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But I Didn't Give Up


Where has the time gone!? I guess that’s life…the older we get, the faster time seems to fly. Let’s see if I can even recall all the things that happened this year: 

  • First and foremost, I didn’t take a drink or do any drugs this year. That in itself is a miracle. There were a few times when I wanted to drink and a couple of times when I NEEDED to drink. But I didn’t do it, and I’m so thankful.
  • My best friend got married, and I got to be in the wedding. Sober. I got to be a real friend.
  • I worked really, really hard and showed up for work every day. (Again, if you know my past…another miracle haha)
  • I paid off my truck and got a new one.
  • Fitness finally became a real priority. I got stronger and faster than I’ve ever been.
  • My beard grew a lot.
  • Depression didn’t defeat me.
  • My knees hit the ground every single day in praise and adoration of the Lord.
  • I went to the Masters by myself and had an awesome time.
  • Finally started going to concerts again. Music is a huge part of my life, and I was so scared that I wouldn’t be able to go to shows sober. This year, I saw Blink 182, A Day to Remember, Mumford and Sons, The Lone Bellow, Taking Back Sunday, Dashboard Confessional, Saosin, The Early November, James Bay, Band of Horses, Circa Survive, Schoolboy Q, Copeland, and more.
  • Fell in love with the mountains in North Carolina. Got into hiking with my dog and just exploring everything that’s out there. 


Oh, and I started a nonprofit, found my purpose in life, got really tight with God, and left my full-time job. Just a basic year, right?

What I didn’t mention up there is the tears I cried, the people I hurt, the 2 months I stopped seeking help and tried to do sobriety on my own, the time I bought a bottle of Woodford Reserve and almost drank it, the inner battle I’ve fought every day with Satan, the times stealing crossed my mind, the middle fingers in traffic, the lust in my heart, and the times of great uncertainty and crippling fear.


Straight up, this has been the best year of my entire life. I didn’t do anything perfectly – not even close. But I’m getting better. I’m making progress. I don’t have any money, yet I somehow started a business. I battle major depression, yet I found my peace and happiness. Fear knocks on my door, yet I have faith. I’m an alcoholic, yet I didn’t drink. I’ve learned that life is made up moments. Moments define us. When I do the right thing in the moment – when I show up for work even though I’m depressed, when I throw away the bottle of liquor I bought, when I forgive my enemies, when I ask forgiveness, when I exercise my faith, when I smile at a stranger, when I stay up late working instead of watching football, when I walk my dog instead of take a nap, when I pray – it all adds up to the big picture of life.

As 2017 (quickly) approaches, I encourage you to aim high. Set goals – literally write them down. If you achieve all of your goals, you’re not aiming high enough. Love yourself, smile at strangers, hit the gym, hug your dog, pay your bills and be thankful you have things to pay for, have faith, do the uncomfortable things, and you will undoubtedly have an incredible 2017.

Above all else, I encourage you to make prayer a priority in your life. Scratch that...make prayer THE priority in your life. I mean hit your knees every morning and every night. Prayer is my secret weapon, and I don’t mind sharing it. I truly believe prayer can move mountains – it already has in my own life.

Thank you for all of your support, kindness, encouragement, and love. I’ll be working very hard to grow CLTIVATE in 2017, and I’ll need your help. A ton of you have asked how you can help, and that’s what I’m working to answer. If you see a need or have an idea, jump in. Be on the lookout for a lot more details soon. Much love!

-Zack Gudzan | Founder, CLTIVATE

Let’s start now. Comment below with your biggest goal for 2017 – even if it’s crazy!


  • That’s awesome man! Can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for you. I’ll have 6 months sober on the 6th of January. Excited to connect and share with others who are on this same journey.

  • It’s been awesome seeing you learn, grow, and seek. You’re a testament of God’s great grace, faithfulness and love. Lean in this year! “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.” #FROG


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