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The Key to Recovery is to KEEP Recovering… Keep Coming Back, Even if Your Ass Falls Off.

February 2019

As a young lad in recovery I received word that a childhood friend of mine, Marty, had been found in his vehicle, parked across the street from a drug house, a bullet through his brain.

By “young lad”, I mean young.  I quit drinking and mind-altering drugs, the last time, at 22 years, three months, eleven days-old.  I kept coming back.

A few years later I heard that my best friend from high school had died from an overdose.  The two of us were virtually inseparable through much of middle school and high school.  We played saxophones, he the tenor.  I played alto.  We were in a couple of high school rock bands together.  Heroin.  His dad, always viewed as disinterested by us, was crushed.  Cancer had gotten his wife, my friend’s mom, a few years earlier.

I went to his funeral, and kept coming back.

Early in my first year of sobriety, an old-timer responded to something I shared in a meeting with one of the best one-liners I’ve ever heard in recovery – and there are a pile of one-liners in recovery; “Keep coming back, even if your ass falls off.”  A friend of his chimed in, “and in the unlikely event your ass does fall off, put it in a bag and take it to a meeting.  They’ll be able to show you how to put it back on.”

My friends, I love to write about cycling, good times, noodle salad, and being a fairly happy guy.  That’s all skippy, as long as one thing remains clear; that amounts to a hill of shit without recovery – there is nothing without my recovery.  No cycling, not good times, no noodle salad, no wife, no life, no kids, no house, no pets, no friends… none of it.

And to be very clear here, alcohol will not take all of the good from my life.  I take responsibility for my addiction and recovery.  Without recovery, I will give all of that good stuff up to stay drunk.  It’s what we do.

I will keep coming back.  Even if my ass falls off.  As long as I do that, I’ve got a chance.



  1. So sorry for the loss of your friend. I agree that without my sobriety, nothing else matters. I wouldn’t value my health & fitness, marriage- all the meaningful things in life. I’m going to keep coming back, keeping my sobriety #1. Thanks for the post

  2. annastk76 says:

    Sorry to hear about your friends. It’s terrible to witness how alcohol (and other drugs) mercilessly wastes and tears away lives. I could only watch as someone I knew went under and think I can now see it happening again to someone else, someone closer to me this time – in fact, this person used to be my favourite drinking partner (which figures – she drinks just like me!). I try to gently show her how good sobriety is without pushing it on her, gently put to her that I’ll never turn my back but that I worry for her. Those bigger consequences have really started raining down on her now and her health is terrible. I honestly feel a knot in my stomach so often when I switch on my phone, half expecting but mostly dreading terrible news.

    The message is really for me that it could so easily have been me. I honestly escaped at what I believe was probably the last chance I had before it would really have begun to cost me dearly. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel grateful for what sobriety has given back to me – my life, because as you say, there is no life without my sobriety – and remember that all it would take to destroy it is that one drink.

    I feel sad writing this, but I think it’s important to remind ourselves of what we now have because we’re sober and where we’ll end up if we aren’t. And maybe the positive thing in all this sad stuff is that we can feel so grateful and appreciate this life, making a promise each day that we’ll stay on this track.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. bgddyjim says:

    The last two sentences… I’m eternally grateful for the gift of sobriety. I was only a few drinks and bad decisions away from being my friends.

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