Allen Collins, an entrepreneur who takes fitness to the nth degree, became so inspired by the transformational changes he has seen in people in recovery at The Mission that he decided to create a most unusual fundraiser.
On June 24th, Allen is going to run for what he estimates to be 24 hours along the 72 miles of Appalachian Trail in New Jersey.
Starting at the New York border near Greenwood Lake, Allen will finish this grueling and demanding endeavor at the Delaware Water Gap National Park.
He is doing this to challenge himself. And to show those in recovery at The Mission that “If you make your mind up, and commit to a goal, with determination and discipline, you will succeed beyond your wildest expectation.”
Allen is also hoping that people will find it in their hearts to donate to The Mission as he undertakes this challenge that he has never done before – to run for 24 hours along the Appalachian Trail.
Allen, who is on the faculty of The New Direction Program, an intensive course that helps individuals see their potential and create a new future for themselves, recently told the class, “I’ve been where you are, which is why I’m here for you. When I was 18 years old, 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 who were focused on staying healthy.“ He was soon promoted to being a training manager.
Then he left that position and now co-owns three nutrition supplement stores.
What he was finding, Allen said, was that, for him, discipline equals freedom.
“I’ve been where you are, which is why I’m here for you.”
“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, now, 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 all about “building positive habits through discipline. When I was addicted, I could see opportunities everywhere. You know what I mean?” he said, and the members of the class all nodded in agreement. “It takes an enormous amount of discipline to steal the money you need to feed a heroin habit. Now I’m using that same drive and discipline and to see opportunities that are positive.”
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.”
If you would like to support Allen as he challenges himself to run for 24 hours along the Appalachian Trail – you can donate to The Mission where your gift will help us to feed those who are hungry, house those who are homeless, counsel those in recovery, and create life-changing opportunities