Ed Latimore is a former professional boxer who hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
During his boxing career, Latimore compiled a career record of 13-1-1 before ultimately retiring from the sport in 2016 at the age of thirty-two.
Following his retirement, the next year Latimore released his debut novel, Not Caring What Other People Think Is A Superpower: Insights From a Heavyweight Boxer.
The book chronicles parts of Latimore’s life where he overcame criticism in order to fulfill his potential as both a boxer, and an intellectual.
Then, in 2018, Latimore released another title: Sober Letters To My Drunken Self.
In Sober Letters To My Drunken Self, Latimore explores his past struggles with alcohol addiction, while at the same time attempting to offer insights to others who are trying to reach sobriety.
Latimore acknowledges that he is not an expert when it comes to dealing with addictions, but that from his past experiences he has been able to better understand what drives people to adopt certain lifestyles.
“What you learn from talking to people who have addictions is that they are looking for a way to cope. They’re also looking for a way to find belonging because their circumstances arise out of neglect,” Latimore says.
“You see this at all levels. Whether it is someone joining a street gang or an extremist movement, a lot of times it is done to gain acceptance.”
For Latimore, gaining acceptance was the catalyst for his own plunge into alcoholism.
“My path to acceptance was to drink. I was in a drinking community where I didn’t feel lonely. I didn’t have to worry about being awkward or not being liked. I could dumb myself down and fit in,” he admits.
Over time, Latimore became fully immersed in social circles that didn’t challenge him to be anything other than the likeable persona he embodied when he was under the influence.
“I never had to sit by myself,” he says, which satisfied his desire for social acceptance and helps explain why the former heavyweight, despite his athletic prowess, still sought alternative ways to receive approval.
In addition to openly discussing his battle with substance abuse, Latimore has gained attention online for his transparency regarding his experiences with pornography, an act that many young men around the world participate in.
“Pornography is a unique beast because unlike all the other addictions there is a distinct antisocial component to it. You don’t get together with your boys and watch porn,” Latimore says, adding that pornography consumption is rampant because it appeals to the biological nature of men.
“Porn does something really insidious. As men, we are already programmed to seek variety, and porn gives you access to that variety at no cost. You don’t have to be cool. You can just load up the screen and jerk off to whatever random woman you want to see.”
Latimore then likens pornography to scary movies because in both genres, disbelief is suspended, even though the viewer consciously knows that what is transpiring on screen is merely a cinematic production.
“Porn is not sex, but your brain does not fully understand that. Your brain can be tricked very easily, and this is how scary movies work,” Latimore explains.
“You know that nothing is actually going to happen to you when you are watching a scary movie, but you still have an emotional response to certain scenes.”
Latimore then warns that young men in particular are more susceptible to pornography addiction because they have higher levels of testosterone and a higher sex drive than their female counterparts.
This is another reason why Latimore is trying to instill good values and educate young men on the dangers of developing vices at an early age.
“I see too many young men who are hooked on porn before they are even in middle school because the internet is so ubiquitous. When I was that age, the internet was something that only schools had, and it was god-awful slow,” he shares.
While addressing the pitfalls of alcohol and pornography abuse are key factors in improving people’s lives, it is equally important to acknowledge why individuals succumb to stimulants.
Latimore says that if you were to analyze consumption using the Bell Curve as your point of reference, many people would fall into the median, meaning their consumption habits would not warrant reprehension.
“Most people can drink and not be a fool, but then there are extremes cases of people who consume a lot of alcohol and become addicted,” Latimore iterates.
Yet, for the individuals who are more at risk of developing a dependency on drugs, alcohol, or pornography, the psychological trait that impedes their well-being can also be reverse-engineered and allow them to achieve great accomplishments.
This reversal is exactly why once Latimore escaped the trappings of nights at the bar, his trajectory as a boxer and writer skyrocketed.
“That thing that makes you addicted can be applied to anything. A lot of people take that energy and then realize they can transfer it toward working out or writing a book,” Latimore says, but he is quick to note that surmounting personal demons will only occur if the affected individual finds their purpose.
“You have to want to modify your environment, and having a thing to focus on really helps. I credit boxing so much for this because for most of my amateur career, and early on as a pro, I was drinking heavily,” he remarks.
Beyond seeking to ascend in both the professional boxing ranks and in literary circles, Latimore also eliminated libations from his routine because he was slated to re-enroll in college.
This momentous shift also coincided with him meeting the woman who would later become his fiancé.
Latimore is adamant that despite needing to find salvation in order to escape his demons, the sport of boxing isn’t just a distraction.
In fact, as his career steadily gained traction and his addictions were banished to history, his devotion to lacing up the gloves only intensified.
“I didn’t want to look back and say that I messed up my career because of the booze,” he says.
“The cool thing about boxing was that it slowly introduced me to a new world, one that held me to a different standard and turned me into a small public figure where I had to learn how I behaved and how I was being perceived.”
Latimore also attributes his evolution to his coach, Tom Yankello, a boxing icon who has been in the corner for world champions Roy Jones Jr. and Paul Spadafora.
“I used to have a coach who was a young guy like me, but then I switched to Tom, who was fourteen years older than me. He had a kid and a wife, and I knew that I could no longer be the person that I was, the one who was constantly imbibing in alcohol,” Latimore says.
Yankello’s guidance motivated Latimore to exemplify virtue and honor, characteristics that not only make boxers perform well in the ring, but also push them to become upstanding members of society.
“People really underestimate the power of relationships,” Latimore says of his relationship with Yankello, a pairing that arguably can be seen as the driving force for the reinvention and eventual rise of the Pittsburgh native.
As for Latimore’s next move as a scribe, the future appears bright.
He has already sold enough copies of his books and generated enough interest in his life story that he is no longer beholden to typical financial realities.
“From a commercial aspect, my writing has single-handedly changed my life, to the point where I do not have to answer to anyone,” he says.
Plus, Latimore is constantly inundated with requests for writing consultations, as well as public speaking engagements.
Still, Latimore cautions aspiring creatives that the process of becoming a profitable writer is a lengthy affair.
“You don’t just write and then the money comes in. You have to understand SEO and produce content, as well as network with other like-minded individuals,” Latimore says.
“In many ways it’s the same thing as boxing, where now I’m in a new group and I have to find my way. I have been on so many podcasts to share my story, but if I didn’t have the ability to communicate that story, no one would know who I am. I would have just been that guy who fought and then went and wrote a little blog.”
As Latimore continues to elevate his brand over the course of the next decade, he also plans to author more books.
But perhaps most surprising is that Latimore is currently considering shifting from the autobiographical genre and moving toward writing fiction.
“That’s what I always wanted to do. The problem is that when you start down a path of one thing, you have to get it to a certain point before you can leave it alone and it can be self-sustainable,” Latimore says of his present artistic pursuits.
“My website is not quite there yet. I’m working to get it to 50,000 visitors per month.”
Reaching that number of views would be a tremendous feat, especially when you consider that not too many years ago Latimore was investing his time in mastering speedbags instead of the art of prose.
Which is to say that anyone with ambitions as lofty as Latimore’s can level up, provided they are willing to lock in and do the work.
“Whatever your idea is, just start it and figure it out along the way,” Latimore advises.
“It is very difficult to have a hard life if you focus on assisting people with whatever your unique gift is.” QS
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