I run. Maybe 20 miles a week when I’m training for something serious. Two or three times a week. When I run, I feel fully alive. Even when my legs are heavy weights or I struggle to go the speed I want, I love to run. It’s that feeling of accomplishment that comes from having followed through with my plan and done my best in the moment.
My favorite running moments are from the marathons I ran. The marathon is the most challenging race I have ever participated in and an experience I will forever cherish. My most powerful running moments during the marathon came when I found my dad amongst the crowd, cheering for me. When my then boyfriend surprised me and cheered me on. When my friend joined me for the last mile.
I have failed to stay sober. Really, I haven’t tried all that hard. The desire has waxed and waned. Getting to where I am right now has felt like a marathon, but one where I have been dragging my feet. Thankfully, I have people around me – both people I see and artists/writers/life living inspirations who influence me.
In my last session, my therapist encouraged me to think of myself running at the moment I wanted to take a drink. The healthy me. The faster, in tune, me. This image has planted itself in my mind and bloomed into something tangible and effective.
Then last night, when I read this…I felt something click into place.
In Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety, Sacha Z Scoblic ends her book talking about running.
Nowadays, I see my sobriety as a path I am running along; it is lined with people cheering for me. Sometimes I am running by myself, but sometimes I am running with Spencer, the Sweathogs, or with the WolfPack. And if I ever drift off the path — where the road gets sticky, where one is all alone, and where each step feels like moving through molasses — the crowd will smile and gently nudge me back to the center of the path. As I run along the sober path, nimbly and happily, I will pass milestones instead of mile markers, I will lose my fear, I will find my peace.
And sometimes, when even the sober path gets difficult and the road feels long, I will close my eyes and think, I choose to run.
I choose to be sober. I choose it and want to continue to choose it. I also choose to build a community around me – one of non-drinkers and people who will cheerlead me along this sobriety path filled with mile markers. Even though it has taken me much longer than I wanted to get here, I am excited to have found an image that has inspired me to take the biggest first step. I will not be able to do it alone.