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What Ails You? Now, Do You Want to get Better, or Not?


August 2014

I have a new favorite go-to song when I’m feeling beat up, and believe me, it happens.  The importance is not in the lyrics, I haven’t even bothered to learn them.  It’s more about the beat and the chorus – it helps me to focus on what’s really important, but more on that later…

The second time I heard the song the idea for this post came to me. I know a lot of recovering people and I was a very rare bird in that group.  When I quit drinking in ’92 I really had enough, at just 22 years-old, I was completely out of control.  I was the bloodied MMA fighter in a choke hold wildly tapping out mere seconds before I blacked out.

I wanted to get better…

More importantly, I was willing to do anything (legal) to quit. I just wanted the pain caused by my stupidity, lethargy and addiction to stop. There’s nothing quite like that feeling. It’s scary as all hell. However, once the decision was made and I put my first foot on the path of recovery, it was elation, even if that elation was short lived – after that I had to get to work cleaning up the wreckage and that was no fun, till it was done – but then came freedom.

The point is, and what this song does for me, it reminds me that it’s all pretty simple; I just want to get better.

Now, there’s a trick to the simplicity and it’s rather unfortunate:  I have to give up that which holds me back from actually getting better.  In my case the order went like this:


All of those things destroy my spirit over time, they make life impossible to enjoy because it’s always one calamity after another, one bad decision after another, if I don’t.  It’s really that simple*.

*Please note, I did not use the word “easy”.  Giving up that which holds me down is anything but easy, especially when it comes to excuses (others call them “reasons”).

Now, in case you may wonder, this principle works for everything, even something as minor as cycling (or running and swimming).  If I’m going through a tough spell, and we all have them, I want to get better.  I have to do a little inventory of what’s holding me back (usually it’s located somewhere in the gray matter between my ears) and knock it off.  I got dropped on my century a week back.  What’s the problem?  I’ve been taking it a little too easy, not working hard enough.  That had its effects over a month and I slowed down (naturally).  I want to get better.  As soon as I identified the problem, I didn’t even bother with the lying, excuses, BS and procrastination, I just got to fixing the problem.  I am getting better.  It’s only rocket science if I hold on to that which holds me back.

I wanna get better:



  1. dagowop says:

    This will be the understatement of this still young millennium, but that sounds rough. Your story though is nothing but inspirational and I’m glad to read about it.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Sure it’s rough, and you only get the “cleaned up” version 22 years after – it was NASTY. On the other hand, it’s kind of a beautiful thing.

      Challenges are preparation for tomorrow’s success.

      • dagowop says:

        True indeed. I’m a nurse and frequently care for people with addictions that nearly kill them. I’ve never had a deadly addiction so knowing what they’re going thru helps me stay compassionate, something difficult when all you can think of is how these people do it to themselves. It all comes from my ignorance.

        So thanks from me and my patients.

      • bgddyjim says:

        I’m glad I could help. Unfortunately, I have to correct the record just a bit… I did do it to myself. I was, in no uncertain terms, stupid. To put it mildly, “full of it”. While we drunks can use someone who pats us on the back, make no bones about it, in the midst of our disease, we’ll steal your wallet and help you look for it. Also consider that only about 3% of us actually recover. Just know that what you do matters. We need people like you and all of us who break the chains have someone like you in our story.

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