Graham McCormack: Celebrating Eighteen Months Sober – How this Mixed Martial Artist Turned His Life Around

In 2012, Graham Mc Cormack of County Cork Ireland was a highly-rated mixed marital arts fighter. Graham fought hard in the cage and played hard outside of it. His success brought along with it a party lifestyle. As his career grew, Graham was offered the opportunity to fight for a championship belt and he did. Graham was unexpectedly knocked out in the first round by his opponent, His hopes and dreams shattered, Graham turned to alcohol and drugs to relieve the pain.

Graham was using alcohol and drugs on a daily basis. He turned for help to a psychiatrist who prescribed a large number of pills that he promised Graham would give him relief. The exact opposite happened: Graham began an out of control downward spiral that almost killed him. Here is how he describes that period in his life which he describes as his “breaking point”.

Graham bloated and fat while in active addiction and then leaned out and sober

“I was engaging in self-harm, every relationship I had was in turmoil, I had many pscyh ward and hospital stays, 3 suicide attempts, my Chrons disease was active, my blood pressure was through the roof and I suffered from massive anxiety and panic attacks. I would just start freaking out when I was out in public and I gained 65 pounds. I looked terrible on the outside and felt even worse on the inside”.

DBT and Mindfulness

Graham began dialectical behavioral therapy otherwise known as DBT. It took about nine months and minor relapses before Graham started to see his hard work pay off. Here’s what Graham has to say:

“It was around 9 months mark of the therapy when it clicked. All of the days of drilling mindfulness and coping mechanisms into me were not wasted. After about 12 months, I finally began to understand me. At 27 years of age, I actually started to get to know myself. I used the coping mechanism of kindness to turn that low self-esteem to a point where I had eradicated my part and began to believe I was a good human being again. I began to care about what I was putting in my body, I began exercising, meditating and slowly but surely, my days of self-destruction became firmly rooted in my past rather than my present or future”.

18 Months Sober and Advice for Others

Graham is celebrating 18 months sober and is once again competing in mixed martial arts and coaching newcomers to the sport. Here’s Graham’s advice to others in the program.

“Relax and BREATHE: Come out of your head and focus your attention on your body, feel the air as you inhale and exhale. Focus your attention on the positive, expend the energy through movement, go workout, go walk in nature, connect to the earth and accept there is something more powerful than your addiction and that’s your connection with the universe.

You have total control over your mind and body, you can control your thoughts, they do NOT control you.

You are not your mistakes, all those time you messed up while using? That does not define you, who you are is who you are this moment, a powerful, strong person, who deserves and will get love from others.

Look ahead with a positive mindset, be optimistic, be goal driven, set them, take action and achieve, you deserve it”.

Words of wisdom from someone who has lived it. If you want to chat with Graham,
message and “friend” him on Facebook, he also has a blog page and on Instagram @grahammaccormackMMA.

You are an inspiration and we here at Spiritual Adrenaline thank you for sharing the gift you received with others all around the world.

Graham during a mixed martial arts match on top of an opponent.