I find it is important for me not to train and compete for purely selfish reasons (although I am first to admit that a lot of selfishness went into deciding to do so!). If my ego gets in the way, it defeats the purpose and the method of how I want to improve myself; to be healthy, happy, and in service. I want to raise funds for worthy causes during the process and share my story so that I can be constantly reminded of the transformation I hope to achieve, and share the absolute joys of a healthy lifestyle, lest I fall into old habits and let my ego take control, then I will not be satisfied with any results, and the important aspects will fall by the wayside. That has proven destructive for me in the past.
I know I have been a bit oblique with these statements thus far, so I'll clarify in the spirit of honesty. Much of the reason as to why I have considered myself an unhealthy person is rooted in the fact that I am an alcoholic. It's not easy to admit because it holds such a negative social stigma, and I don't like to admit when I don't have control over something. I drank heavily to ease pain, anxiety, depression, and anger, all of which were exacerbated by the heavy drinking. This of course led to a general lack of care for my physical body and spiritual well being. My thought process was "I was already doing damage to myself, why use toothpicks to rebuild a still burning house?" Furthermore, it was out of my control. This was the insanity by which I lived. Obsession, fed by fear, accompanied by physical exhaustion and spiritual void.
I say all this not to bring down what I want to be a positive experience, but to honestly share a part of myself that I tried to control and keep to myself for a long time. I also want to demonstrate that I found hope where I felt only hopelessness. That in recovery I have the capability to do something positive and extreme that I would have never thought possible, nor had the motivation to see through (by the way, I want to make clear that this is not substitute for recovery or treatment, only a supplement I am using after some time in active recovery). For me this has been a positive supplement to recovery in many ways (I will reserve these for a future blog post).
There are those too who face greater challenges. My problems for the most part were of my own making, and I am fortunate to have the tools to lift myself up. Some don't have this luxury, and I believe we are obligated to help as we are able.
Which brings me to Compassion International (you can go directly to my donor page here). Compassion began as a relief organization back in the 1950's with the purpose of providing aid to orphaned children of the Korean war. Today, it has operations all over the world, taking a sustained approach to child development in areas of the world where poverty is most severe. Compassion offers individual child sponsorship (for $38 per month to help support the child's diet, medical care, and education), as well as broader programs to support local medical care and education. The sponsorship option is really great because it gives you an opportunity to develop a personal relationship with a child from another part of the world. Especially having kids of our own, sponsorship has been a very rewarding experience for all of us.
Compassion International is a four star rated charity on Charity Navigator. Check out their website for more information.
As I mentioned, I will be adding two more charities within the coming weeks. There are quite a few sites that make this process fairly easy. I am looking into a site called Razoo. Here individuals set up their own fundraisers with any charity they choose, and Razoo handles the transaction/processing.
Donations to charities posted on this website can be made at any time, and are very much appreciated. Think of how wonderful it would be to start this thing from zero (literally and figuratively), and achieve our goals of fully funding these pledges. I would like to believe it might start a positive chain reaction, where others might start fundraising for causes they believe in, and improve themselves in the process. In a culture that feeds on negativity, positive action is a welcome comfort. At the very least we can poke a few holes in the darkness and let some light shine in. I recognize that it's bold to assume that this can be achieved through an insignificant and mostly unread chronicle of a crazy person, but a small gesture has more of a chance to have an impact than no gesture at all.