Hello, My name is Eric Combs. I’m 42 years old and would like to share my struggle with you.
I always wanted to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps, so when I turned 17, I joined the U.S Army Infantry. And for the better part of 15 years, I was very active and fit.
My routine was that after I got off duty for the day I would hit the gym before going home to my family. And it worked well for me.
When I got the call for my last deployment (Operation Enduring Freedom) my daughter was 3 years old. She didn’t understand why daddy had to leave and why daddy didn’t get to talk to her that much.
This was the moment when I knew it was time for me to take an early retirement, so I got out and got a job with the railroad.
To be honest, I didn’t adjust to civilian life very well. When I got out of the Army I was 197 pounds, but soon stopped exercising and ballooned up to over 250 pounds.
Then Things Got Worse
After 15 years of marriage and making a terrible mistake by having an affair, I was served divorce papers. This shook me to my very core. By this time I had two beautiful children, who were and still are my whole world.
After a quick divorce, we were able to co-parent for about 6 months but then she went running back to her ex boyfriend and wanted to move our kids to a town that is full of drugs and HIV (the CDC stepped in to offer the heroin addicts fresh needles so as to not pass around HIV).
This is where she wanted to raise my children. No chance.
So I filed for full custody and it’s been 2 years of pure hell and I had gained another 65 pounds just from stress eating.
Unfortunately, after 2 years of litigation, I lost the case. (I just filed with the State Court of Appeals).
I was crushed and allowed myself to get into the worst shape of my life, mentally, physically and emotionally.
Then Things Got Better
About 3 months ago I made up my mind up that I was going to get back into shape. I was sick and tired of having no energy, feeling bad about myself, so I joined a gym and hired a personal trainer.
In this short time, I’ve lost a full pant size and am down 15 pounds and my goal is to get down to 225 pounds and about 20% body fat. The gym is my release from all the stress and bullshit throughout the day.
My kids now see what I’m doing and they go to the gym with me and workout. I’ve changed the way that I eat and that has had a great impact on my kids as well.
There is even this thing in my home town called Columbus Ninja Warrior (yes something like the tv show), and my kids want me to try out for it next year. Maybe I will..
Through my ups and downs there were many times that I felt I was fighting a battle that I could not win and turned to God to guide me and to give me strength.
My ex still doesn’t abide by the parenting guidelines or the court order and I didn’t get to see my kids for over 3 weeks during Christmas, not even on Christmas Day.
I use that as motivation when I go to the gym now. I have to use what my parents have taught me… no matter how bad you think your situation is, someone always has it worse than you….
At least I’m not eating sand and getting shot at….
In closing I will say this quote from Yoda “Do. Or Do Not. There is NO TRY”……
About The Author
Eric is from a small country town and during his military career, has done tours in Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was married for 15 years and has 2 great children.
He now works between 40 and 60 hours a week doing welding and fabrication and is currently finishing his mechanical engineering degree. He spends his time with his kids going to the shooting range, backpacking, kayaking, fishing, and hunting. He also talks to God every day and wants to pass that habit down to his children.
Stay strong brother and remain a positive influence in your kids’ lives.