Ryan Donnelly's Blog

Finding My Fire

My whole life I was a fighter, mentally more so than physically.  Had somewhat of a swagger that made me feel and appear pretty confident.  Some time ago when I started drinking and using drugs  I lost that confidence, it actually became the opposite.  I became very soft, mentally and physically. I knew that I was a shadow of the person I once was.  A part of me had disappeared and at the time I didn’t see a way of getting it back.

 Roy put on that Run DMC and started to give me somewhat of a pep talk.  I’ve never been a fan of someone who talked about what other people should do.  I like the guy that let’s his actions speak and I was about to learn that Roy backed up his lip.  He understood hardship and eloquintley transferred that struggle into words for me. 

I went down to that weight room ready to rock, but what Roy was able to do was ignite my inner flame.

Roy knew that I was out of shape, but that didn’t matter to him.  He wanted to workout with someone with the same passion that he had. He looked at me as somewhat of an underdog in this place, and he knew that I had something in me. And I knew he had something in him. Maybe that is what we understood about one another. It wasn’t something I could define then, and I won’t try to describe it now. Words wouldn’t do that kind of bond and understanding justice.

 While we worked out he questioned me about every aspect of my life.  He was very interested in my story and who I was as a person.  Between grueling workout sets, we bonded about our similarities.  The drugs turned two good-hearted guys into monsters.

 He went on to explain to me that this wasn’t his first shot at rehab and that once upon a time he had over 10 years clean but had obviously relapsed. This time it took his family away from him.  They didn’t  trust him to be the husband and father he knew he could be anymore. They had forgiven him and gave him a second chance and he didn’t blame them for leaving him this time.  He screwed up and had to live with the guilt every minute of every day.  Roy’s mission now was to turn that guilt into motivation for me, to teach me that it didn’t have to be the same for me. To show me the chance I had been given and that it only happens once.

We finished our workout and I was destroyed physically.  I could tell Roy was a little tired as well, and I think that he pushed extra hard our first night to test me.  It became clear, that even  though we were both physically exhausted, our minds were very healthy. 

I sat on the weight bench and Roy sat on a chair in the corner, and we just talked. It was as if time seemed to just stand still.  Nothing else mattered at that moment. It was such an incredible conversation that both Roy and I couldn’t wipe the smile off of our faces. 

We were two guys from two different generations and  two completely different social worlds  who totally understood each other.  Roy asked me if I wanted to workout every night with him.  I just replied, “If your old ass can hang.”  He laughed harder than I expected and we headed upstairs. 

Roy’s room was on the 7th floor so when we reached my floor (the 6th) we shook hands and I thanked him for re-awakening my fire.  He just smiled and said, “we stick together, you and me, and we’ll be just fine.

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