For many years Professional skateboarder Neen Williams lived a life of sleepless nights partying while creating a name for himself in the skater world. Born in Chicago, Illinois and currently shredding street tricks in his hometown of Los Angeles, California Williams has managed to attract sponsorship from several brands including:
- Circa Footwear
- Thunder Trucks
He also has a line of board designs that are all pretty slick. Neen Williams says he’s been skateboarding since he was about 13 years old, and with the territory he found himself smoking and drinking alcohol on a regular basis. Now, at age 31 he has turned his passion into his point of reference for a more sober approach to life.
Sobriety and Skating
Williams admits that he used to have a very different perspective of the life of a skateboarder himself. In a recent video with VICE he states,
“Skateboarding forever was like ‘drink boozes, smoke, we don’t stretch we don’t work out,’ and later in the interview he explains, “Back in the day I used to wake up late, eat like a burrito and slam a beer; go out and skate, manage to get a trick, and it would just be party time again.”
“It would never stop. It was just like a vicious cycle. There were a couple nights I would wake up at 6 or 7 (PM) and it would be dark outside.”
In that vicious cycle, Williams talks about needing days at a time to recover from drinking and partying, and on the last day when he finally felt good enough to get back to skating he would immediately go back to the partying as well.
He goes on to say that he wishes he had known all of this when he was a teenager, but even at 31 years old he is still learning so much. During part of the video interview Neen Williams says that he knows if you take care of yourself, you can skate forever. That, he says, is why he now makes the effort to eat so well and train his body,
“This is why I do all this healthy stuff for myself… because that is what I want, is to skate forever.”
That seems like a really legit reason to take care of yourself; to do what you love forever!
Originally Williams said he decided not to drink for the 6 to 8 month healing period he was told he would need for a torn ACL. Since then, it appears his lifestyle has changed dramatically to make his dream work.
Health Food and Fitness
Even though some may not immediately associate a balanced and healthy diet, along with regular exercise, it appears to have become a crucial element to Williams’ evolution as a skater.
On VICE Williams prepares a breakfast of acai bowls that honestly look stacked with natural goodness. Williams tops off one of the meals he makes- serious serving of what looks like well-blended fruits and vegetables- with diced pineapples and what I would guess to be barriers, almond butter, and granola, it looks like heaven.
You also get to see Williams break out a yoga mat and start stretching himself out. From there he said since Saturday isn’t a week day, he warms up with a quick 200 in to start the day.
When talking about his workout, he compares it to any other athlete. He says football players train to do what they do and they are covered in pads and protective gear. While he admits football players have 300lbs of muscle falling on them, he says the pro skater is usually out in the bare minimum, if anything, fighting sometimes face-first with concrete.
The Deathwish Team Manager, Jay Thorpe, makes a cameo during a street-side video shoot and says it is “really rad to see” when talking about Williams cleaning up his act and committing to the thing he wants to do for the rest of his life.
Williams says that while he doesn’t judge anyone, and doesn’t regret his party days, he has seen a lot of people fall because of it and he likes what he’s doing now. Probably a big inspiring part of Williams’ story is that he says he is glad he went through it and worked his way out of it to be the person he wants to be.
Athletes are put under a lot of pressure to succeed, even professional skateboarders and other extreme sports athletes. Sometimes the lifestyle of pro-sports stars can influence issues with substance use or addiction. Too many talented individuals are held back by these obstacles, but it never too late to get a fresh start toward a better, healthier expression of yourself. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398
Recently Jeff Salinas, an Alumni from our Palm Partners facility contacted our Alumni department with some exciting news; on the road to recovery he hit the ground running, and soon will be competing in a triathlon, but it isn’t his first since he took off from the starting line he got while in treatment. Jeff shared with us an article written about his awesome new ambition on Florida Today, in which he was quoted saying
“Triathlon saved my life,”
Coming up Sunday, July 25th is the fifth annual Indialantic Boardwalk Triathlon. This is Jeff’s next giant leap on the road of transformation and recovery. The report shares that Jeff has become a regular to the local triathlons, as much as possible, while also competing in local foot races. According to Jeff, all this athletic action is more than just a sport; it has made a lasting imprint on his life, especially in recovery from alcoholism.
At 43 years old, this powerful example of passionate self-improvement has always been an athlete, even before turning his life around. However, when he spoke with journalists about his new competitive edge, he shared how the decision to clean up his act gave him a breathtaking second wind.
“In 2013, 2014 and 2015, I struggled really badly with alcoholism,”
“I finally battled those demons in 2015 … And then I trained for an Ironman triathlon. I made some life-changing moves, and to maintain them, I committed myself to the Ironman Florida Triathlon in Panama City.”
Jeff has been running a long time. Before, you may have said he was running from something. Today, however, it looks more like he’s running toward a better, brighter future.
Jeff has finished 7 marathons, and in 2013 he decided to try on a triathlon. Of course by his timeline, he was still actively drinking. Apparently he was able to put off drinking during triathlons and compete well enough.
It would appear that looking at the face value, one might categorize Jeff as a “functioning alcoholic”. He was working after moving with the company from San Diego. Jeff was providing for his wife Alpha and daughter Athena, not to mention caring for four dogs and staying active. Yet despite all the running, his drinking was catching up to him and gaining fast. When the question came in regards to if his drinking impacted his family, Jeff states in the interview:
“Bigtime. They’re the ones who got me into recovery. The most important thing is that you have to want it. You don’t go to make someone happy or because it is a good idea … You’ve got to do it for yourself; you have to make those life-changing decisions yourself. I had to ask myself, ‘Am I an addict or an athlete?’ ”
Jeff was put on a new track, with a new gym and new trainers who were ready to run a different kind of race with him; a race toward transformation.
Jeff Salinas found his way to Palm Partners, a Palm Healthcare facility that specializes in the treatment of people struggling with substance use disorder and dual diagnosis. In treatment Jeff found himself among recovering individuals of every economic and social background. While in treatment at Palm Partners Jeff experienced some of the most effective and innovative holistic methods, including personal trainers, exercise, good nutrition and yoga classes. Palm Partners and all Palm Healthcare facilities are designed to address every element of physical, emotional and mental recovery to help create lasting change. When asking Jeff about his experience with Palm Partners, and he wrote:
I remember during one of the classes in Palm Partners, we were to think of some kind of short term goal to have us look forward to in order to maintain our sobriety post Palm Partners. I always did want to participate in an Ironman Race Triathlon, which is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride followed by a 26.2 mile run. I thought, I can do this..
While in Palm Partners, this seed was planted. After coming home and maintaining my sobriety , the “Pink Cloud” eventually wore off, and I was starting to get depressed again and lose my momentum in my drive of wanting to stay sober. Then I remembered about the Ironman that I always wanted to do. So I did what I could to sign up for that race which was a year prior to the event. And from there, what’s in the FL Today article did follow suit.
I honestly do value the teachings and classes in PP. And it’s all relative, it doesn’t have to be triathlon or running, but it’s that internal driving force we had since our youth of purity, but somewhere along the timeline of growing up we lost it through addiction. Palm Partners helped me rekindle that fire inside me that almost went out. And, I’m forever greatful…
Becoming an Ironman
After finding himself back in the present, Jeff said:
“In Delray, I took everything in and really determined that I wanted to change… And so I committed to triathlon.”
Jeff credits the structure and strict training the sport demands to much of his attraction to it. The training requires a great deal of focus and dedication to practicing the three specific forms, leaving not much energy for the thought of drinking. In his interview with Florida Today, Jeff states:
“I committed to a seven-month training plan for the Ironman and fitted it around work and my personal schedule,”
“I tried to do (recovery) meetings, but that wasn’t what I needed. Instead, I’d show up for training and then go home and feel spent. It has been showing up for training that has helped me change.”
Last November in Panama Beach Jeff reached a milestone in his journey to a more fulfilled life. Jeff went on to say,
“I knew my mission was over once I crossed that line, when the commentator announced, ‘Jeff Salinas, you are an Ironman!’ ”
Alpha and Athena supported Jeff through every step of this race; from the decision to enter treatment and then to crossing the Ironman finish line.
Staying on the Path
Jeff has run in:
- Pineapple Man Triathlon
- Boardwalk Triathlon
Jeff has also qualified for and finished the Florida Triathlon, and is a member of the Donner Wealth Management Triathlon Team.
So what is next for the Palm Partners Alumni?
According to the report his new goal to finish the big race this Sunday in an hour, 10 minutes (give or take) to break his own record. After that- qualify for the Boston Marathon which he would like to do in November’s Space Coast Marathon.
One thing Jeff says during the interview that speaks volumes to his commitment to change is when talking about the race after-parties. Most of the events have food after, and beer is a common addition. Apparently the race community has plenty of it to go around. But in Jeff’s words,
“Well good for them. But not for me. Not for me.”
Jeff Salinas will be putting his passion to the pavement at the Indialantic Boardwalk Triathlon this Sunday, June 25th at 7 AM. The event takes place in Nance Park, 100 Miramar Ave., Indialantic. The event is for the benefit of Candlelighters of Brevard in Indian Harbour Beach.
We are happy to cheer for our Palm Partners Alumni, especially when they are sharing how passion, dedication and transformation make such amazing things possible. Jeff Salinas is a moving example of how willingness and action can change your life. On the road to recovery, Jeff is truly a trailblazer. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398