Jesse First question, what brought you to Beit T’Shuvah?
Julian What brought me to Beit T’Shuvah? So, I had been trying to get sober on my own with the program the last two years, and I realized that trying things my way just wasn’t working anymore, and that being an isolator wasn’t working for me anymore, and that I needed a change of pace. I was stuck living in an unsafe living situation. I had run out of money. My resources were completely depleted, and I had a few friends who came through this house and they spoke very highly of it. They had this sense of community, a sense of hope about them and I wanted that. This place, so far, has been great and it’s been really helping me out. I’ve done a lot of growth here, and I’m really grateful to be here.
Jesse Where did you grow up?
Julian I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. Valley Boy.
Julian I grew up in the valley, always in the slums. I always wanted to do something better with myself, not wanting to be stuck in there.
Jesse Why are you running the marathon?
Julian I’m running the marathon as a challenge to myself to see how far I can push myself. I figured that I’ve pushed my body pretty hard with my using. I’ve stayed up for 10 days straight before, no eating, no drinking water. So I really just want to also show myself that I’m capable of something physically exhausting.
I’m 38 years old now, and I just want to see what my body’s made of pretty much. Also, I’m using it as inspiration for my sobriety. A lot of places we’re gonna be running from are my old stomping grounds of using. So I also want to change that narrative. Switching it up, you know? Instead of associating those areas with my using of associating it with something like the marathon and pushing myself and accomplishing something that I always had on my bucket list. It’s also a way for me to give back to Beit T’Shuvah. I’m here on scholarship. Whatever way I can show my appreciation to this place and like get back to them, I’m willing to do it.
Jesse What would you say to someone who you think is on the fence about donating to someone for the marathon?
Julian I would say you are supporting a great cause. You are supporting someone and inspiring them to do their best and to push through this. There’s a lot of people here, like myself, that don’t really have any people to reach out to, family wise, to donate. I think I’m halfway to my goal. I have $544, last I checked. It’s you know, it’s inspiring and moving for me to have people that don’t really know me, donate to me because it’s helping change that narrative of like, ‘Nobody cares about me. Nobody is on my side. Nobody cares to motivate me to do better with myself.’ So, I think it’s been you know, it’s helped me out of a huge amount to see just random people donate to me and believe in me.
Jesse So, I hear people talk about, you know, like waking up early in the morning and the running and the stretching. How difficult would you say the training really is?
Julian Oh, the training was grueling. In the first week I thought I wasn’t going to make it. I honestly was telling Jillian, that there’s no way I’m going to be able to do this. I started having knee pains. I’ve put on 30 pounds since I’ve been here. So, my legs were not having it—all this newfound weight. I was like, ‘This is this is going to be exhausting, my knees are trying to get f***ed up. This is probably not worth it.’ But I kept pushing myself and I showed up to every practice on Sunday, even with my knee hurting. I just kept pushing myself and I was able to see my progress. It’s kind of like with my sobriety, you know, like at first I felt that I wasn’t gonna be able to get sober—I wasn’t gonna be able to push myself through this. This is a big change in my life. There’s no way I would do it. And and here I am like one week away from running the marathon. I’ve ran twenty two miles. The most mileage I’ve ever ran. My body, so far, hasn’t given out on me. If I can do this, I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.
Jesse So you think you have to be like super fit to run the marathon?
Julian No! You don’t have to be super fit. Because I’ve talked to old ladies, you know, 80 something year old grandmas that have walked the L.A. Marathon. I consider myself to be fairly fit, and I still struggled in the beginning. I have a few team members that are super fit and they’re struggling too. It’s more about willpower and determination and having that mind over matter mentality. I guess you have to be really mentally fit to do this as opposed to being physically fit… but it does help.
Jesse How long have you been sober now?
Julian I’m close to four months sober. That’ll be the most time I’ve ever had. This is going into my third year of trying to get sober.
Jesse Three years of trying to get sober. You have four months. How has Beit T’Shuvah helped you get that extra amount of time that you didn’t think you get?
Julian By providing me a safe space to grow. I remember the first month I got here, I had anxiety, wild anxiety, not because of being here, but of the calmness and the peace. It took me a while to realize that I’m safe here. My treatment team has been helping me out a lot. I have a great treatment team, and they’ve been pushing me to be vulnerable even when I don’t want to be and show my true self. I’ve shared some very intimate things that I never thought I would freely share with a bunch of people that I’ve never met before, a bunch of other addicts. It’s also inspiring to see everybody here working hard to improve their lives and change that narrative in our head of like we’re not worth anything, nobody cares about us, nobody knows what I’m going through. I just find a lot of compassion here, a lot of love, a lot of support, a lot of understanding… and you can’t beat a bed to sleep in every night and a roof over your head and just simple things asked of you!
If you would like to donate to the Beit T’Shuvah Running For Recovery marathon team go to: