“DISCOVERING THE BEST ME”

There are so many different analogies, fad diets, exercise trends and buzz words around at the moment which all relate to Health and Wellness. Unknowingly for years, I have been searching for the answer to my own health and wellness (unsuccessfully I might add), while surrounded by all this modern information, great motivation, inspiring people and help right at my fingertips.

But did I take it? “No I didn’t” I was of the belief that it would all eventually go away and I that could stop it whenever I wanted. But the real truth is, that I was actually hiding behind my own frailty and inability to accept who I was and where I was at the time.

I didn’t want to show that I that I was actually human and had weaknesses and most of all that I desperately needed help.
I will take you back a few steps to give you the full picture of where I currently am and how Health and Wellness coaching has given me a totally new and positive outlook on life.
For the past 20 years I have unknowingly suffered from anxiety and depression and try to cover it with extraverted behaviour, over compensation, alcohol, drugs and aggression. If there was a problem I would either avoid it or face it aggressively, I had no respect for other people or understanding of how my actions effected those around me, which unfortunately was usually the ones I loved the most. Right or wrong I had a perception of what society expected of me or what I expected of society.

The constant pursuit of these unrealistic goals and expectations was holding me down inside the depressive and anxious vortex that was my life. I had no idea that all my over compensating, enthusiasm exuberance, lying and aggression was actually pushing people away from me instead of attracting them to me.
At a very early age, I was exposed to alcohol and cigarettes as part of everyday life and I would even go as far to say this is accepted as the “norm” of country culture. Now you may think that’s a terrible thing to do to a young person but it wasn’t a deliberate exposure, it wasn’t even a known thing in most people’s lives. Many of us have grown up watching our parents, our family, our friends or even our local sporting heroes have the odd beer or ciggie in front us.

It’s interesting that these acts are accepted as being okay or “normal” and part of Aussie culture.

These early learned behaviors become habits and then become teachings to our own children.
At the age of 15, I was drinking most weekends and smoking as well all of which was not ignored but more a tolerated behaviour which was all accepted as part of playing senior football. “If you can play footy with men your able to drink with them”. It was from these very early habits that I started on a road to the addiction.

Fast forward many years with these habits controlling my life and social activities I was on the edge of falling into life as an alcoholic.

I was living on the gold coast, married with 2 children and had retired from playing senior footy, but felt a void or a peace of me missing since retirement.

I had been playing in the masters AFL league but felt that I still had something left to give in my footy career. I decided to start playing Senior footy again and had successfully come back to play 2nd grade footy, which was quite an achievement at the age of 37. Not only had I felt my Mojo was back but I had begun to enjoy being back in the footy sheds again and that missing part of my life returned.

I had started to drink heavily again and spend more time away from home than what would be expected for a father of 2 children under 5. Unbeknown to me, as part of my life as a young parent I was struggling, and to add to that struggle, my now ex-wife and I had had been given the news our son was in the Autism spectrum and he would never be able to lead what was classed as a truly normal life.

“Enter the black dog”

After years of being the sports dad with an ego the size of Texas I was unknowingly hoping to have a son that would carry on the family name in AFL footy.

Taking nothing away from my beautiful daughter and her abilities, I really hoped my son would one day walk in my footsteps onto the footy field. I was crushed and felt the whole thing was my fault and I wasn’t the dad everyone expected me to be.

One fateful night I was watching people have a great time around me and wondered why I wasn’t feeling the same. I then realised after asking around that it was due to a drug called ecstasy and wondered if I to could feel happy like everyone else. I am not sure how or who I got that first pill from but it was from that day forward I couldn’t have a drink or night out without drugs.
Ecstasy then led to cocaine and after too many late nights and partying my marriage gone, my business gone, I was on the way to a drug vortex that would nearly take my life.

I had moved out to a single bedroom apartment into a house with an old family friend from my home town and the drug use sky rocketed. I was now dealing drugs to support myself and devolving a very very serious habit and getting into debt with some very serious people.      “Enter the love of my life”

I had met someone who unbeknown to me would save me from addiction and this life of crime “which I was totally naive about”. Danella would take me from this new house and these fake new friends and introduce me to a life of openness and honesty, yes it wasn’t good to start with and yes I nearly lost it all due to my constant regressions back to drugs. Life was good but I wasn’t seeing it clearly I was still lying to myself and those who loved me. I was again hiding debts and drugs and making bad decisions, which included getting into very large debt and also getting other people “unknowingly “into debt with me.

I avoided being caught taking the drugs I would make and excuse to leave the house or go for a drive to relax or “think” and then I would collect the drugs and proceed to get high.

On many of these nights I would take the drive and then contemplate the actions of my life and even create calculated actions about ending it all by taking my own life.

The grief and torment I would put myself through each time I took drugs was driving me closer and closer to suicide. One occasion I was driving home with a great deal of regret and pain and was wondering how I could face my new wife and tell her the truth.

The rush of emotions was so overwhelming I started to cry and it was then I made the final decision to end my life. I was in the process of lining my car up for the end of the paradise point bridge when my wife called. I was so distracted by the call and the consideration to answer or not that I stopped the car and chose to answer the phone – “this call saved my life”, if hadn’t stopped it would have been all over. I turned the car around got my shit together and drove home, It was time to make a change and face the music.

I’ve seen doctors and been in therapy finding no help or insight into my depressed angry anxious state. That was until one fateful day the 10th of January 2016 when my wife Danella sat me down and said that enough was enough and that it was time to change or things would change around me (and they wouldn’t be good changes). I then realised that I was truly my own worst enemy, and that the better version of me was right there, I just couldn’t see it as my head was so clouded with alcohol and drugs, which I was using to mask my battles.

So that was it I had to do something, I had to change, I made the choice on that very day to “Discover the Best Me”. I went and threw out all the alcohol and prescription drugs, called my dealer and said no more and then reached out and said those 3 words men all fear “I need help”.

My wife, family and closest friends rallied like I had never known, the judgment that I thought was coming never arrived the only thing that came to me was love and support. Unless I truly owned my problems I was never going to move forward, so after all those years of trying and feeling defeated by my own inner thoughts and beliefs I made the change, I told the world via social media what was happening and where I was heading.

Again I waited for the smart sarcastic comments and messages of disgust and judgment but they never came. Just like my family had done, all I got back from the world was encouragement and support, I had shown myself to the world, bared my soul and nothing happened. I was shocked and amazed the fear I had was all for nothing, people did care and accepted me “flaws and all”. It was then that I was contacted by Aaron an old friend from school days, he said he had developed a health and wellness coaching system and that he believed would help me.

I took Aaron up on his offer and Wow what a difference in those first 3 months, after years and years of hiding away from my true self, I was finally discovering the best me. Though I am not “healed” and never will be healed, Aaron and I have developed ways for me to better cope with my illnesses, using Health Wellness and Mindfulness techniques I am able to function at a level I previously thought was unattainable.

Coaching has been my saviour, so much in fact that I am now starting my own coaching journey and helping others see there is another way.
Those indoctrinated old habits I thought couldn’t be changed have now been changed, the thought that everything had a ceiling or a limit is not only gone from my thoughts but I have absolutely smashed through the ceiling and striving towards my next goal.

I have decided that I want to pursue a career in motivational speaking and also in health and wellness focusing on men’s mental health through coaching and awareness. I have become involved with a charity organisation call LIVIN whose mission is to rid the world of the stigmas associated with mental illness and mental health challenges. Unfortunately for men, we often need either to hit rock bottom and lose everything, or to see actual proof of someone or something working before we will take the step to help ourselves. If I can be that proof and help someone else, then I am achieving my goals and showing people it is okay to be “YOU “and that it #itaintweaktospeak.

It’s all about bringing yourself back to the here and now, the present moment. You can’t go back and change anything and you can’t change what’s going to happen in the future. Focusing on today “the right here and now” finding a positive and putting that in your mind, and learning from our mistakes no focusing on them.

It is the here and now that really matters, this is what I’ve come to believe and I try to practice it every day. It is with great satisfaction and confidence that I can say, Health and Wellness coaching and my ambassador role at LIVIN plus the love and trust of family and friends that has helped me come a long way from where I had been for so many years and has been the catalyst for discovering the best me, and I know it can help you “Discover The Best You”.