I have come a long way in the last twelve years. I’ve been successful at everything I have done in life. Sometimes because of pure grit and not wanting to look like a failure to others. However, as an adult, especially since getting sober twelve years ago, I have always had someone pushing me, believing in me, and encouraging me. I have learned a lot from those abusive years. First of all, I would not be the man I am today had I not experienced all that I have in my life. I learned how not to treat my wife and children. I learned how not to treat people or employees. Everything I experienced in my life was a lesson and everyone I came in contact with was a teacher, and I still apply this principle in my life today.
My biggest success story happened this past summer. In 2012 I had the dream of riding my bike across America – The Ride Across America to Stomp Out Shame. My goal was to raise awareness and deliver a message of hope and healing about the sexual abuse of men. It did not happen in 2012. At that time in my life people who were more discouraging than encouraging surrounded me. No matter how hard I tried to make it happen, it just was not meant to be.
When it resurfaced in 2016 it was a completely different story. I was surrounded with people that not only believed in me, but also believed in my cause. I had very creative people approach me to help in any way they could. But mostly they encouraged me to follow my dreams. They helped with fundraising, making phone calls and whatever it took.
Today I surround myself with people who only encourage me. However, my wife is my biggest encourager and supporter. She is also the one that I tend to push against the most. I also have my Celebrate Recovery Team who, even though it might not always be verbal, always encourages me by their own growth, which inspires me daily.
I am currently working on moving the Courageous Healers Foundation to the next level. Once again, self-doubt is setting in. I have been working with a wellness coach for the past several months and she has been gently pushing and encouraging me to step way out of my box. She does it not by telling me, but by asking me questions about myself. You see, we all have the answers inside of us. Sometimes we need someone to listen and hear us and then just ask us the right question. This is exactly what my wellness coach does for me and exactly the way I work with those that come to me seeking help.
On a recent bike ride, I had a very encouraging conversation with one of my cycling buddies who is a Christian. I told him I was struggling and he new exactly what I was talking about. As we talked, he gently reminded me of who I am in Christ and of Gods promises for me. Again he first listened to me, heard me, asked some powerful questions, and then spoke life into me. He didn’t tell me what I needed to do or try to fix me, just spoke love and life into me.
It is when I am on my bike that God speaks to me the most. First He will gently tell me to take off my headphones. Then he speaks to me answering most of the questions I have for him. It is also in the quietness of the high country, on a hike or lying on the beach that I receive guidance and visions.
As long as I remain open minded and willing, I know God will show up at the right time and with the right person no matter where I might be. Everything I experience in life is a lesson, and every person I come in contact with is a teacher. Today I surround myself with people who only want to build me up. Those who want to be negative and discouraging – I discard.
My past no longer defines me. It is what I have experienced, not who I am. Today my self-confidence is much better. Yes I do have my days, but I just stop, breathe and focus on how far I have come in the past twelve years alone and how much good I have done. I am no longer that young adolescent child that is full of shame and lacks self-confidence. I am a strong, courageous, confident and powerful man.