We have all made terrible decisions in our lives. Some of them we make instantaneously, and some of them we have made after a lot of thought. Sometimes we make them because we absolutely hate ourselves, and other times we make bad decisions out of selfishness.
It’s not easy, but the only thing we can do is forgive ourselves and move forward.
I know that some of my terrible decisions were made because I absolutely despised myself. My issues with pain killers came at a time when I was getting injured repeatedly. My body wasn’t holding up the way I wanted it to, and I fed myself constant medication to numb the pain both physically and mentally. I was in a horrible relationship at the time, and I kept losing loved ones — my father, my coach, my sister, my grandmother, just to name a few.
Loathing yourself is easy, and it makes you do nasty things. I used to drink myself to sleep, hoping the next day of my life would be better. And my life really wasn’t that bad. One day I woke up and realized I wasn’t getting anywhere, and my life was depressing and stagnant. I decided that my life was worth living, that I had a wonderful woman in my life, my wife, Giovanna; that my 4 beautiful kids needed the proper support of a loving father; and that I was better than that.
I have been clean and sober for 3 years, and I have learned how to forgive myself for my mistakes. I am thankful for all of the dark moments in my life, because I know what it feels like to hit rock bottom, and I know I don’t want to be there again. I have learned that my bad decisions do not define me, and for the first time ever I have learned to love myself. Not even winning a gold medal made me feel “good enough.”
The most important things in my life are serving God and providing for my family. That is my true purpose. You, too, are good enough for God, or you wouldn’t be here. So always remember that no matter how dark your life becomes, you deserve better. But only you can change your path. Lots of prayer and positive reinforcement will help, and you have to forgive yourself for your mistakes. They are in the past, so leave them there and forget them. Your life will get better if you truly want it to. It’s damn true.