How Jiu-Jitsu Helped Me Recover From Drug and Alcohol Abuse | Justin Bachman's Story

    Submission Shark BJJ Interview

    Justin is someone that grows through his experiences. From being a former drug and alcohol abuser to running a rehab center for women with his wife, he's a living example of how you can turn your past mistakes into lessons. He chooses to teach those lessons to others in need and I respect him for that. Justin also explains his experiences as being an alcohol abuser and how that lifestyle is dangerous in many ways. If you are struggling with substance abuse, enjoy jiu-jitsu or just love a great read, you should check out the rest of this article.

    Justin is a tough guy that learned from his history, turned something negative into something positive and offers many words of wisdom and inspiration. Make sure to leave a comment and share this with your friends and family. Sometimes you never know where these articles end up. It might just save someone's life and inspire them to try a beautiful art form in jiu-jitsu.

    Submission Shark Community | Instagram: @bachman_bjj

    Justin Bachman BJJ Blog | Submission Shark

    "Accept your dark side, understanding it will help you to move with the light. Knowing both sides of our souls, helps us all to move forward in life and to understand that, perfection doesn't exist."  -Martin R. Lemieux

    Full Name: Justin Bachman

    Belt Colour: Blue

    Professor: Felix Garcia 

    Short Term Goals: Be and stay competition-ready and to continue to work on my "gameplan"

    How long have you been doing jiu-jitsu for?

    I have been a fan of the sport for over 10 years. I started training 10 years ago but then due to injuries, kids, marriage, and moves I haven't been consistent throughout that time. I joke and say it took a year for each of my white belt stripes. I have been very consistent and dedicated for the last year. I'm currently a blue belt and got mine in February.

    Where do you train BJJ out of?

    Artista Brazilian Jiu Jitsu | Submission Shark Artista BJJ | Submission Shark

    Artista BJJ in Nashville Tennessee. Come roll with us anytime! We love meeting new people and getting to roll with visitors! Check out the website. We just moved into a new location. The place is so sick! Check out the website.

    Do you prefer BJJ in the gi or no-gi?

    Currently, I mostly train in the Gi. I have started recently getting back into No-gi. I like choking people with my gi! :)

    Have your instructors helped you in other aspects of life other than jiu-jitsu?

    I feel like all of my instructors have helped me in life one way or another. Whether they know it or not. The lessons learned on the mat apply to life off the mat.

    What are some lessons you learned from jiu-jitsu that apply to everyday life?

    The list goes on and on. Patience-waiting for the right time or opportunity. Humility-There will always be someone better than you. Determination-staying focused during competition season when all you want is to eat that doughnut. Community-supporting your teammates on and off the mat!

    How often do you train?

    Currently, I am training 5-7 times a week plus or minus a few depending on how sore I am and whatnot. I try to add in some bodyweight exercises and cardio stuff as well.


    Submission Shark BJJ Article Interviewer:

    Bodyweight exercises are very underrated in my opinion. I believe you can get in great shape without weights. There are plenty of bodyweight exercises to choose from. Once you learn them you can quickly apply them to your workouts and gain muscle and get into incredible shape!

    However, it is important you learn the correct techniques and posture to these exercises to prevent injuries. If you are unsure about the proper ways to utilize bodyweight exercises, check out the athletic performance section for more helpful fitness tips.

    What made you want to start training BJJ?

    I was newly sober from drugs and alcohol and didn't have a healthy outlet in life. I knew I didn't want to go back to the way I was living but didn't have an outlet. A bunch of guys I was hanging around started rolling together at different garages and the "older more seasoned" guys were teaching us triangles, armbars and such.

    Basic stuff but it was so fascinating to me. I enjoyed the challenge and the spirit of BJJ. It helped me those first few years to stay occupied, clean and sober. I currently have 12 years of sobriety.

    Do you plan on training your whole life?


    What’s it about jiu-jitsu that makes it so addicting?

    The community, the gis, the friendships, the moves. See-I personally believes that it's rare in other martial arts that the participants get to go 100% as we do in BJJ.

    We truly get to see what we are made of. I get to see if I have what it takes to win rounds, apply techniques and use my mental strategies against my opponents and teammates. Then when someone does a sweep or a submission and you scratch your head and say "Hey-what in God's name was that!?!" that's so cool to me.

    What has jiu-jitsu done for your physical health?

    Well, when I got sober I weighed 125lbs....not very healthy. I trained and got in shape but then I got married, career, kids, injured and such and I got up to 210 lbs. I am currently 175 and in shape. I have been training for the Nashville IBJJF open, some other local tournaments and Masters Worlds in August.

    Has jiu-jitsu benefited your mental health?

    It has helped my mental health in so many ways. I get to be a better father, husband, and wife. It's my form of Yoga and meditation. It's pretty hard to be distracted when someone is trying to choke you. I did suffer from anxiety and depression and used to be on meds for it early on but have been med free now for over 10 years.

    If you could restart your jiu-jitsu journey, would you do anything differently?

    Remain consistent. Some guys who were blue belts now are straight killers. I look up to that dedication and perseverance.

    What’s your advice for someone that’s never tried jiu-jitsu before but is interested in trying it?

    Just do it! Leave your ego at the door.

    Do you have any aspirations in jiu-jitsu?

    I want to stay consistent in it. I want to continue to train and compete. I love competitions. I feel like when I'm training for a competition it's pushing me to be the best I can be. Keeps my head in that 100% of the time.

    What’s your favourite BJJ move?

    My bread and butter are armbars and kimuras. I play a lot of top positions. I also love to choke people with their lapels and mine :)

    If you didn’t discover jiu-jitsu, where do you think you’d be now?

    Fat on the coach-miserable in my marriage-distracted from my kids...I might not even be able to have a marriage, kids or a successful life. I feel like BJJ makes me a better person in all of my life in and out of the gym.

    Would you like to see the sport become more mainstream?

    I think it is currently growing by leaps and bounds. I am seeing a ton of more people do it every year! It's very exciting! I also love travel and training at different gyms. I try to get out and do open mats at other local gyms as well.

    Has any of your BJJ training partners pushed you to reach your full potential?

    Justin Bachman and his jiu jitsu training partners | Submission Shark

    A lot of guys in my gym push me to be the best I can be. That's why I love my gym. Everyone is very laid back but also driven. No matter what their personal goals might be I have always felt accepted and like we are one big family that try to dismantle each other's joints and choke each other out :)

    When you were first starting, what was the most difficult concept of jiu-jitsu that you had trouble getting?

    I would get limb confusion, still, do to an extent. Also what I struggle with is taking it easy and listening to my body. Rest is just as important as training. I still struggle with that.

    What makes you want to inspire and motivate others?

    I guess my life is so blessed because people took the time and energy to help me when I was at my lowest. I struggled to stay sober for years. I will spare the details but it was bad. I got deep into alcohol and drugs. I was basically on the verge of death.

    What is Canyon Crossing Recovery? and what is the goal/mission for this program?

    It's the program my wife and I founded, owns and operates. We are both in recovery from drugs and alcohol and worked in the field of behavioural health for many years. Really my wife wanted to open a program for women and I told her she was crazy. She then said she was going to do it with or without I decided to at least try and stir the ship if I didn't have a choice. It's been a beautiful journey. We have been open for six years.

    Canyon Crossing Recovery is an Arizona Transitional Living Program providing treatment services and sober living in Prescott, AZ. We insist on showing women how to walk with integrity and grace. Our program is structured to promote peer accountability, living life on life’s terms, and showing women there is a life outside of drugs and alcohol...and they are worth it!

    We focus on the 12 steps, evidence-based treatment, adventure programming, equine therapy, family counselling, educational workshops, and the list goes on and on. We are a small facility so everyone knows everyone so that we can provide the individualized care a client might need. Don't hesitate to check us out.

    We accept most health insurance. If we can't take your health insurance and your insurance dependent then we can get you to a facility that can work with your insurance. Don't hesitate to call if you or a loved one you know needs help. Even if you don't come to us we can point you in a good direction. We believe that high tides raise all ships so no matter who you are or what you need we want to point you in the right direction whether its at Canyon or somewhere else.

    What would you tell someone that’s going through addiction/recovery now?

    Don't give up before the miracle happens. If I can stay sober for 12 years than anyone can. I am not a genius or a rocket scientist. I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I started to listen to others' advice and took one suggestion at a time. It's a long hard road but it is worth it. It also didn't come easy. I had many failed attempts but I stuck with it...sometimes by my own choice and sometimes from people pushing me to do the right thing.

    I am so grateful I made the choice to be sober. I also want to say that I am not a sobriety evangelist. If you can drink or use successfully more power to you.

    I wish I was able to but through research of my own I thoroughly found out that I am allergic to allergic reaction just happens to be that every time I drink I break out in handcuffs, or I blow all the money in my bank account, or I lose relationships close to me, or I wake up in places I don't remember getting to, or I lose my car, or I throw a college education down the drain or I use so much that sleeping for days on end is just not possible, or I talk to people who really are not there, or I start to think that your belongings should belong to me, or I disappear for weeks at a I don't drink or use.

    I now use my mess as my message. If someone wants to stop drinking or using what better person to ask then someone who has done it themselves.

    Submission Shark BJJ Interviewer:

    Thank you for sharing! You are inspiring others to make positive changes in their lifestyles. I wish you all the luck in your rehab center and I hope you will continue training and gaining inspiration from your training partners. It was great to know you a little better. I've never been into substances to that degree but I know it must be very difficult to kick a habit like that. You should be very proud of yourself for being able to release the grasps of addiction with such a beautiful art/sport in jiu-jitsu.

    Hearing stories like yours makes me love the community and jiu-jitsu even more. I also love to hear that you managed to control your anxiety and depression with this as well. I used to get bad anxiety attacks and I needed a way to train for that. For me, anxiety attacks feel like there's a way more skilled and bigger person on your back trying to smoother and choke you out. So how do you train for that? Jiu-jitsu. I think the community will benefit greatly from this and I am also happy to hear you enjoyed writing this :) 

    Submission Shark Articles

    If you enjoyed this interview, I suggest you check out Lucas Trautman's Story. He's a BJJ brown belt and an addiction counsellor. This martial art helps others with addiction as well. Another great story you might enjoy is Kola Shippentower's. She's a proud native that found sobriety through MMA and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.


    • Anonymous

      Hey Brandon, we are so glad to hear your story and appreciate you sharing it with us! We would love to have you as a part of the Submission Shark community and get more insight into your journey. If you’re interested, please let us know and we can provide a written interview for our blog section. We’d be happy to feature your story and have you as a part of this community. Thanks again for sharing! 🦈😊

    • Brandon

      That’s an awesome story. I started jiu jitsu at about the exact time I got sober. I had no idea that jits was helping me along the way until I reflect back on the last three years. It’s been everything for me. Thank you for the read. ✌️

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)
    jiu jitsu gear BJJ apparel The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)

    The Ice Breaker BJJ Gi (Limited Edition)

    Regular price $300.00 CAD Sale price$150.00 CAD