Mat Fraser earned the title of Fittest Man on Earth back in August at the CrossFit Games, dominating the competition for the fourth year in a row. In a documentary filmed during the days leading up to the third week of the 2020 CrossFit Open, Fraser spoke about how he is constantly striving to be better.
He also revealed that he has been sober since he was a teenager, and claimed his sobriety is part of his on-going mission to keep improving. “That’s why I got sober,” he said. “To be better.”
Fraser recalled how, at the age of 17, he was offered a full ride scholarship to the Olympic Training Center. “I had some great opportunities in front of me,” he said. “I got to pursue my Olympic dreams, at the best place to do it… and I just kept fucking up. I knew I had an addictive personality, and it was showing.”
His wake-up call came when Fraser realized his self-destructive behavior had become too much of a norm. “One night, I got in trouble. I came home, and it was that my dad wasn’t mad. I came home, I showed him the paperwork of the fines I’d gotten and the trouble I’d been in, and he was just like… he didn’t even interrupt his phone call. He didn’t care. And that broke my heart. That was the last night I drank.”
Shortly after, Fraser met a guy called Nate who was going through something similar, and they became close friends. “I really just secluded myself, I started working out like crazy,” he said. “I was in the gym one day, and [Nate] came up… He’s like ‘dude, what is going on’, and I’m like, ‘I quit drinking two weeks ago and I just don’t know how to do it’. And he’s like, ‘oh, easy, start coming to meetings with us’. At 17 you link up very quickly, so we became very close, we were attached at the hip for a long time… We drove around, drank energy drinks, we smoked cigarettes, and hit meetings. That was our lives, my senior year of high school was hanging out with him.”
They lost touch after Fraser moved away following graduation. Nate eventually relapsed, and Fraser learned later that he had taken his own life — the news hit him hard, but also served as a reminder of why he has worked so hard to maintain his sobriety.
“Something like that happens, it makes you realize like, nope, I’m not taking that chance,” he said. “Your addiction, it’s not like you press pause and when you relapse you just hit play and start where you left off. Your addiction’s out in the parking lot doing pushups, it’s getting stronger.”
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