I have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. I am a recovered alcoholic/addict. To explain how I did this, with the help of many, many sober friends, is the main purpose of this page. Originally I hadn’t planned on concentrating so much on the recovery part of my life as the fitness but the two have ended up converging and it has turned out that the fitness helps with the recovery a lot more than I initially thought… In addition, I’ve written a few posts about the subject and they were well received by several other bloggers. I also wanted to provide a sort of “one stop shop” for other alcoholics – recovering or otherwise.
I am a friend of Bill Wilson’s. If you are too, want to be, or are just curious, welcome.
The Beginning Of A Month-Long Celebration… Easily the best piece I’ve ever written. I’m not an emotional fellow but I teared up reading it after I was done. This post explains why I celebrate the entire month of November, not just my sobriety anniversary on the 18th. I love this post.
Well the last one is probably still my best, but this is a close second: I Am Living Proof That God Doesn’t Keep Score
From that post, I’ll go oldest to newest…
The Greatest Lesson I Ever Learned In Recovery… One of the difficult problems in recovery that must be faced and mastered is the craving for alcohol. This craving generally begins with one simple little thought and then festers until we’re drunk at a bar stool. This post, with great specificity, explains how I learned to beat my own thought process to stay sober. One of my best “how I did it” posts.
So What Does, “Don’t Look For The Next One” Mean… There is no spoon, Neo
I have a page on my Maladies Series already, but one of the posts in that series deals specifically with alcoholism. It can be found here. The series looks at the relationship between fitness and the avoidance of many illnesses that cause trouble in life.
Balance – Not The Inner Ear Kind… This is a relatively short post that focuses on how I deal with balance in my life.
Don’t Quit Five Minutes Before The Miracle Happens… This is another of my favorite posts. Though I learned the saying through my recovery friends, this one applies to everyday life – for anyone.
How To Be Awesome… Specifically… I love this post! It’s pretty self explanatory. One of the best I’ve ever written.
Once In A While A Topic Presents Itself… A favorite trick I learned early in sobriety is “changing the tape” that plays in my head”. Self-doubt, self-destruction an self-sabotage are the result of a looped tape that we play over and over again. To stop, change the tape…
I Don’t Have To Wish To Be Happy… “A good rule that’s never failed me, also learned early in sobriety, is that I have no room for righteous indignation in my life. It’s not the “righteous” part that catches me up, it’s the “indignation”. I don’t do indignation very well”…
Kreativ Blogger Award… No, I’m not pimping that I got an award… One of the rules of winning that award is that we post a few things about ourselves – mine all have to do with recovery in this post.
Creatures Of Habit… Managing The Funk: “I am, for the most part, a creature of habit as I believe most people are. For the longest time after I quit drinking, I had to break the habit – or more aptly stated, the pattern of behavior – that landed me in a bar, hammered.”
I Was Asking For Your Help… No, I most certainly was not. In fact, before I was ready to quit, you couldn’t tell me anything – I just didn’t want to get in any trouble. “There is one reason that those commercials are needed. When we drunks and addicts are in the midst of the disease, we are such insufferable, selfish degenerates that it becomes extremely difficult to love us on a human or even spiritual level. The escape from reality becomes so necessary that we don’t care who we mow down to access it and that’s a sad truth, but it is what it is. The “cry for help” angle makes it possible to keep loving us at a time when love and forgiveness is damn near impossible.”
Motivation is a matter of perception, or maybe perspective… “So, what do I mean that motivation is a matter of perception or perspective? It’s very simple but extremely difficult to grasp: There isn’t a lick of difference between someone who has no motivation and someone that’s brimming with it, with one important exception. The person that has the motivation refuses to give in to that voice that says, “go ahead, you’re tired, sit back down on the couch and veg for the next three weeks”. Most everyone else says, “OK”.”
Life Is Precious, Live It Like You Mean It… “Folks, the point is, we only get one chance at this (in my daughter’s case, maybe two because I was paying attention). There is no runner’s up prize and there is no finish line but a box and six feet of dirt. Life is precious and often way too short. I won’t pull out the contrite, “Live life like there’s no tomorrow” line because that sounds nice, but it’s mostly bullshit…”
K.I.S.S. (Unfortunately Not The Band).
Why A Pill Won’t Cure A Drunk… “Every few years they come out with news that they’ve invented a new pill that will “cure” alcoholics. Every few years, on the release of that news I roll my eyes to the sky and chuckle (as do most in the circles I run), “we’ll see about that”. They’ve all amounted to snake oil. Here’s why…”
What Do You Do When A Drink Won’t Make It Better Anymore? “Back in ’91, I saw a doctor who told me I had liver enzyme levels of a sixty year-old chronic alcoholic. The enzyme levels told the doctor that I would be dead in eight years, give or take, if I kept drinking. It would be just more than a year after that day, and a whole lot of trouble, before I finally decided (with the help of the People of the State of Michigan) to quit drinking. I was 22 years, 4 months and 11 days old when I put the jug down.”
Fitness Makes Recovery From Addiction… Better… “In my case, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I have found exercise to be the one thing that can take an otherwise good recovery to the next level. I had an old-timer tell me long ago that if I stuck with it, one day I would get to a point where I just didn’t think life could get any better… And a short while later I realized that it did. I have been there many times over and it is amazing when it happens. When I’m running or riding it happens quicker and quite a bit more frequently.”
Three Days To Go… Thoughts leading up to my 20th anniversary sober
Remembering The Last Drunk… “Beyond the important things, Good Orderly Direction and “working steps”, I’ve used a trick that was passed down to me by an old-timer to remember why I quit drinking in the first place.
Over time, especially decades, the vividness of the mayhem, destruction and the heat that a drunk creates can fade. The fear that once held the drunk in check in the beginning can dull… This is a main fear of all long-timers, for a drink [drunk] is usually not far behind.”
It’s Official – 20 Years Of Continuous Sobriety… “A lot has changed over the last 20 years. All of it good. Gone are the days of worrying if this would be the night I finally landed in prison. Gone are the days of risking my life (and that of others) to get my car home. Gone are the blackouts, the excuses, the lies and the moral depravity. Gone are the shortcomings that I held onto – that kept me drunk. Gone are the hangovers. Gone are the lost jobs, lost friends. Best of all, gone are the lonely days and nights. I haven’t heard, in 20 years, a sentence that starts out, “you’re such a good person, but…” Or, “we love you, but…”
Sobering Up Young: The Pros and Cons… “That last “pro” cancels out all of the “cons” put together and tied up with a nice pretty bow.”
Changing The Tape “The basic gist is this: “The tape” is what I play back, specifically thoughts, in response to an external stimulus. In other words, the thoughts I use to throw at life. If the thoughts turn dark, or negative, there is work to be done because it’s impossible to live a happy life stuck in that“.
The drinking dream – the bane of the recovering alcoholic’s existence.
Incomprehensible Demoralization… The “bottom” is looked at.
Self Pity – A Death Worse Than Death… An in-depth, simple look at the number one killer of drunks: Self-pity.
“The truth, at least for him, was a little more sucky. The truth is painful. I had to accept that I was a low-down, loser of a drunk before I could cease fighting to keep drinking – and that’s what we do, we fight to keep drinking.
My friend’s problem was even a little worse, he was mired in self-pity. It wasn’t fair, it was her fault, the law’s fault, the world’s fault – anyone but his own. Self-pity to a drunk, unless cast aside, is suffocating, enervating and deadly as a pistol.”
Being A Drunk Was A Choice, Not A Genetic Sentence… “[…] I truly believe the science that says my body and brain processes alcohol differently than most and that “it is in my genes” too – this is what makes me an alcoholic. So the question is why does this matter? The second I disregarded that I became a drunk, and being so became my choice.”
An Important Key to Continuous Sobriety: Remaining Teachable.
A Celebration of 21 Years Clean and Sober: The Inventory
To be of maximum usefulness: There is a reason that recovering people are pushed to service from the start and it’s quite simple: When I’m helping others I can’t stay trapped in self-pity. I can’t be self-centered. Helping others gets me out of any rut I’m in when self-seeking goes out the door. Just like running or cycling, when I get out of that little box, when I can stop that hamster wheel in my head from spinning and throw in a little bit of “feel good”, my attitude and outlook on life will improve.
What can you say to an alcoholic to get them to quit? The short answer is not much, but check out this post to understand why…
I found your blog via your comments on Running to her Dreams. I’m excited to see another recovered blogger/athlete. I’m a sober alcoholic who took up running about a year and a half ago. Glad to have found you (even though I’m not a cyclist, I have a lot of respect for you people. My personal trainer is a cyclist and cycling coach and I think he’s awesome) and have added you to my reader.
And I added you to mine as well. Welcome to the club first, we’re a small but amazingly happy lot (!).
I was a runner first (11 years) and believe me, runners are more impressive, cyclists are just slightly nuts and get where they’re going a lot faster. So kudos to you as well. Thanks for stopping by.
really cool to see another person in recovery finding joy in sports.
Thanks Ted. Nice to meet you.
You know, interestingly enough, I don’t think I envisioned addiction recovery playing such a significant role in my blog when I started either. But there are ton of people out there hurting and in need, so it only makes sense to share our experiences with them.
There’s no doubt, addiction recovery has grown exponentially in the last few years.
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Just happened to stumble to your blog.. I am in recovery and about 1 1/2 ago I started to ride and working to complete my first century. I am looking forward to reading your blog.
I hope you’ve come to the right place, Julia! Should you have any questions about cycling, feel free to ask in a comment section. If I can answer it, I’ll give your question a full post.
Great website. Please visit http://www.iknowaddiction.org to read our story and leave yours.
Thank you for sharing so much helpful information! Taking care of our bodies is an absolute must! I struggled with my weight since I was 16. Now I realize that food was another addiction that I had. I was luckily able to gain control over my food addiction and lost 50 lbs.!! I truly feel so much better inside and out!
Fantastic, Dana! Well done.
I felt slightly nauseous the past several days and decided it might be because I consume about a pint of scotch most evenings, between 5:00 pm and 11:00 pm. I did a little googling and nausea is a sign of poor liver health. Anyway, I am considering quitting alcohol again and I thought it would be helpful to share the experience as I progress.
My hope is to do this without needing formalized rehab which I based on my past experiences with addictive behavior…mainly cigarettes and alcohol. One day, when I was 29, I decided to quit smoking. That was the last day I smoked a cigarette or any other tobacco. Prior to that day, I went through around 3 packs a day. This was in 1973. A couple of years ago, I decided to quit drinking alcohol and managed to do that for about a year.
My cousin came to visit and stayed for a month. In the afternoon, she’d have one or two glasses of wine. To be social, I made the mistake of drinking with her. It wasn’t long before I was drinking a bottle of wine each day. She never had more than two glasses. Since then, I progressed to scotch. Aside from an occasional day or couple of days off, I continued to drink, sometimes switching to wine…but mostly scotch.
So far, I’ve maintained good health by eating well and exercise of various types, mostly weight training since I was a kid. Being an alcoholic is counterintuitive to everything else I believe in.
Being an alcoholic is counter to sanity, my friend, but there we go, anyway. Alcohol is a mild poison for the body. The nausea is from the slow buildup of toxins that your liver can’t quite keep up with. I remember that feeling, too. I wish you well in your journey and I hope I can be a part of it in some capacity. Congratulations on getting to a point you’re ready.
I forgot to mention that I have not had any alcohol today…so, one day down.
Stay strong, Jay. One at a time.