While I’ve got you here, if you’re newer than a year to my blog, I wrote a post a couple of few years ago about the month-long celebration I enjoy every November. It’s easily the best post I’ve ever written. Please check it out here… Especially if you want a quick glimpse into the hell that is alcoholism and the freedom that comes with recovery, or my hell at least.
On that note, today is the day of my 24th anniversary of sobriety and it’s fair to say I am quite stoked. Not posting over the last couple of weeks has been a blessing – there’s been a sense of freedom that’s come with not having to deal with posting, reading and commenting on other blogs. On the other hand, there’s a bit of a void because I’m not cranking out one or two posts a day. The hardest has been the fact that I’ve come up with a lot of great things to write about over the last several days and I’ve had to let those possible posts go. There’s one that won’t keep though.
I made a mistake when taking my inventory before I decided to take a break from blogging. Before I do take my leave I wanted to crank out one more post that explains this problem in depth because it’s important, especially in terms of recovery.
First, a bit of backstory. About ten years ago I had an amazing sponsor. He made me feel good about being me, just by talking with me – even if I wasn’t feeling so good about who I was. He did that for a lot of people. I would see him walk into a meeting and the whole dynamic of the room, filled with upwards of 40 recovering drunks, would change. I wanted that. I wanted to be able to help others feel that way about themselves. I wanted for my wife to have a husband like that, to know that I loved her so dearly that she felt relief when I walked in the front door at home. I wanted for my kids, one on the way and the other not even a dream yet, to have a dad that good. That’s why I asked him to be my sponsor. It’s a fairly straightforward process, really. If you want what someone else has, do what they do. I was going to learn how to help others feel like I did when I spoke with Mike from the master himself.
Sadly, cancer took him way too early, but not before I was able to learn some excellent life lessons about how he ticked and how I could use what he so graciously passed on to be a better me. After his death I asked a friend of his to take over where he left off and while he’s been different in terms of sponsorship, he has been fantastic.
This ties into the creation of this blog. For one reason or another, sponsoring newly recovered alcoholics has never been my strong suit. It’s not for a lack of trying, it’s just never worked out that I’ve found a noob who wanted to work at sobriety like I did. Let’s just say I’m a little more straight forward than most. That works where I grew up in sobriety but not where I live now. Let’s just say it’s a kinder, gentler program when compared with where I sobered up.
So, going back to my sponsor. I knew I wanted to be of use to others like he was for me, I just didn’t know how to do it so I did what any friend of Bill does in that situation, I asked my Higher Power for guidance.
Separately, and completely unaware, I was getting into cycling after having been a runner for a time, thought it would be fun to start up a blog that revolved around both fitness and recovery. I learned quickly once I started running how important fitness was to recovery. Put simply, fitness makes recovery easier and more enjoyable. Add to that a bunch of sober friends and it’s magic. The idea was to get into this with two of my running buddies. They didn’t want to, for a few varying reasons, so I went about it on my own. Thus, Fit Recovery was born. The rest is history, as they say.
Now, fast forward to my decision to take a break from blogging last weekend. This isn’t something I’ve taken lightly – I’ve thought long and hard about it over the last month. I skipped something though, without even thinking about it. I didn’t consult with the Higher Power. Typically, the way this works for me is, as I pray about something, I simply say “God (we say God to keep it simple), this is my plan. If this is not meant to be in terms of Your will, please let me know by putting a few roadblocks in my path. Also, please make them pretty big because I tend to be dense from time to time and I don’t want to miss them.”
Now I don’t know if it would have changed anything, if I hadn’t skipped that crucial step, but there’s definitely something I missed. Let’s just say I’ve run into a road block without even asking for one. In my post announcing my break and possible retirement from blogging I received a bunch comments, more than on any previous post. Some really rocked my little world:
So long Jim. I’ll miss your voice. In this small corner of England, in fact in my very small corner of the t’internet, I don’t know another voice like yours.
If we were all as honest as you, Jim, we might also admit there were times when the ones that matter most are not those at the end of a blog post, but in the other room, waiting for us to stop tapping away on the keyboard. I’ll miss the regular feed, and your posts will be of great help and inspiration to noobs like me all over the globe.
I started following you mid 2014 after sobering up and starting to take cycling somewhat seriously. I still can’t remember how I found your blog, truly believe it was one of those “it was meant to happen” instances. Since then your blog has been one of my top sites and is more often than not the first thing I click on when I open my laptop. Your insight into sobriety is very easy to digest and process for me, and your tips on cycling have been priceless. Thank you for helping me grow by leaps and bounds in both of these areas of my life!
Hey, I came to this blog via my other half … As a triathlon newbie and a friend of Bills it showed me how the program works in a really practical way.When my swimming coach critised my stroke I was able to curse her and then do a step 4!!!
My friends, my Higher Power gave me what I was asking for all along and not only have I missed it, I’ve been looking at letting it go. I am useful, just not in the traditional sense that I’d intended when I asked all those years ago. There have been comments like those above over the years that have kept me going but I never realized the depth of it until that last post. This put a serious hitch in my giddyup and I discussed it with my wife last week. Thankfully, she was able to put things in a bit clearer perspective for me because she’s not emotionally attached to the blog like I am.
The well wishes and especially the comments about how sharing my experience has helped other people has been emotionally uplifting and tough at the same time. I’ve never been a crier (I think my wife has only seen me drop a tear a handful of times in the last 20 years) but I’ve gotten a bit misty over a few of the comments. Viewing that as my road block to a clean break, I am going to reconsider the duration of my break and pray for some guidance in the matter. I know a break is the right thing to do for right now. I just don’t see it being as permanent as it once may have been. For now, it’ll be a six month break followed by an evaluation of where I’m at. If, in the end, I choose to return, I’ll just have to look at the advice of others who suggested I cut back to once a week on the posts.
In the end, being of use to my fellows is all it’s ever been about. While being sober and living a decent, clean life is unquestionably awesome, it doesn’t come anywhere close to helping another person enjoy life and/or sobriety just a little bit more. Being useful is where it’s at.