One Saturday night, in the fall of 2011, I sat in my dark living room alone, waiting for Jeff to get off of work so that we could run around downtown Bend looking for trouble. On my coffee table sat a big old 22oz’er of Ninkasi along with a plate covered with chopped up adderall, which I had stolen from a friend earlier in the week. It was 8 o’clock in the evening and I had another hour to burn before Jeff was off for the night. I distinctly remember feeling that the town of Bend and I had reached our limit together, I had been there, done that, it had been 10 solid years. I was lonely that night and had upped the ante on my addiction by slowing implementing various uppers like prescription drugs, as well as cocaine, into the mix. Based on the scene that was unfolding in my living room that evening I knew that a change was inevitable, I just didn’t know what. So, as tears of loneliness streamed down my face I rolled up a dollar bill, snorted the remainder of the adderall, chugged the remaining IPA and headed downtown to find Jeff.
To me, Bend is paradise, or at least it started out that way. The friendships that I developed there will always be close to my heart, I will never forget the amazing group of people who became my extended family. At some point down the road I see myself back there, in fact I think it would be an amazing place to start a family. But that fall of 2011 my addictions had taken over and turned Bend into a dark and lonely place that I needed to leave. So, in December of that year, I ran away, to Corvallis.
Fortunately Davis had come to Corvallis for a job a few months earlier and I was able to jump on board with the hotel that he was working with. On paper the transition was seamless, I had a place to live, I had a bike, I had a car, I had the Smith’s, and I had a little bit of money to get started. The first six months of living in my new town was a whirlwind, I rarely took a moment to look around at my surroundings and soak in the new scenery. Once things became to settle down and I started to get in a groove I realized that I had not MOVED to Corvallis, I had RAN from Bend. I could’ve moved to any Podunk town and it would have been better than Bend. The fact that I didn’t have the toxic crowd and prevalent drinking spots in Bend any longer helped curve my heaviest drinking for the time being, as well as my new-found love of uppers. For the first year of my tenure in Corvallis I dealt with the reality that I was going through a messy breakup with Bend. Once I got over the breakup I realized that I was even more lonely. My methodology of escaping Bend to be “happy” had not worked, as I was more depressed and lonely as ever. So, for that first year in Corvallis, I hated myself and hated my new town. To be clear, this hatred had nothing to do with Corvallis, it had to do with my mindset. Like I said before I could’ve been in any town and I would have had the same mentality.
Up until the time that I sobered up the feeling of discontent for Corvallis lingered. I went back and forth as to whether I should run away again. Then a funny thing happened, I quit drinking, and the reality of my new surroundings began to take shape. As the haze of alcohol and drugs lifted I started to see Corvallis for what it was. Fast forward a year and I have come to the conclusion that Corvallis is actually the perfect town to learn about sobriety. In fact, as I was explaining to a friend the other day, Corvallis has become a home to me. I feel like I have a team of people from friends, to training partners, to therapists, to work colleagues and beyond, that I feel comfortable being around. To a degree I have learned to be myself in Corvallis, and in some ways I have learned what it’s like to try to think like an adult here. Yes, I’ve got tons of work to do in this regard, but here, in Corvallis, I feel safe, I feel at home. I see things about life that I didn’t know existed. I love it here.
There are no doubt certain things about Bend that I miss. The mountains, the snow, the sun, the people, and the culture surrounding endurance sports. Again, I see myself moving back at some point. That point however, is not now. The things that I have here like the Beavs, the trails, the friends, and the support system, are extremely valuable in countless regards. In fact, I can’t imagine living anywhere else other than this comfy little town mid-valley town. With that, I’ve gotta get going for I’m meeting a friend to run in one of my favorite spots, Willamette Park. Then it’s off to the Beavs game and a weekend filled with coffee, more running, a little fog, all amongst the comforts of a town that is now my home. Thank you Corvallis.