Atlanta, GA – At first glance it might appear that successful business owner, philanthropist, author and public speaker Benjamin Graham has it all. But it wasn’t always this way. His story of determination, courage and survival serves as an inspiration.
Affectionately known as “Bigmouthben,” Ben graduated as an honor roll student with a promising-looking future. But in college he started a downward spiral toward addiction, and from that point on spent many years struggling not only with addiction, but also with mental illness originating from harrowing childhood traumas – Ben was actually molested when he was six years old.
To add to his misery, Ben was accidentally crushed while working on the back of a garbage truck in early 2000, leaving him so severely injured he was confined to a wheelchair for a year. He suffered excruciating pain. And with his entire pelvic area crushed, he wasn’t expected to be able to walk again.
“I am living proof that if you hit rock bottom you can still turn your life around,” says Ben.
After persevering through months of rehabilitation, Ben learned how to walk again, and took his first step toward his dream of owning his own business. He turned his wheelchair into a snack cart and peddled his wares in the downtown streets of Atlanta.
Addiction took control of Ben’s life again, and he found himself sleeping under a bridge, ironically only two blocks away from the Bigmouthben Stores he now owns, together with his college sweetheart, Tanya Graham.
Ben credits his survival to a spiritual awakening, and is especially grateful to the various Continuum of Cares in Atlanta who played a large part in helping him get treatment for his addiction. His goal in life now is to inspire others. And outside his business sits a bike covered with bright yellow duct tape that represents the sunshine –his purpose to brighten the lives of others.
“My story is one that needs to be shared,” says Ben. “I survived for a reason, and that is to bring awareness and hope to the addiction crisis.”
Ben is doing everything in his power to do just that. He speaks at schools, court-mandated programs, corporations and organizations, and has published The Book of Benjamin through Christian Faith Publishers. He and Tanya are also spearheading a non-profit organization called “Motivation Forward” that helps those dealing with homelessness, addiction and mental illness.
A powerful motivational speaker, Ben is happy to share his story of overcoming to inspire others. To book a speaking engagement with Ben, or for more information, visit his website at www.bigmouthben.com.