A Week of Inspiration: Day 3 – Dain Sandoval

I have known Dain from the very beginning. No, not the beginning of time but the beginning of THIS. This part of my life. The real part of my life.  You know, the one in which I am actually functioning. Dain was there at that first 6am class that I forced myself to at Norcal Strength & Conditioning almost 6 years ago. Dain didn’t necessarily stand out on that first day (sorry Dain) except for I’m pretty sure we both were laying on the floor in a puddle of our own various body fluids at the end of the workout (not any fault of the extremely well-coached class but because I was so far gone, I could barely jog 200 meters without wanting to vomit…).  In other words, we were both pretty unremarkable.  As the weeks went by and I started to drift out of the fog I was in, I started to pay more attention to the people in my 6am class and I really noticed Dain. He was kind, funny, supportive, goofy, smart, likable  and he was/is a dude that once he decides to be your friend – that’s it – you have a friend for life.  Fast forward a few months and I watched Dain transform as quickly as I did.  You see, he was determined. Driven. Dedicated. And the exact opposite of unremarkable. It wasn’t until a couple years of knowing Dain did I start to learn more about the man that I literally had fought for my life with next to in the gym.

When Robb Wolf encouraged me to start this blog, I turned immediately to Dain, knowing he was handy at all things “techie” and he, knowing how miserable I was at all things NOT having to do with cooking or kids, was super fast, happy and eager to help. Not too many people on this planet will just jump in and humor some silly girl with an “idea” for no reason other than kindness. The rest is history (the Everyday Paleo part anyway) but the reality is that without Dain’s help, there would be NO Everyday Paleo. It would instead be everyday without Everyday Paleo and that would simply be sad. Besides the care, maintenance and continued growth of this site, I owe a lot more than all of that to Dain. He’s been my friend, someone I know I can trust, not just a partner in crime with this website but a true hero, an inspiration, a man who has been to hell and back and still holds his head high, still chooses happiness, does not use life’s challenges as an excuse to dive head first into a bottomless pit of self pity which would inevitably include some serious destructive behavior but instead, a man who loves life and has seen the beauty in it and has a billion reasons to live the best life possible. And he is. Quite remarkably.

Dain, I do not tell you often enough, and it’s really quite simple. Thank you. Thank you for always supporting my little family, this website, and my crazy dreams. Thank you for always listening, for doing, for helping without asking for anything in return. Thank you for being an incredible inspiration to so many people without even trying, by just being you. Thank you for making people (me) laugh, for your courage, and for your thoughtful feedback when I have questions about anything and everything from how to make my email work to how to deal with tough situations that come up in my life. You are a needed force in this universe. John, the boys, and I are forever grateful to know you as well as all of our awesome readers here at what is truly a well oiled machine, Everyday Paleo.

Now, here are a few words from Dain himself:

Wow. I’m supposed to follow that? What do I even say?

It’s similar to when you know you’re being recognized and know you’re going to have to say something; thank The Academy and graciously smile and wave. Still no amount of prep can really make a person ready for that spotlight moment. That’s where I’m at right about now. Sarah typed that intro and said to me, “OK, it’s ready, go add your part” I had no idea I would read such nice things and here I am the day before this goes live and I’m at a loss for my message. I can always be certain that a smile and a “thank you” will fit. So, Thank you. Now on to the rambling…

It has indeed been a very wild ride since the inception of everydaypaleo.com but our ride has been no more wild than any of your lives. Everyone has wild rides and hectic moments and it’s knowing this: knowing that there are always people having better and worse times than I – that keeps me centered. A little new-agey perhaps, but it works for me. I owe a lot of my gratitude and health to my program of recovery. Many readers/listeners know that I used to be a size-44 pants-wearin-230lb-coked-up drunk. Sarah met me just as I was new to getting sober. In the time I have been free of alcohol and drugs I have learned a great deal on how to live life on life’s terms and just doing “the next right thing”  – sounds simple and cliche and it sorta is. Feeling overwhelmed? Listen to Spock recite Desiderata you’ll be right as rain in no time. Seriously rad, right?

I feel that the tools of honest living have really been a gift via my recovery. Everything else, all the good things that come my way are a result of me being of maximum use to those around me and expecting nothing (but there are usually rewards of many types). Same can be said for most things: Fitness, Friendships, Love, Marriage, Work, Goals — you get out of them what you put in. You do the work – you reap the rewards; monetarily or spiritually.

Many of you also know my other claim to fame, my very shocking familial shake-up of 2011 that was covered in PaleoTalk 19.5 – No one should ever have to endure such heartache and pain, however, I am eternally grateful for it today. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about something related to that incident – but if that misery is what allowed me to find the unconditional love of Amy then it was worth it. I am stronger because of it, I know how to be a better man because of it, and I know that Amy and I will have a charmed life together. I don’t regret anything nor would I change any part of the past because it has all played a part in me today. Not surviving: Thriving as I’ve heard Sarah say.

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While I still have the soapbox, I’d like to briefly mention goals. I never ever completed anything. Hell, as a teenager I even dropped out of Boy Scouts one rank below Eagle. I have tons of college courses under my belt from sociology, literature, to criminal law and administration of justice. Never saw anything through to completion.  In 2011 while feeling super low I decided to explore computer networking because, why not? I needed something to keep busy so I enrolled in the Cisco Networking Academy. Just last week, I passed the 640-802 test and got my CCNA credential. It’s a small accomplishment in the big scheme but it all comes back to ‘what are we willing to do?’ – ‘what is it we really want?’. I am willing to go to any lengths to live a happy and healthy life. How about you?

I thank Sarah and the Fragoso family for including me in this journey. I thank all of you that have taken the time to write in over the years. We aren’t here for a terribly long time. Let’s have some fun, eh?

Comments

  1. Kim says

    Beautifully expressed. You are all lucky to have one another. We are all lucky we get to share and benefit from your inspirations. Thank you.

  2. Katie DeLuca says

    Dain, I’m so stoked to have had so much gym time with you myself! It was fun suffering with you and fun to watch you all wobbly legged after squats and prowler sprints. This blog post is fitting as I know how integral you are to Everyday Paleo and how much of a light you are in this universe. Keep shining on Dain! xo

  3. says

    Thank you for this update! It’s great to hear from you, Dain. I really enjoyed the Paleo Talk podcasts and was deeply affected by your story in the 19.5 episode. My heart just broke for you and I find myself thinking about that every so often, wondering how you’re doing. I’m so happy to hear you’ve come through it to find happiness on the other side. You are a true inspiration and thank you for sharing your unique talents that help make this site so special.

  4. Laura says

    I remember walking and listening to that podcast. I, too, felt for you deeply. I agree with you that your transparency about your journey I bet has been a huge factor to your healing. Way to go!! Congrats on the certification.

  5. says

    Dain! So great to read about you here! I was one of the many anonymous fans of your podcast with Chrissy and Sarah “back in the day”. I followed your journey through daddyhood, then NOT, and could only admire your honesty, dark sense of humour, and above all, your remarkable courage.

    I’m so frikkin’ happy that you have found and created the joy and well-being you so deserve!

    Congrats, Dain! I really think you need to join up with Hottie Sarah and that funny-lookin’ Seib (aka, my Pretend Husband) on a podcast one of these days!

    Cheers and hugs from Montreal!

  6. says

    :) Thanks for the comments everyone! Yep! I am doing quite well. Enjoying each day with Amy as if we have always been together. When something is perfect, it’s just perfect. Now (in no particular oder) to land myself a satisfying nerdy job, get married (yes we’re engaged) and try our luck with some babies and a new, less-surly cat.

  7. Julie says

    So great to hear the update! I’m so happy to hear that things are going well for you these days and it would be awesome if Sarah, Dain and Chrissy got together for a reunion episode of Paleo Talk.

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