Lifted Out of Addictions: How One Local Fitness Professional Overcame Drug and Alcohol Abuse
by DR. KASIA SUAREZ
Selina Lopez Hinojosa is a local Corpus Christi resident and a fitness professional who owns LIFT by Selina. Hinojosa has been a fitness professional since 2000 and has worked her way up to a Master Fitness Professional. Within the last few years, she has become a medical exercise specialist who designs and implements exercise programs for clients with medical conditions and/or injuries.
When Selina was certified in 2000 she worked under a seasoned trainer. Selina was hired to be this trainer’s personal assistant and was taken under her new mentor’s wing. Selina said she was able to see the therapeutic side of fitness and was blessed to have been exposed to that. Selina fell in love with the field and loved how she is able to use exercise to help people heal or recover from medical conditions.
Eighteen years later, Selina was inspired to take steps to be able to support people with injuries. Selina learned from Dr. Michael Jones, founder of the Medical Exercise Training Institute in Katy, Texas. Dr. Michael Jones was Selina’s mentor, who supported her as she recently finished her certification and completed her residency.
“I really wanted to use those experiences to educate and inspire others to live a healthier life,” said Selina.
Selina Hinojosa has a lot to celebrate. Recently, she was invited to a photoshoot and her story will be featured in Bodyscape Magazine, and one of her photos will be featured in Times Square!
Selina’s life was not always this “easy.” She faced many struggles and challenges while she was growing up, and many more as an adult.
“I struggled with a 17-year alcohol and drug addiction. I struggled for a very long time,” Selina shared.
Hinojosa explained she started drinking like many teenagers do: casually on the weekends. She said it seemed fun, and underage drinking was accepted. She knew it was not the right thing to do, but it seemed like “everyone was doing it” at Moody High School.
“It seemed like an innocent kind of thing, not a big deal. But for me it turned into something darker and much deeper than that,” said Selina.
Selina thought long and hard about her past, trying to figure out what made her decide to drink and try drugs in the first place. She had a good upbringing, and two parents that loved her dearly.
“They nurtured us and always kept us in a safe, structured environment,” Hinojosa reflected.
She did not grow up around people who abused alcohol. Adult relatives may have had a few beers on the weekend, but nothing that led her to make that decision.
Selina realized what started her alcohol addiction was the fact that all she wanted was to be accepted. In middle school Selina was bullied by a group of girls that did not make her life easy.
“Being bullied and wanting to fit in was how it all started,” Selina shared.
Selina saw that many of her classmates were drinking and trying drugs, and she wanted to fit in. Selina believes she became addicted to alcohol the first time she got that buzz.
It was her sophomore year, right after homecoming, she remembers going to a party at a hotel room. Selina said there was a lot of alcohol, and she remembers that was the first time she got intoxicated. She remembers the effect it had on her body, and that’s when she says she fell in love with it.
Selina admits she started drinking outside of parties and social situations and thought it was a normal thing to do. It wasn’t until later in life she realized that it wasn’t normal to feel the need to drink in order to numb one’s self to life.
Selina’s parents were not aware that she had fallen into this problem. Her parents did not suspect anything because Selina was an honors student, played in the band, and was engaged in many extra curricular activities.
Selina explained she learned to be a sneaky and a manipulative person. Selina would steal alcohol from her parents and hide it so they wouldn’t notice.
“When you are addicted, you will do whatever it takes, even if it means stealing from your family. That’s how much of a hold that has on you,” Selina added.
Selina pointed out that addiction can happen in any zip code, to people of any skin color or political status. She has seen first hand that there are no boundaries to who addiction can take a hold of.
She also cautions people not to judge the families of people who are addicted. Not all who are addicted to alcohol or drugs were introduced to substances at home. Many parents have no idea what their children are doing. Hinojosa said her parents were fantastic and kept her sheltered, but addiction still got a hold of her.
Selina’s addiction worsened as she was attending college at Del Mar. She got married a few years later, and had her first child.
“You would think having a child would be an incentive to get yourself straight. But the science behind alcohol is that you are not yourself, and do not have control over yourself,” explained Selina.
Selina shared that her marriage did not work out. She continued to struggle with her alcohol addiction. Six years ago she remarried and had her second child. Then she reached rock bottom.
Selina fell into a dark place. She stopped working, and she drank all day. Selina fell into a deep depression and began self-mutilating. Selina went in and out of rehabilitation hospitals, psychiatric care, and Alcoholics Anonymous.
“All of those programs are wonderful programs, but you have to be ready to change. And I wasn’t quite ready to change,” Hinojosa admitted.
It was during this time in her life that Selina began abusing prescription drugs in addition to her alcohol addiction.
Selina’s turning point was when her husband took kids to school and she had opened a bottle of wine. She had a very emotional day and was drinking and crying. During that time in her life, she was far from the person she is today. She was unhealthy physically, spiritually, and emotionally, and she accepted this defeated attitude as her new reality.
“I sat there on the couch, hopeless. I did not have any plans for my career, my family or myself. I thought, ‘This is who I am and how I’m going to die, because I have put myself in a lot of dangerous situations,’” Selina said.
As Selina sat there feeling utterly hopeless, she took out her son’s Bible. She didn’t know where to look in the Bible, or what to look for. She flipped through a couple of pages and started reading.
Selina recalled that something happened when she read the Bible that she cannot explain in the natural. She said it felt like a miracle, and that a peace came over her because something in her changed. She knew that she was healed. It was, and continues to be, the most amazing experience in her life!
From that point forward, Selina wanted to change. She truly wanted to change her decisions, she wanted to follow God, and she wanted to get better. Her husband told her that he wanted to do this with her. She knew she had a lot of work to do, and the road would be tough, but she was determined to overcome this addiction. And she did!
Selina used these experiences to fuel her in the work that she is doing today. She uses her story to inspire others and share hope with them. There are many resources available, and Selina wants people to know they should not be afraid to reach out and access those resources. It is possible to live in victory, no matter how long a person has struggled with addiction!