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Todd surrounded by his son’s Ben, Luke and Max

Me, today …

I’m on a path that I’m sure is directing me to where I was intended to go with my life. I couldn’t always say that, but I know it’s true today. While I’m not sure where this wonderful journey leads, I trust that all will be well when I reach my final destination.

I consider myself to be a kind, caring and compassionate individual. However, I also am most definitely aware that I’m not perfect—not at all. I’m aware of my weaknesses and my many imperfections. This clarity reminds me to work each day to be better, to be stronger and to strive for progress as a human being. No, I will never be perfect, but I can do my best to do good, be good, and to ask for forgiveness when I fall short.

My interests today include health and fitness, my spirituality, and my family and friends. I enjoy working in my profession of marketing communications/public relations. However, my Big Three are taking care of my body, my soul, and my loves (family and friends). The bliss I feel every day comes from the Big Three.

I’m married and have three children. My sons are ages 16, 13 and 3. That’s quite a gap from the oldest to the youngest, but their varied ages add so much interest and excitement to my everyday life. The boys have always helped me to keep things in perspective and to never lose sight of love. As insane as my life has been at times, those three kids have helped to keep me sane in ways they could never understand. They have given me purpose and value. They are Love. And, Love is my God.

In my role at work I have the privilege of meeting and learning from many who help others. I also get to meet quite a few of the vulnerable people my company serves, and those encounters also help me realize that I’m right where I’m supposed to be with regard to my profession. I’m able to share my purpose and value, and that is hopefully leading to an improved quality of life for those I touch.

Childhood …

Discussing my childhood has never been easy. In fact, it was so hard at times that I ran from the subject. I ran and then even hid in places I should have never visited. I will explain more about that later.

I grew up with three brothers, my mother, and an alcoholic and very mean stepfather. One of my first recollections of childhood is fear. I was fearful from the start. I feared my stepfather and his mental and physical abuse. I feared for my well-being and safety. I was keenly aware of and fearful of the fact that I had a father who showed no love to me.

I’ve learned much about love, and everything I read points to the importance of love in a child’s life. My mother loved me, showed it, and still demonstrates that. But, my stepfather’s spite impacted me in devastating ways, both as a child and as I grew into an adult. I had no confidence, no self-esteem, and felt no sense of security because of him. I carried that with me for a long time. I ran from it as a kid, and as an adult I hid from it–behind many bottles of booze. Again, I’ll explain more about that in just a bit.

I did play sports as a child and excelled in baseball. I loved the game, and when I was on the field I felt happiness. I was away from life’s worries. I could be me, a kid. Those worry-free “me” times were rare, so I cherished baseball and the escape it provided. I was small in stature, but I knew how to play the game, I used my strengths and I did well.

Growing up …

As I grew into my teens and toward high school, our family basically fell apart. My mother divorced my stepfather, but the damage had been done. I stopped playing sports. In fact, I stopped going to high school. I quit. I dropped out of the life I had been living, and entered into a new one. It was the start of my run away. It was the beginning of me hiding.

I worked for two years after that. Those were two pretty uneventful years. As I turned 18, I recognized my mistake and returned to high school for my senior year. I then went on to college, where I graduated in four years with a bachelor of science degree in communications. Much later in life (May 2012), I earned a master’s degree in marketing communication. I had come full circle—a high school dropout turned master’s degree recipient.

It was in college that I began to lift weights and place an emphasis on working out. I noticed quickly that my muscles grew, and my self esteem grew. I worked out all four years of college and continued to do so after. I didn’t place much emphasis on cardio, but after gaining 35 pounds during my college years I realized that simply lifting weights wasn’t going to cut it for me. So, I began running.

As an adult …

Through all the years and with marriage, jobs, children, etc., I continued to work out and run. It indeed made me feel great, but something was still obviously missing. I thought a lot about my past, and I continued to run from it. I often told myself, “You’re fine, look at all you’ve accomplished.” But, I wasn’t fine. I had always drank alcohol, and it slowly evolved into a daily habit. Obviously, it was a very poor daily habit that had serious health consequences, both mentally and physically.

This is where the cat gets out of the bag. I’ve never gone fully public with my alcoholism, and it touches me at the core of my being to do so here. Several friends (and all of my family) are aware of my situation. I’ve always been hesitant to tell this part of my story because of the stigma associated with alcoholism.

People typically don’t understand it, and I don’t expect them to. But, I also don’t want that lack of understanding to turn into negative assumptions. Sure, life sucked during the last couple of years of my drinking because I was so addicted. And the early recovery was harder on me than anything I’ve ever experienced. But, that desperate drinking and subsequent painful recovery experience helped me realize who I really am. You don’t need to understand my alcoholism, but understand that while it crushed me initially, it was a foundation for growth. And I have grown so much.

As I said earlier, I know I’m on a path intended to help me get where I’m supposed to. If I didn’t have difficulties as a child, and if I didn’t suffer through alcoholism, and if I didn’t go through the often painful recovery, I wouldn’t have the peace I have today. It was intended to be this way to help me grow to be me, so I can help lift others.

Life really is so good …

I haven’t had a drink for just over five years, with my sobriety date being October 8, 2007. As I told you, I suffered mightily for about a year after that day. I had also suffered leading up to my breaking point. I lost my soul. But the suffering taught me to let go, to trust something bigger than all of us, to trust others who were willing to help me, and to believe that all will be well.

During my recovery I had a lot of time to consider my past, all the way back to my youth, and I came to grips with it. I accepted it. I learned from it. And finally I grew from it! After all those years I stopped running. I never want to feel that pain again, but I am grateful for it because it was my pathway to peace. No substance could ever make me feel the peace I have today.

Since I stopped drinking I’ve also placed an even greater emphasis on health and fitness. Wow, the bliss I feel after stirring up the naturally produced endorphins the body is willing to produce for anyone willing to sweat!

Physically fit …

I currently work out six or seven days each week. During the week I wake up by 5 a.m. to get my fitness fix. I’ll work two muscle groups one day, two the next day, and one more on the third day. I’ll repeat that routine the next three days, and mostly stick to cardio on the seventh day.

My cardio, in the winter, comprises a 20 to 30 minute walk uphill on the treadmill after my lift. In the summer, I head outside to run after my lift. I’ll run 10 minutes, then sprint my favorite hill five times, and run home 10 minutes. I also mix in a lot of core work (dips, planks, ab wheel/rolls, etc.). I know I need increased flexibility, so my goal is to continue to work toward perhaps a modified Yoga routine.

My diet isn’t as strict as it could be. But, about two years ago I was turned on to the benefits of a protein-filled lean muscle diet. Upon waking I drink a whey protein shake and eat a banana. A couple hours later I’ll eat breakfast, which can comprise plain Greek yogurt, a cheese stick, almonds, oatmeal or egg whites, wheat toast or wheat crackers. Lunch is light, with the same types of food. I’ll snack throughout the afternoon on nuts, almonds mostly. Dinner is typically not the friendliest of my meals, but I do have a family and it’s difficult to try to convince them (especially the kids) that we should eat lean turkey, avocado, and Greek yogurt every day. So, I’m more flexible with that meal, but I always include a whey powder protein shake afterward.

I’ll eat a snack right about 7 or 8 p.m., trying my best to stick to a pear and some almonds. Before bed I’ll drink a whey protein shake and eat a scoop of almond or peanut butter. I take no supplements other than whey protein powder shakes, of which I’ll drink about three per day.

Accomplishments, and what drives me …

My greatest accomplishment in life is my responsibility to my children. I will never let them down. I know all too well how that feels. No child should suffer like that. Another accomplishment is the battle with alcoholism. I struggled so much mentally and physically for almost a year once I stopped. I’ll never forget that pain because it keeps me motivated and inspired to live a life that gives me natural highs. A life full of fitness and love, both which produce an endorphin no beer company could produce in a bottle.

The battles I fight today are personal. It’s Me versus Me. Be humble. Help others. Be grateful in all circumstances. Be fit. Be happy. What drives me toward these things daily are the feelings and endorphins and the high I get afterward. My body and brain benefit from fitness. My soul and spirit benefit from giving and sharing love. I give what I seek. I also write about it all, and that helps my spirit, as well. My blog site is listed below. Wow, I love the writer’s high I get from that blog. Sharing and hopefully helping.

These things fill my voids that are instinctive or otherwise. I want to be the best I can be for me AND for you. I want to inspire. I want others to know they can overcome. I want others to know that if they have no one else to count on, they can count on me. I will be that person. I care. I understand. I support.

We all have our own problems, and some of them even reach demon status. If you lack motivation, or if you hurt, or if you have doubts, or if you think you can’t overcome life’s problems and demons, think about what I just said about pain and a pathway to peace.

You want encouragement? Contact me. I’ll call you. I’ll Email you. You will hear it in my voice. You will feel it in my passion. I want you to have what I have. Because I know how good it is. It can save you the way it saves me. It’s physical. It’s spiritual. It’s Love. And it all starts down in the soul. Join me there. Peacelove!

Twitter: @ToddPMc

Blog: toddpmccollough.blogspot.com/

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Comments
  1. Julianna says:

    What a beautiful post. Well done. Just sending a hug through the ether, because we are all, indeed, in this together. Peace, friend. Julianna

    • Shay says:

      Julianna, thank you so much for the kind words, it’s greatly appreciated. I agree, we’re in this together. Blessed and thankful to have you both in my circle 🙂

      Shay @socially_fit

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