The day I took my last drink was the darkest day of my life, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Without hitting my rock bottom, I never would have realized I had a problem. I wasn’t what I pictured an alcoholic to be. I wasn’t physically dependent on alcohol. I could go months without a drink. I never drank alone. To be honest I didn’t even enjoy the taste of alcohol. But once I had a sip, there was no shut-off valve. I thought I was immune to the disease – right up to the day I found myself in the back of an ambulance on the way to the hospital, feeling I had little to live for.
From the outside you would think I had it made. I had a college degree, a beautiful apartment, a great job, and a supportive family – but I was broken. Financially I was living a lifestyle I couldn’t afford, emotionally I couldn’t function without my social crutch (alcohol), and physically I weighed more than I ever had in my life. Something had to change and nothing prepared me for the influx of time I’d have to spend with my own thoughts.
I joined a gym. I didn’t know it at the time –I was just surviving in my new normal- but working out kept me sober. I celebrated my one year sober by running the Quincy half marathon, and have since run two more. I use the term work-out synonymously with therapy, because it is just that. I honestly don’t believe I would have made it through those early days if it wasn’t for finding this healthy outlet.
Not everyone is as lucky as I am. Maybe they don’t have family to support them, don’t have the financial means, or just don’t know where to start. The Phoenix organization offers a free sober active community to individuals who have suffered from a substance use disorder and to those who choose a sober life. Using a peer support model, they help members heal and rebuild their lives. Their slogan is simple ‘Together we – rise – recover- live’. I’ll proudly be wearing their gear when I embark on this iconic 26.2 mile run. I was ashamed of my sobriety for many years. I’m hoping that by sharing my message, others will feel empowered to share theirs, and together, we’ll help eliminate the stigma around recovery.
This year I’ll celebrate 8 years sober by running the Boston Marathon and my goal is to raise $15k for The Phoenix organization. They have already touched the lives of 26,000 people – let’s do our part in helping them reach the next 26,000! No gift is too small – thank you for your support!