Author: Shernide Delva
Matt Williams is a Palm Partners alumni with over 6.5 years of sobriety under his belt. After going through treatment at Palm Partners, Williams was hired as an admissions counselor where he dedicated himself to helping others struggling with the disease of addiction obtain the same opportunity that he was given. Now, Williams plans to use his passion for exercise to further spread the message of recovery.
In the past, we have published many articles related to how beneficial exercise is in recovery. William exemplifies how incredible exercise can be for both physical and personal growth. In fact, Williams plans to check one major feat off of his list: completing the New York City Marathon.
Matt Williams Needs Your Support!
In memory of his father, and to spread awareness of addiction , Williams has dedicated himself to completing the upcoming 2016 New York City Marathon. He created a video for Foot Locker and ASICS’ “REAL LIVES. REAL RUNNERS.” campaign, which will give three finalists the chance to have their spot air nationally during the live television broadcast of the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 6th.
Voting ends today, October 20, so please vote in for one of our own Palm Partners Alumni. Just scroll down until you see the “second chances video.” Your support could help Williams in achieving an amazing opportunity to further spread the message of recovery.
Williams has an incredible story. We had the pleasure of interviewing him and hope you enjoy reading about his journey.
What was it like getting sober?
It was one of the most humbling experiences I had ever encountered because the way I had been living was like living two different lives. Getting sober allowed me to feel comfortable with who I am, learn how to live a sober life and process the way I had been living in the past. One of the best changes in my life.
What attracted you to running in the first place? Why do you think you originally gravitated towards it in treatment?
I had always run, exercised and tried to maintain a healthy lifestyle. All my hard work would be a waste as I would go on binges and engage in destructive behavior for my health and lifestyle. When I got sober running allowed me to push myself as far as I could, start each morning clearing my head and getting myself motivated for the day.
At what point did you finally decide to seek treatment?
I sought treatment immediately following a car wreck in 2010. I finished up the school year as I was an educator and had one month left until summer and in that time researched treatment facilities and had a dear childhood friend help me get into Palm Partners.
How did Palm Partners play an impact in your recovery?
Attending Palm Partners was essential to my recovery as I had begun a 12 step fellowship program and then was fortunate enough to check into Palm after being sober a month. I had a lot of unresolved issues and struggles that I needed professional help with. Palm and the scheduled structure and routine kept me focused and on track to creating a sober lifestyle.
Tell us a bit about your upbringing. Did addiction affect your life growing up?
I had an incredibly amazing upbringing in NY. I am the only one in my family affected by addiction. My parents were incredible and gave me every opportunity to study, play sports, do after school activities and travel to places around the world. My family has always been supportive of me and even more so when I was in treatment.
You competed in your first marathon in 2010. How have you trained differently since then?
When I left treatment, I had been running so much and had lost weight that I felt I could run the Miami marathon because I had run long distances and thought it was attainable. My body broke down around mile 18, and it took a lot for me to finish the race, but I did. This time around I hired a professional coach who runs and coaches people to run marathons. One of the best decisions I made as there was so much I didn’t know for the training process.
How do you think you will feel crossing the finish line this time around? What will it mean to you?
Crossing the finish line in NYC will be a most triumphant feeling in that I grew up NY and still have a great deal of family and friends that live there. I have been a spectator at the marathon in the past, and the energy is incredible.
We saw in the video that you are running this race in memory of your father. Can you elaborate on that?
The project I worked on this summer was to tell my story and why I run. They asked a lot of personal questions and got into how addiction and my father passing affected me. He passed away ten years ago, and when he did, he never saw me sober. Through getting sober, I have been able to honor him with a living amends and think of him daily.
Why do you think many addicts gravitate towards exercise in recovery? Have you experienced “runner’s high?”
Exercise allows for your body to feel good naturally and work hard at achieving goals. There are times when I struggle to run, but after my body starts moving and gets into a good stride, I have experienced the runners high. Working out allows for you to push and feel good each and every day.
What’s it been like staying sober? What is your life like now, and what do you seek to accomplish in the future?
Getting sober and staying sober have been amazing. I have my bad days, but they are far better than when I was out using. Sobriety has changed my life and allowed me to get married, start my own businesses, work with others and help them achieve their goals and so much more. I seek to grow my business that I work in with my wife, give back to those who ask for help and support the awareness of addiction and putting a positive light on those that can and do recover.
What will winning the partnership with Foot Locker mean to you?
Whatever the outcome of the Foot Locker campaign, the outpouring of support and love have been amazing. The fact so many people have shared the link and have spoken up has been amazing. That’s what it’s all about, people helping people.
Williams story shows how anyone can make a change, at any point of their addiction. It is never too late to turn it all around. Williams was able to turn his life around and you can do. Please vote for him today to help him obtain this amazing opportunity. Furthermore, if you are struggling in your journey, we can help. Call toll-free today.