You know him as One Rep Marv (aka O.R. Marv). I don't even know the elusive man's full name but I will honor his sobriquet because we celebrate *all* paths to recovery here.
Happy Birthday to the guy who will make us do SQUATS, not SHOTS. ;)
Name: O.R. Marv
Location: San Diego, CA
Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 6/22/2013
Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.):
Blending fitness with recovery: personal training, online coaching, blogging.
If applicable, drug of choice (or not of choice...):
Alcohol, marijuana, opiates, cocaine, athletic drugs (steroids, etc.)
Recovery Story in a Nutshell:
Where do I begin?
Well, I was born in a very loving, well to do, religious family that pretty much preached “Leave It To Beaver” values. The problem was, even as a small child, I had no identity and no self-worth so I was extremely uncomfortable in my own skin. Now I firmly believe I didn’t come out of the womb a self-loathing narcissist or an egomaniac with an inferiority complex, but I learned these things at such a young age that they became ingrained personality traits of mine that would plague me for the first 27 years of my life.
I had a multitude of health issues as a young child which ultimately saw me having a total of 8 major operations and a head injury, so I also learned to play the victim at a young age as well. My identity was always based on something or someone – it was never intrinsic, it was never my own identity. I didn’t truly pick up a drink or a drug until I was 17 years old - I had dabbled previously and wasn’t impressed. My first time getting drunk was shortly after a pretty serious incident which left me with a head injury, snapped wrist, cracked collarbone, torn rotator cuff, and stress fractured vertebrae. Just prior to the incident my identity had been getting good grades so going from a straight A high school “A.P.” student to barely keeping up in remedial classes overnight landed me in a severe depression. And THAT’S when I found drugs and alcohol.
I should have known I was going to have a problem right away because once I finally got loaded that very first time I thought to myself, “This…..solves…..EVERYTHING!” I was somehow smarter, sexier, funnier, able to talk to the opposite sex, more sure of myself, all of that and then some! I would chase that solution to all of my so-called problems for the next 10 years. During that time I did despicable things that became black spots of my soul which only caused me to chase getting loaded even more feverishly. Any sense of morality from my upbringing was thrown out the window in order to get loaded. I became a professional self-victimizer because when I played the victim I felt self-pity, and when I felt sorry for myself I then, in turn, felt entitled to do whatever the F*** I had to do to make myself feel better. This came in many forms – drugs, alcohol, sex, materialistic things, bodybuilding (random, I know, for a daily drug addict/alcoholic), etc.
For years I resembled someone who had it all together, but in reality I was petrified inside. Petrified inside that everyone would figure out I wasn’t as cool as they thought I was. Petrified inside that everyone would figure out I hated myself. Petrified inside that everyone would no longer like me if they truly met the real me. So I played a role to hide this fear. The role of being outgoing, even cocky, and fully self-assured. It was false pride encapsulating self-loathing and it worked as I was very personable and well-liked by most people. During those 10 years of active addiction I flunked out of college, graduated from a different college with a stellar degree and GPA despite daily drinking and drugging, went to outpatient treatment programs, lock-down units of mental wards, inpatient treatment programs, therapy….everything short of breaking out in handcuffs.
How did I never end up with legal problems? I have absolutely no clue because I was into some pretty serious crimes and situations, so all I can say is my Higher Power was looking out for me even though I refused to acknowledge he existed. When left to my own devices for all those years I was nothing but a liar, a cheat, and a thief…and not just for the obvious reasons. I was a liar whenever I told myself, “Ok…THIS will be the last bottle, the last sack, the last vial” when I knew DAMN WELL it wasn’t even going to be the last one for that night. I was a cheat for cheating myself out of living a life I could be proud of, of having a relationship with my Higher Power, and ultimately having a relationship with myself. And I was a thief for stealing myself away from my friends, family, and loved ones when I was in the depths of my disease.
I was introduced to what Recovery looked like at 25 years old, after close to 6 months of total treatment where I was officially introduced to two 12 step fellowships. I told everyone I was in Recovery and embracing the new lifestyle…but that wasn’t the truth. I’m a “smart guy” whose got some “edumacation” under his belt so I had these theories. Theories of how I could drink or use like a gentleman, theories of where I lost control, theories of “it only got so bad because events X,Y, AND Z all happened at once and had they happened separately I wouldn’t have gone to such s***.” So I tried to pick and choose which parts of the programs I would follow, I tried to sponsor myself, I tried to be 90% honest instead of 100% honest. I tried, I tried, I tried. So what happens when I’m not recovering, I’m just merely abstinent as a “static addict” or “dry drunk”? Well, I secretary meetings dirty, I take dirty tokens, and I work dirty steps. I turn right back into that liar, cheat, and thief.
Repeatedly I did these things for 2 years. For 2 years I beat my head against a wall. For 2 years I was back to that insanity of where I had once come from…too afraid to live yet too scared to kill myself. And THAT’S when I found my GOD – the “Gift Of Desperation” – and on June 22, 2013 I finally became willing to go to any lengths to get and remain not only clean and sober…but to truly recover, as well. I did things I was unwilling to do in the past and I have been rewarded with a life beyond my wildest dreams.
Am I rich and famous? No. I’m still waiting on that…I’m still waiting to be handed life on a silver platter….I’m still waiting to be handed the winning lottery tickets. But today I have been given a wonderful gift – the gift of self-worth – something I never had as a child. That is my greatest gift in Recovery, and with that gift has come many changes in my life. I’ve been able to face some pretty tough situations and maintain my sobriety – the death of my mother, the life-altering diagnosis of breast cancer for my significant other and best friend, and the decision to quit my corporate job to become fully self-employed. I’ve faced things I once thought would be “un-faceable” and I’d like to think I handled them with dignity and grace…but only because I put my Recovery first. If no one told you this today let me be the first…YOU ARE WORTH IT. YOU DESERVE TO LIVE A LIFE YOU CAN BE PROUD OF. YOU DESERVE TO LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY. YOU DESERVE TO RECOVER.
I had a hell of a hard time coming to grips with those statements. For years, my total and utter lack of anything resembling self-esteem prevented me from allowing myself anything positive in my life so I would always self-sabotage. Today, I don’t have to do those things. Today, I allow myself positivity, self-love, and much, much more. It didn’t happen overnight, but trust me on this…it works if you work…so work it, ‘cause you’re worth it!
Top 5 Recovery Tools
2. 12 Step Meetings
3. Being of Service
4. Hanging Out With Friends in Recovery
5. Working With Newcomers