Calm, Cool and Connected - The Guide Book to Peace of Mind

From Rock Bottom to Triathlon: Adam Hill on "Shifting Gears"

June 03, 2022 Calm, Cool and Connected Season 1 Episode 184
Calm, Cool and Connected - The Guide Book to Peace of Mind
From Rock Bottom to Triathlon: Adam Hill on "Shifting Gears"
Show Notes Transcript

Few topics are as complicated or wide-reaching as addiction. Today’s guest sheds a light on the fact that there’s a story behind each case of addiction. Understanding the story behind  addiction can lead to the transformative journey back from rock bottom.

Bestselling author Adam Hill joins Dr. Fedrick for this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected to share his story of anxiety, addiction, and transforming those into sobriety and success. 

Key Takeaways from Liz’s chat with Adam:

• Hear about Adam’s struggle with an anxiety disorder 
• Learn how his anxiety disorder related to his addiction 
• Find out how landing at rock bottom changed Adam’s life 
• Discover the secrets that helped Adam go from rock bottom to “Iron Man” participant
• Hear some encouragement for building from your own rock bottom

All of this and more, on this episode of Calm, Cool and Connected.

Find more information about Adam at:
Connect with Adan on Instagram: @adamhilltri

For more information on Dr. Elizabeth Fedrick, visit her website:
Connect with Dr. Fedrick on Instagram: @drelizabethfedrick

Watch the video interview on our Facebook Page

Have a question you'd like answered on the show? Leave us a voicemail here:

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Dr. Liz: Hello. Welcome to calm, cooling connected. I'm your host, Dr.

Elizabeth Bennett. Addiction is something that can truly destroy someone's life. And so many ways personally, professionally, and certainly relationally. Our next guest, Adam Hill makes an interesting and thought provoking assertion about addiction. By saying that there's always a level beneath what you think is rock bottom in spite of what you think it can always get better.

However Adam thinks about [00:01:00] better instead of worse, as he decided to get sober and ultimately went on to compete at the Ironman world stage in Kona, Hawaii. I'm just here to talk with us today about his journey from rock bottom, to being in an extraordinary. Hi, Adam. Thanks so much for joining us today.

Adam: Hey, thanks for having me. 

Dr. Liz: Good to be here. Absolutely. I'm glad to have you. So before we get started, tell us a little bit about who is Adam. Tell us a little bit about who you are before we jump in. 

Adam: I think the most important part is I love to wear. That that's a new development of course, over the last decade or so, but yeah, never, never before, but no, I, I yeah, so I grew up with an anxiety disorder.

That's been one of my defining characteristics through my growth in in life and eventually leading into my alcoholism that led into the downward spiral that that became. My life for about a decade in my twenties and early thirties. And since then, since becoming sober, I've become a triathlete, become an executive, become a coach and found that, [00:02:00] just the things that I've learned in sobriety.

And I've learned that basically, Leaning into hope that there is a miracle behind, beyond desperation that even in that point of the lowest hopelessness that you could possibly experience where you feel like there's no way out, the miracles that exist in this life are just amazing. And so that. What I try and share with the, with, with people today.

Certainly a 

Dr. Liz: beautiful message. Tell us a little bit about your story. You know, just a, a brief version of your story with addiction. I understand that there's nothing brief about it, but how it kind of started and then evolved over 

Adam: time. Yeah, so I, I developed an anxiety disorder, well, or throughout my life, it was running dormant within me.

I was always kind of a worrier in my younger life. And experienced that in certain ways that you know, I, I became a spazz or I became socially awkward. I didn't feel like I had a lot of, a lot of friends, but mainly I just didn't really recognize that I had this this anxiety with them. We, we didn't talk about it back then.

And so once I got [00:03:00] into college, I I started to drink alcohol. College kids do at the very beginning. It, there weren't a lot of consequences. I would have a couple of beers and, and really nothing different than anybody else would do. And I found that what it did was it, it took me to this new level of socialization or, or being social right.

And just subdued that anxiety to the extent that I found that as a solution and I leaned into it and they kept doing it until I started developing a stronger levels of anxiety, panic attacks, and all of those sorts of things. And then finally, when I discovered that I actually had. Anxiety disorder, this generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks.

I, by then I was already full blown into the alcoholism and was doing that as, as my solution. And so that that's kind of the Genesis in a very, very small nutshell of, of what happened in my. 

Dr. Liz: Sure. And when you talk about rock bottom, [00:04:00] and like I said in the intro that, that when I read that in your information about, there's always a level beneath that really was pretty thought provoking to me.

Cause I was like, good point. We talked so often about, okay, when you hit rock bottom, then you get motivated to do something different. But I mean, you make a very compelling point that there's always something beneath that. Tell us what, what was, what you perceive to be your rock bottom and kind of where that thought process came from?

Adam: Yeah, I've had a number of rock bottoms in my life, so it was number of times where I had. Period of complete demoralization where I did something that was so embarrassed by her. So humiliated or so shamed by that. I never wanted to drink again. And of course during those times I went into AA and I got sober and then eventually I would relapse and I would find that each progressive time.

That I went back out, it would get worse. It never, ever got better and it went more quickly. So it is a progressive disease. That part [00:05:00] is really true. And I would always set a number of rules for myself that, you know, that that would, that I would. Made me believe that I could control it in terms of like not drinking on the weekend or not drinking during the week.

Not drinking after a certain hour or, or not drinking and driving. And eventually I broke every single one of those rules and the biggest rule that I would never. Was drinking and driving. I just hated those people. And that was just not me until one day I did do it. And that was my last rock bottom.

Dr. Liz: And that was your catalyst that led into sobriety. Is that, and how did you for, you know, our audience who's listening and there is so much desperation and Even just hopelessness or helplessness around getting sober, or as you're saying, staying sober. What were some of those key factors for you that allowed you to maintain your 

Adam: sobriety?

The first one was definitely willingness and that was so important because the previous times I would do it for my wife, I [00:06:00] would. Do I get sober for my wife or to get the heat off or to, or to subdue the anxiety that I had at that point was just to go in and like, just kind of get my head full of AA and then leave again.

But at this time it was complete willingness every single day. And then doing just whatever I was told, following the framework to the T of, of alcoholics anonymous, which is the program that I. There are many programs. I'm not trying to promote one, but that's the one that worked for me. And, and the reason I believe it worked was because it was a framework, a simple framework, 12 steps that, you know, if you follow it to the tee and you just do what you're told.

You have a much better chance of getting sober and leaning into it. So that was helpful. 

Dr. Liz: Sure. I mean, and that is so true. Sticking with the structure and being consistent and all of those things that we know are the key ingredients for reaching any goal that would make a lot of sense for that to be tied in with the sobriety as well.

Tell us about your transition though. So I mean, First and [00:07:00] foremost, amazing to get sober. Of course. I mean, that's a huge feat, but then in addition, you went on to do what iron man, multiple iron men, what'd you do from there? Tell 

Adam: us about that journey. Yeah. So I've done 10 iron mans since I've been sober.

And and yeah, so when I got sober, you're exactly right. It was something I never thought that I could do because I failed at it so many times before. And that. Addiction was so powerful in me that I just didn't believe that I could do it. And then when I did have about a year of sobriety, I had always been told within sobriety, never to make any major life changes until you have it, your sobriety.

And that kind of resonated with me to say, Well, then I have to make a major life change in a year of sobriety. That was the big deal. And I had seen the Ironman world championship many years earlier when I was in my addiction. And I remember watching it, I remember being so inspired by the people that were crossing the finish line.

These were normal people. These were people that were had day jobs. They [00:08:00] were, they were people that you know, overcame their own challenges. And I was so inspired by that, but I remember that that little twinge of, of man, I wish I could do that. And then the second thing. There's no way you could do that.

That's not you, you can't do that. And so when I had that head full of sobriety, a year of sobriety thinking, and that, that mindset of empowering. That led me back to that moment of thinking about it. I had said, well, instead of saying, well, I could never do that. I said, well, what if I got sober? I did something.

I had that frame of reference of sobriety that I never thought I could do before. And I thought that this could be an additional supplement to that. And so I, so I started training. I did. Swam more than like a, I never swam organized way in any way. I didn't own a road bike or anything like that. I, I had just quit smoking a month earlier.

Oh boy. It was it was painful at first, but I did, you know, a year later I became an iron man my first iron man and I, and I realized, man, I [00:09:00] think. You know, I think there's something here and I really love it. I'm really passionate about it. And I find that this is a way that I could practice discipline in a controlled way.

I and so it, so I, I, I committed to wanting to achieve the, the race that I saw, which was Ironman, Hawaii. I wanted to qualify for that race. So that's what I spent the next four years trying to. That's 

Dr. Liz: it's so inspirational. And I love what you're describing is what I called with my clients. The snowball effect is when we can do hard things, we then proved ourselves.

We can continue to do hard things. And that's exactly what you did. So tell us that. Where can our viewers find you? Where are you? Social media website. Where can you be 

Adam: found? Yeah, my website is Adam Hill That's Adam Hill T R And likewise, my Instagram handle is Adam Hill. Try. And you could find me there.

Those are the best places to find me and I look forward to hearing from you. Great. 

Dr. Liz: Well, thank you so much for being here, Adam. I really appreciate 

Adam: it. Thank you. It's my pleasure. 

Dr. Liz: And thank you all for tuning into this episode of column [00:10:00] cooling, connected. Please make sure to find us on Facebook and Instagram and also make sure to rate and subscribe to our podcast so that others can discover our content as well.

Thank you again for joining us on this episode of calm, cooling, connected. .