 12 years later that still rings in my head. It really hit me that I was in a fight for my life and I didn’t even realize it until he said those words to me. I have heard the saying before of getting knocked down 9 times and getting up 10, but Don’t quit quitting stuck with me. When I quit drinking, a sober friend of mine told me to keep smoking and not get too over zealous. Really glad I listened. He said quitting the alcohol was going to take all of my capacity, no need to add to more stress right now. This could be the BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED. Fast forward a year later I was still battling cigarettes and began the process of quitting that nasty habit. It was actually more painful than putting the booze down. In 2007, Spent the first 6 months of the year stopping and starting smoking more times than I could remember. I thought I was going to go nuts. The addiction of nicotine is so painful, nasty, and humbling. Each time I quit and started that old dude’s voice was in my head, “Don’t quit quitting,” and I didn’t. Each painful bout of trying to stop, that saying stuck in my head. Finally the day came where I smoked a cigarette, crumbled a half full pack of cigarettes and threw it away. This wasn’t the first time I had done this, but it was the last. Each failed effort lead to the last time. I didn’t quit quitting and then it happened. It wasn’t an easy road and the following 3 months were rough, but it did happen.
As a fitness professional I see so many people battling their own demons, whether it is food, alcohol, or other habits that are negatively affecting their lives. I also see the cycle of starting and stopping an exercise routine. The stress of committing to a routine is real. I have sat down numerous times across from someone that wants to make the change, but can’t find the consistency. They have started and stopped more times than they can count. I see fitness professionals mocking the New Years Resolution crowd and rolling their eyes at someones 100th attempt at getting fit with no success. I want to do the opposite. My advice is Don’t Stop Starting. I know you have tried before and the results haven’t been what you have hoped, but start again. That has been the answer for everything. Before I opened Tucson Strength I had almost opened a gym numerous times. I went through all the planning, ran the numbers, priced equipment, found investors, and looked at locations. Each time my plans felt short and the plans never took off. Each time the failure was painful and discouraging. Then, one time the same process started and came to fruition. Now in our 8th year of business I am grateful that I chose to start one more time. This Cavlin Coolidge Quote has been my favorite of all time and it is the truest words ever spoken.
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
So for 2018 I wish all of you a year of persistence toward your purpose whatever that may be. Keep at it and keep trying. I am grateful for so many things in my life especially everyone that has helped me along the way. Have a wonderful New Year.