Bryant Mettler, 46, turned around a drinking problem, dropped more than 40 pounds, and changed his life. Here, Mettler—who is now sober—shares his incredible transformation story.
I played soccer and basketball in high school, but I gave up organized sports in college, after my now-wife and I had a daughter at the age of 19. I was studying for a degree in higher education, working a part-time job to provide for my wife and baby, and busy learning how to be a new husband. There were lots of sleepless nights, but they involved changing diapers instead of doing keg stands.
My weight started to climb after I took a corporate job in Michigan. It wasn’t a good fit. I prepared reports all weekend and fielded calls from my coworkers on vacation. I started drinking two to four beers each day, and I didn’t burn off the extra calories. The longest walks I took were trips to the bathroom, down the hall.
When I hit my thirties, I had something of a mid-life crisis. I liked being a young dad—I was a father of five children by this point, and I loved my kids—but for some reason, I felt pessimistic about my future. It felt like I was stuck. Maybe it was the minivan I was driving, but I felt emotionally drained.
By 2012, my wife and I had moved back to Centralia, Washington, where she took a job as the children’s pastor at a local church. I was drinking two bottles of wine or a pint of hard alcohol a day. I drank fast, too. I kept stashes of bottles in the basement and shed, where no one would find them. Plus, I snacked constantly. I was too full from the alcohol to eat dinner, but I needed to put something in my stomach, so I munched on potato chips instead.
The drinking went on for years. I’m not sure how I didn’t die. I do know that I almost ruined my marriage. My wife and I were mulling over a divorce; our relationship felt so distant. Then, in January of 2017, my pastor asked me to be a part of a discipleship group. He asked us to choose a word that he thought God had for us this year, and the word that came to me was “invest.” It was a total change of mindset. From then on, I looked at every decision I made—every meal I ate, every conversation I had, every workout I did—as an opportunity to build a healthier, better me.
I started drinking vegetable juice at breakfast, then gradually started adding sautéed vegetables to lunch and dinner. I eat everything: peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, onions. And I started a gym in my basement with some 15- to 20-pound dumbbells, an incline bench, and a pull-up bar. Now, I work out daily for 45 to 60 minutes. And I share my journey with others on Instagram.
How’s my marriage, you ask? Unbelievable. My wife and I recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, and we’re stronger than ever. I cook for her almost every day, and she recently asked me if I could design her a workout. Now, I’m a much better person, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, too.