5 Years Ago Today – Things Were Much Different

by Robb Sutton

Some people go through life and just repeat the motions until they get to the end.

Others…like myself…needed a life changing event that would forever change their path. 5 years ago today, I decided to make a huge change in my life that drastically altered everything I knew…and for the better.

There are those key points in your life where you are put at a decision and that decision can mean the difference between life and death. Are you going to get busy living or get busy dying? For me…5 years ago today was when I finally made the decision to get busy living.

For many…even some of my closest friends…this is the first insight into who Robb Sutton was several years ago. I am writing this now not to look for satisfaction in my accomplishments up to this point or to look for a pat on the back. The following depiction of the details covering the past years of my life are solely to prove that anyone can overcome anything if they make that decision and stick with it. There is nothing in life that we can not overcome and nothing is hopeless.

After spending several years caught up in the Athens, GA downtown nightlife, things were getting out of control. Without getting into the gory details that are really irrelevant to the purpose of this post, I had put myself into a position on this day 5 years ago that was going to have drastic negative results in my life for years to come.

  • I was failing out of school.
  • I had plowed my SUV into a tree doing 50 mph.
  • My habits had put me in a financial position that was horrendous.
  • I had alienated everyone around me.
  • I was slipping in to a depression that was getting dangerous for myself and those around me.
  • I was abusing substances to the amount that was going to put me in an early grave.

Change Your LifeWith the wreck that had happened two days prior, I was at a jumping off point where I had to make the ultimate decision…was I going to start living or get busy dying. At that point in my life, I couldn’t see much use of going on. Something inside of me wanted to keep going…and that is what I did. On this day…5 years ago…I decided to drop everything I knew and start my life over.

I was in such a state of wreckage that I knew it was going to be a long road out of the darkness, but…for the first time in my life…I had the fight to get out of it. The next couple of years proceeding this decision were filled with road blocks and repercussions due to past decisions. Through each of these hurdles, I focused on the end goal ignoring anything that would stand in my way.

So after all that has happened, where do I sit 5 years later?

  • I returned back to the University of Georgia and finished my degree in economics. It took taking classes at Kennesaw and then commuting from Marietta to Athens (1.5 hour drive) twice a week for two semesters to get it done, but it was worth every second. I actually checked and rechecked the list in our graduation books while sitting in Sanford stadium during graduation to make sure it really happened.
  • I stopped living the life that was going to kill me and started living healthier by dropping all bad habits. 5 years ago today…I stopped everything that needed to stop immediately and a year later I completely stopped the 1.5 packs a day of cigarettes. Today…I can ride a road bike for 100 miles in one sitting and I can enjoy the hobbies that I gave up in favor of a life that wasn’t worth living. I gained my health and happiness back.
  • I am now married to a wonderful woman that treats me better than I deserve and we have two houses and two dogs. This was something that I never thought would be possible and I am thankful everyday of my life that I have received such a great gift.
  • I have started my own projects that will carry my families financial freedom for years to come.
  • I am happy. I am starting my own family and my current family has their real son back. That alone is worth the price of admission.

It is amazing what has happened in just 5 years. My only hope is that someone else who can’t see a way out can read this and see that anything is possible. Even the most hopeless case can pull through with just a little bit of hard work. I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday about an article here on robbsutton.com and I explained to him that I write these articles as much for me as I do others. Once it is down in print, it is real for me and that is the push I need to continue to live in action rather than complacency.

This is your one and only life. You have to make it…there is no other choice. If there are things in life that are trying to bring you down, make the decision to make the changes that will drastically change your outcomes. There is no hurdle that is too large to cross…you just have to make the decision to do it and take the necessary action. No one said it was going to be easy, but the rewards of hard work greatly outweigh the effort. Simply put…if I could do it…anyone can.

Fork image by Whatknot


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paulo June 17, 2009 - 12:42 pm

Dude, I am so proud for you. Thanks for sharing that with us…damn it you brought tears to my eyes. There is a genuineness about your writing that has always struck me as I read. Now I understand why. You have already reached what I consider to be the most important goal any person could strive for, you are a sincerely nice guy! Rock on!

Robb Sutton June 17, 2009 - 12:56 pm

Thanks paulo! Your comment means more than you can imagine.

Chris June 17, 2009 - 1:12 pm

Very inspirational Robb!… really makes me re-examine my life and what I want out of it. It’s a great wake-up call… Thanks for sharing!

Rick June 17, 2009 - 3:28 pm

Really enjoyed your story. I come from a similar background as yourself. I came out of a drug rehab program almost 9 years ago and pretty much quit destroying myself. After about 3 or 4 years of being clean and sober I finally went back to college and got my degree. Trying to help others going through what we went through is a huge reward as I am sure you are well aware and by telling your story you are doing just that. Unfortunately I don’t think I’d appreciate the things I have today if I didn’t go through hell to get where I’m at. Just wanted to say that I know where you’re coming from.
Thanks again.

redrocker June 18, 2009 - 6:38 am

It’s definitely a case of looking yourself in the mirror, deciding you don’t like what you see, and actually doing something about it. That’s a rare thing and is extremely impressive. The great thing about it is that you took that look young and now know what you’re truly capable of.

Robb Sutton June 18, 2009 - 6:46 am

Sky is the limit at this point and all excuses are out the window. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

Martina June 18, 2009 - 6:38 am

After reading your blog, I think it’s appropriate to say: Happy Birthday Robb! And congratulations to a birthday you actually worked hard for!!!!!

Jason Mitchell June 18, 2009 - 6:39 am

Congrats man! I didn’t know that history, but you’ve sure come a long way. I would have never had an opportunity to know the “old” Robb… but, I’m glad to know the new one!

Robb Sutton June 18, 2009 - 6:45 am

Thanks! Glad to know you too…the contacts I have made through the online world and cycling are amazing. We need to get together and ride.

James Thomas June 18, 2009 - 6:40 am

Thanks for sharing that, Robb! I am definitely glad that you made that decision. Congrats on 5 good years.

Robb Sutton June 18, 2009 - 6:45 am

Yeah! I am too! Thanks and looking forward to the mobile social so we can get out and spin.

Mark D. June 18, 2009 - 6:40 am

wow…talk about a 5 year plan.That’s awesome Robb.

Greg June 18, 2009 - 6:41 am

Admirable stuff right there!

Richard June 18, 2009 - 6:41 am

Our paths a semi-similar. I was a two pack a day smoker, I weighted over 200 lbs., and was an absolute slug. At 30 Y.O. I made a similar change.

20 years later………many 30 somethings can’t keep up with me.

Good for you Robb, good for you!!!

Kerry June 18, 2009 - 6:41 am

What a wonderful viewpoint! I am so glad that you are doing well and are happy!

Melissa June 18, 2009 - 6:42 am


Scott June 18, 2009 - 6:42 am

Inspiring story Robb!

Kyle June 18, 2009 - 6:42 am

Good for you Robb. The only limitation on ones self are self imposed. Glad you made the right decision and it has paid off.

Robb Sutton June 18, 2009 - 6:44 am

Kyle…that’s what I’m screaming…we are the only ones that get in our way.

mtbrgregg June 18, 2009 - 12:19 pm

Wow….that’s awesome Robb. Thanks for the inspiring story and the courage to share it. My past shares some similarities to yours….so I feel a sense of “kinship” there. Glad you were able to turn the corner.

Robb Sutton June 18, 2009 - 9:05 pm

Thanks Gregg. It really has been a pleasure working with you over the past year. I feel ya on the “kinship” deal.

Mike June 18, 2009 - 3:26 pm

Just wanted to say this was an amazing post.

Robb Sutton June 18, 2009 - 9:04 pm

Thanks Mike!

The Z Man June 19, 2009 - 3:22 pm

Hey I know that Robb guy!

Well done sir, well done.

humbled by grace June 20, 2009 - 11:16 am

The Lord’s grace and hand in this is so blatant. How good is it to know that the creator of this world cares so much about us individually. My hope is that everyone who comes across this story is reminded how good our God is.

Jerry July 9, 2009 - 12:10 pm

Very inspiring story. I can relate to the depression. A lot of things are different since being back from Iraq. But it’s stories like this that let us know that there is hope if you are willing to FIGHT for success.

Thanks for the awesome post!

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[…] the course of my adult life, I have not made things easy on myself. There are many times that I took the the easy road and for a number of years…I chose the […]

Debbie Ferm November 22, 2009 - 10:40 am

Wow robb…just, Wow. Pulling up out of that had to be tough, but I am so glad you did! You are very talented and the world would have missed out had you not had the strength to do it. I lost a brother to that lifestyle and it was such a senseless tragedy for our whole family. Also, as a mother myself, I’m happy for your Mom:)

Keep up the good work. I subscribed and will be back.

Debbie Ferm

Robb Sutton November 22, 2009 - 10:42 am

Thanks Debbie. It can get even the best of people. Thanks for stopping by and subscribing! If you ever have any questions or anything…shoot me an email.

Ian February 15, 2010 - 1:43 pm

Very inspirational Robb… Thanks for the post! Anyone can turn their lives around!

Jason February 24, 2010 - 10:40 pm

WOW! Robb I can relate to you so much it’s scary! I haven’t been a reader of yours that long, but I’m very happy to have found your site. I would love to be able to talk with you offline one day. When I say offline I mean private chat or something like that. I will stop rambling. Great Post!

Robb Sutton February 25, 2010 - 7:25 am

Thanks Jason!

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[…] university in the pursuit of getting my life back together (I have written previously about it on this post) and the dream of leaving UGA as a graduate looked bleak at best.After years of working my ass off […]

James Schipper May 20, 2010 - 2:35 pm

Thanks for linking to this today. I hadn’t seen it. Good story. I’m working on my changes still, and happy with the results so far.

T. Thema Martin May 23, 2010 - 4:27 pm

Rob, thank you for being transparent. I saw you speak at an Atlanta Bloggers meeting a few months ago, and from what you described here, I would have never guessed that about you. You just seemed wholesome and geeky :-). That just goes to show you that you never know what events occur in a person’s life and what impact a person can have on others. Similar to you, I wanted to get my MBA 20 years ago. Instead, I got a MS, which is now outdated. I am started my MBA now, while trying to build my blog. Don’t stop doing what you are doing because it is helping me as a new blogger.

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David July 3, 2013 - 6:55 pm

I am in a similar situation myself. 5 years ago, I was a different person. I was healthy and athletic and knew a lot of people. I was only 20 at the time, but 25 is around the corner and it seems that I’ve alienated some really close positive friends of mine. I used drugs here and there until I’ve met a girl and I quit using until then. 3 years later I was heart broken after a breakup and started drinking more and used heroin and oxycodone to cope. Eventually I stopped due to my parents but ultimately moved on to methamphetamine and relapsed to heroin. I look at the times now to realize that 5 years have passed. Although I’m clean for the time being, my diet is still horrible and I’m out of shape. I’m tired of this lifestyle and going to start living. I’m glad things worked out for you and keep living my friend as I’m going to start fixing my life so that I too, can start to live.


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