Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today, I have a guest with a unique message. He’s trying to take his own experiences and trying to help others who may be struggling with the same issues he has struggled with. I won’t go into any more detail than that because I want Mike to share his story and the project he’s working on. Take it away, Mike!
- Mike, tell us a little about yourself.
Hey Lisa!! Thanks a ton for the opportunity!! I was born on the east side of the state in Port Huron on November 1st, 1982. That makes me 36 years old 😉 I have 4 amazing children. It goes from oldest to youngest, ages and gender follow names. Michael 14 Daughter (Yes, its Michael, yes, she is a girl…) Rylee 13 Daughter. Jonah 8 Son. Ailey 6 Daughter.
These kids are incredible and help remind me daily that I MUST lead by example. I make a living and goof off a lot at Tom’s Meat Market here in Hastings. We just recently went viral on Facebook with our Gummi Bear Brats!! Daniel Tosh (Tosh.o) shared it, I also did a live radio interview recently about them with a station in Rockford, Illinois. I honestly can say if I MUST have to earn money to pay bills, then Tom’s is definitely the place I want to be as the Values Not Feelings Organization and A Walk For Thought are growing and taking shape… I’ll explain more in the questions below.
- If you don’t mind, could you tell us a little bit about how you became addicted to opiates?
Sure, this is all part of my story, although I speak of it a lot lately. I LOVE sharing it in hopes that I reach the MANY others who battle the same or similar things that I have. I was introduced to opiates when I was 16. I had 4 shoulder surgeries pretty much all back to back. There was a lot of work done in a couple years span which pretty much kept a pretty decent number of opiates flowing into my life for a solid amount of time. I really enjoyed the way the opiates made me feel. They helped the chaos in my brain feel better, that I can remember super early in my younger years. This was a chaos that I still deal with today, one that I have thankfully learned to think through rather than go numb and try to hide from. The hard stuff never goes away, it might fall back a bit, it might sit in the shadows out of your sight, but the fight in the mind that so many are engaged in will show back up at times with more opportunity to grow. Around this time is when I took my first drink of alcohol. Something that was a problem from the very first drop… I am just shy of 17 months sober from drinking alcohol as I write this and I am grateful for how much my quality of life has improved without it. Mixing opiates and other pills with alcohol became a war that lasted for half of my life before I was finally able to break out of the hell like grips of addiction. A “disease” of the mind and our thoughts…
Photo credit: RS2Photography on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND
- When did you realize you had a problem and what were the steps you took to resolve it?
With opiates and alcohol both it was almost instantly that they both became very big issues in my life. I had many times in between the 16 years where opiates weren’t as big of an issue as alcohol was for me. If they were around and I took them, well, it would just depend on how long in between therapies, rehabs, meetings before I was faced with yet “another” failed bout with self-control and will power. I would once again give into the fight and would take opiates and then would face the consequences in one way or another EVERY TIME. Until finally, after a shit ton of tries, many and I mean many hard lessons and close calls, I stopped using opiates 4 years ago. Alcohol on the other hand had its grips around my neck for a bit longer and other than a 7 month period of not drinking (For a girl), it was the longest I went with out alcohol from 16 years old until just about 17 months ago. Where I made the decision that if I was going to choose life, I was going to put in the work NO MATTER WHAT happened. I’ve tried quitting so many times before so I was skeptical about my success, but deep inside I knew this time was different.
Photo on Visualhunt.com
- Tell us a little bit about your struggle to resolve your problem.
I’d say my senior year of High School is when the use of the substances reached a place that put a real problem on the radar. I was drinking in school, before school. Just before graduation was my very first attempt at a try in the substance abuse programs that are around. (Not by choice) My parents tried helping by putting me into a program. It was an IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) for people battling addiction. I had to go 3 nights a week for 3 hours. It only lasted a few visits and then I stopped going which then lead to years and years of juggling through trying to quit and failing which then the many different therapy sessions, and aa/na meetings, other types of rehabs followed. I have been married and divorced 2 times. My issues with my mind and battle with substances played an enormous role in both marriages failing. Although we are in control of our own actions and behaviors, its super hard to be the husband you need to be when you don’t even know who you are…
Photo on Visualhunt.com
- Tell us a little bit about your most recent project.
My newest project is something called A Walk For Thought. It is a solo walk from Hastings, Mi. to St. Ignace, Mi. Its roughly 280 miles and I will be finishing on Labor Day of 2019 by crossing the Mackinac Bridge. The whole point is to attempt to bring awareness and funds to the Values Not Feelings Organization, a Non Profit that I am currently working on that will be based in my community and will be here in hopes to help others struggling with mental health and addictions. I have experienced this War first hand and it helps me to support anyone who is ready to get out of this lifestyle that shortens life spans and steals life’s happiness and joy. It takes a ton of hard work on their part however, and that is where I feel I can help. Coaching so to speak…
Photo on VisualHunt.com
- How would someone who wishes to participate get in touch with you?
We are ALWAYS looking for financial support as well as people sharing the vision. I have had so much amazing support and sponsors come on board, one being J Pixel, who has built an awesome website for me www.valuesnotfeelings.com which has a bunch of information about the project as well as a page for anyone to sign up as a sponsor. I’m also available on social media and via Email. Facebook: Mike Hamp or A Walk For Thought Page. and Instagram: Mike Hamp (Valuesnotfeelings) as well as Email: valuesnotfeelings@gmail
- What do you hope to accomplish with this project?
A Walk For Thought and Values Not Feelings are 2 separate projects that ultimately go together very well. The walk is meant to help push the Non Profit, it’s meant to help fund it, to help put it on the map so to speak, so I really hope that the walk brings a ton of attention in hopes to get the message and vision out to reach any and all who are ready to change their lives. This walk is meant to cause enough of a stir and gain the attention of people all over in hopes to help support those fighting for their lives. As well as, get people who have the finances and other things in hopes to get more sponsors and donors. The fight of addiction and the battle against poor mental health make this awesome life super hard to live, I want my story and experiences to help the people who are stuck now, get out and get to a place where they experience life fully…
Photo on Visualhunt.com
- Do you have any plans after this project for another one?
OH YEAH!! 😊 I have found a new Love/Passion for walking, hiking. 280 miles is only the beginning. This project has caught some attention of companies and donors thinking that 280 miles is far, just wait until you all hear of some of the other things we are tossing around… East coast to West coast maybe? We have A TON of great ideas that hopefully will turn into something more in the next few years. But as far as the foundation, the original base of this whole vision is helping anyone and everyone who is ready to put in the work and discipline needed to pull themselves out of the fiery pits of hell that addiction is. I NEVER want to lose focus of the real reason I am doing this all, and that is to offer myself to anyone ready to live this life on purpose…
- Where did you get the idea for this project?
There is a lot to this question as far as layers and ways I can answer it to get to the most descriptive answer so bear with me… At 16 I fell into this trap after 4 shoulder surgeries before I even graduated from High School. I am not blaming anyone but I didn’t even have a chance to be a “normal” High School kid. I started life behind the majority because I battled for mine early on. After ALL of the things I have faced and all the extreme lows that I sank to, after the dust settled and I was able to walk out of that War alive. I got to a place in my life where I was solid enough to toss some ideas around. I started to see patterns and little tricks to help stay away from the poisons that were screaming in my brain to let in. I realized that we are in control of our responses only and that even though we “feel” emotions, as hard as they can be, we don’t have to respond!
This put a power into my life that I didn’t know was possible. I became part of a Crossfit Gym (Trifit), who is now a sponsor of mine, and was introduced to the importance of exercise and proper nutrition. This was the EXACT shift I needed. After putting in some very hard work and remaining disciplined in my work outs and diet, things began shifting in my mind. I had begun experiencing some awesome responses from the way my brain was working, it was like my once broken-down beat-up body and mind (which was like an old beat up car that was backfiring and spitting and sputtering, smoking and back firing) was just barely running and barely getting from point A to point B. But when I got on purpose about putting the proper fuel in my body (My vehicle), and took care of it with exercise and other maintenance, it started running like a fine-tuned machine, and it brought me into a place in life that I hadn’t experienced before. I began to trust my thoughts; my brain and body functions were amazing. I got into good shape and enjoyed life from that place and learned that that is a HUGE part at building a foundation to a life where you aren’t NEEDING drugs or alcohol to live…
The idea for the walk however only came when I went through a few months span of my body falling apart. I was recently sober, eating awesome and working out intensely. I was hit with some unexpected health issues that made it impossible to work out or even run. I had Rhabdomyolysis. I had shoulder surgeries #5 and #6 and I got to a place that when I ran, I peed blood, every time. (Bladder rubs when I run, causing enough trauma to bleed, very scary stuff until you get an answer) After the last 7 months of doctors, surgeries, overnight stays in the hospitals and all the chaos, I was pretty much left with only the option of walking… I had a new love for pushing myself and my body, but I was sinking fast when I wasn’t able to do much. I had just started realizing I could take control of my mind and body and really do a lot to become healthy and strong. Exercise and good nutrition helped my thoughts and it was hard when I couldn’t exercise, I felt everything was crashing down around me and burying me in the very same mental mess that had buried for so many years previously.
I lost one of my most dear friends in March of 2018 to the battle of alcohol. Watching him die did something to the deepest part of me. I knew that with my story and past and with the determination I had from Brandon’s death, it was time to make my life mean something. I had to do something. I wondered, how far I would I have to walk for people to notice… And Bang, the idea was born. I began walking very far everyday because it was all my body can do and it turned into a passion. Now, I walk a ton everyday but I have also gotten back into the gym as well as slowly recouping and rehabbing. Now, its just what needs to happen, in order for my mind and body to fire on all cylinders, they must be treated properly, on purpose…
Photo on Visualhunt.com
- On a lighter note, what are some of your hobbies and interests?
I LOVE writing. It’s been a passion and an escape for me from as far back as I can remember. It’s a way for me to dig deep down inside and grasp onto some of those feelings that are there, and attempt to pull them out and put them onto the page, hoping they might just make sentences and paragraphs that will positively impact anyone who reads it. I have 4 amazing children who I LOVE spending as much time with as possible. I work in a pretty awesome Meat Market and spend quite a bit of time there, but it’s among my friends and it rarely ever feels like work. I love people, hearing their stories. I enjoy comedy and laughing a lot. I just might take a crack at it myself someday… 😊
Photo on Visualhunt
Thanks a lot Lisa for this opportunity. I am grateful for the chance you’ve given me to get my story and vision out. Keep fighting, Keep pushing, Be love; #valuesnotfeelings #awalkforthought
You’re welcome, Mike! Thanks for being a guest today. The meme below reminds me of you. So, keep spreading your message. The world needs to hear it!