I am sad, but this isn’t about me.
There is sadness in our community. We have lost someone who touched our community in a relative short time, and his loss means so much more than just death.
Some of you already know this, but we lost someone who was a member recently. His name was James Hickey. He was 29 years old.
With permission from his family we are dedicating tomorrow (Saturday) to James as a lover of fitness and a day to remember.
He will be remember by his smile, his great sense of humor, his unique view on the world that was fed by his unique way of handling his relationship with the world around him. He was truly an individual and stood out with a bright shine everywhere he was. James was here for a relatively short time but developed relationships stronger than most people develop in lifetimes spanning decades, again testament to the magnetic person that he was. I personally appreciated his dedication not just to my business but more importantly to his fitness. He worked his ass off every day he trained, and influenced others to do so constantly.
Just today someone shared how they never really PRd while lifting because he didn’t know how to push like that in classes. Then he took a class with James and PRd right away, and PRd 3 more times that month with and without him. James became one of this favorite people at the gym. This member told me today that James changed his life forever, in a way that might be deemed insignificant by some, actually is so much bigger than just lifting weights. He helped this member look forward to his time at the gym, which made him look forward to improving his fitness more and more, making him more fit, happier, and better overall. James changed lives just being himself.
The sadness goes beyond the loss. With permission from his family, I want to talk about how James died because he deserves the chance to defend himself and his memory that will be forever colored by this piece of the story.
James was a heroin addict, and James died on Monday, January 22 of a heroin overdose.
That is truth, and one that has shocked many. The opiate crisis that is already a decade old in it’s destruction but only now becoming an every day subject was already real. It is now real life to us all, over a decade after the epidemic took hold. A decade, think of that. People have been dying from the effect of opiate addiction for over a decade if not 2, at least in this modern day wave of addiction.
Saturday, January 27 will be a day of remembrance at CrossFit Lando dedicated to preserving the memory of James we all had whatever time ago before we learned of his battle.
While I didn’t know James deeply on a personal level, I certainly developed a good relationship with him, good enough that I feel I can speak to the wonderful person we all knew him as, and can say with conviction that he deserves this fight to maintain his memory. I also know that James would be honored to know that his life lasts beyond his last day and that this dark piece of his existence can be used to help those in and out of the world of addiction.
James was also a heroin addict. James died of a heroin overdose on Monday, January 22.
People are dying by the hundreds every day with no end in sight. They are dying with the stigma of a junkie, a loser, a dropout, a criminal, a failure. In truth, while many people losing the battle with opiates might be bad people worth only one of these labels or one like it, most of them are good people who lost a fight long before they lost their life, a fight that takes you apart as a human piece by piece. Once a good natured soul with morals and beauty inside and out, person after person follow the terrible leader that opiates are to a life of being alone, scared, and wanting help even if they say the opposite. Too many people succumb to the labels society puts on them long before they actually deserve them, a self fulfilling cycle that becomes as much a part of the epidemic as the drugs themselves.
What I have learned from meeting so many people struggling with addiction is they are just like you and I, and James, they just need help. Yes there is responsibility for all of them and there is at the end of the day 100% ownership on the individual to want to get better. I am not saying that addicts are JUST misunderstood and deserve only sympathy and well wishes and patience forever. But I know for a fact so many times all they need is just one person who loves them to show they do, despite having fucked up their life, time after time. Having that loved one still love them as long as they move down the lumpy road to recovery will save them time and time again.
My hope with this is everyone reading this can understand that the James Hickey we all knew on Sunday, January 21, or even Tuesday the 23rd before we found out he had passed is the same James Hickey we think we know now. He should be remembered as the same loving, funny, witty guy with awesome art on his body in the form of tattoos who was a pretty damn good CrossFit athlete as well. J
Opiate addiction does not change James. It changes his memory but it is up to us, the people who knew him, those people who loved him for the person he was, to be sure that memory is always good. He was someone who lived with grace and virtue despite living a life filled with struggle and pain. We must be sure the memory of James is one of a person lost too soon due to addiction. James must be kept as a tragic tale of a great dude who can no longer snatch a shit load of weight for someone his size, won’t again command a room without saying a word, never share his positive, adventurous spirit with others not because he was a bad or weak person, but because he became lost one day long ago and for whatever reason was never able to find his way in time.
If anyone reading this is struggling with addiction of ANY kind, especially opiates, please reach out to me immediately. IMMEDIATELY. Don’t go another day. Literally tomorrow can be your 1st day. If you know someone struggling but don’t know how to help or no longer can, reach out to me immediately.
Remember, come train at CrossFit Lando Woburn or Charlestown for a day of remembrance for James Hickey and the battle against addiction of Opiates and other bad shit that we can all fight through a better life of fitness and love.
Here is a fantastic program that helps so many in our area and beyond struggling the same way James did. Follow the link just for awareness and education, and/or to donate to their all volunteer organization.
Strength : High Bar Back Squat
WOD : 3 Rounds, 1:00 each section
Squat Clean Thruster 95/65
Kettlebell Swing 53/35
Scale as needed
Sweat and Program TBD