To say this "put me over the edge" was an understatement. I dropped out of college and turned to heavy drug and alcohol use thinking this would ease the pain and diminish my anger. I hated myself, my family and especially hated my father for dying and leaving us behind.
Naturally, my not-so-recreational drug use quickly turned into a drug addiction that consumed and controlled me. That same year, my family tried to help me and I was checked into a rehab facility where I slowly began to turn my life around. A few months after I was released, I had the opportunity to spend a year in South Africa as a sports missionary which was truly my salvation.
While abroad, I traveled to many different schools spreading God's love and coaching various sports teams. During this time, I shared my life story with thousands of people who, in turn, shared their pain with me. It broke my heart to listen as these students pour out their secrets and the unrelenting hurt they felt. At every school, the situation was the same - more stories of anger, hurt and betrayal of self. It didn't matter where I traveled in South Africa, hurt was a universal byproduct.
This experience changed my life completely and continues to be an inspiration to me in my life. I realize that each person has a story, but their joy is often overwhelmed by their hurt. And, I realized that I could help them mend some of the broken pieces. My pain became my connection to each student, and together, there was peace in that.
Upon returning to the United States, I had a clear purpose and mission to help make a difference in the lives of students in America. I spent the next three years working to earn my bachelor's degree in Psychology and to obtain my Life Coaching certificate. As a graduate of Grand Canyon University, I have many paths before me, but most lead me to positions of leadership with young men and women. I want them to be as excited about life, about God and about their future as I am. As a Sports Life Coach, I can do that.
Today, my life is very different and is filled with my efforts to help adolescents, teenagers and young adults feel blessed. In addition to Sports Life Coaching teens, I created my own business, "BlessingJar.com" to celebrate the blessings life gives us. A "Blessing Jar" is uniquely decorated and filled with a variety of messages that can be read whenever a little inspiration is needed.
I believe that one's past does not dictate the future. Becoming a Sports Life Coach is my way of blessing my past and giving others the tools they need to ensure healthy and productive life choices.