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“Is This How You’re Going to Live the Rest of Your Life?”

Hopeless in the face of his addictions, Steve Flintoff’s path to recovery led straight to the gym.

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My Addictions and Their Toll Began Early in Life

I always wanted to be the funny kid in the room. I needed validation and approval from other people. I didn’t feel fit for the world and was always trying to be somebody I wasn’t, because if you liked me you wouldn’t ask how I was feeling inside. I was repressing things.

I had really been into sports, especially baseball, but in middle school I started to overeat. It was the first coping mechanism that I resorted to. I put on a bunch of weight. I didn’t make the travel team one year as a result. I had a lot of confidence in myself from playing baseball. When that was taken away from me, I had to find something else

I had my first beer at the age 14. Drinking made me who I wanted to be, or at least so I thought. I’d always felt like I was missing a certain piece, thinking if I found it I’d feel complete. That’s what I found with drugs and alcohol, it made me feel like I was fixed.

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Addiction Led to Injuries That Furthered My Decline

After high school I went to college and basically focused on partying. I kept steadily descending for years. My sophomore year I put my fist through a window. I ended up needing two reconstructive surgeries, six months of physical therapy, and now have a permanently bent pinky finger. Junior year, I broke the scaphoid bone in my right wrist. I was apprehensive about seeing a doctor, and by the time I had it looked at it had healed incorrectly and was partially dead. I had to have a 2-inch titanium screw inserted into the bone, as well as a bone graft, followed by another six months of rehabilitation.

I fell into a depressive state. I couldn’t do the things I loved to do, and the best way I knew how to cope was to abuse the painkillers I was prescribed, in addition to still drinking. My arm atrophied from being in a cast post-surgery. My mood dropped even lower.

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Hitting Rock Bottom Was the Wake-Up Call I Needed

I hit rock bottom In graduate school. I had given up on going to the gym. My addictions became my sole focus. I made it a few more terms before dropping out completely. I had reached a point where I asked myself, “Is this how you’re going to live the rest of your life?” I realized I had no control and was trapped in a prison of misery that I built myself— and nobody knew. The entire time, no one knew about my drug problem. I was always able to hide it.

I was ready to ask for help but didn’t know how to do it. It was probably the hardest but the best thing I’ve ever done. I reached out to one of the deans at my law school and came clean to him. My parents found out a few weeks later, and helped me get the treatment I needed.

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With the Help of JimStoppani.com, Fitness Became My Path to Recovery

My therapist mentioned that recovering addicts had found success using fitness as a coping mechanism and suggested that I start lifting weights. I started hitting the gym consistently for the first time in maybe four or five years and got immediate relief. Working out gave me a feeling of purpose and made me feel healthy and alive again. What I was doing was making an investment in my life.

But I had no idea what I was doing. I would just ask the guy I wanted to look like at my gym what I should do. I wanted more. I was working too hard to not get the results I wanted. I saw an ad for Jim Stoppani’s Holiday Challenge and thought “What do I have to lose?” What I was doing clearly wasn’t working. I was looking for help, and I got it: Guidance, information, programs, with all of it laid out in a way I could actually understand it.

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Learning about Proper Dieting and Training Helped Me Take Back Control of My Life

I needed more than just what to do, I wanted to know why I should lift a certain way. Before that, I was getting nowhere. I had to dig deeper and get educated.

I saw first-hand what better food choices and consistency could do for my results. That was the first time I actually paired a diet with a proper program, and when I put the two together it was incredible. I could see improvement from week to week. That was such a good feeling, to know what you’re doing is working. That just makes you work harder.

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Now I’m Truly Healthy for the First Time in My Life

I’m consistently hitting the gym six to seven days a week, now, and I’m eating really well. Even though I may not always be shredded, I’m where I want to be. I know how to back up or break out if I get stuck. I learned how to be patient and trust in the process—and it’s my process, not your process, not anyone else’s—it’s my own, individual process. No matter what, I know I’m going to be alright, because I know how to stay that way.

With regard to fitness: Fall in love with it. It’s not about looking a certain way or lifting a certain amount of weight, it’s an investment in your health. We all struggle in life, but take those failures as learning experiences. Analyze it, use it as motivation. So what if you fail? Try again. It’s only failure if you quit trying. The important thing is you get back up. If you’re struggling, there’s a better way. It’s difficult but not impossible, you just have to want it for yourself.

Start Your Pathway Follow Steve’s pathway by clicking below to set out on a path of your own. Select one of the programs Steve used and follow the steps provided to start your transformation.