Today we welcome Chad Hamblin, who shares his amazing story his courageous journey to sobriety – a truly inspiration story of transformation.
Chad’s Journey to Sobriety
Although Chad grew up in a Mormon household, he had five generations of alcoholism passed down to him. Chad’s first “infatuating buzz” was at age 18 and he spent the next ten years chasing that exact feeling, resulting in a cycle of binge drinking and heavy daily alcohol consumption. In 2013, Chad injured his back, which left him with a herniated disk and paralyzed in bed. The doctors told Chad he must attend physical therapy sessions and have steroid shots before surgery could take place to repair the disk. After five months of limited activity, on OxyContin, although not drinking; Chad found he was severely depressed. He was finally able to have a successful surgery on his back, but by then he was addicted to opioids. It was during this time that Chad turned back to alcohol to ease the discomfort of opioid withdrawals and the associated insomnia. During one irrational drunken night, Chad found himself locked out of his house. He drove out to the desert where he laid with a bottle of vodka and a bottle of Nyquil. Chad describes this night as one of the darkest times of his life. Something or someone pushed him forward through it and he somehow managed to text his brother for help.
Chad returned home, sobered up and got honest with his wife and doctors about what had been going on. It was a false start though because after a few weeks of not drinking, Chad thought things had returned to normal and that it was okay to start drinking again.
For the next two years, he drank a fifth of vodka a day. Chad knew his drinking was a problem when it wasn’t fun or relaxing anymore but a necessity. He says, “I just didn’t feel like a normal, functioning person unless I had alcohol in my system.”
Chad worked hard at protecting his addiction. Chad says his family and friends knew he was a big drinker, but did not know to what extent. At his sister’s wedding, Chad thought he played the part of the “functional alcoholic” well, but to his surprise, he learned he had not. Chad’s wife and brothers were worried he was going to die, so they intervened with an invitation for him to attend The Riversource Recovery in Arizona. After much arguing, Chad complied.
While in rehab, Chad learned about his illness and he connected with some of the most genuine people he had met in his life. His counselor at The Riversource Recovery Center is now his Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor and a dear friend. Chad continues to work day by day to be sober.
What Have You Learned from Transitioning Back into Day to Day Life?
- Learn to mourn the loss of the life you lived.
- It’s nonsense to mark when you’re going to change, tomorrow, next week or at the beginning of the year. That’s our primal brain’s safe way of saying, “Oh good, I don’t have to change yet.”
- As it states in Newton’s First Law of Motion (the law of inertia): “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” Chad relates this to people struggling with addiction since very often someone will remain in the same motion until something tragic happens that stuns them enough to move forward.
In recovery Chad says he’s learned, “The beautiful thing about being a human is we don’t have to hit that brick wall to be moved. We can be moved by being inspired to change and to change our path.” That “bottom” is wherever you decide to stop digging and if you decide that bottom is today you can start to make changes.
Release the shame and guilt of your disease. It’s important to understand you are still that amazing person but was struggling with an illness bigger than you could have handled alone.
Christa says, “You must love yourself as you are today and know that just because you want something else in your life or for your body, you are not broken.”
In September 2016 at one year sober, Chad’s brother introduced him to the ketogenic diet. Chad embraced it, immediately felt better and has dropped 65 pounds while inspiring thousands with his openness and vulnerability in the Keto Connection Facebook Group where he met Christa!
Continuously focusing on a lifestyle of recovery from food and alcohol addictions, Chad knew the last piece of the puzzle was to give up cigarettes. During a family trip he discovered he was upset and raging over things he didn’t need to be upset about. He took a step back and realized that his subconscious mind was throwing a fit because it wanted a cigarette. Chad thought, “Why would I give my brain a cigarette because it’s throwing a fit? I don’t give my toddler everything he wants.” This is when Chad quit smoking!
He explains, “You have to exercise your willpower like you exercise your bicep. It doesn’t get better or bigger unless you put it under pressure.”
Now realizing the freedom he’s gained from getting healthy, Chad says he never realized how gross he felt for so many years but is grateful for even the dark years because coming out of it he was able to make little changes that were sustainable.
We’re all struggling with something whether it be food, alcohol or drug dependencies but with the Fitlandia community you are safe, welcomed, cherished and honored. Please leave us a review on this podcast with some gratitude and let’s all continue to celebrate new beginnings, vulnerability and sobriety!
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