by Michael Barton aka MonticelloCards

This hobby has saved my life! I have always had addiction problems, and I have been places I wouldn’t send my worst enemy to. But two years ago, I began to change. I became spiritual (not Religious) and found God, and in order to continue being successful (Made Presidents List at College) I moved to upstate New York about 12 years ago. I split time – summers here and winters on Long Island. It was a very hard transition, but 8 years ago we moved to NEPA and I found a job I loved being the general manager of the store. Eventually, wrestling and cards got me into the wrestling business. I wish I could give proper thanks, but I have been sanctioned in regards to who these companies are. It’s okay – I was mad for a while but realized its just another life lesson. They feel like it is a horrible idea to have a former addict use their name, even in a positive article. I worked for this coffee company for five years, and in the wrestling business for two plus. But wrestling was my greatest dream and biggest downfall!

I don’t need to go into detail, partly because I don’t need to tell you everything and there are some stories that I still cannot share. But I slipped from my path one night, hanging out with as Multi-Time WWE and TNA world champion. Of course I want a beer! Took me a year to get it together, and I can vouch for damage done. Having a second surgery to try to fix my knee and elbow surgery for major nerve damage and atrophy. The sad thing is I am only 35, and shouldn’t be having these issues at this age. But I went to the Recovery Center in Monticello in 2009, and that’s where I rediscovered my passion for cardboard and found my faith in God.

Cards give me something to do when I get bored. I use the HALT (Hungry, angry, lonely, tired) method to always stay cool under any pressure situation. But I think my boredom in life contributed to my relapse. And now, although I don’t buy hobby boxes because I cannot afford them, I am always getting blasters when I go food shopping at Walmart. I will not lie, this is not an easy disease to win against. It is a daily program of simple living that helps me.

Cards save my life everyday. How? Simply put, if I get a little hyper dealing with some issues, I can get in the car and be there in five minutes. But I always ask an emergency question if something overwhelms me – do I go and do something stupid, or buy a little 2011 Bowman and 2011 Rookies and Stars? This question is always answered with the latter response. Yes, I use cards to fulfil a need sometimes. Pack ripping is a passion of mine – and thanks to Walmart – I always get my new fix. I take recovery extremely seriously. I have found many things in the two plus years I have been clean. I am a college student now. I help others without wanting anything in return. And I collect cards, especially 2011 Score (Hey, at 99 cents a pack, its an easy purchase). So how exactly does it work? Allow me more time to explain.

Cards help me learn patience and discipline. It takes time to build sets, and while the Internet helps, it’s hard to find all the cards you need in the big sets. I read all the information on the base cards – I have learned so much through reading informative card backs. Maybe a superstar is a collector like us, and they put it out there. With the Internet, it is easier to find any type of other cards like inserts game/event used and or authentic autographs. I get more excitement out of pulling a cool looking card – whether it be a base card with a sweet action shot or a game used or autograph. Even the cheap autos I love.

I wish I had more money, but being in college there are some interesting challenges you face. But I get cards when I can, even bulk base cards, because if you pay attention to detail (another trait I learned thanks to cards – I remember discovering the 1989 Fleer Billy Ripken error swear word card). Ever since, I always pay attention to the detail of cards, yet another trait I have learned thanks to the hobby.

I am ecstatic about this hobby. I stay positive and stick with the cool traders on our board. I used to be here to strictly buy and sell and make money, but now I collect everything involved with cards – and I set up completion challenges for myself to never get bored. Thank you to everyone involved in this hobby and SCF, it’s the exclusive place I trade, and the greatest card trading site on the Internet.