‘Never Give Up': Acushnet Man Overcomes Addiction by Powerlifting
At the age of 54, Acushnet resident Allan Greenson is preparing to shatter yet another powerlifting world record. As impressive as that is, his life story is an even bigger feat.
On Saturday, June 18, Greenson will attempt a 600-pound deadlift at The Nutmeg State Open Championship in South Windsor, Connecticut. He'll be entered into the 50-54 age group and is ready to bring home gold.
This will be his eighth powerlifting meet in the past two-and-a-half years.
Greenson's weightlifting journey began at the impressive age of 47 years old, but even though he is in great shape now, that wasn't always the case. Twenty years ago, he hit rock bottom with alcohol and lost just about everything but the shirt on his back.
"I got sober at 46," Greenson said. "I was homeless for about a decade and a half, in and out of institutions and jail, all due to alcoholism. By the time my 30s came around, I was out of control, unemployed and no one would hire me. I had no one -- no friends and my own family wouldn't even return my phone calls. It wasn't until I got sober in Illinois after serving 10-and-a-half months in prison. That's when I knew I had to make a change for the best."
After Greenson cleaned up his act, he started going back to the gym. It was once a hobby of his as a teenager, having trained hard in his 20s. He decided to pick it up where he left off.
"I found myself getting stronger and that's when my friend Chris Neves recommended signing up for powerlifting meets," Greenson said. "I was 51 at the time and my very first competition was with Revolution Powerlifting Syndicate where I ended up placing No. 2 overall in the world on all of the lifts (squat, deadlift and bench) for the 50-54 Masters age bracket. A year later, I returned to the same meet and took home another world record for a 540-pound deadlift."
As Greenson progressed, he became stronger and kept lifting heavier. He moved on to the World Powerlifting Association, where he now holds a U.S. record for a 580-pound squat, as well as a world record for the total of all three lift categories combined.
"My best powerlifting meet was last October. I was 53 years old," Greenson said. "I swept all three categories: deadlift, squat and bench for first place in my age group."
Among his accomplishments, Greenson befriended and was taken under the wing of American World Champion Powerlifter Larry Pacifico who flew Greenson out to Ohio to compete at the Larry Pacifico Challenge.
"He (Pacifico) took care of me, fed me, got me transportation and even a hotel stay," Greenson said. "It was the best weekend of my life."
Looking forward to Saturday, Greenson's outlook is nothing but clear skies and focused positivity.
"I'm going to do very well, God willing," Greenson said. "The last lift was at 580 pounds and I've already accomplished 600 pounds (his goal) in my home gym, so I'm going to keep doing what I do best."
Greenson continued to dig deep from the hole he fell into back in his 30s and his hard work is finally paying off. He became a certified personal trainer and powerlifting coach in August 2021 and will soon take over the World Powerlifting Association/American Powerlifting Associations for the Rhode Island division.
His message to those struggling with alcoholism or any form of addiction is simple, yet Greenson is living proof that anything is possible with the right mindset.
"Never give up on yourself," Greenson said. "If I can do it, anyone can do it. I struggled with the disease of addiction for over 30 years and I'm finally back on the right path. Never give up. If you put your mind to it, you can do just about anything."
Best of luck, Allan. I, along with the SouthCoast, will wait patiently to hear how well you did.
Stay focused, lift heavy, and keep inspiring.