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Without Recovery: Fear, Pain, Misery. With Recovery: Happiness, Freedom, Joy, Peace. Rocket Science It Ain’t.

It’s been a while since I broke from cycling for a good, old-fashioned, relentlessly positive recovery post…

We in recovery want for every alcoholic in anguish and misery to experience the peace, serenity and happiness that comes with continuous recovery. That we’ve found in recovery.

We want it so bad, if we could take all of the knowledge we have in our melon and cram it into someone else’s so they could instantly understand down to their baby toes how good recovery is, we’d do it without hesitation. Even if doing so would cost us some of our happiness because we usually have some to spare.

I do…

And just so you can know the joy I feel of what it’s like to be free.

Jesus, does it feel good. Give it a try. What have you got to lose? A little fear, pain and misery? Why would anyone want to hold onto that?

We don’t want to get you to conform to our way of life because of some dogmatic, sycophantic desire to have a follower. We try to pass on to others what worked for us because it actually worked.

There’s a lot of negativity in this world. We can use all the positive we can get.

We in Alcoholics Anonymous, as hamhanded as we can be at times, are simply trying to spread some happiness to a group of people who badly need it.

So maybe next time you run into one of us who is a bit awkward at trying to pass on what worked for them you’ll remember why they’re doing it and not worry so much about how. And maybe you can cut them a little slack. What they’re attempting is good. They’re just not very good at it yet.

My name is Jim and I used to be an alcoholic, but I’ve recovered, just for today, and my only desire here is to freely give what was so freely gave to me… because it’s really, really good. A lot of people could use some good… and I have some to spare.

Now, about cycling…

What to Do About Recovery Amidst the Covid-19 Scare; It’s Time to Get Creative

Meetings are being canceled left and right. Churches and schools alike are closing their doors with the hope of staving off the inevitable.  Originally, I thought this was political (God knows the depths to which politicians will sink to unjustly make hay of a crisis – they’ve certainly shown their stripes with this one) but that argument just doesn’t work because the whole entire world is losing it all at the same time… it’s more than mere politics with this, and I’m beginning to understand, watching Italy tell those over 80 they can’t be cared for, the why of it.  We need to get behind this to mitigate the damage.

This won’t be a commentary on the panic, as much as it will be a few suggestions on how to cope with the lack of the one thing active recovery requires; human fellowship.

Folks, my normal meetings were canceled this week. I’ve got about a week of sanity before shit starts going sideways so I’m going to have to get a little creative with how I work my program.  As I like to say, my disease is sitting in a cage doing push-ups, waiting for a time like this… I have to be ready.

  • Pick up the phone.  Remember back to the days when you struggled to pick up that thousand pound phone?  Well, if you’re not a natural at automatically reaching for it if you have an issue to talk through, now is the time to broaden your horizons.  Pick it up.  Call a friend.  The person on the other end of the line, in all likelihood, needs the conversation just as much as you do.
  • Home meetings with a handful of friends.  Obviously, we have to be careful with this one.  You know the drill, if someone’s sick they don’t come (though this might be a little outdated, they’re now saying everyone should act as if they have it).
  • Read, read, read.  Read your Big Book.  Read your Daily Reflections.  Read a Grapevine.
  • Visit your sponsor – assuming your sponsor isn’t over 60, of course.  We have to think of others first here.
  • This is likely the most important:  Write or do something constructive for your recovery.  This could be a time that brings you down and makes you struggle, edging closer to misery, but why?  Make this a time to really dig deep and grow yourself in your recovery.  Deepen your faith, reach out and help others in recovery, grow in your program.

I heard something interesting on the radio this morning that really struck a chord.  The last few generations were called to war.  You’re being called so sit on your couch.

Sure, this will be tough but your recovery is stronger than this.  Make it work.

“We Can’t Think Our Way Sober”

From the Daily Reflections, yesterday 2-13-2020

To the intellectually self-sufficient man or woman, many AA’s can say, “Yes, we were like you – far too smart for our own good…  Secretly, we felt we could float above the rest of the folks on our brain power alone.

I won’t lie, I was never so afflicted.  In reality, I was so scared straight, with the exception of having some trouble getting through the fourth and fifth steps (the second or third time, but the BIG fourth, nonetheless), I didn’t care much about my ego, I just wanted the straightest path to getting better.  I accepted that I knew nothing, and that helped me immensely.  As they say, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.

In any event, I was lucky enough to attend one of the most rigorous in-patient treatment centers in the State of Michigan.  During my stay, they completely broke me down so they could build me back up.  They told me what was happening, and, for the most part, I let it.  One of the first lessons was, “Your best thinking landed you in this treatment center”.  The point was, if you are afflicted with believing your intelligence means anything in here, you may want to guess again.

Self-knowledge is just about as useful as self-will or willpower in recovery.  I know where my lane is, too, and I don’t bother trying to sneak out of it.  While the uninitiated might think because I’ve managed to put together a couple of decades and change in continuous recovery, that I’ve got “willpower”.  This is mistake.  I have the willpower of a potato.  I make it seem otherwise by living a life of consistency and discipline.  One little slip-up in either, and I could very easily find myself in a gutter – and the fact I’ve been away from it so long would mean I’d crash twice as hard and twice as fast.  Disastrous is a good word.

Looking at intellect as a plus in the recovery equation is just as problematic.  Those who believe they’re of superior intellect, and indeed, often those who actually are, can suffer an over-inflated ego along with that intellect.  This can lead to arrogance which, in turn, causes one to believe they may be above certain aspects of the recovery process by decree.  Those who don’t possess that inflated ego simply accept that which the intelligent individual must suffer till they submit.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is chock full of stories from those who went before and proved the point.  Intellect, used properly in recovery, is a potent gift.  Used to justify skirting recovery’s principles is a fantastic opening salvo to one’s next drunk.

The Holidays… Sober; Take a Deep Breath, It’s Going to Be Okay. Here’s How to Handle the Holidays

The Holidays are a time when our once drunken selves used to party, hard, because it was somewhat acceptable. It’s also a time when the normal drinkers even drink a little more than normal so it’ll seem like everyone is drinking. For those new to sobriety, this can be a time of fear and angst until we get through it a few times. Eventually, we develop a little rhythm that’ll see us through without any trouble whatsoever. Till then…

The first tip I can give, is “take a deep breath”. After a few months of sobriety, that desire to drink you feel is literally “just in your head”. It’s an idea, a notion; you do NOT have to entertain it. It will pass. I used to like to, in a pinch, simply repeat, “God help me”, till focus on that thought passed and I could point my melon at something else.

Second, don’t fight with family. Look at me, now; don’t f***in’ do it. Don’t fight with your spouse, don’t fight with your kids, don’t fight with your parents. This is a good time to practice being a doormat for a few days. You wanna be right, or happy? Pick happy, just for a few days. Fighting takes us off our center and fills us full of adrenaline and bad ideas. If you know anything about yourself at this point, you know that’s bad. Practice this, “You know what, I’m not going to fight this out. It’s Christmas, and we don’t have to do this now.” If you’re so selfish that you just can’t let a fight go, because you’re not a doormat, dammit, think of letting it go as a gift you’re giving the person trying to egg you into the fight. With that last sentence, before you get all huffy-puffy about the “selfish” part, think about how it might be I know about this problem in the first place. Light bulb? Right, I used to be that selfish.

Third, you will be around drinking unless you’ve got a big network “in the program”. Always leave an easy, fast way out so you can get your butt to a meeting if need be. At the very least, have a sponsor or sober friend on speed-dial. Don’t ever park your vehicle where it can be “parked in”. I ran into dozens of times, especially early on, where I simply had to leave to break the thought loop spinning in my head about getting drunk. Don’t get drunk, get out.

Fourth, even if you don’t like meetings, go to a few during the holidays. Get out of yourself and help someone else. You’ll be amazed at how good helping someone else makes you feel. There is nothing better in recovery than helping another person for your own sobriety. Nothing. Meetings, meetings, meetings. Hey, while you’re at it, read a few chapters out of the Big Book, maybe check out the Daily Reflections app in your App Store.

Fifth, get some exercise! Nothing brings me back and centers my melon like some good old-fashioned sweat equity. Take a run or go for a walk, go for a ride, go to the gym… heck, do some push-ups or something.

Finally, get some sleep. Sure, it’s a busy time of year, but take some time to enjoy your sleep. When we’re rundown, we’re susceptible.

Friends, the Holidays are meant to be a happy time. Do what it takes to be happy. Give yourself a break. Give others around you a break. And good luck. Just don’t f***in’ drink. Even if your ass falls off. And in the unlikely event it does, put it in a bag and take it to a meeting. Someone there will be able to show you how they put their ass back on.


Fit Recovery’s Best Posts; 2011 to Present

For those who are new to my blog, I wanted to do a compilation of some of my most read posts of all time.  Some will appear on the right of my home page, but for those who read my posts in the WP browser, you’ll never see that list.  Not surprising, my most popular posts, without exception, pertain to cycling.  I’ll do a separate list for recovery posts another day.  So without further ado…

10:  With just shy of 12,600 hits, I wrote a review post on my Specialized Venge after 700 miles back in October of 2013.  It’s actually time for another review on that bike… This one for 15,000 miles.

9.  With just over 13,000 hits, I was infatuated with trying to slam my stem to get in the most aggressive position possible ever since I brought home my first real road bike.  The post is The Noob’s Guide to Cycling: Want Speed? SLAM THAT STEM!!! To a Degree.

8.  How much Faster is a Road Bike than a Mountain Bike Pt 2: It’s not just the Tires comes in at number 8.  I did quite a bit of research for this post and laid it out simply…  There’s a reason road bikes are chosen for speed…

7.  Road Bikes: Internal vs. External Cable Routing, with 16,200 hits, comes in at number seven.  This is an opinion piece on why I’d choose internal over external routing any day of the week and twice on Sunday…  External has its place, of course, it’s as simple as you get, but in terms of saving maintenance, internal routing is as good as it gets.

6.  With 18,700 hits, A Newbie Comparison of Shimano Shifters…UPDATED is a look at Shimano’s line of components from back in February of 2012.  Not much has changed since, except 10 speeds, 11 speeds, electronic shifting….  Well, a lot has changed, but the post still stands.

5.  Coming in at number five is part one of the two-part “How much Faster is a Road Bike than a Mountain Bike” post.  In this post I actually give numbers and times.  This isn’t a guess at how much faster a road bike is than a mountain bike.  Interestingly, I got those numbers on the Trek…  If I’d had the Venge back then, the difference would be greater.


4.  With more than 20,000 hits (and climbing, this post still gets 20-60 hits a day) is my Noob’s Guide to Buying Cycling Shorts: Exactly what to look for and what to avoid.  The post gets right down to it, including the difference between a 20 mile pair of shorts and a 100 mile pair.

3.  Next, I wrote a post back in December of 2011, just twelve days into my blogging experience, about how I made my mountain bike fast, on a budget.  The post only got five “likes” at the time (which I thought was awesome) but it continues to bring people in.  Of course, now that I’m not a noob (cyclist or blogger) I know the best way to make a mountain bike fast is to buy a road bike…

2.  Number two on the list, with 23,400 hits is one of the best posts I’ve ever written on cycling:  Cycling, Speed and Cadence – Why the 90 RPM Cadence is So Important to Cycling Fast

Finally, with a whopping 55,622 hits, 38 “Likes” and 75 comments – and second only to views on my homepage/about page, from May 15, 2012, I wrote How I Got Fast – A Noob’s Guide To A 23 mph Average.  If you haven’t read the post and think I’m full of it, you aren’t the first.  I’d direct you to the proof post, here.  Please know, while the proof is real, the anger is tongue in cheek.  That said, be sure to scroll down to the bottom to get the full effect.  😀

The chica in all of the photos above is my best cycling bud, my wife.