Sober Date: February 11th, 2014…Four Years In

Today, February 11th, 2018, is my four year sober birthday.  To celebrate, like I’ve done in the past, I’m heading out into the McDonald –  Dunn Forest for a long run, one hour for every month in the last year that I’ve been able to maintain continuous sobriety.  These twelve hour adventures have been a few of my favorite runs (including races) that I have experienced since becoming sober.  They are a time to appreciate and honor the fact that sobriety is a gift as well as a chance to remember what I’m made of.


With another year of sobriety comes another year of learning.  Last year I found myself reflecting upon the people that inspire me the most ( 3 Years Sober ) as well as what the journey had been like so far.  The same goes for this year as the reflective side is still as prevalent as it has been in the past, perhaps in a different vein.  Part of this, I believe, is because of the composition of my memoir, Appetite for Addiction.  For most of this past year, while writing and editing, I was finding myself entrenched in the narratives and stories of my past.  Basically,  I felt like I was reliving, over and over, the worst and most devastating parts of my story, which is a default setting of mine.  My question to authors who have written addiction memoirs is:  is this common?  To be steeped in these stories is my own doing.  Luckily, with the help of my accountability team, I am slowly shifting the narrative from living in the past to coming into the present and appreciating what is unveiled at my door step today.  Not yesterday, nor tomorrow, but today.  I also believe that by releasing Appetite for Addiction I will be able to keep letting go and continue moving from my past in many ways….the process of writing has proven to be very cathartic.

 It’s always interesting to compare what I’m working on now to what I was working on a year ago.  Last year at this time I was on a high.  Having recovered from an injury, I was attacking training full steam, writing like a banshee, unaware of the consequences that I’d face by going 110%.  This year, however, is very different.  Immersed in ambiguity about what is going to happen with the ventures that I am pursuing, I find myself reverting to a past and comfortable behavior of dwelling on results.  Results for training, results for a long awaited move, results for writing, and results for my business.  In essence I’ve been future-tripping about what may, or may not, happen.  For instance, a few days ago I texted Matt to say good luck and to go get a medal in PyeongChang.  The minute I sent the text I immediately knew what his response would be: “We’ll give it our best!”  It’s inspiring to have people in my life that are truly invested in the process of improvement, much like Matt is.  Cues such as this help snap me back into the present and be involved and engaged in today.

Largely, my focus on results goes hand in hand with unrealistic expectations that I have the penchant for setting up for myself.  However, in sobriety, this tends to look different.  Something that I keyed in on this morning, while sharing with some other folks in recovery, is that when I stopped drinking I never really had ANY expectations of what might happen if I got sober.  I suppose I imagined that my body would feel better, but I never thought that I’d have the courage to resign from the corporate lifestyle I was living to pursue writing, training, and owning a successful health and wellness company, full time.

The other prevalent item of personal work that I’m engaged in is set around managing my depression.  Last year at this time I was pretty secure in the fact that I was in a good place with it as I hadn’t had too many episodes over the preceding year.  This year looks very different, as I’ve mentioned and recalled with frequency lately.   The good news is that, more than ever, I embrace the fact that depression is a thread in my life rather than dismiss it.  Plus, by uncovering certain hormonal deficiencies, my hope is that my depression will become more manageable with time.

It isn’t so much about not drinking anymore, it’s about everything else.  The compulsion to drink isn’t there like it used to be.  I can’t claim to say that this will always be that way, but today I feel pretty secure in knowing that, even in the hardest moments, the chances that I’ll drink are very slim.  That’s pretty cool.

Apart from drinking, I always forget that the 11th of February is also the anniversary of quitting chewing tobacco, three years ago.  Being my obsessive self I had to make both anniversary dates on the same day.  It’s just easier to remember that way.

With that, I’m going to grab my headlamp, an iPod full of Gareth and Armin sets, and my running shoes to begin the most important celebration of the year.  The one that reminds me that I’m still alive, kicking, fighting, surviving, and moving forward.


Central Oregon PTSD – “Dude, get over it!”

This narrative must sound like a broken record, but….here goes!

Some time ago I wrote about wanting  to let go of my resentments toward Bend, OR (A Comeback from Addiction ).  When I left town and moved to Corvallis in December of 2011, I was steeped in all sorts of questionable and sketchy behavior.  Today, more than six years later, I still find myself working through those resentments.  This past weekend, while visiting with my friend and mentor, Mike Larsen, he boiled it down pretty bluntly as only he can in his own unique caring way: “dude just (*$&%ing) get over it!”  I heard you man and I wish I didn’t have to complicate things as much as I do.  Unfortunately it’s a default setting right now so deal with it! 😉


Larsen – enough said.

On my initial journey across the country, from Massachusetts to Bend in 1998, along with my adventure mates, Matt Whitcomb and Justin Beckwith, I remember a vivid moment while heading west on US 20, cresting a rise somewhere between the ghost towns of Brothers and Millican and seeing Mt. Bachelor, the Three Sisters, and Mt Jefferson for the first time.  Immediately, upon the sight of the those majestic mountains, Central Oregon began to encompass an aura and magic to it.  Plus, as nordic skiers, we got the opportunity to be around our Olympic heroes who also lived in Bend – Pat Weaver, Justin Wadsworth, Ben Husaby, and Beckie Scott. We had found our new playground; for me, for the next thirteen years.  Largely, that magic and aura stuck with me until just a few months before I ran away to Corvallis.  During those months the distinct transition of Bend’s allure and ambience turned to a depravity as my main goal had gone from adventuring and fitness to chasing down the nearest cocaine dealer downtown.  Those last three months went on to create a resentment that I am still largely working on relieving myself of.  It seems ridiculous to think that just three months affected all of my memories of being in Bend for over a decade.

Recently one of my best college friends, Ben, and his family, relocated from the east coast to Bend.  Having them so close to me for the time being, geographically, is becoming more and more important as time goes on. When I visit them every so often it is refreshing to see the town through their optics and fresh eyes.  They see Bend for what it is, an amazing place. Each time I visit it does get a little easier not to pick up on the overly-abundant visual cues that remind me of the delinquency and indecency that I associated myself with towards the end of my tenure there.  Look, for me it’s very difficult to not drive down Newport Ave, Wall St. or Galveston Ave, without be cued off on a specific treacherous memory that exists at the various establishments on those stretches of road.  Most people see those areas for their great architecture, lush views of the Deschutes River, and the plethora of first-rate shops and restaurants.  It’s unfortunate that those views elude me for now; when I’m in downtown Bend I see the spots where I almost crashed my car, drunk as hell, or scored some blow off a dude at 2 a.m. on the street corner of Bond St. and Minnesota Ave.  Even this past weekend, those recollections still persisted in my memory bank.  Letting go of said memories is largely the key to me resolving my relationship with Bend, something that I’d like the future to hold for me.  The fact is in NO other town in the world do I have a concentration of so many close friends and confidants.  Three of my mentors live there!  It’s actually pretty freakin rad to be reminded of that.  At some point in time I absolutely see myself moving back there because, quite literally, Bend kicks ass.

I’d love to be able to remember the good stuff over the bad stuff, and the intrinsic work I’m doing is certainly helping. Training at Mt. Bachelor, tearing it up on the Tuesday night Sunnyside hammerfest ride, learning to trail run, the amazing memories of working in the area, and the most important part, the people and community, are among a few of the memories that I cherish.  The good news is that I’ve got a few folks in my life that are constantly helping me through my issues of letting go, not only with Bend, but with life.  I understand the simple fact that it’s a process and it will take time.

So for now, the journey to work through those resentments will continue.  As luck would have I’ll be back in Bend in just a couple of weeks to once again, be around some amazing friends doing what we do best…kicking ass in Central Oregon!