At 8:00 am on Saturday, June 24th, Allen Collins, a successful entrepreneur, a volunteer faculty member at the Rescue Mission of Trenton, and recovering addict, is going to begin running for what he estimates will be 24 hours along the 72 miles of Appalachian Trail in New Jersey to raise $100,000 for The Mission.
Allen, an entrepreneur who takes fitness to the nth degree, said, “I’m undertaking this challenge because I’ve been so impressed by the transformational changes I’ve seen in people in recovery at The Mission.”
Allen also hopes that people will find it in their hearts to donate to The Mission as he undertakes this challenge that he has never done before. Starting at the New York border near Greenwood Lake, Allen will finish this grueling endeavor at the Delaware Water Gap National Park.
As a volunteer faculty member of The New Direction Program, an intensive course that helps individuals in recovery see their potential and create a new future for themselves, I recently told the class, “I’ve been where you are, which is why I’m here for you.”
“When I was 18 years old,” he said, “I went to rehab for the first time, and the last time I was in rehab was eleven years later. During that time, I was arrested several times each year. My life had spun completely out of control. I kept getting high to avoid feeling the stuff I had bottled up. As a result, I was nothing but angry, often on the verge of rage.”
Fast forward, and through counseling, meetings, and journaling, Allen said, “I can remember the day I finally woke up without the same thoughts, which were: Am I going to get high today? Or am I going to kill myself?” He paused, then added, “When I realized I wasn’t waking up and asking myself those questions, I cried like a baby.”
After completing treatment, his first legitimate job was working for minimum wage in an entry position at a gym.
“It was a humble start, but at least I was going in the right direction,” he said. “I loved being in the gym and wanted to be around people focused on staying healthy.” He was soon promoted to training manager. Then he left that position and now co-owns three nutrition supplement stores.
What he found, Allen said, was that, for him, discipline equals freedom.
“I became very disciplined in my habits,” he said. “And, for me, the focus of that discipline has been keeping myself healthy and on a positive journey.” So, every morning, he has a routine of jumping in a cold plunge, then lifting weights or going for a run in the mountains behind his home.
For Allen, succeeding is about “building positive habits through discipline. When I was addicted, I could see opportunities everywhere. You know what I mean?” he said. The members of the class all nodded in agreement. “It takes enormous discipline to steal the money you need to feed a heroin habit. I’m using that same drive and discipline to see positive opportunities.”
He added, “I’m here to tell you that if you can hustle enough to support a drug habit, you just have to turn that discipline and drive around to create positive results for yourself. “
“And I’m here to tell you,” he said, “that if I can do it, you can, too. Discipline equals freedom.”
To learn more and to donate: https://rescuemissionoftrenton.org/atrun/