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Bryce, age 27
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena … who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. “
-Theodore Roosevelt

I was unpredictable, sometimes violent, abusing drugs and alcohol, and failing at school. My parents were concerned for both me and the family and finally sent me to an out-of-state adventure based treatment program for about 3 months. Towards the end of the program, I decided to give sobriety an honest shot when I returned home. I had already detoxed in the program and figured at least temporary sobriety would ease the transition to living at home. When I returned home, my parent almost immediately began searching for an outpatient program for me to be involved in. In retrospect, this was a very good move on their part. Unfortunately, quality youth focused outpatient programs can be hard to come by and ultimately I ended up finding an amazing community within Alcoholics Anonymous. Over the next few years I became heavily involved with the program.

Even though I was sober, there was still quite a bit of conflict at home and my parent’s continued to question my sobriety. I think the fact so many issues remained within the family despite the fact I was living a sober lifestyle was difficult for my parents to process. Perhaps they thought putting me through an expensive residential treatment program could return our family to something more closely resembling what we all desired. They certainly would not be the first desperate parents to fall into this way of thinking. The fact was, I was still a fiercely independent young man full of teenage angst and there was very little trust within the home. With this combination, conflict was inevitable. I had been to a number of counselors and therapists before I was sent away, but none of them really made a difference for me or my family.

John was different from the beginning. It wasn’t just the climbing and the outdoor approach – it was how he reached out to me and was willing to meet me where I was at as an individual. He saw me, understood where I was, and let that be okay while still maintaining boundaries and holding me to a high standard. The ability to do this with a guarded and angry young man is a unique gift and something John excels at. As mentioned, I was experiencing intense conflict with my parents, especially my father. He is a very intense ‘type A’ personality, and I felt he saw me as ‘wrong’ instead of ‘different’. John accepted who I was, and changed the focus from what was wrong with me and how to fix it to what I was doing and where I wanted to go. He felt more like a mentor than a traditional therapist. Based on what I was choosing and why, my way of thinking started changing. Gradually, as my way of thinking changed, my way of being began to change. When I think back to who I was then, how I thought and interacted with the world - that person isn’t even familiar to me. That kid is part of my story and helps me gain perspective in my relationships and in my introspection, but he seems like a person apart from who I am now.

I finished my time with John when I graduated high school and moved with my family to their new home in Ohio. When I turned 18, I moved myself back to Colorado and came back to the 2Xtreme program to participate in 2Xtreme Dream – Mt. Elbrus. It was great to be part of that experience and to be part of a team of young men all sharing their experience, strength and hope along with their struggles. I am often asked what 2Xtreme Dream did for me - or meant to me. It is a difficult thing to articulate. The impact, the meaning, of that time in my life can perhaps only be completely comprehended by my teammates who shared the experience in an individual yet collective way – and then no words are needed. My experience with 2Xtreme Dream developed and cemented the values of team work and steadfast commitment to oneself and others despite sometimes intense conflict. The 2Xtreme Dream permanently changed both me as an individual and the direction of my life for the better. Permanent change is a rare thing for a program to achieve, and coming up on a decade after the fact, I struggle to think of any other experience which has had such a lasting and profound positive impact on my life.

Today, I am married and recently graduated college with a degree in Outdoor Leadership and Experiential Education. I am pursuing a career in federal land management and my wife and I are discussing our options. We live in a small community that we love and have created our own chosen family and support network. We are weighing the best way to fulfill our career goals, while trying to remain in this environment we love. One of the more difficult adult lessons I have been working through lately is recognizing that pursuing one option inevitably entails foreclosing on others. We live in Gunnison, Colorado, and the area and community supports a wide range of high quality climbing and many other outdoor recreation opportunities we enjoy. I am involved with our local mentoring program which has led me to working with our county juvenile services and local school system. My mantra has been “give me the most difficult case”. This has allowed me to meet and work with some amazing young men. Throughout college I was active as a lead instructor for Wilderness Pursuits; the college’s outdoor adventure program. This offered me the opportunity to develop and implement outdoor education programming with an emphasis on youth personal development through a partnership with the local high school and Bureau of Land Management. I am also active during the winter months with the Lake City Ice Park about 60 miles to the south of us. The ice park offers ice climbing opportunities to everyone from beginner to expert in an easy to access and, relative to the sport, controlled environment. This service is a labor of love carried out by a dedicated team of volunteers and is offered free of charge to everyone.
Today I am blessed to have an amazing relationship with both my mother and father rooted in respect and trust. I routinely call my father, who is perhaps the hardest working and most dedicated person I know, for advice or simply to talk. Time with family has become the most precious gift I have. What was once impossible has become a source of incredible joy.

Life still throws its challenges my way. I am still fiercely independent and sometimes prone to reacting with anger before finding grace. My time with John did not remove life’s obstacles from my path, rather, it contributed to my ability to overcome and learn from them. John and I have discussed meeting up soon to go ice climbing – with me likely on the sharp end of the rope this time. I am looking forward to reconnecting with John and meeting on a peer level doing something we both love.
Steven, age 21
If it weren’t for John and 2xtreme, I would not be the man I am today. I started seeing John shortly after my parents were divorced in 2003. I was a very angry little kid who would get in trouble at school and get in fights with my brothers at home. John helped me turn many negative things in my life into positives. I saw John consistently from 2003 – 2008, but our relationship did not end there. In high school, if anything came up and I needed some guidance, I know I could call or see John. Even now, as I am finishing up college, I still talk to John and try to see him whenever I am home. If you have a son who is struggling or just needs some guidance other than his parents, John is the man to see. You will never meet a man who is so eager and willing to help you and your son. He has had a huge impact on not only my life, but my two older brothers as well. John and 2xtreme have been an absolute blessing in my life, and I know there are hundreds of other people who feel exactly the same way.
Dylan, age 22
I was an angry young kid who didn’t feel supported. I didn’t have an outlet for my anger and frustration. This frustration worked its way into family issues, sexual addiction, and drug addiction. My family didn’t understand what I was about and I didn’t feel I could talk to them.

When I started seeing John, it was a much different relationship. He shared his heart with me, so I knew I could share mine back. It didn’t feel like therapy – it just felt like I was venting to a friend who is very knowledgeable. He is a guardian angel who gives you perspectives that you won’t get from a friend or parent. I know I can tell him anything and he won’t look at me any differently.

He has helped me figure out solutions and outlets, and has encouraged me to not give up on myself and the things that make me happy. The support from John is persistent – he doesn’t let me let go of myself.

Today I am a collegiate athlete playing Division 1 football. I am in a committed relationship, and I am in recovery from my addictions. I am looking forward to the rest of my life. I do not think I would be in this place if not for John. John helped me to see how big the world is, to realize that I was in a much better situation than many others, and that I could look forward. After what I have been through, I want to encourage others to work towards being the man you are going to be in ten to fifteen years. The man you WANT to be.
Garrett, age 19
The catalyst for my coming to see John was the DUI I got when I was 16.  I was drinking, smoking, doing some drugs, skipping school, and I was depressed.  John helped me get control of my life.  While John is a professional, his message is not orthodox.  He told it to me straight.  He is wise, and he understood what was going on with me.  He actually understood everything I was talking about.  He is very personal, and this is more than a one-way relationship.  We have good dynamic and a mutual relationship.  John does not give predetermined answers or textbook solutions.  He creates customized approaches – for ME.  Our sessions are cool and unorthodox.  When we meet, it is casual, but respectful.  We leave the office and ease back into our relationship.

My parents told me what I needed to be doing to be a grown-up.  John’s approach to this shows his wisdom.  He tells me it is not his job to tell me to stop doing what I am doing, but to help me understand WHY I am doing what I am doing, and lead myself to better decisions.  He has a positive impact on me by being a stable relationship in my life with consistent expectations.  John really knows what he is talking about.  He is an educated professional, but on top of that he has the people skills to properly convey and instigate his knowledge in a practical way.  John’s approach is to know me and to apply his knowledge to me and my situation. 

Today I am going to community college and learning carpentry and construction techniques. I am excited about what I am doing, and I am discovering I have a real talent.  I have been sober for a year and a half.  About 7 months ago, John asked if I was willing to be a mentor.  I was honored by the proposition of mentoring, and I have really enjoyed my young friend.  The impact I have on him is gratifying.  There is a tough home situation, and I try to be a positive outlet and influence on him.  I am the solid person in his life – the guy that is there for him and only him.  Trying to help him understand his life and his problems is my approach.  If I can help him have one good day a week, that is good enough for me.  I am finding this ridiculously rewarding.
Alex, age 17
Before I met John, I was a wreck. Even though I could hide it from everyone, it felt like the longer I ignored the problem, the bigger it got. My parents are currently going through a divorce, and it has been a year since they told me they were getting one. At no point did I feel like it was my fault, but I believed that I could fix it. I saw another shrink before John and was really turned off from the whole idea. Several months later, my mom pleaded with me to try it one more time. I have been seeing John for almost six months now, and I knew that he was different in the first five minutes I spent with him. I see him once a week and that hour that I spend with him is the highlight of my day and sometimes my week. Before I met John, I felt like I was alone and that I could not really talk to anyone. Because John was someone that had an indirect connection in my life, I felt that no matter what I said to him, it wouldn’t matter. He also made me feel like I could talk to him, be REAL with him. No bullshit. He showed me that he was just as human as I was and was not some condescending jerk. Today, I am a different person thanks to John. I went places and did things I would not have if I had not met him. I am going to be a senior in high school, and people around me notice that I am different. Today I am impacting the freshmen in my soccer team, treating them as people instead of trash; hoping that one day, they as seniors, treat freshmen the same way breaking the vicious cycle of high school hazing.
Nelson, age 29
Before I started seeing John, I was dealing with the average high school angst – I felt out of place at home and school, I had a bad attitude, and I couldn’t get along with my parents. There wasn’t a major issue, but my life just wasn’t working. I was dissatisfied with my relationships, concerned about the general direction I was headed, and I had anger management issues. On the outside, I looked good – I was playing sports, I had a girlfriend, and I was making good grades. All the pieces were in place, but the tree was not bearing fruit.

Interactions with John were different than with others in that he took a personal stake in my success as a young man. He asked the right questions and listened to what I had to say. This led to many deep discussions enhanced by our mutual desire to engage with one-another emotionally. Our relationship felt more like a peer friendship than a mentoring/counseling relationship. For most guys, it is difficult to find another man that you can connect with on an intimate level. This was the first of that type of relationship for me. John made it easy for me to open up and discuss what I was feeling.

Through the 2xtreme process, I was able to dialogue with someone about the root causes of my negative emotions, exploring why I chose to act out rather than respond with informed intention. John helped me identify the necessary steps to be a man – to deal with my own shit, to be responsible and take control where I should, and to give up control and have faith in situations outside my scope of influence. I learned a lot of life lessons about being a man, taking responsibility, dealing with guilt and failure, and celebrating my successes.

John’s impact on me was profound. Through my connection with him I discovered my leadership skills, how to take responsibility for situations I was avoiding, how to repair relationships, and how to take advantage of opportunities as they presented themselves. I learned how to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’, and how to work a negative situation to my advantage. Stuff happens – things go wrong. You can either decide to let that impact you negatively or you can use it for personal growth and betterment for yourself and those around you.

Today, I am married and have a 16 month old daughter and another baby on the way. The last two years have had lots of changes – a job change, a major move, starting a family, buying our first home. It has been hectic, amazing, and rewarding. I am in a great place mentally and have been for a long time. I am thankful for those who have been stakeholders in my success, those like John who are committed walking with me through life’s trials, triumphs and tribulations. I have more to do - finding a new church, new circles of friends, and new ministries. Life is not about the quick gains, but what you sow over the long run. I impact others through deliberate and intentional interactions, service to those in need, by being a torch bearer for Christ and being witness to the saving grace of Jesus.
My son was hanging with a crew I didn’t like, his grades were slipping, he was disappearing during the night, and I was pretty sure I was smelling pot in his bedroom. Discipline changes were having no impact on him at all, and I was starting to panic – I really wasn’t sure what to do next. This issue hadn’t existed in the home I grew up in, and I had no roadmap. I got John Davis’ name from the counselor at my son’s school. I had no idea at the time how much impact he would have on Dee and my family. During the course of the first year of therapy, my son was diagnosed with depression and ADHD. The ADHD had been misdiagnosed years before. Medical support made some aspects of my son’s life better, but he had become dependent on marijuana as a coping mechanism. I had no experience with addiction, and did many of the wrong things. My husband and I disagreed over what action to take for not only this situation, but many others, creating an uncomfortable level of chaos in our home. The chaos continued to build, and I realized I was trying to fix a situation that wasn’t recoverable, and I started divorce preparations. My husband responded by committing suicide…

John came and supported us that night. He told me how to handle the conversation with my kids. He was there to comfort Dee while I talked with the investigators. His presence and continued support got us through that night, and much of the next week. Dee went into a tailspin for the next 8 months. He escalated his drug use, did not attend school for an entire day after his dad died, and he made suicidal comments. John worked with him during this time, challenging his decisions and coping strategies, pushing him to take responsibility for his feelings and process through them. Ultimately, John and I could not put enough support around Dee for him to recover on his own. John walked me through the difficult decision to place my son in a program. John has a huge heart, and he understood how hard it was for me to send my 15-year-old son away. Supporting me through my doubts, questions, and a few crying jags, John helped me to make a very hard decision for the future of my son.

Dee spent 16 months in a program, came home, struggled and relapsed again, and is now in a transitional living program out-of-state. I believe our story will have a happy ending, but it has not yet been written. I’m not sure my son would be alive (and he has said the same) if not for John. Dee is stubborn, wants to do it his way, and doesn’t accept help easily, but he accepts it from John. I think he will always have a bumpy road – he just seems to be made that way, but his time and interactions with John have taught him that it is okay to be different as long as he is true to himself. I believe he will attain his dream of being an addiction counselor and having his own impact on young men. After our original intake session, I put John’s number into my phone with the nickname ‘Life Saver’ – that is what he has been for me.
I am a member of the 100-mile club. We drive a round-trip of over 100 miles for our son to meet with John.

My ex-wife and I realized that we needed to be connecting in a stronger way with our son. The last 3 years have brought a number of issues, including a school suspension. Something needed to change. Before coming to John, Camden was acting out - mostly at school and at his mother's home. He was going down a negative path and demonstrating bad behavior and choices. We needed more support for him than we could find in our community.

John was the change and support we needed. We have seen many positive changes in both Camden's behavior and outlook. In addition to the changes, he is taking responsibility for his choices, and recognizing that he was heading in a negative direction. He understands that it is his choice to change, to take responsibility for himself, and to be a leader to others. We definitely have a stronger relationship with him now. When this shift started, Camden decided that a meeting was needed with the Principal, the Assistant Principal, and John. He arranged this to share with them that he wanted his behavior to be better and to outline what he was doing to make changes. What a shift in attitude!

To further our new connection, I have a Birthdate Date with Camden every month. On the 23rd of each month (the day he was born), we make time to do something special. We both really look forward to this - so much so that I have extended this practice to my 9 year-old son each month as well.

I read John's book, and decided to take his advice on how to increase responsibility - give a kid direction, tell him how to be safe, and let him go. Early one morning on one of our Birthdate Dates, I took Camden to an empty parking lot. I had a mental list of what I wanted to tell him that I was proud of. I talked to him about those things, and then about being a good driver. I sat next to him as we made a couple of laps around the parking lot. Then, taking the 'Breaking Rules in order to Connect' idea from John's book, I stepped out of the car. I told Camden that whenever he felt uncomfortable, to put the brakes on. He drove around, practiced being safe, and was quite pleased with himself.

Being able to give him trust, knowing that he knows how to be safe, has made me pleased too.
Before Maurice started seeing John, he was angry with the world. He started skipping school, smoking pot and getting in trouble. Every day was a battle with him - we would fight all of the time because I refused to let him think that he could do what ever he wanted with no consequences. At the age of 14, he was put on probation. The court made it mandatory that he get professional counseling. I did seek counseling for him, but the person that he was seeing did not help, Maurice was able to manipulate that therapist. At 15, he went to The Foot for a positive urine test. Then we met John, which was a blessing. I had no ideal what I was going to do with Maurice, but I knew I couldn’t give up on him.

John was able to save my son. John and Maurice had their battles, but John never gave up on him. Maurice needed a positive male roll model in his life, and John was that person. Maurice is no longer that angry person. John made a big difference in Maurice life to the point that my son is now going to UNC Greeley to major in psychology. Maurice has come a long way, and I am so proud of him. Thank you John for all you have done. God is good.


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