Drugs? Prescriptions pIlls? Work? Alcohol? Belly dancing?
On December 31st, 2015 to January 1st, 2106 was the last time I was drunk. Like wasted or as we say back home wicked shit faced or hammered.
New Years eve. I listened to loud music. I drank too much. I rang and sang in the year 2016. Did I have fun? Yes. I ate shitty gas station pizza. Stayed up until 3 in the morning. Woke up hung over and that was it.
A friend of mine in the first few months of my sobriety,
( I went 7 months completely alcohol free )
mentioned to me that I may have traded one addiction in for another. Drinking for running.
It stung a bit. Let’s be honest it stung a lot. In a really good way. It caused much reflection. Nobody wants to think about or admit they have a drinking problem. The bars and liquors stores are full of deniers. Honestly, I don’t think we like to admit we have any problems at all. Never show weakness right? We seem to have an interesting rule book on drinking. Socially acceptable to drink. Social taboo to be a drunk. Nice little game we play here on planet earth. I thought about what was said to me, I sat with it, and here is where I ended up.
Drinking has caused me a lot of problems.
A long list of them. Just a fact. So by that definition, I had a drinking problem. Life without it or the occasional glass of wine or beer is fundamentally better. I have significantly fewer problems. My life is infinitely better without drinking or the occasional drink. My apologies to beer, wine, and assorted shots and mixed drinks.
I’m not a saint, a martyr or a monk. I wouldn’t mind the monk thing to be honest. I’m not standing on a soapbox or writing this from behind a pew. I spend zero time or energy thinking about anyones drinking habits or consumption. Drink as much as you want. I do however openly and passionately support the sober and their incredibly challenging daily journey.
“There are all kinds of addicts. We all have pain. And we all look for ways to make the pain go away”. – Sherman Alexie
So what is my new addiction? Running? Training? Spartan racing? Ultra marathons? Trail racing? Weight training? Watching the Lifetime channel?
The truth is this, none of them. I’m addicted to being alive. Maybe that sounds silly to you. It sounds a bit silly to me. But it’s the truth. I love being as fully alive as I can, as often as I can. I’ll even list the things that feed my addiction.
I’m addicted to being passionate. To being obsessed. To quiet, solitude and peace that I find in my head and in nature.
I’m addicted to vulnerable, soul-searching chats on the trail.
I’m addicted to honesty. Friendships new and old, beauty, and awe.
I’m also addicted to exploration both physically and mentally as well as internally and externally.
I’m addicted to travel and napping on the couch after a 20 mile run.
I’m addicted to trees, all trees, anytime of the year. But I love them most during the winter months when they look like sky skeletons. They are so vulnerable and beautiful.
I’m addicted to snow, rain, mud, sun, clouds, shade, sunrises, sunsets and chia seeds.
I’m addicted to single track, horse trails, service roads and outside as a general rule. I’m also addicted to mountains, lakes, rivers, and obstacles of all shapes and sizes.
I’m addicted to the sound of my own breathing going up a hill and the absolute emptiness in my head when I am fully present in the moment.
I’m addicted to 100 mile runs and everything below that number. I’m also addicted to the idea of what is on the other side of 100 miles.
I’m addicted to anything with the word ultra in it. I’m addicted to going further. To finding out what I am truly made of. I’m addicted to tears of joy, if you don’t believe that then show up at one of my 100 mile races.
I’m addicted to challenges and to facing fear. To people who get the fuck after it. Who inspire. Who are humble. Who challenge themselves and me.
I’m addicted to 4 A.M. wake ups, blisters, snow beards, warm hearts, teammates, race t-shirts, the day after ultra limp, Zumbro, Killington, races I don’t know, falling down, carrying heavy things, hill repeats, water crossings, being cold, being hot, being muddy, wet, bruised and being me.
I’m addicting to toeing starting lines and crossing finish lines and all the unpredictable madness that happens in between. To pinning numbered bibs to my shorts. To silencing the quit voice in my head.
I’m addicted to training, racing, eating right, long runs, short runs, pulling a tire, 45 plates, barbells, dumbbells, going to bed early and watching other people succeed at their highest level.
I’m addicted to discipline, soreness, pain and joy equally.
I’m addicted to buckles and death marches.
I’m addicted to happiness, fulfillment and purpose.
“We love the things that destroy us. Because in that destruction we truly feel alive” – Robert Pobi
I didn’t trade one addiction in for another. I traded one in for a million new ones that feed one big one. This list causes me zero problems, other than I feel more alive than I ever have. I love feeling alive.
Nobody likes being called an addict. It is the root of much shame. So I guess I’ll just call myself one.
Like I said, my name is Scott.
I’m an proud addict.