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The reason I started this race.

Something seriously just popped up in my world that made me drop everything I was doing, and write this blog post.

This song-

Running CHANGED. MY. LIFE. Running, and a lot of God's help and grace of course, but running was the tangible outlet I could turn to every day in order to figure out how to process the emotions that I had engrained so deeply into addiction, in my case - alcohol.

I am an addict. I've been an addict my entire life. From the age of 14, I've been addicted to SOMETHING. My father was an addict, he died at the age of 54 from alcoholism. Addiction is rooted in my soul and in my past. It's a nasty thing to have in your life. I will always be an addict, but thankfully through a lot of really hard work, God has healed me and made me new. And running keeps me on the upside of positive choices every single day. Being an addict is not a choice. Being addicted is.

This video really hit me when it popped up on NPR.org today.

I joined the Army when I turned 18. I was shipped over seas at 19 and spent a year in Iraq. Due hip pain, I was given the option to spend some time in a unit called MedHold when I got home. Supposedly, they try to figure out what is wrong with you and how to fix it. The 6 months I spent there, I only saw a Dr. occasionally, and only had a few tests done. But I got pills. I got all the pills I wanted. Any pill, any kind, any strength. And they were free of course. I completely blame the Doctors. They knew exactly what they were doing. Never in my life did I need morphine pills for my back pain. But I blame myself of course as well. I knew exactly what I was doing.

I have a very big heart for veterans. I think veterans are some of our strongest addicted group of people. We have 22 veterans A. DAY. die from suicide. Think about my story. When I got back from war, I went straight from the mind controlling confusing reality of military life, to a guy giving me any legal numbing substance I wanted. What kind of failure are we setting these YOUNG men and women up with. How on earth are we teaching them to phase back into the real world? Thankfully I am stubborn enough to where I was my life completely failing, and I made the change. But not everyone is the same way.

But I digress.

Thankfully, I never got interested in hard drugs. Thankfully, even if 5 years after that, I got very interested in running. During what was still the hardest time in my life I ever had, I started to turn to running before I turned to drinking. Somedays it worked, some days it didn't. Some days got easier and some days are still very hard. But I continue to make the choice.

It's slightly ironic that Macklemore is the artist behind this song. His album The Heist was my anthem to getting clean. The amount of times I listened to the song "Starting Over" by him on repeat, anyone would have thought I had a serious problem. (Listen to it!)

The point is. I truly believe that our world has an addiction problem. Not just alcohol or drugs, but those two are very big and very real and ruin lives. I also truly believe that addiction IS A CHOICE. A very hard choice that takes a lot of discipline and effort to over come, but a choice non-the-less.

And I 100% believe that running is what changed my life.

I started this race because I want running to have the ability to change everyone's life as well.

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