My name is Matt Norton and I'm a recovering meth addict. And thanks to programs like Back On My Feet, I'm able to not only run a marathon but give back to those who helped me get my life together.
Running this is bigger than just some self achievement. I'm here to prove that anything is possible and nobody is hopeless. I'm not just hoping to inspire addicts but anyone going through some sort of life altering struggle, that may need some inspiration to go out and make a change on whatever is within your control. And hopefully, for those out there struggling out liud or in silence, you find whatever it is that you were looking for, the piece that was missing from your life to feel complete and whole again. While I won't go into too much detail, I will tell you my story.
About a year and a half ago, I walked into rehab for the last time after having lost nearly everything. I struggled for the better half of the past decade with my addiction. I managed to live day to day but never moved forward. Eventually the day to day got difficult. I probably weighed 120 lbs soaking wet, I didn't sleep for days on end, I was obsessed with the drugs and the culture. I couldn't find an escape. I needed some sort of upper to make it through the day and was too tweeked out to sleep at night. I even kept a meth pipe in my apron and car just to make it through the day. Then the night would never end. I won't reveal what I was doing, but for those who know meth culture in the gay community, you know. And I'd do whatever I had to do, with whoever, just for the drug(s). For a solid while I couldn't even face to look at myself in the mirror and spent most of the day time with my head hung in shame. I wasn't proud of what I was doing, and it wasn't me, it was never me.
I had to lie my way into detox because their wasn't much help for meth addicts. After my first program, I relapsed right away, even went on a long bender in my car driving up and down New England, New York, pretty much throughout the northeast finding drugs wherever I could. Finally I had reached my breaking point in some basement meth lab, and I called a friend who was never too far away. My journey then took me to a psych ward, a holding program, then a halfway house. The house would save my life, but not before I would relapse one last time. My rock bottom was three days of binge meth use and then being thrown out of my halfway house with nothing but the clothes on my back. I held my head high this time, walked right back into a program and with the help of some aggressive counseling and fellow addicts, I'd find my way. So here we are. My past broke me down, but for some of us, that's what we need. This journey changed me for the better. I discovered so much about who I am and what I'm capable of, both good and bad.
The forefront of my recovery was fitness. I started running a few years ago when I first tried to get clean. Running and fitness became the backbone of my recovery. It was therapeutic, it built my confidence, it encouraged me to want to take better care of myself. I could set little goals with running, and that layed a foundation for me to start putting my life together. I had more confidence, I was ready to do the work, I didn't get overwhelmed.
Today I've got a future. I'm back in school, I have a home, a car, my family and friends back in my life, I've taken better care of myself and in the best health I've been in for awhile, simply put, I'm the best version of myself. I've spent the past year working on me and now I want to give back. Back On My Feet inspired me to work for something more, so I couldn't imagine a better charity to be running for. I'm just one of many examples that their model works.
For anyone who has known someone to suffer from addiction or go through any other big struggle, remember that anything is possible and nobody is hopeless. I never thought I'd be running the Boston Marathon, but here I am. If you can donate or spread the word, please do.
Back on My Feet wrote:
Back on My Feet (BoMF) seeks to revolutionize the way our society approaches homelessness. Their unique running-based model demonstrates that if you first restore confidence, strength and self-esteem, individuals are better equipped to tackle the road ahead and move toward jobs, homes and new lives. For all in need, BoMF aims to provide: practical training and employment resources for achieving independence; an environment that promotes accountability; and a community that offers compassion and hope. For all with the capacity to serve—volunteers, donors, community and corporate partners—we seek to engage you in the profound experience of empowering individuals to achieve what once seemed impossible through the seemingly simple act of putting one foot in front of the other.
Operating in 12 cities coast-to-coast, BoMF uses running and community to motivate and support tindividuals every step of the way from homelessness to independance. Our success is measured not only by the health impact of miles run, but also by how many individuals obtain education, employment and housing.
BoMF recruits members at homeless and residential facilities around the country and begins with a commitment to run three days a week in the early morning. After 30 days in the program, memberse with 90% attendance earn the opportunity to move into the second phase of the program called Next Steps, which provides educational support, job training programs, employment partnership referrals and housing resources.
Join the fight against homelessness today!