Dedicated Father and Veterans Advocate Overcomes PTSD and Substance Abuse


In 1993, Dave Murphy, now proud father, dedicated husband and PTSD survivor was lying on a sidewalk in Ottawa, Ontario, after being stabbed 13 times.

For a lot of years he will tell you that attack not only haunted him, but turned him into an alcohol abuser with severe depression as a way to treat the pain he was suffering from.

Photos provided by Dave Murphy

The stabbing cost him half the muscles in one leg, then turning to food and alcohol, his health took a drastic turn for the worse. A scale once declared he was nearly 400 pounds.

So what changed? He credits both his wife and his daughter for inspiration.

“My daughter wanted to race home from the park one day,” recalls Murphy. “You know, dad doesn’t run.”

The pain in her eyes lit a fire inside of Murphy, one which has lead him to losing weight, fighting his demons and devoting his life to change. In much the same way he devoted his life to his passion, Tim Hortons for the Troops.

Photos provided by Dave Murphy

For almost a decade, Murphy worked with people across the country and some big name artists including KISS to support Canadian Troops while they served in Afghanistan. Raising tens of thousands of dollars in coffee cards to send overseas and bringing troops to concerts back home among other things.

Murphy is now an avid boxer, first learning to fight in the ring, followed by both his wife and little girl not only for fitness, but to continue encouraging Dave. He has lost 173 pounds and says both his depression and PTSD have been defeated. He has also taken up teaching people how to box now out of his home in Alberta.

“I went through over twenty years of anxiety attacks, short temper and resorted to alcohol to deal with it. I am lucky to be alive not just from my injuries but the years of self abuse I inflected on myself.  Letting PTSD build up overtime is very unhealthy,” stated Murphy.
“Now, I have more energy, I can do more things with my wife and daughter and have probably added 20+ years to my life from making both the physical and mental changes.”

What advice would he give people suffering from PTSD?

“My first piece of advice is that this has got to start with your mind before you even think about going to a gym, working out, trying a diet or whatever you are deciding to do.” advises Murphy. “My message to anyone in the same position I was in a year ago and afraid to go to the gym.  I was very self-conscious at the time, if I heard anyone laughing, I’d think ‘Oh my God they’re talking about me and laughing about your size.’ This is blunt but you need to not give a damn about what anyone thinks and realize you are there to better yourself, and get healthy.”

After losing so many pounds, Murphy has entered the Legendary Dad Bod contest, and has made it to the quarter finals. If he were to win, he would get a full write-up about his story in a national magazine along with a cash prize.

If he were to win he would take his family home and put a down payment on a house. You can vote daily for him here. You can also read much more about his story on his Facebook Profile, which includes videos and other excerpts focusing on his life victory.

In a world where substance use takes so many, Murphy is an example of what you can do if you can defeat those demons inside.

If you have overcome something in your life and would like your story out there, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].



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