From Wreck to Recovery | Aubrey Marcus Car Accident

 

My Road To Recovery

This is what I looked like August 11th, in the hospital, before 4 hours of facial reconstructive surgery.  And this is what I look like exactly two months later, on October 11th.

A lot of people, including the doctors, are saying that I have healed really well. I don’t have enough of a frame of reference to agree or disagree, but I’m really happy with how I feel.

For me, the most important aspect of my recovery has undoubtedly been my mindset and the support of my friends and family. That is what I tried to convey in the video. But I’ve been doing a lot to support my body directly as well. But remember, this is just my story--I’m not recommending any of this to anyone.

The primary physical concern for me has been inflammation.

The trauma activated pro-inflammatory cytokines as part of the healing cascade, and inflammation isn’t fun to deal with. More than the physical issues with the swelling, it was the fatigue. With my white blood cell count elevated, I felt like my energy levels topped out at about 60%. So, the first thing I had to work on was my inflammation.

I tackled this in a couple different ways. Immediately upon coming home, I started a regimen of CBD. CBD has excellent anti-inflammatory properties and really assists with healing. I have been using it topically every night, and taking roughly 20mg per day orally in a tincture. I have a CBD vape that I use as well, but that’s only a minor part of my regimen.

Next, I focused on keeping my levels of Omega 3 high. Having a higher Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio is absolutely vital to reduce inflammation. Fortunately for me, Onnit has me covered there, and I have been liberally taking the Joint Oil (packed with both fish oil and curcumin) and the Krill Oil. Chia pudding has also been a major part of my nutrition too. I talk about this strategy and a lot of the subsequent info in my book Own the Day, Own Your Life.

Of course, diet is important here as well, particularly when it comes to foods high in antioxidants. I’ve been drinking more Acai, Aronia Berry, and Dragonfruit smoothies than ever before. I throw some colostrum, some of our grass-fed whey, collagen protein, and tons of healthy fats in the smoothies too.

I also had to do something about my energy levels.

I’ve been drinking a lot of caffeine and having daily nicotine (SNUS), but that isn’t real energy. That’s hormonal and neural energy. Real energy is cellular energy, and that comes from the mitochondria. So I started doing NAD+ IV therapy. It’s one of the most uncomfortable procedures in the biohacking world, it feels like you have a small horse kicking you in the nuts for the entire time the drip is going. But the rebound is incredible. Later that day, and for the next few days, my energy expanded by 20-30%. I did about 5 treatments over the course of the first month.

To further assist with the mitochondria, I added in some PQQ and Co-Q10. The success I had with these supplements in supporting my cellular energy levels has led me to put the best versions of these ingredients into a new Mitochondria formula that Onnit should release in 2019. I encourage anyone who struggles with energy levels to give those ingredients a look and check some of the research.

Next of course, was the pain.

The doctors prescribed me ibuprofen, Oxycodone, and Tramadol. Ibuprofen I am really familiar with of course (it’s Advil), and I used this as necessary when I was achy or in pain. But the problem with habitual ibuprofen is it wears out the stomach and can contribute to even further inflammation. So, I would blend in a little bit of the Oxycodone when I really needed to relieve the pain. But I don’t really like Oxy. It was a crutch when I needed it, but it makes me feel not only physically numb, but emotionally numb as well. It’s almost like it removes me from both the pain and pleasure of life. Tramadol was the best solution. It is the same active ingredient that you can find in Kratom, just concentrated and standardized into a pharmaceutical. It literally just felt like it took the weight of the pain off of my body. But the problem with Tramadol, is that I can’t sleep when I’m on it. So I used Xanax to help me sleep. As soon as the pain was manageable I switched from Tramadol to kratom, as I always prefer the natural method over the pharma if possible.

That’s a lot of drugs! So detoxing was and is still is a major priority… From everything.

I’ve started the detox with intravenous glutathione, NAC, milk thistle, burdock, and as many greens as I can drink and eat. This combined with regular sweats, both in the sauna and the bath, has helped keep me feeling pretty good. But I’m planning a week-long detox in Miami which will include a full detox from nicotine and caffeine as well.

Then there was the physical conditioning.

I wasn’t able to do much at all for the first few weeks, and I just had to accept the fact that I was going to lose a lot of muscle. I got some massages and stretched a little bit, and when I started feeling better I would put on some music and dance a little bit. But about 3 weeks in I was able to start hitting the gym again. Now 6 weeks later, I feel almost back to where I was prior to the accident. I’m even playing some basketball again now.

Finally, there is the issue of the scarring.

This is the thing I’ve been probably the least concerned about, but I’ve nonetheless been disciplined in my approach to helping my body heal. I use nightly scrubs and apply a variety of oils and lotions to the scar tissue. Sometimes it is the CBD rub, sometimes it is a lotion with turmeric and other botanicals, and sometimes it is AC-11. I put sunblock on when I’m in the sun, and that’s pretty much it. I know I’m gonna have scars, but I think my diligence has helped my body recover faster.

Injuries like this are neither a blessing or a curse. They are simply a challenge. And we live for the challenges, because those are the opportunities to show up and be an everyday hero. My body is a little weaker now, but my spirit and my mind are stronger. I’ll take that trade. I’m sharing my approach to my recovery in hopes that it will help you or someone you know suffer less if you share a similar experience. And where this write up is aimed at helping the physical, the video is my best attempt to share my mindset; that this did not disfigure me, but helped transform me. And we always have this choice; to glance backward wishing hopelessly for a different reality, or look forward to a future where we use resistance as assistance.

Transcript of the Video

Around noon on August 11th, inexplicably I fell asleep at the wheel of my car, and crashed into a guard rail. I woke up in the hospital. The following is a transcript of my story: The first thing I remember is being in the hospital gurney, and a nurse had my phone. And she asked me who I wanted to contact. And I didn’t know exactly what happened, but I could sense that I got in a pretty bad car wreck. And I knew my face was numb and bloody. And I gave her the code to unlock my phone, and I told her to call Whitney Miller, my fiancé. And I remember Whitney being on the phone, and I told her I was okay and that I was sorry. But I didn’t know what happened. I didn’t remember the wreck. I didn’t remember veering off the road and hitting that guard rail, having it cut through my car and slice my face and cut me open. I didn’t remember getting taken in the ambulance. I didn’t remember any of that.

I just remembered that morning, a morning that was like any other. A Saturday, about a month ago, just going through the day like I always do. I had a nice smoothie for breakfast. I had a good shower. I did some Wim Hof breathing in a cold shower, and I was preparing to do a podcast with one of my favorite musical superstars, a guy named Nahko Bear. I was coming to the office and I was excited, and then I woke up in the hospital.

And there’s some theories about some things that might have happened, but nothing makes a lot of sense. I didn’t go out the night before, I had a good night of sleep, and something happened about two minutes away from my house where I lost consciousness and went off the road.

But the funny thing is when I was in that hospital, and even though I could express that I was sorry to Whitney because she would have to take care of me and I would no longer be the provider and the man that I had been previously. But she would have to take care of me because I was wounded.

But I had this sense that it happened for me and not to me. Yeah, it’s totally, completely random. There’s no reason, ostensibly, for me to have driven off the road. There’s no cause and effect that I can find, but I just had that feeling. And it was an overwhelming feeling; it was an undoubtable feeling that for some reason this accident happened for me, not to me. I just didn’t know why yet.

And then, as the weeks went on, I started to understand why. I started to understand that when you can’t breathe out of your nose and you can’t feel your face and you can’t kiss your loved one and you can’t taste your food anymore, you start to remember what’s really important and realize that all these things that we think are the most important things in the world... Our career, our success, our business, our relationship, all these things. Yeah, they’re great. That’s important, but you know what’s more important? Breathing air, tasting food, being able to kiss and talk, being out of pain, being able to sleep. That’s really what’s most important about life. And when you have that, well you’ve kind of got it made. And if you don’t have some of that, well, whatever you do have, that’s great too.

And not only did I learn that from this accident, I also learned what it really means to be loved, because i’ve always been such an active provider, caring for people’s emotions, providing entertainment, providing value, doing something to make myself worthy of love from another person, even my fiancé. I’m always doing, so that I feel that the love I receive is justified based on what I’m doing. It makes me worthy! Well, I couldn’t do anything, and what I found was that everybody loved me just the same, maybe even more. And I wasn’t doing anything.

So that love story was real. That it wasn’t me doing something and receiving favor in return. It was actual love. People love me, I learned that. And then as time goes on, I learn patience, I still can’t taste all my food, I still can’t feel parts of my face, I’m still not well. So you learn patience. You learn that the body is slow. You learn that even when you learn the lessons, there are more lessons to learn. Learn how to push on when I don’t have enough energy, when I feel tired and I feel weak and I feel broken. I learn how to find my own validation for who I am based on something else, based on something intangible, based on something that’s so deep and so unique and innate and undying about me that that’s what makes me who I am. It’s not the fact that I can smile a charismatic smile, ‘cause I can’t do that anymore. I can smile with my eyes or my heart. So you learn like what’s really most important about you.

And it’s not what other people are able to do. I had the luxury of having people around me who still love me through this process and still made me feel like I was the superhero that maybe I thought I was. But as those people have gone on their own journeys and done their own thing, I have to find that inwardly. I have to know who I am. Beyond the superficial appearances, beyond what I’m capable of doing in the gym, beyond the output I’m able to provide my business or my work. I have to know that the breather, the thinker, the lover, that’s enough. That’s who I am, and that’s what’s worthy of love. And if it takes an accident like this where steel splits my face in two and I may never be the same again, that’s okay. That’s a blessing. That’s a cheap lesson.

When I was well enough to get out of my house and out of the hospital and out seeing the doctors and the specialists and the dentists, a lot of them kept telling me, “Don’t worry! We’ll be able to get you back to the way you were. And there’s plenty of reference footage and reference photos and we’ll get you back just the way you were.”

And I appreciated them saying that, but I don’t need to be exactly the way I was... That was the old me. I love that version of myself, but I can love this new version of myself just as much. There’s no need to be the same person that I was back then that I am now because I’m not the same person. I’ve been changed by this accident. And it’s okay to visibly express what that change looks like. So whoever I’m becoming, is the new me... Just as whoever I've become inside, is also the new me.

You know, I was given a choice whether I was going to be disfigured or transformed. And we all have that choice when something bad happens. Is this going to be a curse or is this a blessing? You choose.

I choose blessing. And so I’m grateful, even in the hard times, even in the difficult times, I’m still grateful, because it’s an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to grow, and an opportunity to be a little bit better. So I choose transformed. And I hope none of this ever happens to you, but if it does, because it does to everybody, I hope you can make the same choice as well.

Much love.

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26 comments

  • Re-reading this after 2 years and so glad you recovered well. This is such a valuable message and still gives me goosebumps. Appreciate little things in life. Thanks Aubrey

    Jimmy Naraine
  • Hey Aubrey,

    Just want to stop in and wish you the absolute best. May you have the strength you need in this time and hastiness in your healing. You’re a true warrior and it’s amazing how you can find the positive in all. Wishing you the speediest recovery.

    - A long time listener and fan

    AF
  • Fuck bro! You rock!! Love ya’ hope you get butter, you will ve better than before, regards from Chile!

    Juan Pablo
  • What a beautiful message, Aubrey. I admire your strength and perspective so much. Wishing you a complete and speedy recovery. Much love! – Bobby K.

    Bobby K.
  • Thank you for everything you do brother! You inspire so many people with so many opportunities to find meaning and connection with such amazing perspectives. Bless up!

    Jay
  • I got so much from this. Especially how you view that it happened for you and not to you and the lessons about patience and love.

    I totaled my truck August 10th and never listened to your podcast or knew anything about you, until after my accident when some great spirit just guided me towards you. A part of me died that night and has changed me and I just want to truly thank you for sharing your experiences because it’s opened my mind to so many things I never knew were out there. 🙏

    Matthew M
  • Hi Aubrey, so thankful that you are healing! May God continue to heal your body…you are an inspiration!

    Kyle Wagner
  • Thank you for this. It got me through this morning

    Kyle Tabler
  • Aubrey, I pray for you daily on a full recovery, and thank you for sharing your traumatic experience, you are one very special person. Oh yea, love your book, "own the day own your life. it has gotten me back on track with my life.
    An old, vietnam vet

    Dennis koplen
  • Holy crap….that is one messed up car. Glad you weren’t hurt worse than you were. Seeing that pic of the car, I would have assumed the driver didn’t make it. Someone was watching over you. Great perspective, Aubrey.

    Jay Kunkle
  • Beautifully stated. The way you are attacking the healing process and choosing to grow from this experience is uplifting and motivating. I’m struck with how technology is enabling every day Joe’s like me to have endless positive influences like yourself, Rogan, Ferris and Bilyeu to look up to. Thank you for your inspiring life and work.

    Mr. Burrito Bowl
  • Man that picture of your car is intense, glad your ok. Good inspiration to be thankful for all the little details this wonderful life provides. We all need to stop and realize that tasting food, kissing our lover, and all the things we take for granted are so important to who we are. I love to learn and grow and this gave me motivation for the day. Now it’s time to own the day with some meditation and hill sprints. Much love.
    Jason DiGuilio
  • You have truly had a spiritual experience. It resonates deeply in your words.

    Kip
  • This was incredibly open if you Aubrey. Looking forward to learning more about how these routines helped you optimize and help you grow into this new you. See you in California next month!

    Joe Kelley
  • Aubrey, I’m glad you made it out of that brother. I was in a vicious accident too July 27, 2017. I had cervical spinal fusion on my C6-C7 using a piece of my own hip. I read your book Own the day recently and loved it. I didn’t know then, when I was recovering, what I know now. I had a tendency to abuse the opioids. But, I did look at it as a crossroads in my life, and with some hard work, and some help including your book, I’m living a much happier healthier life. You look great man, thank you for the inspiration. Keep doing what you do. Sincerely, Adam Vanderneck

    Adam R Vanderneck
  • Damn, man I’m so happy for you making it back to the norm. Love hearing when your on joes podcast and love the company that you two out together and making product that actually has function for the mind and body. One love and I’m happy your friends and family have you back in there lives again. Keep being you and I’ll keep listening and having open mind and soul.

    Jayson
  • Thank you for all that you offer and share. You’re a gift x

    Aara
  • It’s extremely generous of you to share such in depth story to your experience because it shows everyone that no matter your position, career, income, popularity, we are all human and we are all struggling, learning and experiencing life in similar though different ways. Life doesn’t pick and choose, it just happens and we choose just as you have to either suffer or embrace and be grateful for what we are being taught in order to be our greatest selves. You didn’t have to share, you didn’t have to tell us anything, but you did and I believe you deserve to know how grateful I am for people, such as yourself, in this world who seeks for peace, love and joy from and in themselves in order that others who are near may but clasp on to this and apply in their lives and someday, I hope and pray, all the world will see, hear and apply all at once in beautiful unison. Thank You and I’m happy to see your safe and I hope your fiance is doing okay, herself because it’s truly hard to see. I hope the same for all your dearest friends and family.
    Shalom (peace).

    Valerie
  • I got nothin but respect for you sharing your mental and physical recovery. It’s a testament to both the amazing people that you surrounded yourself with, and your ability to listen, learn, and grow from being in their presence.

    You’re a great role model. I wish you and your family all the best. Much love, brother. ~William.

    William La Mont
  • Aubrey
    Thanks for sharing. I am 39 and have had scoliosis since puberty. I had corrective surgery in 1996 and i have two foot titanium rods, screws, etc attached to my spine. I am active. I lift weights, do yoga, row, hike, play hockey etc. But the older I get the more inflammation I have, the mlre pain I have and the longer it takes to recover. I want to do whatever I can to mitigate this. I have fears about being able to keep up with my son. Can you share any specific advice for me to live the best life I can? Im glad you are recovering well. Best to you!

    Thanks in advance

    Josh
  • Thankyou so much for sharing this experience Sir. More Love and Power to you. God bless you 💗💗

    Aroh Sharma
  • You are a beautiful soul. Keep sharing your gifts, love and wisdom with this world.

    Julie Chavez
  • Wow dude !!! All of my prayer love and positivity will be sent your way from the wheelwright family you and kingbu are an inspiration I’ve list weight working on sobriety and preppin my mind body and soul for my own heroes journey go willing !!! Thank you thank you thank for doing your thing its inspiring and I am grateful that I found your goofy ass you make me believe in hope and love! Get well soon and I’ll pinch my pennies for a retreat so I can shake your hand and say thank you personally! Godspeed upon recovery

    Dustin
  • Hey Aubrey,

    first, thank you for everything you share with us!

    The ability to see difficult times as a opportunity to grow is really helpful. I didn’t have to go to such a terrifying accident, but when my last relationship with an absolutely wonderful woman ended not long ago (because we were not prepared for the circumstances we created to live together) I am still grateful for having had her in my live and all the things I learned with her or because of her.

    I wish you all the best for your further recovery and I’m happy to see that on the other side of this accident appeared a better and stronger version of you.

    All the best and much love,
    Jan

    Jan
  • Beautiful.

    Ty
  • Well, I bought your book but before that i have been following for quite some time. I saw you on joes rogan podcast and the way you spoke about life made me want life. So, with al thats happening to you right now , you might not read this or you might! And when you do all I can say is THANK YOU ABREUY MARCUS for the strength in you. Is contagious. Man ! YOU ARE LIGHT.

    Blessings

    Jessica mayor

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