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From addict to athlete

A man who reinvented himself and tells his story of going from being a meth addict to a marathon athlete, came to Bloemfontein to talk about his journey.

Costantinos Carastavrakis, Costa to his friends, tells his life story in the book I am Costa.

Witty and smart, one can hardly believe that this successful businessman and athlete almost ruined his life with alcohol abuse and hard drugs.

In the book he tells his story of growing up Greek and gay in Johannesburg.

He starts with his childhood of identity confusion and being bullied because he was diffirent.

He became intoxicated by alcohol the first time when he was only 12 years old.

During his studies and his early adulthood, he built a life of parties, business triumphs and money, but crashed into the devastation of cystal meth addition.

It was on a night when deeply intoxicated with crystal meth, that, according to him, he received the “gift of desperation” and took action to rid himself of his addiction to drugs and alcohol.

InI am Costa, he writes a highly reavealing story of his journey and how he ended up swopping drugs and alcohol for a life of fitness and peace.

“I started to create the best version of myself,” he says.

With the launch of his book he uses the opportunity to inspire and create awareness of drug and alcohol addiction. He also gives talks at schools and visited the Navalsig High School on 21 August were he talked to the Gr.9 class.

His message to people with addiction problems is to ask for help.

“I had a very loving family, but I never asked them for help.”

He says there are so many free resources available and there are really people who want to help.

In his book, Costa tells the story of him getting fit and focusing on a new way of life.

After a slow start to get fit, he ran a New York-marathon and did the Ironman in 2012, as well as participating in many half marathons and other events.

Kate Murray, a former learner of the Eunice High School and Olympic triathlete, who Costa met at a training camp, commended him on his book: “Honest, captivating and heart-warming. Costa is a true inspiration. An individual who truimphed over his circumstances and personal demons to become the inspiration he is today.”

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