WEST JEFFERSON-On June 8, 1988, David Albin, of Fleetwood, faced a stark decision.
In one hand, he gripped a gun. In the other, a telephone.
Albin was in dire straits. He was an alcoholic and a drug addict and he felt he had few options and little in the way of hope.
In perhaps the darkest moment of his life, Albin chose that glimmer of hope by calling Alcoholics Anonymous and beginning his path to recovery.
But as Albin soon realized, the right and the hardest choice are often the same.
In his rehabilitation, Albin found trouble sleeping and insomnia soon gripped him as a cruel side effect of sobriety.
Late one evening, he turned on his T.V. and was instantly pulled in by a late night infomercial featuring motivational speaker Tony Robbins. Albin was hooked on the self improvement style speeches.
“I bought his 30-day program and it really, really worked,” said Albin.
He eventually turned a close friend, who was also fighting for sobriety, onto the words of Robbins.
Fast forward to the summer of 1995 when Albin learned that Robbins was coming to his town for a speaking engagement.
Albin said he knew without a doubt that he wanted to meet the key source of his inspiration.
Almost immediately, however, his enthusiasm turned to dread. His friend told him that Robbins’ event would feature a fire walk.
“I didn’t know exactly what he meant by that, but I was like, ‘There’s no way,’” he recalled.
Upon arrival, Albin made a point to stay far away from the glowing coals and line of eager walkers that were frantically chanting. But it wasn’t long until Albin was approached and asked if he wanted to make the walk.
“I said absolutely not,” he said.
In that moment, Albin realized just how much fear was controlling his life.
He was told by an event organizer, ‘Hey. It’s fine. You don’t have to walk.’
“I immediately thought, ‘Hey. I like this guy already,’” said Albin. “And I was thinking, ‘Yea. I would like to watch this.’”
All the same, Albin was asked to walk up to the front of the crowd to get a better view of the demonstration.
He was so entranced by the dancing flames syncing with the raw emotion of fear and excitement transfixed across the face of the walkers
that he had no idea he had been pushed to the front of the line.
Albin was suddenly faced with another life changing moment. He could choose the easy way out and simply walk away and quit – like he could’ve
years ago. Or once again, face the same fear that had been controlling him his whole life and take that first step.
His choice was simple and a must. He took the first step.
As he descended upbon the glowing embers, he didn’t think about the pain. He didn’t think about the fear of singing his skin. Albin was simply focused on the reward on the other end.
“If you take that first step then you will definitely take the second step,” he said. “That’s what life is all about.”
After crossing the 1,000 degree bed of embers, Albin was expecting to see large swollen blisters on the soles of his feet.
He saw none; just his blackened heels.
“How did I do that?” he thought. “How did I not burn myself? I wanted to learn more.”
Albin was hooked.
For nearly 20 years, Albin worked alongside Robbins in holding fire walk events across the world.
Through his work, he has met people from all walks of life.
“I’ve firewalked Usher to Opra,” he said.
The results that followed the trials in each person’s life were a sight to behold, he said.
“I have seen first hand all these people come out with this glow to them that was absolutely incredible,” he said. “Their lives were change. Their brain was telling them,’You just walked through fire. What else can you do?’”
Seeing the demand for fire walking in corporate America as a team building exercise, Albin decided to branch out on his own and specialize in the demonstrations in the niche market.
But Albin was still faced with the the simple, yet complex question: Where to base his operations?
The answer to that question would emerge soon enough.
“In February of last year, I was helping my daughter move to the High Country and I just immediately fell in love with the area,” said Albin.
Knowing that he found his new home, Albin felt the time was right to attempt the next daunting challenge of his life.
He wanted to make the High Country known for more than beautiful views and ski slopes to tourists that frequent the region.
Albin wanted the region to be the only location in America to feature a fire walk that is open for the general public.
Within a short time frame, Albin’s talents and experiences became well-known in Boone and West Jefferson.
He was hired on the spot for WinterFest in Blowing Rock.
Under the name of Firework Productions, LLC, Albin gave life to his dream of a public fire walk and to bring the inspirational and spiritual teachings with it.
To help promote his enterprise, he has partnered with the Ashe Chamber of Commerce, to hold the first public fire walk
demonstration to be held in West Jefferson at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 1 at the WJ ball park next to the library.
In addition to fire walking, Albin will also hold demonstrations on board breaking, re-bar bending, and of course,