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I am living breathing proof that anything is possible. There is no situation too tough, no environment too oppressive, no choice that can’t be turned around. Completely.

I always had a passion for working out. I loved to train and to help my friends that shared the desire to become stronger physically. Some of my nicest memories revolve around barbell and weight plates.

In 1997, the year that I turned 18, I started creating memories that were play hard and get high often. I can still remember buying my first bag of weed for $20.00. This would be the beginning of a long and twisted road of drug addiction. Getting there? Not so tough. Getting out? Seemed impossible.

By the time I was 30 years old I had acquired a nice little IT job with the supermarket chain Price Chopper. Although I was able to sustain my life through various jobs and musical venues, my entire life revolved around wanting to get high. This was a far cry from the passion of working out. Little did I know that this job I acquired at would be the beginning of my transition from impossible to possible.

May 17th, 2012. This date I can consider an anniversary of sorts. I was approached by the corporate LP manager for Price Chopper because they had video proof of me stealing regulated pharmaceuticals from the pharmacy. Now this was not just one time, and certainly it was not just one bottle. I had stolen a total of 560 various opioids. 560. Now that is a great deadlift weight goal, but as far as the number of pills this was considered a total of 5 felonies and up to 15 years in prison.  5 felonies!!! How did I get here? The previous day, May 16th, 2012, I took a concoction of Cocaine, marijuana, oxycodone, alcohol and ecstasy.  Certainly, I never imagined that buying that bag of weed for 20.00 would send me down the road of impossible. Why do I call it the road of impossible? Because this road of addiction and self-destruction bears an impossible outcome. I was arrested in June of that year. That’s when my life began again.  

I am not talking about religion, although the almighty might have had a hand in helping me to have a better outcome then prison. I am referring to the moment I stopped one destructive path and started carving a positive, sustaining, healthy life. The year that followed my arrest and rehab was the hardest year that I had so far. The drug abuse had been going on for so long and so hard that I had to learn how to live all over again without the very thing I lived for. You literally change your daily activity, creating new habits and patterns. I took on a couple of odd jobs to occupy my mind. They were not bad jobs in the least but for me they were not well suited.  One day I volunteered at the local gym. Nothing is better than getting yourself right physically when you are trying to overcome the impossible. I did notice however that there were no trainers on site and although there were two trainers that would come in and train occasionally, there was not a strong training presence. Then I watched the movie Pumping Iron for the first time. Now THIS was something I could do.  This was a way to be able to give back in a positive way, helping people to achieve healthy goals! THIS was something that a little less than a year from May 17th, 2012 was possible!


Now, I want to state that although I was going through this life transformation, I still was in rehab for two years and on probation for two years. So, there was no clean slate. Many times, in life we make choices that present a situation that we still must work with. Not only was I withdrawing from my previous lifestyle, but I also had to maintain my rehab and therapy work.  The world did not wipe away everything that had happened because I managed to stay out of prison. Instead of using this to keep me discouraged I took advantage of the time I now had and the motivation that I got from seeing a real need in our community gym. By January 1, 2013 I was a TRX qualified trainer.  I started teaching a class which I still teach today. By February 1st 2013, I was a NFPT certified personal trainer. I studied hard, worked out harder and reached out to those that I felt could benefit from my knowledge. Imagine that. Less than a year after that fateful day I was helping motivate others to make healthy choices! Six years later I am the only on-site trainer at the local gym. I have a full schedule of amazing clients while still maintaining my own fitness goals. I also train out of my home where I have a full gym in my basement. Six years later I am married, and healthy. Everyday brings a new challenge and every moment not taken for granted. Six years later I am well on my way to be that person I truly pictured myself being. Not the drug addicted Joey but the fitness addicted Joey.

I am living breathing proof that anything is possible. There is no situation too tough, no environment too oppressive, no choice that can’t be turned around. Completely.

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