[Part III in a 3-Part Series] The Hero In You: A Story of Recovery, Overcoming Adversity and Hope

“We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up…discovering we have the strength to stare it down.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Today I share Part III in a Three-Part Series on the recovery journey of one man that has included an eye-opening experience that changed the way he looked at addiction, a near-fatal accident that threatened to ruin his success at recovery, and a very long battle to physically recover from his injuries.  In this final blog, Todd shares what has worked for him in his own recovery, the most important things he has learned along the way, and what keeps him focused. Whether you are a person in recovery or not, I hope you are inspired by Todd’s insight and wisdom, and that you can take something away today that will improve your tomorrows.  I hope it gives you real hope for any personal battles you may be struggling with and that you may just find the hero that lies within you.

[Be sure to check out Part I and Part II of Todd’s recovery story if you missed it .]

Todd Rossiter has fought years of drug and alcohol addiction.  After many attempts, he was finally able to find his journey of recovery.  He fought back with a vengeance when life threw him a curveball and left him lifeless at the bottom of a 40-foot hole.  He managed to maintain his sobriety through a myriad of broken bones, an unbelievable amount of surgeries, and countless months of physical rehab.

But what amazes me most is Todd’s attitude towards life and towards his recovery.  Todd understands first and foremost that his focus on his recovery must come first before everything else.  Todd challenges with the question, “What’s going to stop me from saving my life?”.  He believes, without a doubt, that one of the best things that his recovery journey has taught him is self-love.  That he is the only one responsible for his happiness.  And this motivates him to continue on, as he exclaims, “I GET to do this now, I’m not going to waste it”.  Todd now writes a gratitude list all the time.  He has learned to be thankful for the simple things in life.  He is grateful to have everything he needs in life.  He has a roof over his head, an amazing support structure, friends, family. He has learned to love all the things that were important to him before his addiction began.  He has learned to have fun again.  

Through his support group meetings, he has learned to focus on his own spirituality. He says if he is not spiritually fit, he could not recover.  He says a person will relapse in their head way before they ever put a substance in their body.  He now incorporates meditation and prayer into his recovery plan.  He likes to listen to motivational speakers and podcasts.  And he has learned to accept people just as they are instead of judging them.

Maybe most importantly, Todd focused on his mental health to get to the root cause of why he used substances by seeing a counselor these past 4 years.  Todd believes there is not just one path for recovery – that it is different for everybody.  But what he did, and what worked for him, was to take bits and pieces of what he saw working for other people and incorporate those things into his own life.

According to Todd, life is “pretty damn good”.  Our conversation lasted two and a half hours.  His story captivated me the whole way through as he poured out his heart.  His journey out of the depths of his addiction and his story of physical recovery from his horrifying accident - that had to be so mentally and physically exhausting for these past several years - was truly compelling. When asked what meant the most to Todd through this whole recovery experience, he emphatically stated, “The most amazing people came into my life when I needed them most”.

There was simply far too much information to share in just one blog, so I ventured into this 3-part series.  The Bornstein’s have stayed in touch with Todd, inspired by his commitment to recovery as much as Todd is inspired by their commitment to provide a long-term solution to those in recovery.  He hopes to be a part of the future Tyler’s Redemption Place as a peer supporter, and I believe his journey, his life lessons and all he has accomplished will be invaluable to individuals seeking recovery and hope.  While talking about his relationship with the Bornstein’s at the end of our talk, Todd fondly recalled receiving what he said was “the most amazing letter from Travis” Bornstein during a retreat he attended last year.  It went something like this – “I was depressed, I was in a hole, and I didn’t know what to do with myself, and then Shelly and I were out together and she said, ‘let’s stop and see Todd at the nursing home’.  {This was when Todd was first able to stand up and Travis got the biggest kick out of it.}  Travis continues, “I’m laying in bed depressed and you’re all excited just to stand up.”  Todd says it was “the coolest letter” because he looks up to Travis and has the utmost respect for him, saying he’s the kind of man Todd wants to be.

Well, Todd Rossiter, there are many who would say YOU are the man they strive to be.  Your story inspires me.  Your attitude amazes me.  Your perseverance and drive to never give up is heroic.  I have met many people in my lifetime, but your sheer will to fight the enemy within and come out on top, well, you sir…. you are my hero.