crossfit and addiction recovery

CrossFit and Recovery: Tim Mustion’s Story

We have been bragging about Tim Mustion’s accomplishments for quite a while. Not only do we think he is an amazing person but he is also one of our alumni. Earlier this year, during the CrossFit Worldwide Open, Tim placed 33rd in the South East Regional division! Although he didn’t qualify as an individual in Regionals he did qualify as a member of the Crossfit Hype team.

He has made a significant amount of progress both as an athlete and as a man in recovery, we are extremely proud of his growth and commitment. So we asked him to share with our readers a bit about his journey.

The following are Tim’s words explaining his passion and drive:

CrossFit is the sport of fitness. CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. So, what that means is that on any given day or any given workout you could be doing gymnastic moves like muscle ups on the high rings, or Olympic weightlifting movements like the snatch or clean and jerk. There are so many different elements that make up CrossFit and there is always something that I can work hard to improve on every day. I was a big-time football player back in high school and loved the camaraderie of a team and all the hard work that went into being the best. When my football career came to an end after senior year of high school, that is when my drug use and drinking took the front seat and began to take over.

I felt lost without something to work towards, something that drove me to get up each day, to work out and to strive to be better and better. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I was introduced to CrossFit and instantly fell in love with it. It took me back to the days in the weight room in high school and from the get go I seemed to be pretty good at it. It was definitely something I could see myself getting into. But, like many others struggling with addiction, I could not escape the vicious day to day cycle of waking up sick and spending all my time and energy figuring out ways to get what I needed to not feel sick. And by the time that happened, the gym or CrossFit was the last thing on my mind. But it was always on my mind if that makes any sense. I would daydream about being “normal” and to be able to go to the gym and train for hours and see the progress that would take place if I could just give up drugs and alcohol. But it was not that easy.

I would daydream about being “normal”…

I could not shake the habit, nor could anybody make me. Over the next two years, from 2013 to 2015, I spent time in and out of treatment facilities. From California to Colorado, and eventually to where I am now, Florida. I would go to treatment and be the star client. I would be polite, respectful, and always seemed willing to try something new to better myself. During my periods of sobriety, I would always be in the CrossFit gym, working out and trying to pursue my newest passion in life. Every time I got sober I thought it would be the last time and that my CrossFit career would take off and I would be a high-level competitor soon enough. But that was not the case. It took a while for me to come around and realize that I was putting CrossFit before my recovery. And when I would relapse time after time, CrossFit was always the first thing that I would lose. I would lose my drive and sense of belonging and I was back drinking and doing drugs.

It was not until I came to Florida and went to Life Of Purpose, and took a 6-month break from stepping into a CrossFit gym, that I was able to create a stable recovery platform and a group of sober supports. It was challenging at first to step back and not go to the gym. But I told myself that I wanted to finish the twelve steps before I was mentally ready to go back and try it out again. By late January of 2016, just over 3 months after getting out of Life of Purpose was I ready to go back to the gym, and that is when I found CrossFit Hype which coincidentally, was a gym we nearly always passed on our way to the beach on Sundays while in treatment.

The moral of that story is that I had to introduce something else new in my life…

The moral of that story is that I had to introduce something else new in my life like the twelve steps before I could get to a place where I was able to begin my journey of becoming a competitive CrossFit athlete. I had to work as hard at recovery as I did at CrossFit because I could not have one without the other. After I began at CrossFit Hype, not a month went by and I already felt like I had found a new home and a new group of friends. I met a lot of great people there, some of whom are among my best friends today, I even met the guy who became my sponsor. During my years of struggling with addiction, followed by months long stints of sobriety, I was able to accumulate three different certifications for coaching CrossFit. Within a few months of working out at Hype, I had expressed my interest in coaching and being a bigger presence in the community we have there. By the end of the year, when we had outgrown our space on Palmetto Rd and moved to a bigger location, I was brought on by the owners Ben Rosen and Rob Thomas as a trainer and coach at the gym. Ben and Rob are two people who I looked up to and who saw the potential in me, never judging me on my past. They are the definition of true and genuine people. My mission of being a highly competitive CrossFit athlete started to come true later in the year of 2016. I qualified for my first Pro Level Competition and placed 6th in it. Earlier this year, during the CrossFit Worldwide Open, I placed 33rd in the South East Regional division. I missed the cutoff for individual competition in Regionals, but our gym did so well as a team that we got invited to compete in the Regionals in the team division!

My dreams have started to unfold and come true. Regionals was always something that I had my eye on and within one year of training and working for it, competing with my CrossFit Hype team in Atlanta was actually happening. I cannot say that all of these things happened to me because I am a good athlete, or that I am someone who is in great shape and can lift a lot of weight. These things happened to me because of the work that I put in for myself. For my recovery. I did all those things that people told me to do early on in my journey. I went to those meetings that I did not want to go to at the end of the day. I worked through the twelve steps and got uncomfortable. I did all of this as honestly as I could and everything that I had hoped and dreamed for has come true or is in the process of coming true. It just goes to show that action is one of the biggest components to long term recovery. I was never one to put the action in once I left treatment. I never worked a program. But I wanted so badly to be sober and wanted to pursue my passion of competing in CrossFit that I got comfortable being uncomfortable and as a direct result, amazing things started happening. Opportunities started to present themselves and people started to get behind me and what I am doing.

I came up with the idea of Temperance Training, a program that helps individuals, like myself, who suffer from addiction and alcoholism, with a fitness regimen that offers a healthy alternative lifestyle.

Today I have a new path. One that revolves around sobriety and helping others, while pursuing a career in CrossFit as an athlete. CrossFit has helped me in my recovery because I am able to give back to others what I have learned inside the rooms and in the gym. In December of 2016, I figured out what route I was going to take. I had tried to go back to school, a few times and each time I went back it was more and more apparent that going to school was not the path I would take. So, I came up with the idea of Temperance Training, a program that helps individuals, like myself, who suffer from addiction and alcoholism, with a fitness regimen that offers a healthy alternative lifestyle. Temperance Training is still in the process of being developed into something that will help a lot of people out there, give them another avenue to relieve stress, meet new people, and challenge themselves far beyond what they thought is possible. Our goal is to have treatment facilities come to our gym and take part in our Temperance Training class so that Anthony, my fellow coach, and I can share the impact that physical exercise has had on our recovery.

In the meantime, while we are working things out, I decided to start hosting a free Temperance Training class for anybody who is in recovery. On Sunday mornings at 9 am we host a Sober Sunday class at CrossFit Hype for anybody in recovery that wants to try something new, find a new passion, meet people, or just wants a good sweat. It has really blown up over the last couple months. We went from having 5-6 people showing up to our biggest class of 28 people. It is a truly wonderful experience seeing somebody’s eyes light up when they finally put all the steps together and execute a perfect clean and jerk, or get their first pull-up.

My advice to anyone that is new to recovery, or someone who has not had the best of luck in the past, is to take action. You hear it all the time and I am sure it goes in one ear and out the other. But it is not until you leave your ego behind and take the necessary steps that you will find recovery. Work the steps and help other people. Find something you love to do and go get it, whatever it is just work on it every single day and do not forget where you came from or how far you have come. Being free of addiction and alcoholism has opened so many new adventures in my life and finally allowed me to be the best version of myself and truly live.

Check out Tim’s post on what CrossFit and Sobriety have in common. Thanks, Tim, for sharing your inspiring journey, we wish you much success!

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