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Recovery: Get Back on Your Bike

Recovery is just like getting back on a bike, after a long sabbatical away from the roads. If we agree that recovery is about regaining what has been lost, today I got back on my road bike after a five-year sabbatical. I know the benefits of riding, the serotonin and dopamine that are released with each mile, but I have had better excuses, why I should not ride. Some of these are based out of real fear, others denial.

  1. I will get hit by a semi and die on the road

  2. I will get a flat tire in an area with no reception and be forced to walk with my bike on the tiny shoulder of the road, into a town with reception

  3. I will not be able to get my shoes out of the locks on the pedals… this will result in the most gnarly crash one has ever seen

  4. I will forget how to ride

I am turning 45 in just a few days. I want to start regaining what I have lost. I got back on my bike. This is what happened. I thought the gears were missing, they were nowhere to be found … I figured it out, they were hidden just next to handlebars. I did not experience the most gnarly crash in history despite not being able to get my shoes out of the pedal locks. I rode for an hour…just 10 miles…through Camp Polk Meadows and Indian Ford Road. I was out of breath, thought I might have a massive heart attack, but I survived.

Get Back on Your Bike

  1. Fear can paralyze you to do nothing, you never get back on the bike, you never try to stop drinking, you never end the unhealthy relationship, you don’t say what needs to be said, you will not forgive others, you get the idea.

  2. Early in recovery you get some speed, you figure out the gears, the safe roads, and places to be, these are the places that become your new normal.

  3. You see other people riding their bikes up hills, slow, struggling, some turning around, the hill is too high, recovery is too hard, the gears will not shift, the tires are flat, the semis are coming.

  4. Road bike model superstars, triathletes pass you on the road at about 100 mph. A feeling of unworthiness, not enough, lame, whale on the toothpick comes into the mind…sometimes this is how you will feel in recovery, listening to people that have the 39 years of sobriety and you have just two days… but this feeling will pass.

  5. The veil is lifted. You can see things on the bike that you would never see without recovery. The chipmunk standing bravely on the log. The Three Sisters mountains in all of their splendor. The man with his dog, walking through the meadow with the white Subaru that has been parked there forever. Patience in a man gripping binoculars with his head tilted up. The grace and kindness of cars and semis passing, giving you the space to fully recover, regain, get back the road that has been lost.



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