I found out about CrossFit in 2011 from a high school friend, who had recently returned from Iraq. He spoke of a workout program that was actually able to whoop a US Marine’s ass. (Yes, unbridled cockiness is one of the things that make Marines so good at what they do.)

Intrigued, I began to research.

In my studies a stumbled across a CrossFit journal article which consisted of various plans for homemade gymnastics equipment. I set out to build what I assumed to be the simplest and most benign contraption on the list, the gymnastics rings.

Taking 2 small portions of PVC pipe and filling them with sand, I was directed to place it into the oven for a short amount of time to make the PVC pliable.

Upon removing them I was to bend them into circles and drain the sand. Once the sand was drained I passed a segment of white nylon rope through the rings and secured the two ends with a square not.

Next I needed a place to hang them. I was aware of some batting cages near my home at a local park in Cecilia, LA. I grabbed a pair of tow straps and, with rings in hand, headed to the park.

I backed my truck up under the batting cage, lowered my tailgate, and tossed the straps over the high horizontal pole. Next I secured the rings to the tow straps by threading the strap through the ring against my square not. With the rings mounted and level, I pulled the truck forward with the rings hanging in a way that would require me to hold myself in the ring support position (hands by my side, straight arms, holding my entire 285lbs in my hands via these  wobbly homemade instruments.

There was no fear of disaster. Remember, I was a Marine. Also, I was probably drinking.

Hilarity ensued.

As I stepped off of the tailgate and into this unfamiliar world of CrossFit, terror overtook me. One arm began to shake uncontrollably, then the other. In what seemed like slow motion, my right arm betrayed me, my left arm was immediately infected by the cowardice displayed by my right arm and it too ran from the battle.

Without the twin aid of my only means of suspension, the jig was up. Gravity quickly made me its bitch, something that never stops, and I found myself in a contorted clump in the park dirt.

Looking around and praying that no one was witness to this gymnastic massacre, I packed up my PVC rings and went home. Those rings forced me to look at some truth about myself. About my condition. But not only about my condition, about the disparity between the the truth of my condition, and my false opinion of my condition.

I knew I had destroyed everything in my life. My family was gone, cars and homes repossessed, spiritual life completely missing, and no outlook for the future. But I thought I still had my manhood. I thought I was still physically capable. Nope. Failure on the ring dip was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It removed whatever gentle breeze remained in my sails. It silenced the quiet voice in the back of my mind that kept convincing me I was still ok.

“I do not know what happened to those rings since then, but I do know what happened to me.”

2 years later I was sober, and competing in the 2013 CrossFit Regionals in San Antonio, Texas.

4 years later I became the owner of two CrossFit affiliates and Louisiana’s first Level 3 Certified CrossFit Trainer.

5 years later I started SobrietyWoD. SobrietyWoD is my new ring dip, and it’s purpose is to help others overcome their own overwhelming obstacles, and live a life of freedom.