One man’s journey, running for recovery

independentcollegian  At the age of 13, Todd Crandell had it all going for him—a loving father, a brain for books and a promising hockey career ahead of him. But a dark chapter in his childhood, and a subsequent inability to cope, eventually came to the surface and nearly ended his life. “After my mom committed suicide when I was three, I had a lot of anger,” Crandell  said. “I didn’t understand myself emotionally. I didn’t understand why I hated myself so much.” Self-loathing thoughts led to self-harming behaviors that haunted him for years. Bleak as his future seemed then, there was a bigger purpose in Crandell’s life. After losing almost everything, Crandell didn’t just recover—he reinvented himself. Years of work allowed him to fight his decade-long dependence on alcohol and cocaine, then tap into a new sense of purpose. The powerful energy that once led him to reach for bottle after bottle, now propelled him toward a rigorous training regime through which he would take back agency and purpose. Aside from serving the Toledo community, leading hundreds of people through their recovery journeys, Crandell is an experienced Ironman racer—a triathlon challenge that comprises no less than a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a marathon to top it off. He is also somebody who understands the power of the narratives individuals tell themselves.“I don’t like the term ‘addictive personality,’” he said. “I am not addicted to anything now. What I am is driven, motivated and dedicated.” When Crandell spoke about his struggles with substance abuse, there was little of that self-harming kid with low self-esteem and anger issues. He shared his story with a rare sense of clarity and self-awareness. “It all began with one newspaper article on the Toledo Blade,” he said. “I’d been sober for eight years at that …


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