Rock to Recovery : Tony Hoffman

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Tony Hoffman is a motivational speaker, Olympics coach for BMX, founder of Freewheel Project, and is a host of his own podcast ‘One Choice’. Tune in to hear his inspirational story on how he turned his life around from being a homeless drug addict living on the streets. From Straw Hut Media Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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Rock to Recovery
Wesley Geer of Rock to Recovery and formerly of Korn each week interviews rad musicians, rockstars, celebs, people, that have overcome their demons to thrive in an industry rife with challenges.

Episode transcripts


Straw hut media. There we are, all right. Guess what it is?
Is Time for rock to Recovery Radio, and I'm your host, West
Gear. This is kx ninety threefive FM, LAGOONA'S ONLY FM station.
They like to call it human craftedradio. This show is also brought to
you by new Vista Behavioral Health.They have a bunch of good treatment programs
out there. If you're looking forhelp, please check out new vista behavioral
health. They're doing great work.Okay, so I'm feeling the coffee.
Thank God. I was so outof it right before the show. Nothing
like a good Cappuccino to kick in. Okay. So every week I talked
about why we're here. I talkedabout why we're here and also I want
to welcome Rehab four one. We'relive tonight for the first time, trying
a new outlet. Try on ourshow, on a little bit facebook,
live out there. So we're tryingto share this message with everybody we can,
which ties into the whole concept ofwhy are we here? We're here
because this is what we do now. We Talk About Mental Health and addiction
and OD's and pain management and harmreduction. You know, everybody's been touched
by addiction or, you know,had a family member or they're struggling or
they got hooked on pain meds orwhatever, you know, trauma, Ptsd,
all that kind of stuff is nowno longer hidden. We pull it
out into the light and we talkedabout it and in so doing we give
each other hope and we help eachother not feel alone and we can share
answers and we can share our experience, strength and hope. So tonight I'm
excited about this guest. We bookedthem along time ago and I think we
had to do a reschedule. Yeah, yeah, we did. Yeah,
it's so sorry about that and thatwas my bad and my assistant, the
lovely Francis, was like, dude, you're not cool and I don't remember
why, but anyhow, so sorryabout that. So, champion BMX,
sir, coach the Olympic women's team, one of the female athletes on the
okay, Gotcha, am Max.And there was another Rad thing that I
wanted to talk about. Started anonprofit organization. You started on profit wheels,
free wheel project, freewheel project.Yep. So, and you're sober.
How long? Well, coming upon twelve years, coming up on
twelve. I just took eleven.Are you gonna? Can we high five?
Go Right, yeah, free wheelproject, that's right. Okay,
and in the studio with and you'rea speaker. You go all over speaking.
The main thing. That's the mainthing. Who our days a year
now? Whoo, on the road. WHOO. You're like a road dog,
tour and musician kind of guy.Now, yeah, I'm not where
I want to be either. I'mgetting close, though. Right on bre
so this is this is Tony Hoffman. Welcome to the studio. Thanks for
having me. Yeah, man,thanks for driving down. Let me plug
in my phone for it goes oncharge. Yeah, I love the organicness
of this. Oh, it's youhave the rush of the radio station,
everything's moving quickly and then you getthe let me plug in my phone real
quick. Yeah, we're doing thenew face ebookie live. Yeah. So,
like I said, thanks for comingdown and sharing, you know,
your experience, strength and hope herelive with the people listening. Absolutely so.
Every week I kind of try tofigure out where somebody's story starts.
Some people, they don't think it'sthe childhood. It's not really relevant.
It's some people definitely is. Foryou, where do you start it middle
school, Middle School, twelve yearsold. So before twelve, mom and
dad everything's cool. Yeah, Imean mom and dad still are cool.
Forty three years of marriage, uppermiddle class family probably combined and come around
three hundredzero dollars a year. Hadeverything that I needed. Yeah, in
terms of physicalities, yeah, Ihad all the sports equipment. I'm an
athlete. So, if ye want, if you're listening to me now,
I'm an athlete. I played everysport. I was gifted at all the
sports and that was kind of myniche was. I was just a naturally
gifted athlete. But basketball, basketball, baseball, soccer, football, roller
blades, skateboard, BMX bikes,volleyball. Nice, like I literally,
you know, was an all starPitcher at the same time, sponsored by
K to on rollerblades, said,and could still ride a skateboard at the
same time. And Nice was tellingpeople on going to the NBA playing basketball.
So yeah, yet what do youplay in basketball? Point Guard.
I didn't White Guy. I wishedI was shack, but that was never
going to happen, don't we all? Yeah, in the in the go
down and just dominate people. Yeah, I should have just decided I was
going to be a shooter and ledthat. But know that I actually found
myself in extreme sports, or actionsports what they call him now, and
BMX was kind of a better fitfor my life. I had a pretty
entitled attitude. was really cocky becauseI was so good at things didn't have
to work hard. You know,thought people owed me positions or that I
was going to play the whole gameand I didn't like sitting out and I
really didn't like losing as a resultof other teammates. And so who I
got into BMX, where I loadedthe gate by myself, when the gate
dropped, I raced by myself andmade decisions by myself and I crossed the
finish line as a result of myown hard work, skill set and decisionmaking
process. Over that thirty seconds.That a BMX race last and three seconds.
Thirty seconds there to thirty miles anhour and about two seconds at the
elite level. So we're performance athletesand every stretch of the imagination. So.
But at that time, by twelveyears old, I started experiencing a
lot of suicidal thoughts. How doyou go? So this is a good
thing. Well, first of all, I used to be annoyed by guys
like you, because I was likethe heavy metaller dude, okay, read
the long hair. Yeah, andI get in trouble for everything, but
you athletes got away with everything.Yeah, we had high school. Yeah,
we get away with everything. Oh, it's okay if you're late,
it's okay if you miss yeah,that's actually a big part of my public
speaking story with youth audiences is thathere's this kid that got special treatment.
Yeah, because we need him onthe court, we need him on the
field. Yeah, we need himwherever he's at, and we need him
passing classes and we need wait,wank, nod, nod, right.
And that didn't work out very wellfor me because when I was young,
even it started to elementary school,I remember my my wrestling coach, or
a wrestling coach, and my basketballcoach getting in a fight over whether I
was going to be the ball boyfor the basketball team or I was going
to start wrestling, because in fourthgrade you can start wrestling, which can't
play basketball. Yeah, but Iwas already hanging around the basketball team in
third grade, so I was coolwith being the ball boy and practicing with
the team. Yeah, but thewrestling coaches like hey, you can't play
basketball this year, why don't youcome wrestle? And they got an a
war over. You know, no, he's not going to wrestle. No,
he should be able to wrestle.He let the man choose, and
they made me choose right there.It was so Harkward, fourth grade to
adults. Yeah, what do youwant to do? Choose, choose Tony,
Yep, and I chose basketball.Of coquit. What do you remember
being scared in that, like yeah, I kind of, this is crazy,
can't win right now. Yeah,this I remember being scared in,
like this is crazy, but atthe same time basketball was where my love
was at, and so it reallywasn't that it really wasn't that difficult.
If I look back on it now, like further, just like looking into
it, there was a codependent sidethat wanted to do wrestling just so I
didn't upset. Yeah, wrestling coach, even though my heart was like I'm
playing basketball, dude, I'm goingto be Michael Jordan Allen Iverson, like
not worried about being a wrestler.Yeah, so, anyways, but I,
you know, I got these suicidalthoughts a start and I've dealced.
I'm find out later in my lifethat a lot of what I was dealing
with in terms of being on campuswith social anxiety and social anxiety issues,
and a lot of social anxiety ledto isolation. Isolation led to depression because
I'm by myself in my own mind. So by what age you have twelve?
Twelve. Yeah, it was clearand I wanted to kill myself because
I didn't like my gift. Sothis is this is great because I think
it's cool to show the different origins, you know what I mean, like
you don't have to be the outcastblack sheep. We come from all places.
Right here you are. Probably somany kids at that school would dream
of just having a little bit ofthat accepted, you know in the sports
and all that little bit of thatability. Yep, and it really got
you know, I didn't like it. You like you know what I was
thinking about, as funny as it'sonly at the top. I've seen that
earlier today. Well, I thinkthere was a lot of expectations, and
me as well. Yeah, andI didn't know how to deal with those
expectations. Pressure, pressure. Youknow my family. I don't I don't
fault my mom and dad for anything, but they were baby boomers there in
the trucking industry. So fourteen,fifteen, sixteen hour days. We're really
a common I was raised by mypis of Babysit, of Vera, and
so I didn't have a lot ofthe structure and discipline that maybe you know
somebody like my boy KP would have, where he held a job at fourteen
years old and was already paying billsby the time he was sixteen. And
I say I don't blame my parents, but I don't think I knew how
to deal with the pressure and howI was going to have to be disciplined
and structured to take what these coachessaw as potential and my gift and manifest
it to some sharps as being asuccessful athlete. Right. So I begin
to not like my gift because Idon't want the attention, I don't want
the weight that comes with it.I remember having a conversation with one of
my coaches that said you could bea champion. Often don't you want to
be a champion? I said no, that sounds like manipulation. Well,
you wanted me to work hard.I didn't want to show up the practice.
I didn't want to do all theseextra things that, but you know
what I mean, like, don'tyou want to be a champion? Well,
I look back at it now.If somebody asked me that, I
would say, yeah, I do. What else do I need to do?
Yeah, on top of what I'mdoing now. Yeah, and we'll
get into that later. But Ijust didn't like the attention. I didn't
like that I was good at sports. I'm an extremely compassionate, empathy that
person, and so naturally my instinctis not want to be better than somebody
else's, to want to understand,want to be there as a care provider
and help somebody, and which goesagainst my gift, because my gift in
sports says that when I get onthe fielder, when I get on the
court or when I get on thetrack, I should want to rip your
face off, sure, by anymeans necessary, and cross the finish line
first. And so I didn't likethe gift and it made me want to
get rid of myself, because it'slike then I'm isolating at school because my
social anxiety. I don't know whomy friends are, I don't how to
make friends, and the depression fromthe isolation it's like not, I don't
want to get out of bed.I've got all these things that started warring
in middle school. Yeah, that'sinteresting. I feel like I've heard a
few stories of people that have,for lack of a better term, have
like the alcoholic tendency, let's say, before they get into the drugs and
all the ISMS. Yep, andit manifests in extreme focus on things like,
for me it was guitar, foryou, with sports, I have
x. She got into a fashionlike I may be a mess on the
inside, but I'm on a lookgood and now she's a top designer.
Yeah, I think that's an interestingthing we do. I still have them.
Yeah, under fashion. I'm overthe top, like I have all
my clothes tailored, jeans, shirts, hoodies, like I take everything to
a tailor. I'm over the top. Yeah, we tend to be a
little bit obsessed. Yeah, butI've just learned that there's things that work
for me and there's things that workedagainst me, and and I'm really careful
about what I introduced into my lifebased on does it work? Does this
work for me or does this workagainst me, type stuff. So that's
a great Mancha, a great testright, yeah, great, lip let,
Miss Test. So tell me,when you're having the twelve years old,
you're having the suicidal ideation, howdo you deal with a deal tell
anybody? Do you remember exactly whatyou're thinking of feeling, what you're crying
on your bed? I remember onenight I was in my my room with
my mom and I was trying totell her that I hated myself and like
that must have not computed to her. She didn't get it. Yeah,
well, because you're you know,I mean you weren't like, but I'm
O kid, right. But also, I mean we're talking about the mid
S, so we're talking about ababy boomer generation that, even today,
still when you mentioned the word mentalhealth or like, just get over it.
Yeah, tough it up. Wehad to do this stuff when we
were kids. Right, you mighthave, but that doesn't make it right
exactly, because here I am tryingto communicate to my mom that I don't
like myself and I could tell thatshe didn't understand it. And and that's
not her fault either. So Iran and I jumped into the wall.
I ran back and I jumped intothe wall. This is something I can
relate to. There I'm sorry thatI'm smiling. No, no, no,
I don't think that's cool. It'snot like. You know, I
made it. I'm lucky today tohave my breath, to have my life.
So, you know, for todaywe can laugh about it and and
I'm okay, we and some peopleat home or watching maybe don't understand,
but for most of us in recovery, when we laugh, it's because we're
like, that's me. Yeah,I get it right. I vomited on
my grandmother. Oh Haha, weleft. I've because I did. Did.
Yeah. So, you know,when she didn't have an answer,
it just made me feel even morelost, you know. But at the
same time, like you didn't goto therapy in the mid S, you
were crazy. Frin did that right, it had a shrink. You were
crazy. One of my missions soundedlike weakness back right. One of my
missions on the road when I'm speakingto youth audiences is to get them to
understand that the biggest failure I hadin my life, besides my attitude up
to the Middle School, was thatI didn't talk about my problems right.
I wasn't seeking a therapist, Iwasn't talking to the counselor at school.
It's okay to do those things.If you don't do those things, then
you bottle it up. That's exactlywhat I did. I bottled it up.
And even though, by the timeI was a senior in high school,
I was featured on the cover ofthe largest BMX racing magazine in the
world, I was the only amateurin the world that held a contract with
Fox racing for BMX, sponsored byair walk shoes, sponsored by spy sunglasses,
ranked number one in the country,I still want to kill myself.
I get it, man, Iwasn't talking to anybody. Nobody knew.
Keith didn't know. None of myfriends knew, because they would have thought
you were weird if you said Dude, I'd feel like. I want to
kill myself, man, I can't. I'm late to school every day because
the biggest fight in the morning is, am I going to get out of
bed and face the day today oram I going to lay in bed all
day because that's what I really wantto do. Yeah, it's just lay
in bed all day. So where'sit go from there? When did you
pick up the booze? All right, will so for me, it started
with weed, started smoking weed,first, how old I was? Eighteen,
a late bloomer. So you wentthrough twelve to six years of hell
yeah, before he started self medicating. Yes, that's a lot ouch,
but the bike kept me busy.I was on the road a lot.
Right to three weekends a year,or's two to three weekends a month,
five, six days a week.You know, I'm I'm busy. You
know I'm I'm I'm in my gift. So it's taking away that pain,
but it was still there. So, eighteen years old, I get offered
a hundred twenty thousand dollar computer jobdown in San Diego. And this is
a while ago, so that's likethis isn't two thousand and two. So
it's like two hundred grand. Yeah, I was going to do well for
an eighteen year old. It wasn'tgoing to go to college. I was
going to work with this guy whoended up being wanted by the FBI for
being a Ponzi scheme scam artist andhe was supposedly going to start a wireless
Internet company back in two thousand andto develop these Internet radios put them outside
of rich neighborhoods and Rancho Santa Feand he needed a network engineer to manage
the network and do all the installs, and so I had a computer gift
at this time. Well, whenI got offered that job and I went
home thinking that when I graduate highschool and move down to San Diego,
I'm going to be making six figures, I stopped riding my bike. When
I stopped riding my bike, thenI started hanging out with my friends on
the weekends. They were all smoking, which was like a new thing for
a Jock, because a Jock ispretty busy on the weekend, right.
So what, at least my kindof Jock. You know, if yeah,
football player Monday through Friday, it'llfor weekends are all party. And
so now I'm seeing people smoke aweed and drinking and I said I'll try
it one time. Yeah, onetime, one, that's it. Once,
because I you know, I wasa super judgmental person at that point
in my life. So if yousmoke weed, you were bad and this
and that, and I'll never dothat. And you know, I really
casted my own thoughts and realities onto other people at that time of my
life. I really try not todo that. Not that I'm perfect,
but I really try not to castmy reality on to other people. And
Yeah, I'm going to try itone time. But my dad was an
alcoholic. His mom so here wasan alcoholic. He was a weeknd bench
shrinker. And that didn't affect youat all during your childhood? Yeah,
I'm sure did, because he wouldcome home sometimes upset, but he was
really good. He was really goodat managing his life in terms of employment,
coming home. He wasn't violent,he wasn't you know what I mean.
He wasn't throwing as it president,was he there for you? Was
He like? Did you have agood relationship? Emotionally, lect was was
a big thing, but because theyweren't ever home. Yeah, and so,
like I said, I don't blameI have to walk tiptoe around that
because I don't blame my parents.You know, they really did the best
that they could. But emotionally,like, the more I've focused on self
improvement, you know, and Ilook back at what was missing, I
didn't have. You know, mydad missed a lot of my games because
he couldn't my basketball games because hecouldn't get off for work. Yeah,
one of the most devastating things forme wasn't that I was sexually abused.
It was they had sexual abuse?No, it wasn't. Okay, a
lot of drug addicts have. Yes, I have it. Yeah, right,
so I recognize that being in thefield that I'm in now. Right,
well, my dad, that didn'thappen to me. What happened to
me was I was at a basketballgame and I'd look into the crowd and
everybody's Dad's were there except for mine, right, and it didn't matter if
my dad only missed five games outof the ten that we had. Everybody
else's parents were coming to every singleone. And I would look into the
crowd and my dad wouldn't be thereand I'd say, who cares? Yeah,
now, when I look back onit, what was happening was my
mind was saying, why am Inot important enough for my dad to take
off work to come see me,but everybody else's parents right make it,
which started to compute a story inmy mind. Doesn't mean that it was
reality, but I started to writethis self pity Selfworth story that I wasn't
good enough, and that carried through. So when, you know, I
tell myself I'm a smoke weed.One time I don't recognize that. Hey,
one we don't know. We didn'tknow what we know now about addiction
and alcoholism. Back then the dareprogram was a gigantic scare tactic away from
cartel driven drugs. They didn't evenmention pharmaceutical drugs. And I have to
have this debate with a lot ofpeople that when I say the older generation
helped spread stigma and spread live isabout substance abuse and drugs. They say,
well, how did we lie?Well, my dare booklet didn't say
anything about pharmaceutical pills. It saidLSD heroin, cocaine, marijuana and baby
barbage. It's shrooms, psychedelics.That was it. Deception, biomission right,
you didn't see, you didn't end. And the way it was given
to us it was that the peopleon the lower side of town were the
ones that use drugs. They didn'tsay that, Hey, the rich people
have drug problems and I'll cahol problemstoo, but they didn't understand addictions.
So my dad's mom also drug addict, Alcoholic. Her Dad same thing.
So it's in the family, hadthe genetic lineage. Yeah, my brother,
two years older than me, nevertry to drug in his life.
Can have a half of beer andwalk away from it. And it just
puzzles me. Hmmm, you know. I mean he could drink a picture
one night, but it's the bowlingalley, and then the next night drink
a half of beer and walk awayfrom it. It's because it's not necessary.
He doesn't have to do it.Does have the allergy? He doesn't
have the allergy, right, butnomen on a craving. So I try
smoking weed and of course within,you know, a month to six weeks,
I'm doing it every single day,just like I told myself I wasn't
going to do. Say, youknow, I started eighteen. I said
about fifteen. Yeah, I startedlate, especially now on the road.
I've been to many campuses that havehad kids overdose on heroin and the parking
lot. Yeah, sixteen years old. Yeah, heroine's. And say I
did a thing in Ridgecrest, California, they had to Metavac a kid that
overdosed on honey oil, of allthings. I don't even know what that
is. Never done it. It'slike dabbing. I don't even know what
that is. The liquid THC thatthey make. Okay, I've been out
of it so for so long Idon't even know anymore. Yeah, that's
probably a good thing. No,it's good. Like I got sober before.
They say, you know, we'dwas legal. Yeah, didn't like
so now, basically they've come upwith ways to extract the THC. It's
like Hash, but liquid forms.So the a quantity of THHC that you're
getting and one rip is, yeah, massive. So you not your Mama's
weed. Know, you've I meanthere's just when we smoked weed, you
know, it was like make youcross eyed because you could get some really
good stuff. Will imagine a kidthat's never smoked weed and the first thing
he does is this high density hey, O, cons done honey. But
well, basically they didn't know whatwas going there was because he'd write stuff.
He'd never smoked weed before. Thefirst thing he get is concentrated THHC
and it basically sees them into achild. Right, child, this is,
and this is fifteen, sixteen yearsold. Yeah, me, eighteen
years old. Yeah, start smokingweed every single day. What I tell
people is is that I didn't realizethat there was a doorway that existed and
when you walk through the doorway andyou stepped all the way in, you
weren't going to get to just turnaround and walk back out because you thought
you were done. I didn't understandthe game that I was about to play.
Yeah, most people don't understand thegame that they're about to play,
even ones that would be considered mildaddicts. You totally not, but me,
I'm full, full throttle. NotEverybody's a full throttle addict. Doesn't
matter. You're not an addict,but it also doesn't mean that you can
just walk in and out of thisdoorway as you please. It's not the
way it works. You sit onthe other side, some can, some
can't, and people die trying tofigure out which they when. They are
exactly right. I can't do so. Listen, let's this is great.
We're by the way. This iskx nine and thirty fivecom we're also on
Rehab for one facebook. Hope youguys are joined it out there. I'm
here with Tony Hoffman, pro BMX, or supreme and world renowned recovery and
life coach. Speaker. Probably betterwords way to say that, but I
think I got the point across.Let's throw in your song now. What
what's the story behind the first one? Okay, well, we are the
original song that I was going tohave them played. They didn't have a
clean version to and it was oldfifty cent track before and fifty cent actually
blew up. Yeah, he hadan album before he got shot. He
got shot, they pulled his deal, but he still had that album called
power of the dollar. But thisone is push a tea, which is
still one of my favorite artists,and it's a song called drug dealers,
anonymous. And Yeah, why'd youpick this one? Because, well,
you see, well, it wastwo tracks, right, one of the
old me and one of the new. Yeah, and this John Dealer.
I was a drug dealer, Ican see that. And this track is
kid, you're not the only onethat says that. We laughed now.
I'm laugh now because I drive anice car. My Dad's like your neighbor's
got to think you're a drug deitherfor sure. But this song really depicts
kind of the glamorisation of Nice things. When I was a young man,
I was under the thought that togain nice things you would do with these
rappers were talking about selling drugs.Get the car, you know, get
the clothes, get all these thejewelry and stuff, and so I chased
after that lifestyle, the glamorization ofthat lifestyle. I still like nice things,
but I don't have the order ofoperations right, just thinking then,
to achieve those kinds of things.And so that's that's what the song is.
You're not gang banging, all right. So this is rock to recovery
radio and this is push at.Will be right back, Balancino. Summer's
in wave runners chains on Mydaus likeslave runners, drug dealers. Anonymous Cowny,
MADONNA'S KNEEDMAS to fit my freak sockis more than outvious. It's comin
this garage is the Phantom School,Ghost and goblins blood. Okay, time
for a quick break and we're gonnacome right back. So here we are,
K X, Ninety three, fiveFM, LAGOONA'S ONLY FM, human
crafted radio. I'm your host,West Gear. We're doing rock to recovery
radio. We're talking about addiction andmental health. I mean rarely do we
have an addiction story that doesn't havesome serious mental health issues. A lot
of people will talk about, Ithink, more than we even acknowledge.
To be honest, I think theyshouldn't even call it aization. Should call
it mental health and then secondary addiction, like all the time. Right.
That's my opinion, and I amnot a doctor, but we're talking here
to Tony Hoffman, BMX mega championand, you know, world renowned speaker
and recovery advocate, life coach kindof guy. Yep, yeah, so
in your story, I think it'sreally interesting that from twelve to eighteen,
while you're crushing it, dominating andpretty much every sport, you started feeling
isolated and you are suicidal. That'sincredible in a you know, you wouldn't
think that would happen, right.Yeah, for Ye, that's all I'm
so. You also wouldn't think somebodylike Kevin Love, who makes I don't
know twenty million dollars a year,would go from a live TV basketball event
to running off of this the bleachersinto the back room because his anxiety is
so bad he was having a panicattack. Yeah, and when you say
you, you were saying one doesn'tusually believe. I believe own now,
but I say yes, surely culturallywe don't. We we're trained to believe
that money fixes everything. A success, just had a million dollars, all
my problems would go way. NowI have. You had a million dollars,
you're going to have a lot moreproblems. Right. I have a
guy, I let's say mentor,and he lives the hip hop dream.
He already has the Mercedes and alreadylives in Laguna Beach. But he thinks
if he's doing, you know,rap videos, he's going to be happy.
It's like, and if he hasa million dollars, like dude,
you're going to be the same bummedout dude you are now. Yeah,
I used to walk off stage,drink myself to oblivion because I felt so
lonely in a club of twozero peoplethat I signed autographs for, go to
my bunk in my tour bus andhope that I would die and not wake
up. Yeah, mental health man, yeah, absolutely. I there was
a there was a war of selfacceptance that I was going through that time,
that I didn't like that that Iwas going through, but it was
internally at its strongest point between theages of eighteen and twenty three. So
I go from smoking weed at eighteenyears old, within one year I get
introduced to cocaine. That was noteven that big of a deal after it
already smoked weed. You know,you open that door and you walk through
everything after that is just an easyprogression. YEA, you don't see it
coming, but it happens very quickly. I get introduced pharmaceutical pain killers,
oxy cotton had was that prescribed orno, okay, it was. We
started Viking in one day the dealerdidn't have vic it in. He said
he had these new pills called Oxycontonthat we needed to try because it was
victing on steroids. Yeah, andas eighteen year old kids, we didn't
understand that the stuff that came outof the orange bottle was the same stuff
that came from the cartel. Itwas just package different. And because was
package different, we are like,oh, it's okay, it's not that
big of a deal. Yeah,because the Dare Program says heroin, crystal,
Meth, cocaine, crack, psychedelics. Right, those are the ones
that the people on the other sideof town are messing with. Yeah,
this is the safe stuff. NA, within three years, committed a home
invasion robbery. Strung out on Oxycotton, went inside one of our best friends
mom's house, robbed at gun point, at gun point, at gun point.
It's not a smart decision. NotI was he might have been able
to identify you. Yeah, sheeventually did identify my codefendant. It was,
I tell people, is the biggestmistake that I've made in my life.
I've made some big ones. Armed. Yes, armed, burglary,
robbery. She was there. Isthat what it is? Yes, burglary
is nobody's there. Robbery is forcefullyokay, something. I thought robbery was
like a liquor store and burglary waslike a home. Okay, thank you.
Yeah, you were too busy touringon rock shows to be getting into
criminal activity. Clearly, and afew of the nine of my record deal
I was prowl and look at fora cell phone. I got arrested,
but let's not talk about that.For a cell phone. You're such a
criminal. So you know, wewere desperate and I try to tell people
the desperation of opioids. When you'recoming down, whether it's the pharmaceutical grade
version or the heroine or heroin orFett and all now, you'll do whatever
it takes and and whatever it takes. I've seen dudes go the opposite way
and that's whatever it takes for them. For me, whatever it takes was
I was going to sell drugs andtake what I could from people to get
the money that I needed. Andthat day was a home invasion robbery,
and people don't know. I thinksome, a lot of people at home
haven't been dope, stick on,on opiates. It's like the worst flu,
but you can't sleep, you PoopYourself, you pee or so.
It's like the worst flu times ten. You can't eat, there's nothing,
you're just in this you're crawling outof your skin. Your skin hurt,
your bone hurts, you can't evenpoop. Right, Yep, this is
exactly what I tell people. It'slike the worst flu times a hundred,
right, and that's scariest part aboutthis flu is, unlike the real flu,
that you have to wait for itto run its course. You can
stop this flu. Yeah, it'llgo away, just get the drug.
Yeah, and that is what changesevery person. I don't care if you're
at forty five year old mom livingin Beverly Hills or a junkie on the
west side of town living in skidrow. Once that hits, you will
do whatever it takes. Yeah,and whatever it took was that that robbery
within six months and investigation started aroundmy friends because they kept robbing people.
I told myself after that robbery I'mnever doing this again. It just felt
so bad. I just, youknow, the universe, God was speaking
to me and said You may biggestmistake you've ever made in your life.
Six months go by, cops findout where I'm staying. They ready to
place. I go to jail.My parents spend a bunch of money.
It keeps me out of jail.I tell myself I'm never using drugs again,
but I find myself drinking because Idon't got a drink. Drinking problem
got to a problem problem. OPE, it's. Yeah, within thirty days
I was in the hospital with aninfection in my hand because I knocked this
guy's tooth out and didn't clean itwell enough. So the infections at the
my face. You're getting in fights. Yeah, yeah, Rowdy. Yeah,
trouble seemed. I used to thinktrouble seemed to find me. I
just put my sight and harm's wayevery single day because my attitude and way
of thinking, my perspective was completelyskewed, and so think that anger came
from. That's what that's where thatcomes it's an anger or mad well,
I didn't fight on my own,I just helped people. So the only
time I fought on my own wasin jail or in prison. So when
you say you helped people meetings,there's my scuffle. So you're jumping in.
Yeah, my buddy got in afight, he got knocked out and
was like well, I guess Igot to help him. Yeah, you
know, I'm a good friend,loyal and would like man. That sucks
for you. I'm I'm drinked thisbureau. Yeah, no, I I
knocked this guy's tooth out and Iended up getting jumped and anyways, yeah,
I want to knocked the guys toothout. It got my hand got
infected and they gave me Fett andall and sent me home with a prescription
of Viking in. But here's this. Two Thousand and five, two thousand
and five, two thousand and five, I'm twenty one years old and three
days later I stealed appeals and walkout on my family and for just still
the pills from my mom was lockingthem up in a cabinet. Oh,
you because they your pills. Yeah, they're vitolinly making any was served to
yeah, so she says, Hey, you're a drug addict, I'm going
to give you these pills, onepill every four hours. My Mom's books.
That I just can't follow instructions.She doesn't understand that once this drug
hits my body, the obsession startsand I can't turn that off right.
Was Powerless over that addiction, thatobsession that was occurring. So I stole
the pills in the middle of thenight, left my family and for the
next two years that was hell.Went from oxy cotton got introduced a crystal
Meth, crystal mass. Must wantto high five you. I did tweak
to but I'm not going to highfive. Yeah, I'm not. I
wasn't a good tweaker. Man,I not a good tweaker. Well,
I mean tweak like a gentleman.Is that they go? I mean,
I don't know, man. I'vebet tweakers. It could go to sleep,
and I'm a girl stays up fortwelve days and sleep goes the sleep
has been up for two years straightand it's that they you know what I
mean? I don't know. Idon't. I might tweaking. Run was
six months long and I'm grateful forthat because that drug is the worst drug
that you can use, in myopinion, outside of something like fetting.
All that's devastating our country because it'speople are odining and die. You die
so fast. But I tell peoplethere's a lot of people right now that
are dead. They're walking the streetbreathing, sure, but they still get
a chance when they're dead. Dead. Yeah, but when you're talking to
yourself and you're spinning circles and youfried your brain to that degree, what
kind of chance are we talking about? They got one. Yeah, so
how? Yeah, I get introducedto the needle. I get introduced to
the needle. There was nothing elsemattered. If it couldn't go in a
spoon and put in a needle,I didn't want anything to do with it.
Then I ran out of money becauseI was stand up so many days
on crystal meth. I couldn't affordto keep up anymore because I needed the
OPIOIDS, which was my drug ofchoice. And then crystal meth was just
this like everybody else, and I'mhanging out with is doing it. Yeah,
ran out of money. Somebody sayswe just need to go to the
west side pick up heroin or ofthe price. Same thing. HMM.
So I started shooting heroin then andat that time, you know, I
lost all my friends. KP hadbeen gone for years, you know,
I'm hanging around people that easily couldhave watched me overdose, left me there,
not even called the cops or thethe paramedics and and left because they
have no attachment to me. That'skind of people I'm hanging out with.
These are random drug users. Theycould lower companions. They don't care about
anything other than their own high andthat moment. And so that's the one
thing we could say to is likewe could rationalize are using a million different
ways, but throughout is when we'readdicted really bad. We're not hanging out
with the creme dayla creme. Itjust doesn't work that way. No,
no, yeah, and so Ihad no childhood friends at this time.
I actually was removed from the Housethat was my childhood best friend. His
Dad just said you can't stay hereanymore, and that's when I started keepen
on the street. HMM. Andyou know, I've worked with a lot
of drug addicts and a lot ofkid drug you know, Young Two thousand
and twenty one, twenty two,twenty three. Oh Yeah, man,
I know what it's like to behomeless. Really, what they mean is
they were sleeping on their buddies couch. Right now, Bro, I was
sleeping in dirt fields, yeah,sleeping behind dumpsters, sleeping at schools that
I graduated from. I was homeless. People didn't answer the phone when I
called. People were trying to getas far away from me as they could.
I remember one time I was shootingdope with this bulldog gang member and
of some people that I knew fromschool, and the guys like, are
you going to use all that?And I looked at him, this is
a bulldog gang member, and Isaid, don't worry about it, brow
if I die, just throw mein the dumpster. When we leave there.
Everybody leaves there. I'm walking outbehind everybody. They all get in
their cars and they leave. Theyknew I was there. They left because
they don't want to be around me. I'm a fullblown junkie, you know,
a Minister Society. Get away fromthis guy. He's crazy. He's,
you know, been up for somany days, he's talking crazy,
he's look at how he's using drugs. Nobody wanted to be around me anymore,
though, and so I'm walking aroundtown by myself, sleeping in fields,
by myself, with a prepaid phonethat was constantly running out of minutes.
The only way I kept my drugaddiction live alive was that I had
all the connections in the west sideof Fresno, in the projects that people
needed to get the dope from,and they actually that side of town trusted
me enough to where I could gothere, score the pills, sell them,
just turn around and get enough moneyto buy three pills for myself.
It wasn't even about making money anymore, it was just about getting pills skin
by getting well. So how yougo from near death just being a,
you know, corpse, a Zombie, your Zombie, Yep, you know,
sleeping on the streets. How'd youhit your bottom? What was it?
January twenty one, two thousand andseven. I had a spiritual experience
to change. January twenty one,two thousand and seven, okay, and
I was December. I was justyeah, and I had a friend that
called me and said that God gavehim vision and I was going to get
three significant chances and if I didn'tstop doing what I was doing before these
chances took place, I was goingto go to prison. But your friend,
yes, called you. Yes,it had a randomly about you.
Yes, you had three chances.I was going to get three significant least
significant. That's it. That's veryimportant. Okay, signif significant chances chances
of Rick to get so we're arechanging on three chances were going to happen
and if I didn't stop doing whatI was doing before these chances took place,
I was going to go to prison. HMM. And November of two
thousand and six I was pulled overthree times and four days. HMM.
Each time I was pulled out ofthe car because I was unfilming probation.
The first time I had a needlebetween my butt cheeks. I hid the
needle between my butt cheeks. Whenthey searched me, they didn't find it.
Second time I was pulled over Ihad sixty four oxy cottons that didn't
belong to me. The driver insistedthat I hold on to his pills and
I said, well, if I'mgoing to jail, I'm going to jail
with a bunch of pills and I'llat least get through a month. Put
the pills between my butt cheeks.Because they pulled me out of the car
and it ended up being Thanksgiving night. I lied about being on probation and
they ran my name and get outof the car. Why are you lying.
Try to call my probation officer,but it was thanksgiving, like thirty
at night. She wouldn't answer thephone. So he said this you're lucky.
Day opens the car, puts meback in my car and we leave.
Next Day, nothing happens the phone. The next day after that I'm
in a car that when we getpulled over, I don't know why we're
getting pulled over. Turns out whenthe COP comes up to us, she
says, do you know, thetags are fake on this car, and
they were construction paper. I didn'tknow that car hadn't been registered in five
years. No registration on the vehicle, she didn't have a license on her.
I'm on felony probation. I've gotpills in my pocket, she's got
heroin in her pocket and I've gota backpack loaded with about a hundred needles
because I go to the needle exchange. She gave us a fix, a
ticket. They and let us gohome. So those were your three chances.
What two months later I was invitedto a church. Well, you
like telling this or is it inhinds? As soon as that COP,
as soon as that cop, thisis the gun on his truth. As
soon as that COP got in thecar and gave us that fix it take
one. Yeah, I said thatwas the three chances that Adam was talking
about. Yeah, she says,what are you talking about? I said
he was said I was going toget three significant chances. I was like,
I've been pulled over three times infour days. All felonies waiting to
happen. Oh Yeah, easy oneand I'm already on probation. This is
easy. They would have struck him. They would have gave me a strike
for that s grand theft, autofilmy, possession of narcotics. I mean
the third one was lined up.Could have gave me a lot of time.
Yeah, two months later invited anew church, January twenty one,
two thousand and seven, and Iwent and I didn't like God, I
didn't like Christians. I wasn't aJesus Person. I don't want to do
this, but something told me Ineed to go. Don't remember thing about
the service, but I know thepast. How is, you're not sober
this time. No, right,no, did you go in there loaded?
Of course. Well, that's onething that was telling you. Why
you don't want to go. Yeah, well, no, I aren't noted
this sound good. I just inmy opinion, Church Christians were all about
money. It was fake right,it was a control mechanism, all these
things that we would hear, youknow, atheotypical atheists say about faith based
organizations, called religions, if youwill. Yeah, I find most people
really don't have a problem with God. They have a problem with all the
things that have tainted their view ofit. Right, and I'm okay with
that because I don't like the samethings they don't like exactly, but the
closed mindedness of the truth behind itI think is very hurtful, not only
to themselves but other people, becausethen we go around hating people that have
different opinions than us, instead ofhaving that open minding, open minded loving
approach to say, you know what, Hey, I don't believe the same
things you, but that's okay,I want the best thing for you.
I think we're in a culture nowwhere, if you don't believe what I
believe, you should be crucified andwiped off the Earth because you're wrong and
we need to get rid of youpeople that are wrong. And he's very
polarized. Yeah, so I goto an alter call the pastor lays his
hands on me and says that Godhas favored me my entire life and everything
that I had done, and thenI don't have to worry anymore because he's
going to remove me from my addiction. Wait the pastor did that? Did
he like just know? It wasan altar call at the end. He
just had this he just knew youraddicted, are you not? Nuh,
he knew nothing about me, butI mean in essence, he knew because
he called it out again. Howsomething told him I was. That's what
I mean. Yeah, I mean, obviously I didn't look like I'd been
favorite. I mean I got adicky's jacket on the size thirteen and a
half, shack Shaquille O'Neal shoes.I wear size nine, folks. Yeah,
I'm sighs thirty six LRG pants andif anybody's ever bought Llerg in the
past, those were true to size, like baggy. I'm not looking favored.
Yeah, I was beat up,blood stains all over my dicky's jacket.
You know from using needles it looklike it. I got it.
Yeah, January twenty one, twothousand and seven. At night, I
went to sleep in a home thatI broke into that was up for rent.
I woke up at two PM withfour guns drawn. Cops were inside
the house. Took me to jailthirty days later, sentenced to four and
a half years in prison. Fourand a half years in prison became the
best thing that ever happened to me. MMM, when I was in prison,
I felt this calling from God,the universe, something greater than myself,
whatever you choose. That said,I need you to get back on
your bike, I need you togo to the Olympics, I need you
to start a program for kids andI need you to tell your story.
And instead of running away from that, because I felt that when I was
a little kid, when I coachsaid don't you want to be a champion,
there was something inside of me thatsaid I was different, and I
don't think that when I say thatI'm different than I'm better than anybody else,
I think everybody else gets that samefeeling. I'm different, I'm unique,
there's something for me. What wedo is we give that up for
the world, and when we giveit up for the world, we lose
our potential, we lose our abilityto change the world, we lose our
ability to accept ourselves and we loseour ability to go to sleep and wake
up every day feeling like I'm supposedto be here right now. Yeah,
find that purpose, find your purpose, right. So I went on a
spiritual journey, this total mode ofseparation where I didn't care about any external
noise. I no longer like Istopped listening to hip hop for a long
time because the hip hop fueled thatvision of drug dealing and the the the
Gore culture and degrading women. It'sbecause I was unable to separate them at
that time. So, yeah,I separated myself, preyed and meditated and
I focused on those four visions andwhen I got out of prison I was
an entirely different person because I learnedhow to change my life one micro process
at a time. And when Ifirst got this vision that I'm supposed to
go to the Olympics, it waslike, how the hell am I going
to get to the Olympics? Iknow I can ride a bike, but
it just came to me the microprocess, I'll start learning how to brush
my teeth every single day, becauseI didn't know how to do that.
After I learned how to brush myteeth, I learn how to organize my
stuff. Then I learned how tomake my bed. Then I learned how
to train physically for BMX in prison, even though I wasn't going to get
to touch a bike for two years. I think one of the biggest mistakes
that people make is they say I'llchange, when I'll change. At this
point I'll do it then. WhatI was looking at was what can I
do now? I'm not going towait till I get out to make this
vision happen. I have to startcreating momentum today, and today that momentum
is brushing my teeth. Tomorrow thatmomentum is brushing my teeth and making my
bed. And as as I gotfurther along into this micro process, I
was graduating from small task that seemedextremely insignificant to the average person in the
world to getting out of prison,getting on my bike, five months after
getting out of prison, racing myfirst professional BMX race. I've ever raced
in my life. Hadn't touched abike it's seven years. I took third
place. It was awesome, butthat's beyond my talent at that moment.
Was Not just because I was talented. That moment occurred because I was in
a prison cell at Wascoe stay prisonand I said I'll start with brushing my
teeth. I love it because rightnow somebody's listening and they're saying, I'm
so screwed up, I can't change, I've got so much against me,
I can't change. Well, yeah, because you're looking at the end picture.
You're not looking at what you cando today. If you stop the
noise and you sit down and youstart listening to yourself and you listen to
God in that moment, with universe, whatever power greater than yourself, or
just the stillness of whatever's in thatmoment, you'll start to hear what it
is that's holding you back, becauseif you're praying and you're meditating correctly,
you're completely focused on yourself, yourrole, your decisions, your accountability,
your responsibility and what you can do. I love the self empowerment. Let's
throw in the song. I loveit, I'm digging it, so set
up this next song for me.By the way, this is rock your
recovery radio, Kas Ninety Three FiveFM. I'm your host, West Gear,
also on Rehab for one one onthe facebook, live here with BMX,
champion and recovery Rad man, TonyHoffman. So we got a song
we're going to kid cutty. Idon't even know that I said Kid cutty.
Okay, he's a genius, andit's featuring Kanye West, who happens
to be if somebody said who wouldyou like to go to lunch or dinner
with right now, I wouldn't.I wouldn't blink. Kanye West, the
ways, needs a Yay, easya. Now you would call him easy,
we call them Ya, we callhim whatever he needs to be.
His verse is what I really like. He really depicts the image of the
world and how he doesn't like theparty scene, what people say, and
he's trying to separate himself from thatbecause it's meaningless. And that's where I'm
at in my life. Yeah,I drive a nice car, yeah,
I love fashion, but the orderof operations and how I've got there is
not to lie, cheat and steal. I'm not consumed by worldly things.
I enjoy because I've been blasted doingthe right thing right and getting the fruits
of your labor. Yeah, andso this is all about moving forward in
life and not letting these other thingsthat are meaningless consume you. That's right,
baby, rock your every radio.I'm so ready stress on me.
We're going to take a quick breakright now and we'll be right back this
rocked recovery radio. I'm your host, West Gear, and we're here on
KX, Ninete Five FM, withTony Hoffman, Olympic athlete, trainer,
BMX champion, world renowned speaker andGNARLY story dude. I love it.
So you had the three significant chances. You didn't get felonies and then you
did end up getting sent to prison, though, for the robbery that I
committed in two thousand and four toconvey back down. I was on filming
a probation for that. My parentsspent a bunch of money on attorney to
keep me out of prison. MeBeing a white kid from the right side
of town also helped, and thefact that my code offin its dad was
lead robbery squad detective of the firstso you put, you put the and
I just want to push this becausewe have a limited amount of time.
You put the prison stay to workand you really get focus on being,
I don't know, just so yourself motivating insanely. Yeah, and I
think that that's kind of always beenmy personality. I just learned that some
things work for me, some thingswork against me, and when I was
willing to accept responsibility for everything inmy life, I was also willing to
accept that I wasn't perfect. Andthen I needed to work out those imperfections,
my judgmentalness, my bad attitude,my codependency issues and all of these
things that were kind of how doyou do that? Prayer and meditation.
Nice. That's huge. So youfor me reading the Bible, spiritual material.
That was positive. That would leadme to the truth. Cool,
you know. So I get out, start racing. First Year I won
five races at the lower pro division. Got Moved Up to the Olympic level.
One year after being on my bike, picked up a microphone in two
thousand and ten, one year afterI've been out of prison. My first
year at the Olympic level I madesix finals before I blew my knee out,
which basically ended my career. Didof a CEO reconstructive surgery with no
pain medication. Six months later Istarted my nonprofit organization called the free will
project, which is a action sportsorganization that works with at Risk Kids,
love, academics, choice making skillsand personal finances. We have summer camps
and after school programs. We've beenon hold now because my speaking has gone
so popular. I try to putsome people in charge of it, but
they couldn't raise the money that weneeded to raise. But HMM, free
will project, free wheel projects stillhave a website. Everything's there for the
subject dot Org. I started coachingathletes in two thousand and twelve and by
two thousand and sixteen had to national, excuse me, three national champions,
two world champions, twenty five athletesfrom Australia to Bolivia went to the Olympics
in two thousand and sixteen with BrookCrane, my top female athlete, who
I just finished up in Olympic campwith in San Diego to Olympic Training Center.
She's now training for Tokyo and todayI am now one of the most
sought after substance to use speakers inthe country. I spend about two hundred
days on the road this year andI'm not where I want to be,
but I spend a lot of timeon the east coast, in the Midwest,
where the opioid epidemic is just narly. Dude. I've seen semi trailers
fifty foot stacked with bodies because themore can't process and fast enough. Three
people a day dying in that communityof Fortyzero people. California has no idea
what it's like. You go tostates like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky,
Indian Anna, I heard, likeVermont New Hampshiremont New Hampshire, Maine,
Maryland, yeah, Delaware, Connecticut, the seaboard, New York, New
Jersey, devastation, not only devastation. So listen because we're pretty much time.
If you're listening at home, Imean Jimmy, Jimmy, Christmas this
you were you were dead man,walk in the streets, Yep, and
now look at your life. Soif you're a home and you're junkie or
a tweaker or alkie or you havesuicidal ideation, the one thing I hope
you would get from the stories recoveryis possible. But what and what I
didn't say at the beginning to show, which I usually do, is we
don't just recover, we get intowhat I like to call it the vortex
of radness. We unlock and unleashthe best part of ourselves, like what
you're talking about, like doing thethe self analysis and repairing your deficits and
all that. Yep, and lookat this person you become. Yeah,
I think you you you reach apoint, or I want everybody to reach
a point, where you accept yourselfand your uniqueness and you live it out
unapologetically. I loved in the beginningwhen you talked about we're in a we're
in a time now where we talkabout addiction, we talk about mental health,
because I love the program, don'tget me wrong, I'm a friend
of the program, but I alsobelieve that we should be removing stigmas in
the communities around us by talking aboutour addictions and letting people know you're not
alone. It's okay if you're adrug addict or an alcoholic. It's not
the end of your life. Itjust means that you're different in certain ways
and that when we learn how tolive out that difference and we learn how
to live out that uniqueness, we'reactually, in my opinion, the salt
of the Earth. We provide almenrather because we're different. We're not like
everybody. Yes, weird a isgood. We show up on time,
we're honest, we forgive that peoplewhen they do US wrong. You know
what? We become willing to dothings like picking up cigarette butts outside of
meetings, when everything inside of ussays I will let somebody else get it.
You know, we become people thatyou can be they can be trusted,
people that can be looked up toand people that can confide and have
empathy for other people. Amen.Tony Hoffman, thanks for coming down and
share your story. That was incredible. Your homies drove down from Fresno.
Y'All, thank you for your energyand coming. This has been rocked to
recovery radio. If you're out therelooking for answers, they're out there.
You're not too sick, you're worthit. You can do this. Ask
Somebody, let them have a chanceto give you some help. Amen.
We're up. Want to feel good.

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