Humans of SCSU: ‘It’s a pain I need to feel, because with pain comes growth’


Luca Bartlomiejczyk – Special to the Southern News

Jimmy Dewitt, an exercise science major, has found balance in life through his passion for working out, helping others, and spirituality, after struggling for years with loss and addiction.

When Dewitt was just thirteen, he came home from vacation and was somberly welcomed by his immediate family when his mother told him that his father had passed away from a major heart attack.

“I just let out this terrible scream and my whole world kind of flashed before my eyes,” said Dewitt. “He would do anything for me, we had that special father-son bond. He was my best friend.”

After his father’s death, Dewitt began isolating himself and repressing his emotions using any outlet he could find. At the age of thirteen he filled the absence of his father with food and video games and became unhealthy and overweight, and upon entering high school he started using drugs, alcohol, and self harm to cope.

  “I can remember the first time I really got drunk and really got high. I couldn’t feel any pain. I thought I had found what life was all about…Eventually I just really didn’t care about a lot of things in my life anymore. The progression of it took over,” Dewitt said. “When I was sober, it was just whenever I repressed enough emotion and I wanted to explode, I would. I would explode verbally and then lash out at myself.”

Dewitt pinpoints the time he realized he needed to make a change as when he had a near death experience while under the influence. He said that he believes an omnipotent power forced him out of his stupor, told him to fight, and gave him a second chance.

“I think ever since that point things really started to change for me. I started really trying to work on myself, really put more into my diet and really started focusing on taking my workout seriously. I really started to fall in love with it, and to me it’s a good kind of pain. It’s a pain I need to feel, because with pain comes growth. It kind of breaks down walls and shows me what I can do,” said Dewitt. “I came from a fat, lazy kid who did nothing and one day I looked in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw. My sobriety didn’t happen all at once, there was a gradual shift, but I haven’t looked back.”

Dewitt says that even though his journey to sobriety has been a hard one, and he still sometimes feels the urge to turn to drugs again and get that one last fix.

“In my flesh, I still don’t really want to do it sometimes, especially being wired to always reach for a substance. When I had a good day, I’d get high. When I had a bad day, I’d get high. When I had a really bad day, I’d get even higher. I didn’t need a reason. The hardest thing,” Dewitt said, “was learning to cope with life without reaching for anything. There’s a chain that gets built on your mind when you become a slave to these substances.”

  Dewitt said that he finds satisfaction in seeing other people make positive change much like he did, and that satisfaction and drive to motivate people made him want to become a physical trainer. He says that seeing people happy and doing good in the world makes him happy, and his good deeds come full circle.

“It went from me not wanting to get sober and not live this life, to being all i want now, to just be able to stay this way, because thinking clearly and the genuine friendships and relationships that I have today, I wouldn’t have if i wasn’t sober,” said Dewitt. “Truthfully, the person that keeps me going and staying on this path is my dad looking down from above, that’s what I believe.”

Photo Credit: Luca Bartlomiejczyk – Special to the Southern News

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