Mental Legacy: Arizona man helps others overcoming adversity in life | Community Cares

June is Men's Mental Health Awareness Month and one Valley man is turning trauma into triumph and helping other men do the same.

"It was within these white walls I could see what everyone else already knew. I was an alcoholic."

Those words weren't easy to say, but Rudy Montijo knew he had to tell the truth and write his own story.

"I had no more ego when it came to alcohol."

From the outside, he had it all. A former wide receiver for the University of Arizona in Tucson, he moved to Phoenix after he graduated and started a successful career in medical sales – but that wasn't the real tale.

"I would get off of work. I would go home, and I would drink almost a bottle of vodka. I would wake up the next day, go back to work and do it all over again."

A car accident sent Rudy to a hospital and into the realization that he had tough choices to make.

"The facts spoke for themselves. It was time to be accountable, it was time to move forward, it was time to change."

The real change came years later in August 2019, when he started his journey to sobriety.

 "I've had a couple slip ups since then, but I'd say I drank 12 or 14 times over the past 11 years, so I've been sober 99.9% of the time. I'll have three years now coming up in July."

During those three years, he turned his wisdom into words with a book called Mental Legacy.

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"I like to consider myself a high achiever. I have played Division I football, I've done Iron Man triathlons. I'm an entrepreneur, father.. so I've done a lot of things, and I've succeeded in multiple areas of life and the book really applies the knowledge that I've gained my success to give to someone else." 

In addition to author, Rudy is a clinical therapist, having a master's in addiction science. It's another tool he uses to help other men overcome adversity in life, like Nathan A.

"I think I was just 15. I just started drinking my dad's beers and just drinking them in the closet. And I noticed this feels good. It was never any moderation. It was the more I drank, the better I felt, the lower my anxiety is."

Anxiety led Nathan to drink. In his words, until he blacked out, lost all feeling – lost that anxiety. He started sessions with Rudy over a year ago and has maintained sobriety.

"A lot of times, it's more freeing. You can show the strength to talk about it. It kind of allows other people to open up."

"My whole philosophy is compassion without coddling. I'm not going to coddle you. I don't believe that's going to do any benefit for you. I come from a background of football and athletics. I think just getting to the root and being real honest with you, man to man, that's the best gift that I can do.. how you receive that is up to you."

"That's the first process when we talk about ego. We talk about our defense mechanism."

Rudy put his ego aside and did what he had to survive, thrive, set a good example for his kids, and for other men struggling with addiction.

"I don't believe you can have sustained sobriety unless you raise the quality of life. If you build something, and you want more than that old life and that's what the book is really about, it is creating and growing both physically, professionally and personally." 

The book is seven chapters long. Three main points of the process include ego and accountability, needs and desired outcome, and leadership.

He really keeps it simple, breaking down exactly what worked for him and how.

The book is available online at