Ian “The Hurricane” Heinisch has taken on many frightening opponents. From MMA fighters to international prison time to Riker’s Island prisoner death threats to drug addiction. Heinisch has faced more than the average man and overcome more than the average man. After facing his first opponent under the UFC banner, Cezar Ferreira, and defeating him via unanimous decision,  Heinisch reflects on what has led him to this point.

“They diagnosed me with ADD, ADHD, and an impulsive disorder,” says Heinisch. “My doctor had prescribed me 40mg of Adderall a day and Xanax to calm me down because the amphetamines had me so hyped up. I didn’t realize that this wasn’t normal until I went to Canada and a pharmacist looked at me like I was crazy for taking these things and the doctor was crazy for prescribing.”

Heinisch’s prescription drug use turned into drinking socially; taking a turn for the worse when he ended up in a daily habit of waking up and drinking alcohol to feel normal. Drinking and prescription drugs turned into dealing ecstasy, along with heavy use, which turned into daily use of cocaine while he was trafficking it in Spain. What started out as something Heinisch thought was normal, turned into an entire lifestyle of illegal drugs with illegal actions.

“I ended up getting incarcerated for over two years,” said Heinisch. “I got sober during that time and I thought that was the end of it. I got out of prison and was no longer drinking or doing drugs.”

Heinisch thought, like many others, that because he had gotten the drugs out of his system that he was no longer addicted and no longer needed to use. He started fighting full time and ended up getting injured in early 2017. He was prescribed painkillers and soon he found himself in a similar drug and alcohol cycle as before.

Things didn’t fully change for Heinisch and his addiction until he came across a baptism and felt a yearning to cleanse his addiction away. “The water was just clear during the baptism and it felt like my addiction had been washed away. My addiction died in that pool. God had saved me from this addiction that I had been dealing with my entire life. Nothing cured my addiction until this day. Not rehab, not probation, not prison, nothing. November 12, 2017 is my sobriety date. It used to be that I would count down the time until the next time I could drink or use, but not anymore.”

Heinisch knowns that his recovery is something that needs daily, sometimes hourly, attention. He has a combination of efforts that help keep his recovery on track. Training MMA, daily exercise, yoga, church, group therapy through a church, a strong support system are all things that work for Heinisch, and that he recommends to others who find themselves struggling with addiction.

“My biggest recommendation to anyone that is dealing with addiction is to get yourself out of your current situation,” says Heinisch. “Going to a rehab is a fresh start. This is a new community of people who understand you and encourage you to leave the path of addiction. Going to rehab is so powerful because you’re admitting you have a problem and facing it.”

Heinisch also recommends surrounding yourself with a group of people that understand and support you. “Opening up about what is going on with people who have been through it, or who respect you enough to listen and not offer you or pressure you with substances, is extremely helpful.”

Whether you go to treatment in a rehab, open up to your loved ones for help, exercise, meditate, turn to God, or whatever else, Heinisch pushes that the most important thing is that you’re accepting your addiction and facing it.

“There are so many different things that can work for people, no one is the same,” says Heinisch. “You have to trial and error so many different things in order to find what works for YOU. Starting off, if you or a loved one are facing addiction and need help or information, call Windward Way Recovery at 844-252-5930.”

Now that Heinisch has defeated Ferreira in the UFC Fight Night 140, he plans to enjoy his victory and then get straight to training for his next fighting opportunity, possibly in January against David Branch. Stay tuned for more information about Heinisch’s journey and future partnership with Windward Way.