Recovery lessons from training for a marathon:
I had set myself up for marathon success: I had a cohort of supporters, I followed the training rules, I hydrated for fear of splitting headaches, I had my guilt-inducing early morning car pool in place, and I had faith in the coaches. And yet, when it came to sobriety, I resisted help, I resisted talk of higher powers, I resisted the notion that a few simple rules and a cohort of support could be helpful. I was in control; I had stayed sober for a year all by myself. And that’s right about when I started to get very cocky about running, too.
As you might imagine, her cockiness was challenged:
By the time I crossed the finish line that October and wrapped the silver space blanket around my shoulders, I had found not only a new respect for my body, but a new respect for faith — a concept that would become integral to my recovery but one I had always disdained as illogical and submissive. I realized that I hadn’t known everything, that the “possible” consisted of more than what I had experienced or conceived in my own head. What’s more, I stopped seeing my sobriety as some kind of endurance test consuming every scrap of fight I had. Like marathon training, it’s not about willpower and white-knuckling it; it’s about making the next right choice. I’ve since set myself up for sober success; I follow a few simple rules and surround myself with sober Sweathogs. And sometimes, when it gets difficult, I close my eyes and think, “I choose to run.”