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Home » Cycling » March 25, 2015 – Being Fit Keeps Me on the Right Path and Makes My Recovery More Awesome. As Usual.

March 25, 2015 – Being Fit Keeps Me on the Right Path and Makes My Recovery More Awesome. As Usual.


March 2015

I’m in a very weird place this last week.  Times are great for getting work, I have a lot of business, but I’m a lot short on manpower. In fact, it’s one of those, “it’s never easy” periods in my life. Of course, I could whine about how difficult things are, go out on a prodigious bender to escape, flushing twenty-two years of sobriety down the toilet (the escape is what most drunks chase, usually to their demise)…  I could, but that would be stupid because any idiot who has tried that in the past can tell you that it doesn’t work.  Believe me, I used to be one of those idiots.  In fact, the drunk approach makes everything harder and worse – every time.  It’s that simple.

So, I can’t curl up in a ball and suck on my thumb or I can’t suck on a bottle of whiskey, ending up curled in a ball, sucking on my thumb.  What to do, what to do!

Look, in context my problems are really quite awesome. I’d choose mine over another’s problems nine-point-nine times out of ten.  Even so, once in a while I need to take an hour to step back and change my perspective and to do that I go for a bike ride.  Sometimes it’s an escape, if only for an hour.  Others, it’s just a way to stop thinking for a minute so I can come back with a fresh perspective.  Either way, a bike ride is an opportunity to break some endorphins out of their cage and that’s always a good thing.

The prodigals at the Weather Channel were calling for a pretty crappy day – warm, but rainy.  When I got to the office (around 6:15 – I had to meet one of my guys) it was foggy, misty and just plain ugly.  By the time the afternoon rolled around, I’d had enough, I was beat down.  Long about three in the afternoon, the rain stopped abruptly and the sky started to clear.  By 3:30, the sun was breaking through the clouds and I didn’t care that it was supposed to be a rest day.  I packed up my computer, completed a few last-minute tasks and got my butt out the door.  I pulled into the driveway close to 4:30, unpacked the car and headed straight for my bike clothes.  It was warm compared to the last month, in the high 40’s and the wind was blowing like crazy but I didn’t care, I figured I’d take it really slow and call it a recovery ride.  The goal was to take a full hour to do my normal 16 mile route.

Into the 20 mph west wind, keeping my tempo down wasn’t too difficult, in fact I even managed to keep a lid on my warmth-and sun-charged enthusiasm with the crosswind, only hitting between 15 and 18 mph depending on headwind or crosswind.  I did get into trouble about nine miles in when I finally had a little help…  With the wind at my back I turned up the heat a little bit, ranging from 24-27 mph…  There’s just something about a tailwind when I’m on a bike – comparing it to something illicit wouldn’t do it justice, but suffice it to say, I can’t control myself.

I pulled into the driveway with a couple of minutes to spare but in truth, I was a lot closer to that hour than I figured I would be when I clipped in.  That ride was exactly what I needed to get back to a place where I could be proactive rather than reactive.  I had a nice dinner with my family, watched a few minutes of TV and then enjoyed one more advantage of daily bike rides – I slept like a baby.  Today is a new day and I’ve got what it takes to do what needs be done and I will…  Then I’ll go for another ride this evening – whether I need it or not.


  1. Your honesty of being in a weird place and admitting to struggles after 22 years of sobriety is inspiring. Only being on here for a short period of time I honestly thought that you may not even struggle with sobriety after all that time. I’m not in any way trying to drag you down so I hope I don’t come across like that. I, too feel that being fit goes hand in hand with the recovery process. It goes hand in hand with taking care of yourself. For me I feel like it keeps my mind right. Thank you for sharing! I hope you get the man power you need at work and the weather turns pleasant for a great ride this weekend:) -Jen

    • bgddyjim says:

      First, thank you. I thought long and hard about how to respond to your comment because “struggle” is an interesting choice of words depending on the context. What you read was actually a lack of struggle – and this is very important, thus the long reply… First, that initial thought of “I should get drunk” has been there from time to time, usually months between them, but they do pop up. What I wrote about is how I think the idea of a drink through from conception to drunk in a gutter, in an instant – only it happens a lot faster in my melon. That thought process is second nature now and I had to work quite hard at getting my brain to work like that. It took a lot of practice. In other words, I was never in any danger of actually taking a drink.

      On the other hand, life always presents us challenges. ALWAYS. Back when I was a younger man, I drank at those challenges rather than face them. The trick with these challenges today is that they come at me in new ways and are a direct result of my living a good, sober life. As we heal and begin making wise choices, good things happen. We become trusted at work, we get new responsibilities, we grow… As that happens, we are faced with new challenges that take different forms and we’re forced to either “work the steps at them” or hide from them – THIS struggle is ongoing as long as we’re recovering from alcoholism (from this, there is no escape but to drink and lose everything or “face everything and recover”). This latter “struggle” is what I dealt with yesterday and why I wrote that I would choose my troubles over someone else’s… My life may get tricky at times but it’s pretty darn good.

      I hope that makes sense.

  2. There’s something about a tailwind- oh yes!

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