Sports were a big deal where I grew up, and I was just an average athlete at the time, so my way of fitting in was drinking. That’s where I felt like I fit in. I started drinking only on weekends or drinking at parties – maybe one day a week. Around 2010 I couldn’t manage it anymore. The drinking and drugs were catching up with me and I was in and out of work. I got a DUI and started to get into trouble.
In 2012 Chris, who I knew of from growing up in the area, sent me to live in a sober house, but when I got out, I kept drinking. I couldn’t get the hang of recovery. In 2013 I went back to treatment, with the help of Chris and his brother, Michael. They sent me to a longer-term sober living house. I moved to Martha’s Vineyard and started working construction, went to a lot of recovery meetings, worked out, and developed a sober network.
I started to get things back. I was the foreman of a small construction company, and I was working out every day. It felt like something was missing, but then I started coaching kids again at New Bedford High School and rediscovered my passion for coaching. I was all in. Sports and coaching changed everything. I had forgotten how much sports meant to me. People started asking me to train teams and their kids.
After training Chris Herren Jr., Chris asked me to come work as a coach and trainer at Herren Wellness. I had always watched Chris’ journey; we came from the same place and had such similar experiences, and then I saw him sober and making a difference and it made me believe I could do it, too. To go from where I was, to being the trainer at Herren Wellness is incredible to me.
The biggest transformation I see in the guests here is the change in how they view themselves. They come in very unsure, with low self-esteem, and no confidence. People that I have to wake up to get to the gym get to the point where they are waiting for me in the morning to get training. People go from never having done a push-up and thinking they can’t, to doing 40 push-ups.
Guests who do the work, follow the nutrition plan, and work out daily – they look and feel better about themselves, and you see the light come back in their eyes. They start smiling – real, genuine smiles! I love seeing that.