Overcoming Addiction and Adversity

Francis Kilinski
Published on: 4th April 2015
It seems that the things that are most detrimental to our health can be the best stress relievers at times. Smoking, drinking, and eating junk food are all addictive and ill-advised ways to deal with our problems, but sometimes our mind tells us that it is the only way to make life better. It takes a great amount of mental fortitude to step up and overcome these addictions, but it is not impossible. 

Kevin Seon, a sophomore at The City College of New York in Manhattan, took the necessary steps to beat his addictions and his bad habits, but only after years of misfortunes and ongoing struggles in his personal life and family. 

"I was smoking cigarettes at the age of 13," Kevin said. Smoking cigarettes was something Kevin got into that he regrets to this day, because he wonders how much it hindered his growth and development in his athletic career. As a high jumper for the City College track team standing at 5'8, however, he worries more now about surpassing people's expectations of him. "People always say to me 'You're so short, how do you high jump?' And I just shake my head at them." 

Finally, quitting smoking cigarettes was something he knew he had to do, not just because of athletics, but because of his overrall health. "I had to stop, because I could feel the effects on my breathing. I just hope I didn't shed six years off of my life or something," Kevin added. He is certainly lucky to realize that at a young age. But leaving high school and starting college posed a new challenge for him, a challenge that re-triggered his addictive personality. 
Overcoming Addiction and Adversity , challenge
Coming into college, Kevin aspired to be an engineer and he knew the academic workload that he would have to face. It would prove tough to juggle these school responsibilities with his season and his financial situation. Already concerned for his family's welfare, he applied for a position at his dormitories to save his parents as much money as possible. He claims his family has never really been "wealthy" and hence that job was important for him. 

All these responsibilities, however, caused Kevin stress that proved unbearable at times. He resorted to partying and drinking to cope, and because of this, his eating habits and his diet suffered. It became a snowball effect when his diet began to tank, as Kevin tore his LCL in the thick of his freshman outdoor track season, likely because of his eating habits. "The injuries I suffered really made me want to stop running track," he remarked, "but I just kept getting back up, doing what I needed to do to come back, and if I got hurt again, I would just repeat the process." 

"I really think my track coach and my parents instilled that thought process into my head," said Kevin. In the face of adversity, Kevin seems to look right at it, fearless, and push forward. His will would really be tested in his second year of college, suffering another injury to his toe which would put him out of action for a month in the Fall, and losing 3 close friends to drugs and accidents in a span of 4 months at the close of the 2014 year. "Life kept throwing these terrible things at me. And I wasn't reaching all thegoals I set for myself. But I always found the strength somehow to look past these things and grow from them instead of letting them tear me down." 
What is most amazing about Kevin now is that he is healthy, competing in his track season as a sophomore, and has his own apartment, away from his friends, a decision he had to make. More importantly, he is sober now as well, and can feel the difference. "I think the most inspirational thing about my story is my will to push forward, and how much I have left in the tank after all of this," Kevin added. At the ripe age of 20, his unique situation is nothing short of motivational for other college athletes, and certainly awe-inspiring to outsiders looking in. With a mindset like Kevin's, there are certainly no limits to his aspirations of success. 
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