When Kyle Sullivan was 18 years old, he won $51,000 dollars on the gameshow Wipeout. "After that, it was non-stop partying, partying, partying," he says. "I wasn't working, because I won all this money, so it was just waking up and figuring out where we were going to go drink and party... What went hand in hand with that rebellious mindset was I wanted to try things that were taboo. I did a lot of drugs living in LA."
Speaking to webseries Brand New Me, Kyle explains how getting out of Los Angeles helped him quit taking drugs, but that his issues were deeper-rooted than he first realized. "Moving did help with some addictions, but it also elevated other ones," he says. "I figured because I stopped doing hard drugs, then drinking was totally OK... Over time, as people start maturing and focusing on other life goals, I still just wanted to keep getting blackout drunk."
"Since I always wanted to be drinking, I had to hide my drinking. My girlfriend would call and ask where I was, and I would constantly lie to her to protect my drinking. That's what you do as an alcoholic; the drink is the most important thing in your life."
After years of finding increasingly inventive ways of hiding his drinking, and at least one breakup with his girlfriend Jennaca, Kyle finally acknowledged that he had a problem. "I knew the one thing I had never done was admit to myself that I was an alcoholic, and the only way to really make the fact that I'm an alcoholic real is by admitting it to everyone."
A critical step in changing his life, Kyle explains, was working on his personal fitness. "I always knew I wanted to be bigger and stronger," he says. "As I started to progress, and gain size and strength, I kept wanting to see how far I could push that strength limit, and that's when I discovered powerlifting."
He ended up signing up for a powerlifting meet, and won his first ever competition. After that, he kept on going, and powerlifting has become an integral part of his lifestyle. "Having that kind of structure and that reward system, being able to get stronger and looking better, it's a really amazing, grounding force that I think is a huge component of my sobriety," he says.
Kyle has now been sober for four years, and makes videos about his experiences with sobriety, in the hope that they help others who are going through their own struggles with alcoholism. "Obviously I'm a different person now," he says, "but I feel like that was a different life."
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