Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Be The Change You Want To See

I got an email this morning from somebody that got me thinking about my past, about change and specifically how far I've come from the person I used to be. I believe everything in life happens for a reason. If anybody had told me ten years ago I'd weigh half my weight and enjoy playing sports like ice hockey and boxing, and I'd do it sober. I'd have laughed in their face. My life used to be a mess. I used to spend my days at work then hit up the bars and get drunk most nights. I thought I was having fun. I had several nights that made me realize I had a problem but one night in particular ended with me in handcuffs. It's the best thing that could have ever happened to me. It made me realize how much I had to lose and how my actions could impact others. I'm thankful everyday that nobody was hurt in many of my drunken hazes. That first year was painstakingly difficult for me.  It wasn't until later after I got sober that I realized I didn't know how to socialize without alcohol, for me that was the most difficult part of trying to sober up. What helped me to sober up besides family and friends, the court/work appointed out patient rehab, and attending AA for a couple years... I think that what has helped me to stay sober was knowing that for me I couldn't take a drink, I drank to get drunk and when I was drunk I was completely irresponsible.

A few years later after sobering up, a few weeks before my 31st birthday, I was desperate to try something new. I contacted the Lady Thrashers and decided to try ice hockey even though I had never ice skated before. I had a humiliating experience trying to squeeze into some loaner equipment and it dawned on me that my weight was a problem. I'd been a big girl all my life. Even in high school I was over 200 pounds. Deciding to change I tried Nutra-system for a couple months, it helped me learn about portion control and fats. I started eating more sensibly, did some 5k's that year, tried roller derby and even did a mud run and managed to lose 50 pounds that year. In January, I received a two month gym membership to Buckhead Fight Club. Boxing, cardio, coupled with a much stricter diet I lost another 70 pounds within a year. At my lowest weight I had lost a little over 120 pounds.

Before: Hotlanta Softball League

After: Boxing ACFN 9
Unfortunately, I seem to be one of those people that has to learn from their own mistakes. Today I'm happy and proud of where I've come from to get where I am today. When we workout in boxing we workout in round and go by a bell. The rounds last 3 minutes and there's a 30 second warning bell before you get a break. We joke when working out, you'll here someone yell "THIRTY SECONDS," the mentality is its almost over and you can do anything for thirty seconds. In AA its similar, they say take it one day at a time (if you can't take that time frame you break it down more than that, one hour, one minute, etc..).  I know its not always that easy but the minutes add up, they turn into hours, which turn into days, they turn into weeks, it turns into months, which turns into years. Everything adds up and you look back and that thing that seemed impossible like not drinking, its suddenly six years later without one.  What I've realized through getting sober and losing weight is to just stick with it. Make small changes gradually, don't always try to do everything at once. Make it a habit. Don't be afraid to ask for help.  Have a good support system. I have a great girlfriend, friends and family that are their for me, and when I have a problem I can go to them. When trying to lose my weight I have an amazing trainer who helps me workout and gives me diet and nutrition advice. Terri has become a part of our family. I got part of a quote tattooed on my arm for my one year sobriety, "Don't let your past dictate who you are" the rest of the quote goes "But let it become a part of who you are." I got it off the movie My Big, Fat Greek Wedding, but I always loved what it said. As goofy as where I got the quote from it is something that hit home for me and I try to live by it everyday.

Since I started boxing there are always difficult days. I keep waiting for it to get easier. When I first started boxing I hated jump roping. We warm-up by jumping 3 rounds. I spent more time trying to get the rope untangled, out of breath and stepping on the rope during warm-ups then I did actually jumping. I stuck with it and now I'll jump 5-6 rounds in the morning (usually because everybody is running late or I get there way too early). I couldn't climb the rope in the gym when Terri first put it up, now I do it every morning just because I can. Getting ready for this Golden Gloves tournament I've had frustrating days, like last week, Killer Kelsey Sanchez knocked out one of my contacts and "Boom Boom" Brandi Ansley gave me a slightly busted lip with a great shot to my face. But just showing up and being there and being present I know I'll keep getting better. I have too much of a recreation background to be concerned with whether I'll win at Golden Gloves or not. But one thing I've learned is win or lose I'm a fighter... and "One thing about a fighter is the fighter may not always win, but the fighter never stops fighting." - Larry Cowell

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