“Failure has defined my life,” James Teeple said.

Something inside of him is broken and it hasn’t been easy to fix. He grew up surrounded by anger and violence, both inside and outside of his home.

“My stepfather was a very angry man and he didn’t care who he took it out on,” Teeple added. “My only solitude was escaping to my room and becoming consumed with television. I learned at a very young age to either get angry and fight back or run and hide; there was no in-between.”

At the age of 16, James was told his mom was sexually abused by her father and I was the result of that abuse. To say that was devastating to hear doesn’t even begin to describe the sadness that consumed him. For the next 22 years, James fell into a deep darkness that engulfed him… dragging him deeper with each passing day.

“I began to believe that I wasn’t meant to be born,” he said. “For years, I would drink to drown the pain. When I was 33-years-old, going nowhere in life, I began to contemplate death. Finding no relief from the pain and suffering and literal hell I was in every day was taking its toll. My drinking became more common and I was beginning to do some very stupid things. I had no control.”

James is now 41 and has been free of those things for several years now. He doesn’t drink anymore and hasn’t in over three years. He’s trying to live a more productive life, but the opportunity to fail is everywhere.

“I had grown so familiar with it,” he said. “Always giving up when things got tough, never putting in any effort. Thinking I just couldn’t do it. I learned how to fear failure and accept it as a part of life, to just give up so I didn’t have to fail. I don’t want to live that life anymore. When I was younger I really wanted to be a police officer, so that I could help others like me who couldn’t help themselves. Now at 41, I am attempting to make that dream a reality. In doing so I am facing failure every day. I realize I am too old and probably won’t become a police officer, but I need to try.”

When he decided last year to chase this dream, he was almost 300 pounds. He had never really consistently exercised in his entire life.

Most importantly, he’s an APEMAN, and he’s working towards his goals.

“I have dropped 75 pounds and recently ran a 5k in my fastest time ever of 27:46,” James said with a smile. “I also recently signed up for a CrossFit competition being held this summer and am really going to have to push myself to meet the expectations for the amature division.”

James stumbled across the APEMAN Instagram page a few months back as he was searching for training tips and really appreciated the Lift Angry and Overcome sayings.

“They really resonated with me,” he said. “I don’t know what the future will hold for me, but I do know I can’t quit or give up. Failure is not the end; it is okay to fail.

“It is not okay to give up.”

OvercomeAdam Field