Any transformation we experience starts on the inside. It starts in our mind. Some of us get destroyed emotionally and have to start all over. Others are goal oriented and create a new life on purpose. I want to share pictures of my own personal transformation over the last year and a half:
It’s easy to notice all of the physical changes, but what you can’t see are all of the chemical, hormonal, spiritual, and emotional changes, and the inner growth and healing, that led to the manifestation of the physical, outside changes in me.
(This is me and my middle son in April, 2014 at his JROTC graduation. He is now a US Marine.)
(This is me and my oldest son during his graduation from a Technical school in 2014.)
(Here we are in June of 2014, volunteering at an event for the homeless. I was in the habit of drinking anywhere from 4 to 8 of these “Thirst Busters” daily, though I always stuck to what I thought was the healthier choice of PowerAde or Gatorade. This is the day before I ruptured a disc in my back simply by picking up an empty cup off the side of the bath tub.)
(This is me with my three sons in October of 2014. At this point in my life I had lost my job, was going through my third divorce, and had starting driving cab a couple of times a week. I had moved into my mom and stepdad’s condo and had just decided to cut sugars out of my diet because of the documentary, Fed Up, which I highly recommend to everyone.)
(This is us at Butcher Jones Beach, Saguaro Lake, in March of 2015.)
(By July, I had dropped in weight from 250 lbs. to 190 lbs. It started with a change of mindset, then a change in my diet. I did pull-ups, planks, and rode my bike everywhere.)
(July 18th, 2015 having a cookout with my best friend and his family.)
(August 1st, 2015 at a good friend’s house, watching the fights.)
(My wife I am so blessed to be married to. We knew each other growing up since the 6th grade, but never hung out. We reconnected in 2015 and began dating months later. We were married after dating for two years.)
I’m healthier, stronger physically and emotionally, happier, and better off now then I have ever been. In 2014 I was stuck in an unhappy relationship, stressed out, over weight and feeling hopeless. I was suicidal for 15 years. Years ago I had been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, bi-polar disorder, and extreme depression. My doctors told me that I would never work again, it would never get better, and that I needed to go on Social Security benefits in order to survive. For years I believed the doctors and what they told me. I listened to their advice.
In 1999, I was at work when my boss told me I was “moody”. It kind of hurt my feelings. At the time I was married to my first wife. We had two sons and I was working a lot of overtime to make ends meet. I was a driver for a non-emergency transportation company, and while I loved it, I was working anywhere from 12 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week. Looking back, of course I was “moody!” I was exhausted. So I went home at the end of the day and asked my wife if she also thought I was moody. Her response was that there may be something to what my boss was saying and maybe I should see a doctor, and so I did. The doctor spoke with me for about five minutes, asked a few questions, and quickly determined it was possible that I was depressed and suggested that I try a new and popular medication called, “Prozac.”
Not long after starting to take this pill, I was on top of the world! I no longer needed to eat or sleep. I drank about a liter of Coke a day and snacked every once in a while. With the help of my neighbor, I built my first computer and within a month was designing web pages. By the second month, I started an online web design company, came up with an idea for a non profit organization, started a new job, enrolled in school full time and lost 40 pounds. I had never felt so alive! I had never functioned so well! My wife was impressed and started calling me Superman. Things had never gone so well. Life was perfect.
At the beginning of the third month on the Prozac, during my first week back to school, without even really thinking about it, I left the house as usual one morning to drive to work and ended up at a gun store. I bought a 9mm handgun, drove to work, quit my job, and drove up into the mountains to kill myself. I was completely unable to think straight. My head felt foggy. I had never thought of killing myself before. It was terrifying.
I slowly and methodically wrote goodbye letters to my parents and my sisters and my wife. When I picked up the gun out of the seat next to me I started to sob. I cried for what seemed like hours. I knew something wasn’t right and I knew that for the first time in my life I really needed help. I didn’t know where to go, who to turn to, or what to do. I decided to drive back home and tell my wife what had happened and how I was feeling. I remember being in the middle of a snow storm in our Astro van at Alta ski resort, wondering why I had driven up into the mountains in a two wheel drive and realizing it was because at the time it hadn’t mattered. I wasn’t planning on driving anywhere ever again. Now, here I was, stuck in the middle of a snow storm, wanting to get home but unable to.
I rocked the van back and forth in an effort to back out of the little parking lot but was unable to go more than a foot from the spot I was in. I was startled when a woman started to bang on the window. I rolled it down, wondering what she was doing walking outside in the middle of what was shaping up to be a blizzard. The wind was blowing the ice and snow sideways and here she was, offering to help push my van out into the roadway. To this day I still wondered where she came from and where she found the strength to actually help me get the van unstuck.
I remember as she was talking to me and asking if I wanted her help, she looked at the gun and the bullets and the letters I had written on the front seat next to me. An overwhelming feeling of guilt came over me, but there was no judgment in her eyes. No fear. She simply looked at me and said, “Let’s get you out of here.” I was so grateful when I made it down the mountain safely and was able to walk back in my home and hold my wife and kids. That was the beginning of the end of my old life.
A lot has happened since then. I’ve learned a lot from the life I’ve lived. I’m grateful for every moment, every “mistake” made, every lesson learned, and for every person I’ve encountered along the way. I believe God works miracles through other people. There are no accidents. There are no mistakes. There is purpose in everything we experience and in each moment of our lives is a blessing. Everything that happens, both good and bad, eventually ends up being for our good, and it is all part of an elaborate plan we may never understand in this life time.
We all know what paranoia means. I LOVE the opposite: PRONOIA. It’s definition is worth repeating and reviewing, DAILY:
THE UNIVERSE WAS DESIGNED FROM THE BEGINNING TO CONSPIRE ON OUR BEHALF.