How Recovery Through Fitness Saved My Life
Have you ever felt the need to share your faults, shortcomings and life stories with others in order to become seen and heard? Of course not! Who wants to share the most embarrassing parts of themselves and feel better afterwards? Actually, I do. I want you to know my dirty laundry, and I want you to know I am still loved even with an absolutely insane past full of dirty secrets. I find myself excited to share my story with you all in hopes of helping the next woman and/or man who makes a life decision to stay sober.
At the age of 23, I was headed down a rabbit hole of negativity and despair. I felt that my world was falling apart after a tumultuous relationship ended. Tears would not stop flowing as I ran to leave work each night. I crawled my way into my room hoping for the weekend so that I could drink my problems away. Every weekend for 4 years, I masked my worries with a bottle of whiskey and beer. I lost my position at one of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world at the age of 25 due to my drinking habits. I did not want to admit I had a problem, and I continued drinking my failures away. I was losing faith, friends and my family questioned me about my decisions. I wanted nothing more than to stay away from each person who wanted to help me. Alcohol became my best friend for the next 2 years. Blackouts became a regular weekend chore, and I came close to losing the home I purchased when I turned 23; $30,000 wasted away on drugs and alcohol over a 2-year period.
I hit rock bottom on the night I went out with some friends for a birthday party. I woke up covered in vomit in a hallway with two men standing over top of me. They were security guards of the building who helped me find my way back to my friend’s apartment complex through my mumblings and drunken walking. As we arrived at my friend’s place, EMT’s also arrived on site trying to take me to the hospital to have my stomach pumped. I remember the EMT saying I was drugged and needed to get the alcohol and Rufilin out of my system, but I was not in the position to answer her; my head was in the trashcan. My friend refused treatment and sent me to bed still covered in my own vomit. I woke up the next day still drunk, arrived at my car that had a $50 ticket on it and left to go home. I slept for the next 2 days until I needed to go to work Monday morning.
After that episode, I came to the realization I had a serious problem with alcohol and needed to do something about it. I called my father on September 15, 2013 and told him I was not going to drink ever again as I sat at the bar with a beer in my hand! I told him it was going to be my last drink, and I also told him I made an appointment at a CrossFit gym that week. I asked him what the best way to stop drinking was, and he told me, “Brittany, I do not have the answers. You know what to do. Just stop”, and he hung up the phone. That was the answer. Just stop.
On September 17th, 2013, I walked into CrossFit King of Prussia in Pennsylvania. I made an appointment to be assessed to see if I were a good fit for the type of strenuous activity. Little did I know CrossFit KOP would become my life saver and my transition into sobriety. I heard nothing but wonderful things about the sport, and I knew I needed to involve myself in some sort of competitive environment since I couldn’t chug beers or take shots with the boys at the bar anymore. Fitness was my new drug, and I needed to make it work. As I walked into the gym, a gentleman by the name of Tim sat behind the desk with a huge smile on his face. He and I made an instant connection; Tim was in recovery from alcohol and drugs and had 5 years under his belt. I thought to myself, “Five years? Holy smokes! I am barely 24 hours. How will I ever make it longer than a few days or months without relapsing? I need this guy in my life!” After performing a few basic exercises such as push-ups, air squats and sit-ups, Tim asked me to do a bunch of timed exercises. I remember telling him I was going to throw up mainly because I was experiencing the shakes and coming off a binge over the weekend. He completely understood my struggles but did not let me slack off. We ended our session with stretching and deep breathing. Tim asked me if I wanted to sign up as a member, but I needed to think things over when I arrived back home that evening. I knew my answer was yes, but I didn’t want to seem too eager.
The following week I joined CrossFit King of Prussia, and I was a member for 2.5 years. CrossFit KOP kick started my sobriety, and I can proudly say I stayed true to myself and remain sober until today; 4 years, 1 month and 6 days to be exact! Today I live a healthy and extremely happy lifestyle as a Personal Trainer in Austin, Texas. My reason for becoming a personal trainer back in March of this year was not clear. I first thought of it as a side-job to my sales position at a chemical company. Unfortunately, I was laid off about 2 weeks later after becoming certified. I did not panic, nor did I feel extremely lost like I did the first time I lost my job. Why? I knew personal training was a true calling; helping people change their life through exercise. What better way to help someone feel great about themselves? But I wasn’t satisfied coaching just “normal” folks; those that did not have problems with drugs or alcohol. I wanted to make a difference in peoples’ lives the same way CrossFit made a difference in mine.
I recently was given an opportunity to coach at Dane’s Body Shop. Dane’s is not a CrossFit gym but a functional fitness facility built on the foundation of community. On the schedule, there is a class for folks who in recovery from alcohol and drugs. I coach the class on Friday mornings, and the energy within me and the class is electric! By the end of class, my shirt is completely covered in sweat. I feel as if I went through the workout with them! I still manage to have enough energy after the class to complete my workout and coach until 5p.m. God’s given me more than I could imagine. I am truly blessed, humbled and grateful to coach those in recovery. Fitness made a wonderful impact on my life, and I can honestly say I am living out my true passion! I will continue to coach those in recovery and help folks stay sober through the power of fitness!
Author: Brittany Parsons
Facebook: Brittany Parsons
About: Brittany Parsons is a certified ACE Personal Trainer who resides in Austin, TX. She played college basketball at The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, PA and always believed in the power of sports and fitness as part of her lifestyle. Brittany trains clients privately in the comfort of their own homes and at Dane’s Body Shop, she coaches a class for those in recovery from drugs and alcohol. Her purpose of becoming a personal trainer became well-defined when she stepped foot into the Shop and realized her passion for coaching folks in recovery; Brittany is 4 years sober from alcohol and drugs. Brittany’s mission and goal in life is to train recovery clients 1 on 1 though an online program helping them with topics such as staying sober, self-esteem issues, feelings and emotions and career paths. She is also putting together a year-long Recovery Through Fitness program, and that will begin January 2018. The program will focus on each client individually in a group setting. Each client will have the floor each week to discuss a topic of their choice allowing the group members chime in on the topic. Each week, Brittany will post three workouts for the members to complete and hold each other accountable to complete. Each member must stay sober throughout the program.