Adventures in life and photography out West

Fits and Starts

It has been a long time since my last post. No real reason. Have not felt motivated or that had anything of real value to say. I hope what I say now, right off the top of my head, isn’t too terrible

A friend of mine once pointed out that by working in the recovery and rehab field, I would be surrounded by the disease of addiction all the time. There is good and bad to that. The bad is obvious: I see the trauma, the destruction and the horror that is part of the disease. In fact, last week, someone I knew through this job relapsed, lost his job and house and took his own life. He was young enough to be my kid.

The up side is that I will run into people who look so much better than when I first met them that they are all but unrecognizable. We had an alumni picnic this last weekend and it was just exactly what I needed to help sooth the heartbreak of loosing the other soul.

Addiction is a horrible, horrifying disease. It’s so powerful that it effects not only the addict, but everyone around him or her who the addict loves. It’s a brain disease that changes how the addict processes pleasure, memories and reality. It uses the very processes that evolution gave the brain to find food, find shelter and find mates and turns it toward only finding the substance. It’s a nightmare, except most of the time, the addict can’t find a way to wake up.

This is also why it is so joyful and miraculous when someone manages long-term recovery. We have beaten death. We have taken our brains and our lives back. We have found a way to live without the substance that our brains thought we could not live without, but we were not going to live with.

I suppose the things that were necessary for my day-to-day existence became tools of joy: my bike.

When I started this recovery journey, I could not afford car insurance, much less an actual working car. I used the mass transit around my home town, but it didn’t always run when I needed it. That’s when I bought my first bike, a Schwinn High Sierra mountain bike. It would was rigid. It was heavy. It was all mine.

I rode to work in cold, rain, heat and humidity. I rode to work, to rugby practices, to school and even to the grocery store, once in a while. Eventually, I rode for fun. I even found friends who rode.

Years later, I discovered this was actually helping re-wire my brain. Exercise, in general, helps repair the damage caused by substance abuse. It helps mind, body and spirit. It creates communities, it sets positive examples. It saves lives.

Just a thought.

Have fun, be safe. I’m going riding.

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