Widely acknowledged as one of the most difficult one-day sporting events, the Ironman triathlon consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a marathon run of 26.2 miles. Most people bask in the glory of completing this challenge once, but Todd Crandell is not most people.
The 2022 Ironman World Championship in Hawaii was the hundredth Ironman Crandell has completed. Since starting in 1999, Crandell has set incredible achievement times, doing the whole race in under 6 hours. For context, most Ironman events have a cutoff completion time of 17 hours.
The determination and discipline it takes to achieve that level of physical performance is mirrored in Crandell’s everyday life. “Everything I do comes back to Racing for Recovery,” he says. Crandell founded the groundbreaking prevention center, Racing for Recovery, in 2001, after realizing there was no holistic treatment model for addiction.
Designing a comprehensive treatment model that encompasses plant-based nutrition and a healthy lifestyle with clinical counselling, support networks and education, this creative treatment center takes recovery to the next level. Todd Crandell LICDC-CS LPCC-S (Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counsellor – Clinical Supervisor and Licensed Professional Clinical Counsellor – Supervisor) has undertaken these qualifications to dive fully into work at Racing for Recovery.
Addiction is the same story expressed over and over again. Racing for Recovery counsellors aim to uncover the root of the addiction, in order to identify the story, heal it and write a new one. A former addict himself, Crandell found sport to be a beacon on his road to recovery. This is not the case for everyone but encouraging people to find passion and purpose on their personal journey is a key part of the treatment model.
“Once sober, it does not need to be an ongoing battle or struggle with addiction. You can put it down and never make the choice to pick it up again,” Crandell says. Although believing in the genetic predisposition towards substance abuse, Crandell does not subscribe to the accepted notion of addiction as disease.
The philosophy of the treatment center is all about cognizant choice. It is commonly agreed that drugs are used as a coping mechanism. Racing for Recovery asks the question, ‘what are you using it to cope with?’ By digging down to the root cause, rather than treating the symptom, clients can move forward with a deeper understanding of their own psychology and impulses.
Crandell illustrates this with an analogy of a basement that has flooded. You can take out the furniture and paper up the cracks, but without finding the source of the leak, the problem will keep returning. Taking back control of their choices is a potent tool that has seen the treatment center impact many lives for the better.
This approach to sobriety puts the power in the hands of the hurting soul and allows them to take responsibility for their choices. Crandell’s new book, Choices and Consequences, sets out the impact of trauma and the choices people make to cope with it from a clinical standpoint. The underlying ethos of Racing for Recovery is one of service and Crandell is determined to help as many people as possible.
Crandell appreciates that Alcoholics Anonymous works for some people, but as his book There’s More Than One Way To Get To Cleveland asserts, the path to recovery can look different for everyone. This book outlines ten recovery lifestyles that can set people free from addiction, without following a 12-step program.
“Addiction does not discriminate,” Crandell says. “90% of those we help have either a genetic predisposition to addiction or were raised in an environment that’s conducive to drugs or suffered traumatic abuses in their life. Around 10% are those that were living stable lives but a painkiller prescription led them to drugs when the opioids were withdrawn.”
People of all ages and walks of life are susceptible to substance abuse. Crandell was on the path to becoming a professional hockey player before his addiction took over. Having done so much work on navigating his inner pain, Crandell knows with complete certainty and peace that those chaotic days are behind him.
Racing for Recovery was started in a garage. It has grown exponentially to an organization that helps thousands of hurting souls and their families, live streams support meetings to reach people outside the local area and brought in $4,500,000 last year. All proceeds go to maintaining the team, providing lodging for people in the program as well as local causes.
“Sobriety is 100% attainable and sustainable for everybody who chooses it.” When Crandell chose recovery, it came from within. The inner drive for that kind of decision is the only lasting ingredient of success, rather than doing it for anyone else. Racing for Recovery helps hurting souls look to the future and make every choice count.