The Grace of Time to Think . . .


Part of my mountain bike route

Today was stressful.  I walked into a “retreat” type meeting this morning and was told that the new hire who is to act as my assistant is being held up in a bureaucratic limbo.

me – For how long?

them – I don’t know.

me – But we have already been through the bureaucracy and gotten approval.

them – Yes, I know – but there is this new “soft-freeze” where every replacement hire must be approved again.  Plus you are starting the person near the top of the pay grade.

me – But we already got approval for the pay rate, right?

them – Yes.

me – I can’t keep working 70 hours a week doing two peoples jobs.  This is ridiculous.

them – yes, I agree.

My previous assistant’s last day was over one month ago as they moved out-of-state with their spouse.  So here is where I took all of this today.  I was immediately angry.  I know and “them” know that the hire is ultimately going to be approved, but it might end up sitting around for another couple of weeks, or perhaps even a month all the while I continue to do the work of two folks, blah, blah, blah . . .

. . . so during my days of active alcoholism, I likely would have become obsessed with the issue, not heard any of the other discussions at the retreat, some of which were quite good, left the meeting as quickly as I conveniently or otherwise could do so, feeling plenty sorry for myself, climbed inside the bottle, fed my anger and resentments, blown off the rest of the day, perhaps done something really ineffective and stupid, blacked out/passed out, and come to the next day without any resolution and feeling miserably hungover as well. . .

. . .  but today I recognized something different.  All of that “this too shall pass” “if the job were that easy there never would have been an opening” “live into the solution” “attitude of gratitude” and other recovery thoughts tempered my anger. So after I left the meeting, I composed a pleasant but matter-of-fact email to “them” noting I was hopeful the impasse would be resolved in short order, posed solutions and alternatives, but clearly affirmed that without an assistant I could not do the tasks set out for me over the next few weeks, and then I went for a mountain bike ride along the river. . .

. . . and I thought, and was grateful for the time that now intercedes between the event and taking action, where in the past I would have immediately drank, but now the voice of what I have learned in recovery takes the place of alcohol and leads toward a solution.  Makes living a lot easier.

Mountain Biking as Recovery


After putting a bunch of thousand miles on my road bike, a few years ago I started mountain biking.  I have to say that biking is the only form of exercise I have enjoyed – going on 10 years now! My favorite mountain biking place twists and turns over roots, up and down ravines, more or less along a river outside of town.  Today, was our first really good and hot day of the year – 96 degrees – when I enjoy riding best.  I have a 12-mile loop that is my basic routine.  On the first half I often listen to an AA or an OA lead.  On the return leg I either listen to music or nothing at all. Today I forgot my headphones so I paid attention to the ride and came to think of how much mountain biking is like recovery.  Here are some things I came up with:

  • I learned that mud is a lot more forgiving than asphalt and when I wreck, it is much easier to get back up and go forward.
  • Most  times I wreck it is because I wait till the last moment to choose a path through some mud or up an embankment covered with roots
  • The places I wrecked in the past, I watch out for now, and wreck at new places instead.
  • Sometimes I stop to figure out how to get around flooded areas and not just plunging through.
  • I enjoy seeing others on the trail.
  • Sometimes I just stop to be mindful of how green everything is.
  • Sometimes I just savor the flat portions of the narrow trail, pressed tight by trees and shrubs – like flowing effortlessly down a river.

All seeming much like recovery