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A Special Note to My Recovering Friends Out There; We Interrupt the Regular Message…


My friends, this is going to be very short.  I fell asleep on the couch watching the World Series last night after fixing my wife’s rear brake (new housings, cable, the whole nine yards – expertly done, I might add).  All was good in my world as I drifted off to sleep.

I awoke with the Nationals in the lead and got up to head to bed.  I shut off the TV and noticed my wife sitting in the kitchen, so I went over to kiss her goodnight before heading to bed.  She was crying.  We got a gut punch of bad news last night. I can’t get into it right now, just know my wife and kids are just fine, but this one’s bad.  And it ties directly into my recovery, so I have one simple message for today.

I am a second chance recovered alcoholic.  Meaning, I was given a second chance by a judge.  He sentenced me to treatment rather than prison and while I didn’t plan on staying sober on day one, shoveling pig shit on a working recovery farm, hungover to beat the band, I became a small miracle in the first two weeks.  Delirium tremens is a bitch that way.

I asked God for a deal; if He helped me, I’d give recovery everything I had.

I’ve never slept so good.  I woke up the next day on a mission and I’ve never looked back (well, there was one glance over my shoulder but I didn’t relapse and I did survive).  After the aforementioned glance over my shoulder, I gave up everything tied to my use of drugs and alcohol.  Old friends, old places… gone.  I changed everything to stay on the right path.

I’ve written countless times about how good my life has become and I owe all of it to that bargain – and doing something with what came of it.

Recovery is a daily gift.  My life, every awesome moment (and every tough one, too) is another point in a great existence – a life of meaning, purpose, direction, and above all, fun.  I have more fun just being on the right side of the grass, pumping air that I ever dreamed possible as I dug that pitchfork into another pile of gnarly straw in that pig stall.  Just working on my wife’s brakes last night (betwixt cuss words) put a smile on my face…  I treat my gift with the respect it needs and deserves because there’s another side to me;  A dark side.

As much good as I’m capable of today, with a wrong turn, I’m capable of just as much bad – worse.  All it takes is a tiny decision to unravel everything.  One tiny thought, entertained would lead to my downfall and land me in the ground or in prison:  “I’ve been sober long enough I could control a drink or twelve.”

Entertaining that one thought is all it would take to let that thought take hold and undo everything. There’s two months, maybe, between that and a prison sentence.  Or, if I was lucky enough to stay out of prison, seven years and I’m dead from liver failure.  That’s it.  My best outcome if I drink is dead in seven years.

My happiness balances on that thin a margin.  One little thought, gnawing away at the foundation of my awesome life.

There, but for the Grace of God, go I…

Stay hungry, my friends.  Lest you get thirsty.


18 Comments

  1. unironedman says:

    That’s a like of support.

  2. elisariva says:

    Will be praying for you, my friend. Never forget God’s faithfulness when you reached out to make a deal years ago. Be strong – even in the weak moments.

  3. annastk76 says:

    Thinking of you and your family. Whatever it is, I hope you come out on the other side before long. And a heartfelt thank you for the important reminder of what matters in life. I have so much admiration for you and your recovery and I remember discovering and reading your blog when I was taking my first few steps on my own journey and thinking “yes! That’s what I want too, he’s got it!”. Today I’m 21 months sober and so much of what I’ve learnt from you has been shown to me along the way – what stands out to me still, was how you talked about the “gentle rollers” and that little term has in many ways come to really define how I see recovery. Well. I wanted to send good thoughts first and foremost – you’re in my prayers during what I sense is a bit of a rough patch. Anna

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thank you for the prayers, we’ll take all we can get! This one is going to be a roller coaster hill, and a fairly big one. Thankfully, it’s completely out of our hands. All we can do is pray about it that everyone gets what they need to heal. This is one of those things that will still be out there in six months, too. It’s huge.

    • bgddyjim says:

      PS. I’m stoked that the “gentle rollers” stuck with you like they did me. One of the best lessons I got out of early recovery. I still think about that metaphor regularly. It just fits so well!

  4. Beautifully written. In truth I think there are plenty of us here who are just a cat’s whisker away from a very dark life. A couple of bad choices and we could be in a very different place. You’ve seen it and perhaps the memory and also the pleasures that you now enjoy now are enough to keep you on the straight and narrow path. You’re a real winner.

    • bgddyjim says:

      😀 Thank you. I stay on the path the good, old-fashioned way… I go to meetings so I can see and work with new folks. Seeing King Alcohol kicking butts does a melon good!

  5. limetwiste says:

    Thinking of you and your family.

  6. Thinking of you man. Gotta say too, that was some beautifully poetic top notch penmanship. You’re an awesome writer.

  7. Sue Slaght says:

    Always cheering in your corner Jim. Whatever it is you have a huge support network out here. You have touched many people and I imagine a lot who quietly read. Feel that positive energy flowing to you and your family.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thank you, Sue. I do feel the positive energy, and even better, I always manage to get a great comment on a post that makes me realize it’s even better than I think possible. Thank you.

  8. Eliza says:

    I read this a few days ago and came looking for the post today to tell you how much I appreciated reading it.
    Sending lotsa love, light and glitter your way

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