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Daily Archives: November 18, 2013

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Celebrating 21 Years Clean and Sober in Style

The big day is here:IMG_3378If the last couple of days of celebrating with my friends and my glorious wife weren’t enough, Amanda over Amanda’s COREner nominated me for the 2013 Blog of the Year Award!

Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpeg

When I was just six months sober an old timer gave me a coin to celebrate the event and as he presented it said, “I promise you, if you stick around long enough your life will be so good you’ll believe it just can’t get any better…  And if you just keep coming back, it will”.  I’ve been there more times than I can count and I’ve been enjoying one of those waves for quite some time now.

Humorously enough, recovery is a lot like cycling in one important respect:  In cycling, the saying goes:  “It doesn’t get any easier, you just go faster” (thank you Greg LeMond).  Well in recovery the saying is “It doesn’t get any easier, you just get better”.  When I quit drinking, despite all of the good intentions one can possess, I was a loser.  I had a horrible penchant for procrastination which meant I didn’t take care of my responsibilities and hoped that wreckage I was creating would just iron itself out.  Over time, one mess after another compounded creating such a personal hole I feared there was no chance of ever digging out.  I was sorely mistaken about the difficulty that lay before me for one simple reason:  I was trying to figure out how to repair the damage I’d created with the same thinking that created the problems in the first place – I simply wasn’t capable of anything greater at the time.

Enter a new way of looking at life.  Imagine a grocery or hardware store that simply flies by the seat of its pants – with a manager who doesn’t take stock of what’s on the shelves and what needs to be ordered.  To make a long story short, you end up with a mess.  Too much of certain items and not enough of others.  Before long you’ve got the upper management mad about the overages because you ran out of space to store the overages and the customers are angry that you never have what they need.  This was my life, in a nutshell.  The solution was to take an honest inventory of my personal stock.  As one could imagine, there was a lot in shortage and hardly anything of value in the overage column.  Once the inventory was done (my first decent one took me a full weekend, 8-10 hours Friday, Saturday and I finished Sunday evening) I shared it with a mentor, another recovering person who was well beyond my current predicament, and we set to putting together a plan to properly balance the shelves.

One problem at a time, one resentment at a time, one deficiency at a time, I cleared the wreckage and began to reorder my life.  Old habits die hard though and changing them took some time and lot of effort.  I stuck with it though, hoping that the old-timer was right and knowing that whatever happened, what little I did have was much better than what I left behind.  I can’t put an exact time on it, but sooner rather than later, I hit that point, where my life had become good enough that I couldn’t imagine it getting better and just like he’d promised – I kept at it and it did get better.

Now, going back to the cycling analogy:  While things did get better, as did I, they didn’t get any easier.  I have a rewarding and enjoyable life today because I chose to quit drinking and to clean up my act but with the betterment of my life came a lot more responsibility.  In other words, my life has grown vastly more complex requiring more effort to maintain everything – it’s gotten harder, but because I’ve continued with that inventory and stuck to doing the next right thing at any given moment, I have gotten better.

Finally, I’d like to pass this award on to five blogs written by people who inspire me:

Aaron West at steep climbs, who has been fighting his way through an unimaginable injury that’s kept him off of his bikes but is maintaining a great attitude throughout the process.

Aaron over at Chatter Gets Fit:  Even though Amanda gave him the award in her post, I’m re-upping him.

Fat Guy to Tri Guy…  Another fellow who’s fought his own adversity to make it.

Elisariva, a long time blog friend who is going through some serious trials of her own.

And Finally Sandra over at A Promise to Dad – because she deserves this one.  She’s helped me more than any blogger since I started writing.

The originator of the Award can be found here.

Thanks Amanda, Aaron, Aaron, FGtTG, Elisa and Sandra – and to everyone who keeps coming back to my blog.  Thank you.

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