One of the things that separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom, besides our affinity for Social Media and Fast and the Furious movies, is our awareness and ability to manipulate our environment for the better. However, as intelligent as we seem, we may never really know the good or bad fortune each decision we make will bring us in the long run. For me, a small-town kid from Wyoming, many decisions over a 12-year span of life led me to the point of writing this blog and being a part of the Power Athlete family. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, we have to go way back to lay the foundation.
My father, a professional baseball player at the time and mother an amateur bodybuilder, bred into me a desire and obsession with high performance. If I was going to participate in something, I was expected to dominate. This led to a dichotomous existence of reaping vast amounts of success while also dealing with a tremendous amount of pressure on such an immature and underdeveloped mind. With addictive lineage on every single branch in the family tree, I was predisposed to an internal and uphill battle from the start. The word addict or addiction first bought up real estate in my head as a freshman in high school. Despite knowing the endless turmoil it caused my family, I still turned to pain medications at the early age of 14. After my first of five surgeries over my high school/college career, I was hooked. It was everything I ever wanted and more. Satisfaction, love, acceptance, and an escape from reality. It has been said that every addict turns to external substances to fill a void within themselves; mine happened to be love.
Most Men Live Lives of Quiet Desperation
As a very successful athlete and scholar (3.9 GPA College Grad), living a double life was a thrill. On the one hand, I got to be the college All-Conference linebacker. On the other, I was a morally flexible addict enslaved to opiates and heroin. In hindsight, not a great place to be in. However, during that time, I thought I was invincible. It was routine for me to do heroin prior to practice and games to mask the real physical pain I was in, in an attempt to fill the empty void that grew inside of me.
I believe in a higher calling. I personally call it God, you can call it whatever you want. I always had a sense, or some little voice telling me I had more to offer, that I could positively impact the people around me and bring change to the world. Both times I went to rehab (yes, I went twice) under my own will; I turned myself in because I knew I had to pivot. Personally, I do not believe in hitting rock bottom. For many, hitting rock bottom is the turning point of their lives and for others, it takes death and destruction to stop them in their tracks. After hitting the lowest of lows, my first call was to my head football coach, Coach Pete Stanton, and this is where the tides change. I described the addiction that took over my life and he was shocked. His All-Conference linebacker who led the conference in sacks just told him he was hooked on the worst drug this world has to offer. Coach Stanton took me directly to the hospital and stayed with me for 4+ hours, standing with me as I withdrew from the cocktail of drugs in my system. This was one of the most pivotal moments of my life. A positive male figure in my life didn’t only say he cared for me, he showed it. This was the spark that lit the fire that would be the rest of my life.
After months of rehab, tons of self-reflection, and a two-game suspension, I was well on my way down the bumpy, pothole-filled road that is recovery. Fast forward to today, I am over 6 years clean from all drugs, a collegiate strength coach, own my own gym, a Power Athlete Block One Coach, and have elicited positive changes in people around me. The long bumpy road that I just described was MUCH easier to write than it was to go down, but I successfully made it.
Addiction = Success?
Going through some of the worst experiences this world has to offer taught me some things that I would like to share with you. I trained an athlete named Jay Liggins, who played a short stint with the Philadelphia Eagles, and he hit me with a statement that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
When I met Jay, he was looking for a coach to prepare him for a few NFL tryouts that were in the near future, and he was having a hard time finding the right one. He said the ultimate deciding factor for choosing me was my passion.
As he put it, “Your past with addiction has set you apart in your profession. You successfully traded addiction for another passion of yours, and that is training athletes.” He continued to say that “Addiction and success are one in the same. With addicts, it doesn’t matter how much money they have or things they are going through, they will go to the ends of the earth to get what they want. Success is no different; as long as you are passionate about what you do, you will do everything in your power to be successful.” If the addict can make the necessary internal changes needed to beat addiction, they can successfully “trade” one addiction for another.
Along the path of addiction, I also learned an unexpected lesson: how to be authentic. The great Michael Jordan stated, “Authenticity is about being true to who you are, even when everyone around you wants you to be someone else.” Authenticity single-handedly built my business, provided countless opportunities, and created trust with clients/athletes. I believe that is why I gravitated toward Power Athlete and the Block One Network in the first place. From day one, Power Athlete has embarked on a mission to empower performance in all facets of life. There is no bullshit or hidden agendas, it is all about being the best you can be every day.
Addiction has taught me to use every second toward the end goal. Just as in training, we must reverse engineer our goals and layout a road map of months, weeks, days, sessions, and supersets that take us one step closer to the end goal. Addicts never waste a second of their day. They are always searching for their fix, experiencing the fullness of each high. As soon as it wears off, it’s back to the grindstone. We can learn from experiences like that and be authentically present in each moment of our lives.
Once I reached the other side of addiction, I created new routines and habits that fostered positive outcomes. I found a correlation between the Power Athlete Trainer course material on behavior change, and the new routines I was instilling to elicit change in my life. In order to make it happen, I followed a basic three step outline that I found worked best for me:
- SIMPLE: Focus solely on one end goal whether that be addiction or business. Having laser focus on waking up sober the next day or creating a marketing campaign, the process is the same.
- APPEAL: To beat addiction, we must appeal to our inner passions. This can prove to be difficult for many addicts as their passion for many years was the drugs and the experience. However, I promise if you dig deep enough there is more passion.
- RECESS: We need to find joy in conquering addiction just as we need to find joy in the work we do day-to-day. Channel your inner child and truly enjoy the day-to-day grind that is business.
Life has a weird way of providing you with the opportunities, people, and skillsets needed to accomplish any known or novel task. Being sober for over 6 years now, that period of time seems like a whole different life. However, the opportunities and people within the Block One Network are a huge key to my success, not only as a recovered addict but a coach, husband, and mentor. There is just nothing quite like the bond forged in battling bullshit and shared suffering.
If you took anything from this blog today, take this: to succeed at anything in your life you must be unapologetically authentic, you must use all the time or none, and you must do the uncomfortable work. If you do those three simple things, opportunities will arise, and you will thank yourself years down the road.
Throughout my addiction, training was always a staple. No matter the drug or circumstance I always made time to train. Simply put, training saved my life and continues to keep me on the straight and narrow. Power Athlete has created not only the best training to fit any goal, but a community of like-minded people that push and support you through everything this life throws at you. As a professional strength and conditioning coach, I 100% recommend checking out Power Athlete Programming on the Train Heroic app. Find the program that’s right for you, and start your 7-day free trial HERE!
PODCAST: PA Radio Episode 547 Dr. Kirk Parsley’s Guide To Living Forever
BLOG: The Block One Collective – Iron Sharpening Iron by Danny Stein
BLOG: Drop The Dogma, Make An Impact by Andy Holmes
EDU: Power Athlete Trainers Course
Tagged: addiction / coaching / Developmental Coaching / Growth Mindset / mental clarity / mental toughness / Mindset / positive mindset
Colby Wartman is the Owner of the Iron Chapel Strength & Conditioning gym in Dickinson, ND. Along with that, he is the Dickinson State University Strength Coach, specializing in football and basketball. He also is the host of Next-Level Radio, a podcast addressing the biggest questions in strength, business, and investing. Colby became a Block One Coach in September 2020.
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