“Courage is not defined by those who fought and did not fall, but by those who fought, fell, and rose again.” — Adrienne Rich What I’m about to tell you isn’t anywhere near as dramatic as what poet Adrienne Rich describes in the quotation above. But when I stumbled across it earlier this week, it felt like a phrase that perfectly captured something I’ve been experiencing, and what I imagine you have as well in your own life. (Maybe many times, in fact.)
Terrell you are a good man. Your humility in sharing life with us all as strangers is so continually refreshing. Thank you for helping us all together on this journey of life. I am so grateful you keep finding your way onto the path you desire.
This week has been a terrible, no good, awful, very bad week. Issues with two of our four adult children. Gut wrenching, heart breaking stuff. I am under exaggerating.
But today is day 11 of my streak. I am excited about that. It is really exciting to be back on track with running. It is my life line right now. G-d is mostly, but it helps to be on track physically too.
This post touches my heart. There is no greater strength than demonstrating a willingness to be vulnerable. After a decade of starts and stops, it finally dawned on me that if I could take the question of alcohol off the table completely (and for me, that's what I needed to do) then it would free up my 'units of energy' to focus on bigger and wayyyyyyy groovier goals. But all those "relapses" were a necessary part of the journey to finally get me HERE. (Being compassionate with yourself is KEY.) I'm 6 days away from having a year under my belt....and I've never been happier...or prouder. (Although, yes, it IS hard watching Stanley :) And there are times that I do miss it--but mostly, it's just sooooo liberating to have alcohol be a thing I just don't have to think about any more. Thanks for sharing, Terrell--your posts are the BEST.
>>"you should be really careful about judging someone who’s faltered on their recovery path — what you’re witnessing might not be failure, but a stumble on the way to a successful recovery."
I really, really feel this, and I appreciate you weaving some thoughts around it. A few years back, after a bout of depression that also wiped out my ability to write, I had to sort out my physical health because part of the depression was a bad relationship with food. That slippery slope left me much heavier than it was healthy for me to be. And - the times I had to dig deepest into myself weren't the unbroken streaks of healthy habits virtuously nailed. It was when I ate a family-sized pack of donuts and felt like I'd just destroyed all my progress and rolled back the clock to the worst point in that whole exercise: the day I first realised I had a problem.
But I hadn't rolled anything back. I'd just had an Old Way Of Doing Things day, a vacation away from where I *actually* was, and I still had everything I needed to step back into the new role I'd made for myself. After all, I'd spent every day except this one putting it into practice.
(One thing that helped: learning that when Daniel Craig was getting himself in shape for "Casino Royale" he'd eat leanly and work out insanely hard *almost all* of the time, but maybe once a week allow himself a glass of red wine or a Guinness or whatever, and just take it easy. He didn't put the pressure on himself to "do it right" 100% of the time, because he knew - or maybe his trainers knew - that it wouldn't work. Result: just watch that dude run.)
I equate this to writing a newsletter too. Sometimes my writing habits slip and I fall behind a deadline, or make a bit of a mess of a topic and feel bad I dropped the ball. And those days feel like "ugh, I've lost it, why am I even trying?" But then I find a way to pick myself up and forgive myself and have another go. And the next one usually works and feels easy and true, in the way the previous one didn't.
We learn most from stumbling, I reckon. It's where most of the learning happens. It also helps to get used to the immense discomfort of having stumbled, to get accustomed to the upsetting shock of it so you know what to do - namely, get back up and have another go, fully knowing that there's nothing important lost and maybe even something useful gained...
Kids are good role models here. Watch a kid learning to skateboard. That's everything we adults need to learn, right there.
I can relate. I was a smoker for years. I'd quit and then have a drink and crave a cigarette. When I moved to Florida, I vowed to quit everything. Even though my wife still smoked, I refused to even be in the same room while she did. You know how they say a drunk has the shakes when he goes cold turkey, it can be the same way with a smoker. One night I started coughing and couldn't stop. I ended up in the emergency room and was put in an oxygen tent. An hour went by before the doctor came in. His first question was, "how long have you had asthma? I told him I didn't have asthma. "I'm out here, and you're in there. You have asthma. I hadn't quit soon enough, but the body, over time, can heal itself. I'm proof. I run, bike, cycle, and thank God every day for giving me a second chance. Do I miss smoking? No, but I do like the smell of a good Cuban cigar, but I would never touch one. To make a long story short... If you fall, just pick yourself up and try again. You'll succeed if you don't give up...
So brave. Thank you for your honesty. I am on a similar path. I get it. You are not alone.
Thank you for your generosity in your grace with this post ♥️♥️
We are human and we mess up. Thanks for everyone's humility. I can relate to not giving myself grace for messing up but if a friend messed up and confided in me I give them all the grace and motivation they need. We should treat ourselves like we treat our friends:)
For my own reasons I’m on a similar walk. Almost 8 months now. Why I mention that is ... yes it’s there. Holidays and Hallmark movies (apparently they aren’t as good without the wine) and New Years and ...
One day one choice. One more day, one more choice. Repeat. Like those deep marathon miles.
Amazingly my running friends get it. Even though we still run out of bars and wineries. 😀
Wow, I am glad I decided to read this. It takes courage to share this. Pain shared is pain lessened. December, I celebrated 17 years of sobriety. 12/11/2005 was the last time I used anything to change the way I feel. I guess you can say I substituted Running for my drinking. I do attend AA meetings I have to be with Likeminded people that get me. I am not cured from any sense of the word, Its all those cliches One day at a time, sometimes It had to be one minute at a time.
I am not cured from this at all, what I get is a daily reprieve and be around people that attend meetings.
I am grateful where I am in my life, my dad died of alcoholism. I have family members that drink and cant stop. what I do just be ready when they ask what I did to get to where i am.
I wish you all the Luck, and do this thing One DaY at a time, With God all things are possible.
When I moved from Minnesota to Florida, I vowed to quit smoking and live a clean life. My wife at the time still smoked like a chimney. One night I started coughing and couldn't stop. I ended up in the emergency room and was put into an oxygen tent. It was hours before I saw anyone. At about 1:00 in the morning, a doctor walked in. "How long have you had Asthma?" I told him I didn't have asthma. "I'm out here, and you're in there. You have asthma. I thought it was the kiss of death. Through medication and clean living, I found everything can heal itself. I dumped the chimney when she refused to even smoke outside. I run, bike, and swim with no problems. All it took was a night in an oxygen tent to realize that vices can kill. My new bride supports me in everything I do but thinks running 26 miles is a bit much... I don't...
Thank for your willingness to be open and vulnerable with a bunch of strangers. Such a good post. I’m possibly the queen of beating
myself up when I fall off any wagon. I’m not wrestling with drinking but I have my own bad behaviors I bow to change and I do , for days or weeks.
Even the good stuff- like my daily writing habit which vanished in December. I try to shsme
myself out of those things I read of giving myself grace and dusting myself off to begin again
Thanks again for encouraging us all
I echo many of the posts in response to your blog here Terrell. Alcohol, substances and even emotional intoxications have derailed many people. I'm not a therapist. Each individual I know who has started down a demon has had help. And each one has had their moments of tribulation. For me alcohol is the opposite of a performance enhancing drug. It inflames my organs, inhibits my diaphragm and thus detours me from my desired accomplishment racing. It wasn't always that way. It is now. So I have learned to treat alcohol as a detriment to my fitness. It doesn't mean I abstain. I keep a steady racing calendar and abstain during race weeks or heavy training weekends. David Feherty, the golfer and announcer, in discussing his sobriety once said: "I didn't have a drinking problem - I had a wake up problem". That really stuck with me. How was I in the morning after drinking? Was my mind sharp? My body willing to be be pushed? As I aged I took note and made the changes. Feherty was sober for a long time. He relapsed after his son died in 2019 and was candid about it. The subject is very difficult and it's personal for everyone. Everything in moderation - including moderation was my father's saying. If one has a serious addiction problem? Not such a good saying. Absent an addiction issue? Perhaps a way to look at relapses and restarts. I hope you and others continue to pursue good healthy lifestyles and choices.
Thank you, Terrell, for your openness and vulnerability. I am a recovering alcoholic (have been for awhile) and I know the journey takes tremendous courage and willingness to sit with the uncomfortable and, sometimes, the mundane. Running for me has become an integral part of my journey: a willingness to show up in all weather (literal and metaphorical) and do the best that I can with what resources I have that day. Perfection isn't possible but my best is. May you find rich rewards for all the work you do for this running community. I am grateful for you.
* sorry for numerous typos. Old age...?
Terrell, Wow. Well stated, and poignant too! We're all here for you, like you are for us, with the alcohol and the running. The best part of my day is when I get to read what you write, along with our "others" responses here, for it makes me think. I'm a HS teacher and, for the longest of times, I've always focused on making my students think and you do that, for me, with your posts. I thank you for it, I revel in the reading of them and appreciate both your positive and negative turns, for we all have them. We've got another beautiful day here in SW Florida, though a little chilly [about 60 degrees!] so I wish for you that this enjoyable day for me also be one for you - wherever you are and with whatever weather you have!
Don’t give up Terrell! Keep trying. You can do this!