START UP RECOVERY: How One Addict Found Purpose by Helping Others Recover and Find Their Own Passions
25 years ago, Gregg Champion was battling addiction and had just been arrested for the second time in one week. His addiction had taken control of his life, and he had hit rock bottom. Today, Gregg is helping others shift their addiction to their passion. His company, START UP RECOVERY, provides luxury, transformational residences as well as recovery apartment communities that helps others recover from addiction, trauma, drama, pain and shame as well as shift their energy and passion into something they love.
Gregg’s recovery is nothing short of extraordinary. While all who battle addiction know that staying sober can be extremely challenging, few survivors are able to so successfully channel their passion and purpose into helping other addicts find their meaning in their own lives. At START UP RECOVERY, that’s precisely how Gregg helps others, by helping them shift their addiction to their passions.
From Trauma to Purpose
Gregg is no stranger to trauma. At four years old, his father was killed by a drunk driver. By age seven, Gregg had turned to violence and used bullying others as a way to push away the pain of losing his father. By age 12, Gregg began to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. By dealing with the trauma of losing his father in unhealthy ways, Gregg’s life began to spiral out of control.
Throughout much of his teenage years and 20’s, Gregg lived in a vicious cycle of addiction. He would wake each morning and take drugs to recover from hangovers from the night before, only to start over each night with heavy drinking. He sold marijuana illegally, risking his future and freedom by breaking the law. Without any purpose in his life, Gregg’s depression and anger slowly began to boil over. He spent many nights in jail cells, slowly pushing friends out of his life and taking his anger out on others in bar fights. As Gregg puts it, “hurt people hurt people.”
By the time Gregg hit rock bottom, he had been arrested 8 times in two years between ages 22 and 24. The last two times 3 weeks apart, even after the judge said to him, “If I see you in my court again in the next 6 months, I will give you the 5 years of prison hanging over your head.” He felt as though he had few options left in life, and so he did something quite out of character for him. From the jail cell, he called his mother and asked for help. Her request to him was to go church. Gregg went to Catholic mass. Although skeptical that it would help him at all, Gregg found himself confessing to a priest, beginning to unravel the pain, emotion, and shame of how drugs & alcohol were controlling much of his life. The preist said, “Gregg plus drugs & alcohol equals jail… take drugs & alcohol out of the equation… and you’ll never go back to jail.” At the moment, Gregg decided to turn his life around for the better. He asked the priest what should he do next, “Son, your sins don’t belong here, they belong four blocks up at the Alano club, there’s an AA meeting starting in 10 minutes, and I think you should go.” 25 years later, he is still sober and has never been in jail since. Gregg looks upon that moment with the priest (who became his sponsor) as a “God Shot.”
A Path to a Better Future
As a survivor of trauma, Gregg’s struggles early in life have helped him channel all of his pain and loss into making a successful recovery brand that helps others no matter what they need to recover from find their passion and purpose in life. “Failures that I had early on really helped me in making this one a success,” he said.
For Gregg, the same characteristics that made him an addict have also made him a successful entrepreneur. He attests to his risk-taking personality, love of the hustle, and being addicted to his passion as the three things that have made his company successful. After all, Gregg was always an entrepreneur. From selling marijuana on the streets in the early ’90s to starting his own business post-sobriety, Gregg realized that he always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but that he could channel that passion into something better that helped others.
At START UP RECOVERY, Gregg helps others push the reset button on their life. They cater to high-profile clients such as businessmen and women, athletes, artists, and more who are interested in transforming their lives in a luxury recovery environment. START UP RECOVERY offers a Proprietary Coaching Curriculum that focuses on Recovery, Self-Care, Career, Passion and Legacy further separating it from other recovery solutions.
Gregg’s approaches recovery in a holistic sense and believes that recovery is about more than regaining the ability to live without drugs, alcohol or any form of acting out. Taking away the destructive behaviors won’t take away the internal pain. START UP RECOVERY helps individuals channel the intense and destructive behaviors into a healthier passion and career.
Each resident receives a customized plan to help them not only recover, but also discover what their purpose and legacy will be in life. Essentially, each person is treated as if they are a unique start-up or turnaround with individual goals and dreams. They receive personalized career mentoring, coaching and life skills training, personal brand management, and more, all with the goal of helping them transform their lives and ultimately their relationship with self. Gregg and his business partner, Jeffrey Vann, have coined and trademarked this curriculum as THE RECOVERY PLAYBOOK.
Finding Connection in Community at START UP RECOVERY
Gregg believes that one of the most important pieces of recovery is forming connection with others. “[Connection] is really so important for long-term healing,” he said. “I would never be spiritually fit, clear headed, successful, of service to others, or happy without other people around me to either guide me as a mentor, be my wingman in business, or even be a very loving wife at home.”
A lack of connection was one factor that prevented Gregg from recovering for so long. After losing his father and living as a self-described “latch key kid” with a mother that worked long hours to provide for the family, Gregg spent a lot of time alone as a kid. Without the support of a father, Gregg spent a lot of time alone and began to channel his energy into unhealthy habits, such as bullying, isolating for hours in front of the TV or eventually drugs and alcohol.
As his addiction took over his life later on, he pushed the few friends that he had out of his life. But it was during his recovery that Gregg realized how a community is essential to recover from anything. Today, Gregg has a loving wife and children that remind him of his purpose and that his life is worth living powerfully. His family inspires him every day that he can maintain his recovery and be a beacon of light for others.
One of the core tenants of START UP RECOVERY is the sense of community that residents feel. By supporting one another and living a transformed life together, recovery becomes more possible for the residents. Residents also receive mentoring from the program’s World Class Mentor Network, which consists of over 100 professional men and women who have long term recovery and extraordinary career and life success. These mentors come and speak to the residents of START UP RECOVERY on a weekly basis to help encourage and inspire them by showing them what a life full of meaning and purpose can look like, empowering them to build their own legacy.
Being Sober is More than the Absence of Drugs and Alcohol
Ultimately, Gregg believes that sobriety is more than just the absence of drugs and alcohol in his body. It also requires a mindset shift. He explains it as a sort of emotional sobriety. “What I hope I have achieved over this time is not just sobriety, but emotional sobriety,” he said.
For Gregg, emotional sobriety is an entire transformation of his spiritually, mindset and how he approaches every aspect of life. Rather than self-medicating and clinging to violence and self-harm, Gregg now pursues positivity and passion. He also believes that if he can spread positivity and passion to others, it will only multiply in his own life. Kindness and positivity toward others will lead them to treat you the same. This has propelled him forward and inspired him to make START UP RECOVERY better than ever and to ultimately transform more lives.
A Life Changed
Gregg remembers his rock bottom moment 25 years ago when he sat in a church, confessing all of his sins to a priest. At the time, Gregg was willing to do anything to come clean. That same sense of openness and willingness to turn from his old ways has served him well. As Gregg puts it, “What’s kept me sober for 25 years is the willingness to be willing.”
From being willing to turn away from drugs and alcohol to being willing to take a risk and start his own company, Gregg has found that simply being willing can make all the difference, in both his life and the lives of others.
If Gregg’s story resonates with you, we encourage you to reach out to him at [email protected]. You can also follow him on Instagram @startuprecovery and LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/greggchampion/ If you are battling substance abuse or addiction, we encourage you to find help, whether at a program like START UP RECOVERY or elsewhere. For more information about START UP RECOVERY, you can visit startuprecovery.com.
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