how sobriety is like a sunday long run

I was narrating a blog post during my long run on Sunday. every time i’d come around a corner, i’d realize something new. thinking ‘will i remember this later? maybe i need a tape recorder with me on my runs …’

How Sobriety is Like a Sunday Long Run:

  1. Plan: You plan the date in advance, you pick a day on the calendar to ‘begin’ and you watch and wait for that date.
  2. Bargaining: When the day comes, you try to talk yourself out of it. Maybe i am getting a cold and i should wait. it’s raining so i should wait. (Maybe there’s a party this week so i should wait. Maybe there’s a hockey game/wedding/shower/job thing [insert anything here].)
  3. Escape Clause: Set up a way to stop if you don’t like it. I’ll run 40 minutes but if it’s really not going well, or it’s too rainy, or i feel sick, I’ll stop. (I’ll quit for 30 days just to see if i like it but if i hate it i’m drinking again.)
  4. Need to Pause: Not far in, you’ll realize that you need an emergency bathroom break. You’ll find a public toilet. You’ll hang out and be grateful to be inside for the worst of the rain. You’ll wait a bit. You’ll go back outside and keep going. You thought maybe you’d have to go home, but all is well and you keep going. (You get part way and panic, feel like your sober car isn’t moving well enough. And while your little car isn’t advancing, it hasn’t gone off the road either. You wait under an underpass, for the worst of the storm to move through, then you keep driving. you don’t turn off the ignition. you just sit in neutral for a minute. Yes i was really thinking this when i was in the public toilet.)
  5. Signs: Every song on random seems to be the perfect song, that clearly ties running to sobriety. This i realize as i’m running. The Tragically Hip’s “Eldorado” (for which this blog is named), about a man-sized eldorado, wood paneling, i think he’s describing a coffin, and he’s tired of thinking about drinking … Then there’s Spirit of the West’s “Far Too Canadian,” about feeling too weak to stand up for what’s right for us, what we need, why don’t we get our needs met better. And Holly Cole’s version of “I can see clearly now the rain is gone” and the rain was gone, and once we’re sober shit is just much clearer. (Yes. it really did unfold like that. And when we’re sober, there are MANY signs around us all the time that say that being sober is a GOOD idea.)
  6. Feel fantastic to meet the first goal: i ran 95 minutes in one direction. got to see a lot of new stuff. the rain cleared. I had planned where I wanted to go and i headed out in that direction, not exactly sure how i’d get there but figured it out along the way. (duh. sobriety much?)
  7. Know that stopping is a u-turn: I often give myself an ‘out’ when i head out for a long run (#3 above) but i have only used it a handful of times in 15 years. i can remember one time specifically. i felt so bad on the way home, knowing that i didn’t do what i aimed for. the feeling of not doing what i wanted was WORSE than how i would have felt if i pushed through. The feeling of being proud of yourself? really big deal. not to be avoided. (ditto, sober)
  8. Treat: i always plan my fabulous breakfast for when i’m done running, and i’m usually planning it around 3/4 of the way through so that i’m salivating by the time i come in the door. It used to be bagel + applewood smoked cheddar (which is hard to get here). nowadays it’s one egg, bacon, toast, jam and decaf. and half an apple. and a bit more jam. cherry jam is good. (ditto, sober)



I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • Escape clause. That’s me… Except not 30 days, more like a week. More like until next get together with friends.
    Maybe I should start running again.

  • Oh my gosh this is SO me. Scarily so. I’ve been running every morning for the past couple weeks and I think of a million blog posts in my head, see metaphors for sobriety everywhere I look, and interpret every song as a message about addiction. So true… that this is similar to our sobriety journey. I especially identify with the “escape clause”. 90 days sober today! Woohoo!!