May 30, 2022

E316: Discovering love and fatherhood after abuse with Jeremy Grater and Zach Tucker | Trauma Healing Podcast

In this episode, we have guest speakers Zach and Jeremy of The FitMess Podcast. This conversation between us is phenomenal and very emotional, so I'll preface this conversation with.
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In this episode, we have guest speakers Zach and Jeremy of The FitMess Podcast. This conversation between us is phenomenal and very emotional, so I'll preface this conversation with. I got choked up a couple of times about the beauty of growth that people can have when they're willing to step into this journey. In this conversation, I asked questions about father, being a man, love, and things that I've never really asked on this show before and it was so moving to their perspective. Two men with two very different backgrounds who are on a mission to kind break down those walls of toxic masculinity.

So, if you are a person who listens to this and you're like, I know a man in my life who needs to hear this today, please send them this because this conversation is breathtaking; if not for time, I think this could have been a three-hour conversation which I know I'm going to have them back already. So, as you get into this conversation, I welcome you to step into it with some compassion for yourself today, probably first and foremost, and recognizing that just like us, you are trying to figure this game called life out day in and day out, we make mistakes, we screw up, we fall down but to find the resiliency to be tough it out, to not negotiate with yourself, to give yourself grace, compassion and love like that is those are the cornerstone for what is next in your life.

What does the word love mean to you?

What role has love played in your life?

Join Us Now because Zach and Jeremy will bring us a life-changing conversation today!

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Michael: Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. Very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guess Jeremy and Zach who are the host of The FitMess Podcast. Jeremy and Zach my friends, what is up, how are you today?

Jeremy: Oh! So, excited to be here man, thank you so much for the opportunity it really means a lot.

Zach: Yeah, definitely, thank you, we appreciate it. We're doing really well, how are you doing today?

Michael: Yeah, phenomenal. You know drag a little bit, six planes and eight days will do that, I do not negotiate with my goals. So, that said guys, super excited to be here with you. I had the distinct privilege of being a guest on your show probably the best interview I've ever been and I appreciate that greatly so hopefully that'll be reciprocate here. For those who do not know you tell us a little bit about your back stories and how you got to where you are today?

 Jeremy: When it comes to my wellness journey, it really started with an injury, like it was the dumbest injury you've ever heard of it. I got out of bed and rolled over on my knee and couldn't get up and it was just the dumbest thing and started going to the doctor trying to figure out how am I gonna walk on this thing and what happened, I don't know, physical therapist after physical therapist specialist and everybody's like I don't know. But eventually I met up with the right physical there and she was asking about my family history and did my parents have issues with their knees and you know, my mom did, my mom had knee replacements and the physical therapist said you know, if you wanna end up like your mom keep doing what you're doing, that's fine but you'll just go down the same path but if you wanna change your life, if you wanna not do that you need to get on a bike and just start pedal and it's gonna reform your knees in a way that's gonna keep them healthier longer. So, immediately thought well fuck, I'm not a six-year-old boy, how am I gonna do that? That sounds ridiculous and I went and complained to my brother because that's what I did with everything in my life, oh, this is gonna be hard, what do I do? And he changed my life, he literally just said man, you just gotta decide you're that weird guy that gets on his bike and bikes to work every day, just gotta do it, you just have to decide, you're that guy now. And it was like, he hit literally handed me a hat that I put on like, oh, I can wear that hat like, I'm used to be in the weird guy now I'm just adding the bike a big deal, literally within a week I got on craigslist list I bought a bike and started biking nine miles to work every day and the weirdest thing happened in that journey because I would be on that bike and for that forty five minutes every day I had no choice but to focus on that moment and staying alive in that moment because if I start thinking about the future or the stupid shit I said when I was twelve or whatever stuff it normally rolls around in my head, I'm gonna get hit by a car and I'm a dead man. So, in that moment, I found peace just focusing on be here now, just survive this and worry about the other stuff later. And I just fell in love with it so, I went to my wife one day and I said, how do I do more of this? How do I bring more of that presence into my life? And she said, I'm find a therapist. Fuck, I don't know. So, I did, I found a therapist right down the street from me and he completely changed my life, he introduced me to meditation and just started explaining it that how through meditation and through being in the moment you take all that chaos, it's that swirling glass of muddy water and instead of shaking it around and hoping the one day you'll see through it, you just set it down and let it all calm and then suddenly the clarity is there and it just ate it up, I just could not get enough of this stuff, I started meditating, I read every book on meditation, I watched all the documentaries and just everything I've done since then has been about trying to become more present and be more aware of the moment and what I'm doing in the moment and how those moments add up to the man and the life that I wanna be.

Michael: It's powerful!

Jeremy: Thank you.

Zach: So, my story really started the day I was born with a negligent mother I was taken away from my mother by CPS (Child protective services) when I was six because I got caught stealing food from the store because there was no food in the house and I was six years old and she would leave for four or five days at the time and that was my early childhood which I thought was pretty normal, I thought that's how all kids grew up, that was the thing. So, that really set me off early on with a lot of anxiety issues, emotional eating and just all kinds of things and led to the point where by the time I was twenty-two, I was three hundred pounds, I eat at McDonald’s every day, my best friend was a manager at a McDonald’s so, I got free food so that was super easy and convenient and loved it but that stuff is terrible every day I drink a two-liter mountain dew every single day, smoke two packs of cigarette, today never really I wasn't a big drinker but when I did drink I would go really, really hard and it would hurt me for weeks. And I got my first job out of college and you know, I smoked cigarettes and it was so interesting I was so unhealthy, I couldn't even go up a flight of stairs about being winded but I got my first job and I got it by wearing a nicotine patch to go to the interview so, I didn't smell like smoke and my very first day at the job, my boss looked at me and said you smoke cigarettes, I would have never hired you if I had known that you smoked, I was like oh! So, for me that was like a moment for me of my professional career is gonna suffer because of these things so, I quit and it's easy to say that was probably one of the hardest things I ever did in my entire life. And then interestingly enough like, the next week work also announced that they were gonna do a 5K in the summer and they were gonna let everyone leave early for the day and I was like oh, I get to leave work early if I go run a 5k, oh, that's fantastic I can do this. So, I went I signed up for it and then I went to a track I got like a quarter of the way around the track and I fell over and I wasn't running fast, I was like maybe walking fast just terrible, terrible shape.

Fast forward a year like, I did the race, I did pretty well fast forward a year and I was getting you know Christmas presents for my family with running gear because I was just running all the time and I was losing a ton of weight that was twenty years ago and since then I've gone and done little change, after little change, after little change, after little change and the weight has melted off and all of my mental issues that I had with anxiety and depression that you know built up over the years, they've reduced I still struggle with them and I still work on them but I've learned all these tools and techniques to keep myself healthy both physically mentally and emotionally. So, you know, my story is long but now the age of forty-two years old, I feel okay now and I think I fixed most of the stuff but I got a little way to go.

Michael: Yeah, and here doesn't. You know, I look at my life, I mean you talk about a parallel, Unbroken Nation knows my story twenty-five years old, three hundred and fifty pounds, smoking two packs a day, drinking myself to sleep, working some bullshit corporate job I hated, look I get it and first off congratulations to both of you, for being willing to ultimately do that thing that we have to do and be the hero of own story. I think so frequently that the entirety of this show, why I do this? Why I commit? Why I write the books? Why all this exists? Because at somewhere along this line I’m gonna assume both of you needed help and what I wanna talk about where I kinda wanna start this conversation is both (a) how did you come together and then (b) what is as men especially in this context and of course obviously we have a ton of female listeners but has especially in this conversation what has it been like asking for help in your life?

Zach: Well, so Jeremy and I met through our wives, who formed the bond we both have daughters who are I think within four months of each other and our wives met through a running club and they scheduled a breakfast and Jeremy and I both showed up and you know it was that classic moment where I was like hey, he was like, hey and we were very both kinda like standoff off and we didn't really know what to say and that was the first time we met. And since then, like over the years like, I was really helping myself and fixing myself from a mental and physical standpoint and I started sharing some of that journey with Jeremy and started you know opening up about the vulnerability that I was putting forth on myself and fixing myself and that's really how we connected. And since we started talking about things and just being vulnerable with each other we just said, one day this really needs to be out there like other guys need to be having these conversations and that's how our show started. And Jeremy maybe you wanna put a little more color on that.

Jeremy: Yeah. I mean Zach was a couple of years a couple of steps ahead of me on this journey he had lost a ton of weight and I was in the middle of trying to lose a ton of weight and we met and I've never been a small talk guy, I don't do well with man did you catch the game last night or you know, how about that local sports franchise they sure are hidden knit aren't they, it's just not my thing. So, I always sort of gravitate to people that are willing to go a little deeper and be a little bit rawer and more vulnerable and it was. Zach was the one that was willing to sort of put that out there first and was sort of sharing some of the stuff that he'd done, I think because I'd had probably shared that I had been biking and was kind of on this path and discovering some things and he shared what he was going through and I'll never forget there was one morning, we were camping and we woke up and we're sitting by the fire and he's talking about all this weight three lost, he shall holds up his phone and he shows me the graph and how it just dropped, I was like, wow, did you do that that's incredible and he's like, oh keto died, it's awesome started doing it any last I think at that point it was like forty pounds or something. And I was like, well tell me more and then as a vegetarian I was like, well I can't do that but I modified it in a way that basically just followed his advice just did everything that he did but in my own way and was able to drop seventy pounds in like a few months and so the weight just flew off but it was through these conversations where we were starting to sort of feed off of each other and the things I was doing you know either he tried before and it didn't work but I was doing it in a way that he was able to adapt it and make it work for him or like, I said he was ahead of me so, he would just he would kind of funnel information to me and we agreed that these were conversations that either men needed to be having or hearing more of to normalize that it's okay for guys to say this shit is hard like, taking care of yourself, stepping up, showing up for yourself, facing your fears, facing your trauma, putting all that stuff behind you, implementing all these tools and tactics to try and get past that shit so you can live a more rewarding life, that's way deeper than how the man is doing and a lot of guys don't wanna go there. So, we agreed, he had to pull my teeth and make me do it because I don't have the degree on the wall that says hey, I'm certified to teach you the thing or two but I have some life experience and I've done some things and so through a lot of pushing and prodding you finally convinced me that we should open up the mics and share our struggles and our experiences in hopes that we could help other people the way that we've helped each other.

Michael: Yeah, that's powerful and I was doing some rough math, let's be clear, I don't have a high school diploma so, this will be all over the place. And we've lost over three hundred and fifty pounds, just as the three of us sitting here and the thing that I think to myself in that is people will have this moment of alright, I'm gonna do this, I don't know if you agree with this or not Zach but I quit smoking a thousand fucking times, you know, I quit all the chaos of my life a thousand times and I used to be like alright, I'm motivated. Dude, I could get so motivated for eight minutes and then tomorrow and I'd be like oh shit, I can't. What purpose has motivation served in your lives independently and what are your thoughts with it?

Zach: That's a big question, I mean, you're absolutely right. I'll go back to the cigarette smoking like, I quit so many times and the repercussions of me quitting sometimes led to my wife to come and throw a pack of cigarettes at me and say you need smoke these because you're being an asshole. So, yes that was really, really hard and you know early on I had like a couple of moments that to me felt like rock bottom, you know the instant the story I told about not getting my job if he had known I smoked, my career was really important to me at the time and it still is important in a very different way now but it was so important to me that I kinda hit a rock bottom at that point in my life and that was the motivation like, I needed I didn't wanna be down there at the bottom and that was the time that I successfully quit smoking. All of the other times that I tried, I didn't have a good why, I didn't have a good reason, it was just I think these things are bad for me and I shouldn't do it. And then going forward every major decision I've made, everything that I've taken on since kinda getting out of that rock bottom I try to remind myself of what it was like to be in rock bottom and remember you know being down there and that actually fuels my motivation and helps me get off my ass and take on the next thing, and the next thing and then the next thing. And now it's kind morph into this, I love changing into the next thing, now my motivation is I've made all of these huge changes and now I get to do something else and something else and something else and in five years I'm gonna look back and see all of this progress in journey and just really enjoy the journey. So, my motivation has changed early on it was really just kinda getting out of rock bottom and staying out of rock bottom and now it's how far can I go?

Jeremy: And I've really changed my relationship with motivation this year really, I mean the beginning of the year and I have our show to thank but I spent this last six months of last year complaining to Zach about how much I hate the gym, don't wanna go, I don't wanna look back on my life and all the hours I wasted lifting stupid heavy things in the gym because what a waste of life blah, blah, blah all the excuses I needed and then we interviewed, I don't know if you're familiar with Tony Horton the creator of the P90X Workout, it's a big deal early two thousands. And knowing I was gonna interview him, I was like well, I better go do a stupid workout because you know I need to know something about this guy, I gotta do my homework. So, started doing his workout for like a few days before we started talking to him and all of a sudden it was like, i'm craving this like, I wanna go back this, I feel good and I realize later the problem I had at the gym was walking into a room where I had no idea what to do, I had no plan, I had no idea what I was supposed to do there other than lift heavy things but then I would just spin out on, am I being efficient, is this the right thing, is this even what I need to be doing right now, am I gonna hurt myself? And when I could just turn on his video and go, oh, do what the funny little man on the screen tells me to do I can do that, I can zone out all day long. So, then I realized I keep waiting for motivation, I keep waiting for it to show up on my door and escort me to the gym and do all the heavy lifting for me and I figured out it's not coming, nobody's riding it on a white horse to save my ass, it's all up to me. So, I've given up on motivation, I don't think I will ever be motivated to do anything ever again I just have to be my own parent and say, yeah, go do it, it's hard that sucks, cleaning a room sucks, going to work sucks, paying bills paying the rent it all sucks, nobody likes to do that stuff, somehow you get out your checkbook and you do it every month, somehow you get in the car and you go to work every day, you're not motivated, it's not fun, it doesn't feel good but you have to do it, just do it. It's the exact same thing with the gym, it's the exact same thing in the kitchen, it's the exact same thing as being a good dad, just show up the motivation becomes the habit. Once you're doing the things it's just the thing that you do every day that's the motivation, that's how you make it you get blood on your hands by working hard and then suddenly the motivation is just the habit, its thing it's part of who you are and what you do every day.

Michael: Yeah, I agree with both of you. I found that in my life motivation has moved out of any realm of possibility, I know that sounds weird, I think it will understand this but I just don't get motivated anymore it just does not work and people like, well you do three hundred and sixty-five episodes of a podcast and you writing a couple books this year and you're speaking all these days, I go, I don't negotiate with myself, it's just like not even fucking an option. And that came because I realized like, I had so many rock bottoms in this journey, I was looking at my life and being like if all the things I've done I've got me to here then maybe the things that I do differently can get me to where I want to go. And on the hard days I just had an episode earlier this week called the hard days and it was like exactly this, you just have to get up and do it anyway and I think we live in a delicate space both being in personal development and mental health because people will often say well, you know just sit on the couch and relax and take it easy and take a fucking bubble bath and I'm like you know the truth about it is sometimes you need that shit like a hundred person percent but the thing always challenge people is to ask this question, are you taking it easy on yourself or are you taking care of yourself? Because I assure you nine times out of ten you just are taking it easy because the pain of the moment is so incredibly intense that you can't dare step through that and over that threshold because it feels like it's insurmountable, when ninety nine point nine percent of the fucking time it's actually the very thing that you need to do to make your life better or different and I have trouble defining better but different, can you become that person based on who you want to be by being willing to sacrifice? And that means these immediate pleasures like dude, Zach you'll understand this, I think very well, there used to be a McDonald’s in the parking lot of the gym and they're gonna assume me one bad sort of gotcha it's the greatest location in the history of McDonald’s and for years I would drive up there to sit my car, smoke a cigarette and I'd be like alright, let me just smoke this second, I'll go in the gym and I'd walk into the McDonald’s and then I'd walk across the street to the bar and I get in my car and smoke another cigarette and be like tomorrow. And the thing as there's only so many tomorrows and eventually, you're going to run out and when you do the thing that's gonna happen is you're gonna die with regret because you will have a life lived.

I believe inherently that the only way that I've been able to get to the place that I am now is I had to step into just this massive sense of vulnerability with myself and I'm wondering if that held true for your guy’s journey as well?

Jeremy: Oh, yeah. I think, I mean it's for me since we started doing the show it's the cornerstone of what has kept me going, there's so many times when I'm thinking about just doing an episode of our show and if I show up and turn on a microphone and talk about stuff that I haven't done haven't tried, haven't shown up in a way that is gonna motivate someone else to follow my example then why am I bothering? So, it's because I'm able to be vulnerable with Zach and I'm able to be vulnerable with our audience in our community and share with them because we hear from them, our struggle makes theirs less lonely, makes theirs less painful because they know someone else is going through it or is leading them through what they're going through and you don't get that by taking it easy and sitting in a bubble bath and recording from there like you gotta do the work, you gotta lift the heavy things and face the fears and if you can then share how much pain that creates and you can get through it especially with the help of somebody by your side, it's just so much more rewarding, it makes this whole experience so much more rewarding. But sitting up with your feet on the ottoman and watching you know the forty seventh episode of whatever's on Netflix you're not gonna remember that, you're gonna remember the hard stuff, you're gonna look back on your life and you can remember there was a huge hill and I got over it and it made me better because all that taking it easy on yourself stuff like you said, there's a place for it but that's not living your life.

Zach: Yeah, and to add to that. When I got vulnerable the people who could help me showed up, so we talk a lot about you don't have to do this alone, you need a coach, you need a teacher like if you're working out find somebody who can help you do it without hurting yourself. When I started opening up to people and getting vulnerable, the people who could help me along my journey showed up and they were there and they were willing to help me because I was vulnerable. And in my head like, I really just had this feeling or sense that if I told people how I was really feeling that I was scared of something or you know just emotional about something then I was getting laughed at or picked on or something like that and it was the complete opposite the people I needed to be around me showed up, lifted me up and now I'm just like so jazz by finding those people all over the place. And you know, it's kinda funny because like, I find people that I have good energy with and then I get excited about telling them what I'm struggling about, I don't bitch to them but I do tell them I'm struggling with things and then they give me tips.

Michael: Yeah. Well, if you can't do this alone and that's probably the greatest misnomer in masculinity, well really humanity is like we have this weird idea like you have to do it on your own and I'm always like nobody great has ever done anything by themselves, you can't name them and as fucked up as it sounds like even the worst people who ever done the worst things they had a team of other shitty people helping him, you know what I mean and it's like if you think about that.

But you know if you look at the reality of life you have to be willing to see guidance, that's why I have mentors, I have coaches that and I think it'd be so fraudulent for me to sit here and coach people if I didn't have a coach, you know what I mean? And I think there's a lot of unfortunately there's a lot of snake oil salesman in the world but the reality is you can't do it alone and people able heard that a million fucking times but there are things you have to do alone and this is where I wanna go with this because I think it's really important, there is something about the willingness to suffer that changes your life forever and as I kind of measure my journey, yes there's the uninvited suffering the things we are not culpable for, childhood trauma, abuse, homelessness, stealing food you know whatever that thing is and knee injuries, fine, whatever, right? We didn't ask for that, we didn't be like hey, here's my plate put that shit on their looks amazing that was not part of the journey for us. But there's the other side of it and this is my belief the side that and when in which you introduce suffering not necessarily physical but just the emotional element of doing the thing that changes your life forever. Am I totally off base or do you guys completely relate to this?

Jeremy: I mean, I'm sure your audience is well aware of cult therapy, I'm sure you've talked about it before but it's the perfect example I think of what you're talking about its willingly subject your body to ridiculously cold temperatures because it helps you and this is one of my absolute favorite things to do especially, I've battled depression in my entire life. One of my favorite things to do when I am depressed to reset my system is to go drop my ass in the lake down the street no matter how much snow is on the ground and I sit in there for two, three, four minutes longer if I can take it because it resets my body and by putting myself in that pain, by putting myself in that discomfort I'm doing a hard thing, I'm overcoming it, I'm overcoming the pain and the fear and all the things that come up and there's the sixty seconds of chaos when you're in that. Your brain just freaks out it's everything about nature is telling you, get the hell out of here, you're gonna die. But for me, one day I'm gonna set stopwatch swear to God but sixty seconds in my entire body there's just this wave of calm that washes over me and I literally I just I feel like I could be in a bathtub right now, I'm so comfortable, this is great, I'm calm, I'm at peace and it's not until like my hands and my feet are literally just screaming in pain that I'm like okay, I should probably get out that's probably enough. But it's such an analogy for all this stuff for me is the more that you subject to yourself in a safe way to the pain and the challenges and show over and over again that you can overcome them they start to pile up and be the evidence that you point to instead of the voice in your head that you've had since you were sick tells you what a piece of shit you are and you don't deserve love and you don't deserve to be seen, now you look back at this pile of evidence of all the hard things you've done and how much you loved yourself and showed up for yourself then you can take on the next challenge. When the next real thing comes, when the next injury comes, when the next illness comes the death and the family like whatever the pain is the more you practice that pain the more prepared you are when the stuff comes that you're not prepared for. So, I just think to me that's the best analogy I can give for training for the pain and getting through it in a way that's helpful.

Zach: Yeah, you're talking about resiliency. I remember point in my life where I looked back at my life and I would always think why me, why did my life suck so bad, why did I have to go through all of that shit? It's not fair and to be clear I thought my life was normal until somebody explained it wasn't and I was like oh, no one else goes through that, that's funny and then I was like looking forward though like, wait a minute, if I can survive that, if I can get through that and I'm not dead, I'm not in jail, I've got a decent job and I survive all that, just imagine what I can do compared to the next person if I tackle something really hard that's gonna further me down the road and just make me a better person. My life prepared me for all of the challenges that I'm facing now to be a better person, be a better dad just generally be better and its resiliency and I didn't realize it until I made that shift of what was me too I'm gonna go tackle whatever the fuck I want.

Michael: One of the things I think about is that life for unfortunately for many of us sets us up for failure. We get no choice in the family were born into, the neighborhood, the finances, the ethnicity, the sex, the gender, nothing like you just wonder day you're like oh shit, wait, you're become conscious and aware, right? It's like turning on Monday, you're like seven and like whoa what the fuck going on here and because of that and not being set up and especially if you come from a traumatic background looking and witnessing what I believe to be through is that we learn through the experiences that we have. And one of the biggest aspects of healing and becoming the person you are is unlearning what you learned and effectively and engraining and embedding new software into yourself through being surrounded by different people, different ideas, coaching, seminars, books, podcast, music whatever, right?

One of the things and this might come out of left filled so feel free to take a moment and process what I'm about to ask you. As men who are married and have children how does that work? And the reason that I'm asking you this is because from my perspective growing up and for many men, we witness single mothers, we witness abusive parents, the relationships that we have, the baseline of those is violence and yelling and screaming and hurt and pain and suffering and so, as you go in this journey and I look at you too and I go these guys are ending that generational trauma thing, right? How the hell do you actually do that like, how do you have intimacy, how do you have fatherhood, how do you have love, compassion, joy, hope all of those aspects of the things that we weren't taught that we so desperately need as men?

Zach: For me, it has been the childhood that I had and the parents that I had, I don't blame them for it they really took what they had learned from their parents and did the same thing with me and I just feel like we're living in a different time like you know, I can go to YouTube, I have resources all over the place on how to be a better dad, how to be a better husband and how to be a better person in whatever part of my life I want to be in. And it's the curiosity that I had and the pain and struggling that I had when I was a child that has really flipped it for me and I don't know about Jeremy but my natural tendency so, I'm a guy but I'm naturally empathetic like, I'm naturally drawn to my emotions, I'm naturally drawn and I was a weird kid growing up because of that and I had to pretend to be the manly man. So, for me, I just really embrace that and I look at my daughter and I go, wow, I love that girl the death I need to be better, I need to do things right. And for her, I had to break the chain so, I showed her modeled what it was like to treat another woman the way I think she should be treated so that's the way I've always treated my wife and really tried to just model all of that like good healthy relationship with anyone that I'm working with and explained to her like my daughter's ten and I am so open with her about the truth and reality of the world like, she goes to school and her teachers are like oh, whoa, wait a minute you're supposed to be playing with dolls, you're not supposed to be talking about these great big concepts that even adults avoid. So, I really just tried to model what I felt was being a good person to my family, to my daughter and as bad as the sounds, I use my parents as examples for me what they are is the complete opposite of what I wanna be, so any decision I make would my mom do this, yes, well, I can't do that like, I need to flip the script on it.

Jeremy: I think first I feel like I should acknowledge that I'm coming from a place of pretty extreme privilege compared to everyone in this room or in this conversation because I had your standard you know, garden variety trauma growing up, I had the alcoholic like dad the arguments and the divorce and compared to what you guys have been through like my life's been a cruise, so let me just start there. But with that in mind, I got a ton that ruined for me and put all the voices in my head made this a much tougher journey that it needed to be. And so, I think for me a lot of it comes back to sort of what we've been talking about here is just the willingness to be vulnerable, the willingness to tell my kids, I fucked up and I'm sorry when I fuck up and to just show them that I'm not perfect, I'm doing my best, I'm trying to figure this out, I didn't have a great guide but growing up like, Zach I have a lot of examples of what not to do literally, I think up until maybe two years ago, I was haunted by the fact that I'm gonna become my ancestors, one day, I'm just gonna wake up and I'm just gonna make all the same mistakes they did and I know now that's not gonna happen. Some of that came when I decided to stop drinking, I mean I was not an alcoholic by any means, it was I used alcohol to manage my emotions and to manage the fear and the pain and when I put that down that was the biggest step, I took away from becoming my ancestors, becoming the people that came before me. And since then, every step has been a further step away so, I don't have that fear anymore and it's that thing where you sort of create the life that you're constantly thinking about so, I'm constantly thinking I'm not gonna become that person everything you do takes you toward becoming that person. And so, since I'm able to not do that anymore, I can focus more on you know what feeling is my kid having right now and how can I help them through it, what pain are they experiencing, how can I guide them through that, what have I learned on my own journey that I can share with them and so much of it is just I suck at it I'm gonna be honest with guys, I try really hard and there are days when I just I'm not good at it and I regret those days and every one of those days with guys sorry, I should've have done better today, I wasn't the dad you needed today and I'm sorry. I never heard that growing up that's not something that previous generations, you did not show that you didn't have it all figured out then that there, that was not part of the deal. So, for me, a lot of it just comes back to just the same thing I'm trying to do with everybody else just share who I am share that I'm a learning and flawed person like everyone else and that I'm doing my best to teach them how to do better than me. My dad always said, you know, that his dad beat him and since he never hit us that he raised the bar while he did, not very high but he did so, now I'm trying to do what I can to lift it as high as I can.

Michael: Yeah, that's powerful and admirable and both of you that's incredible and thank you for the willingness to share that. And Jeremy you know, I think very often people will compare I'm sure I could get this too go it was never as bad as your dude, my life – my child was a goddamn movie like, no wonder, I don’t know the worst childhood than me to compare would be very, very asinine. But all those things as experiences of our life they impact us we are the sum total of everything that's ever happened to us leading up till today and to dismiss any of that I think is to the error of possibility because I think that even though those things suck, we have to be able to look at them whatever they may be no matter how big or how little and recognize the truth of the impact of all the experiences of our life shaping who we are today. And as I get deeper into this entire journey like, I sit here, I have these conversations with incredible people like you and more and more reinforces this idea that we are simply having this human experience, never us really know what we're doing, we try our best based on what we think that thing is supposed to be towards the life we think we want to create then I have come to find more often than not, it's not until you're actually in the moment of the thing that you thought you wanted that you can actually decipher whether or not it's the thing you wanted it or not and that's what's so fascinating about this journey, it's iteration, if you're literally just trying again and again and again. And so, huge applause for both of you for continuing to just try again. You both use a word that I wanna ask you a question about that I think is really important especially as guys having this conversation you both use the word to love, talk to me about the role that love has played in your lives?

Zach: I grew up absolutely hating myself and well into my twenties just absolutely thought  was a miserable person, everyone told me I was a miserable person that I was worthless and I had no self-respect , I had no self-love and you can't love other things if you're not loving yourself like you just don't have the capacity in my mind and it was took a lot of time it didn't happen overnight but I've turned it around and I do love myself and Jeremy and I’ve talked about it so many times regardless of what your goals are like, wherever you want to go whatever you want to get better, just sitting with yourself in acknowledging that you're okay right where you are, might not be perfect but you're okay and just accept it and love it unconditionally, it sets you free and it allows you to move beyond that and achieve the goals and the things that you want to do. And I just don't feel like, I would be able to love my daughter or love my family or love my friends the way that I love them like to the point of tears like, I feel love and like, I understand why people cry sometimes when they love so hard back when I hated myself I just didn't understand it, I didn't get loving someone else until I could figure it out for myself and be okay with who I was and love myself and I gotta say, like just love yourself, be okay with who you are, things will get better and accept that and I think Jeremy will echo, it all starts with being okay with who you are and accepting who you are.

Jeremy: Yes, I'll also say that I have moments when I accept myself where I am and who I am more than others, I think I do think loving myself is still a work in progress, I don't know that I can say that I'm there. It's really been through the process of creating the family that I am fortunate to live with that I can even talk with any experience or authority on love because before I met my wife, I didn't know what it was, I didn't know what a relationship was supposed to be like, everything that I put into any relationship was following the same toxic like shitty patterns that my family had shown me or whatever bullshit hollywood stuff put out there. But it wasn't until I found the calm and the peace and the love that I have for my wife that I started to get what it is, it's not this frantic jealous where is she now thinking about her every minute, who she with, what's she doing, oh my god like, how do I control this so that I don't have to have this fear, it's this trust and just knowing that that person is there and cares about me and loves me and even though I don't know that I can say, I love myself yet I know she does and sometimes I need that to get through whatever the hard moment is when I particularly not loving myself just knowing that someone else does is enough.

Fast forward to when I had now two kids, you wanna know what love is, meet your kids, when you have kids that look at you and the way my kids do, I mean I don't deserve them, those kids are better kids than I ever thought someone like me could have. And so, when they on their own just spontaneously say, I love you, shatter me like, I'll tell them and they'll say, I love you too because it's the thing your pattern, it's the pattern you follow what you do. But when my six-year-old out of nowhere just says, daddy I love you, I'm just rocks me. So, that's what love is to me, it's the thing that you strive for to give to yourself and when you can't, you have to lean on it being given by those around you that do and you have to know that it's real, you can't listen to the voice that says, oh, well they just love you because of the mask that you put on because of who you show them, they know who you are, so trust that, trust when someone tells you they love you because they do unless they're just a fucking horrible person that's trying to manipulate you I guess but the people close to you, when they use that kind of language you gotta listen.

Michael: Man, that's so powerful. And I resonate with that so much because I look at that, the reason I asked that question is because I look at that as my journey being the biggest struggle like all the other things had always been like quitting smoking was easier than being loved, losing a hundred and fifty pounds was easier than being loved, building businesses was easier than being loved and then you sit here you go man, but none of that shit actually matters as much as the moment when you sit with it and you accept that someone else cares about you and I think that's one of the hardest, I actually I'm gonna go ahead and just say, it's probably the hardest thing that you will do in this journey of healing, I just don't know anything more difficult so, I have massive appreciation for both of you being willing to go in there with that left field question before I ask you my last question, can you tell everyone where they can find you?

Jeremy: Yeah, everything you need to know about us you'll find out our website it's

Michael: Brilliant, and of course we'll put the links in the show notes for all the Unbroken Nation to find. Gentlemen and this have been an absolutely phenomenal, phenomenal conversation. Before I ask you this, I just wanna say again thank you for being here and I think that when we come together as men especially in this kind of vulnerable context we can create massive change in the world, so have a great amount of admiration appreciation. My last question for you my friends is what does it mean to you to be unbroken?

Jeremy: To me, it's beginning this journey, the minute you start you're you're getting out the glue and you're fixing all the cracks, you're fixing all the stuff that you thought was broken about you and accepting man it's hard but accepting that you're not broken that you are, where you need to be wherever you are on the journey. To be unbroken is to recognize that you're not broken and that you're willing to put in the hard work and face the fear and face the trauma and face all the stuff and just start taking it one step at a time to get to a place where hopefully one day you accept yourself all day long and eventually can honestly say you love yourself.

Zach: Yeah, and I'll add a little bit, you know with my past I said it earlier I could've I had every opportunity to be dead or to be in prison for the rest of my life and I was walking that line and it was bad of it, it was just really bad. And for me, unless you are truly gone, you're never so broken that you can't put yourself back together, you can always make a choice to fix it and get better again like, I should have been in dead or in jail on so many occasions and I chose a different way, so, for me that's unbroken.

Michael: Beautifully said my friends, thank you so much for being here. Unbroken Nation, thank you so much for listening.

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And Until Next Time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

I'll see you.

Jeremy Grater and Zach TuckerProfile Photo

Jeremy Grater and Zach Tucker


Zach Tucker, along with his wife and young daughter resides in Albany, NY. Zach has a passion
for helping people define and meet their wellness goals. He thinks that every person is different
and there is no one size fits all solution for someone’s wellness. He is on a mission to share his
story and some of the tools that helped him on his own wellness journey. Zach is certified to
teach yoga and Insanity Live.

Jeremy Grater is a married father of two young girls and lives in British Columbia. He’s spent the
majority of the last decade experimenting with a variety of wellness tools to improve his mental
health, lose 70 pounds and share what’s helped along the way. He’s also been in the
broadcasting and podcasting business for about two decades.

More info at

Michael UnbrokenProfile Photo

Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.