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The Taper Crazies.

13 September 2017

My knee hurts. Like, worse than it has in a while. My knee hurts a lot and I’m tired of it, but I don’t think there’s anything to be done about it short of surgery and I’m not getting that. Especially not before I’ve tried resting it. But I haven’t been able to rest significantly for the past two years because of training. So my knee hurts.

I’m tired, I’m sore, I’m worried about the weather, hydration, fuel. I’m worried about my bike. I’m worried about my competence if I need to change a tire. I’m worried about my swim speed. I’m worried about hyponatremia. I’m worried about the alarm clock. I’m worried about having to go to the bathroom on the course. I’m worried about getting lost.

I’m worried that this is all a big stupid vanity project and I should just be quiet. Half the reason I’m doing this is so that people will be impressed with me. Hell, probably two thirds. I want people to see this and admire me. I’m shallow, and I know it. I have this stupid need for people to value me.

Last night, my father called in the middle of the night asking me to pick him up from the nursing home, and bring him home so that he could commit suicide. He’s in a place, mentally now, where the moment he isn’t being attended to by someone he regards as family he is furious and pretend-suicidal. He tries to threaten suicide so that people will pay more attention to him.

It’s infuriating and sad. But am I really any different? I’m doing this thing to say, “look at me, pay attention to me, I’m amazing, be impressed!” It’s a need for external validation. A need to have other people celebrate me, instead of being content with being able to build the capability to do something difficult.

I think I’ve decided not to have a “ten years of sobriety” party. It’s just an excuse to have people tell me I’m great. Sure I’d love it. But it’s not good for me. It’s an ugly impulse and having the ability to look, myself, and the things given to me and be grateful and satisfied without being praised is a critical tool in my sobriety tacklebox.

My father was demanding external soothing last night. I tried to coach him into self-soothing. “You have the ability, dad, to decide that you’re being irrational and go to bed, and look at things in the morning again.” He just said, “Nope.” And then he hung up on me.

The most critical skill I have learned in sobriety is this: My problem is me.

So I’m going to go compete. And I’m going to try to do it for me. And not expect anything from other people about it. And when my ten years sobriety comes up, I’m just going to let it go by. I’ll mention it at a meeting. I’ll write a blog post about it. And it’ll be what it is. And I’ll be what I am.

Sunday, I have a race. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be long. And it’s going to be mine.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 13 September 2017 07:55

    You will be fine. You will be fine. You will be fine. You have trained. You are ready. Whatever happens happens. You have done your best and will continue to do so.

    I do outrageous things because they make me feel better about me. I love the praise, but it is mainly so I can believe I am still a pretty special person. I need marathons and triathlons to believe that. So be it. It doesn’t make me a person who threatens suicide for attention. There is a BIG DIFFERENCE.

    I will say to you what my sponsor has said to me many times…. your AA anniversary is not about YOU. It is to show other people what can be done. Please share the hell out of it. Recovery is precious and rare. Show others it CAN be done.

    You ROCK totally. Just SHINE.

    Sorry for all the caps.

  2. Angela permalink
    13 September 2017 11:56

    Congrats on the upcoming 10 years! And good luck on your upcoming race.

    My son is 40 and an active alcoholic. He has been to rehab 4 times since January and now the insurance has said no more. He starts drinking within a couple of days of getting home. He leads the AA meetings while in rehab but refuses to go when he gets home. He lost his job in June and his house will be the next thing to go. I am raising his 14 year old daughter. Her mom is not in the picture but she is also an alcoholic and has had little contact with her daughter during the past year. She is currently is in jail for 3 DUIs within a two month period.
    Such a sad situation! My granddaughter and I are attending alanon/alateen meetings and she is in therapy. I truly think my son will die of this disease.

    I have printed off so many of your blog posts and find them so helpful. Thank you!

    • 13 September 2017 12:18

      I’m so sorry, Angela, I hope that things improve. We never know when someone will “get it”. In the meantime, it sounds like you’re taking steps to help yourself, which is good. And to help your granddaughter which is incredible!

      You’re in my thoughts.

  3. Aimee permalink
    13 September 2017 13:16

    It’s a funny, fuzzy line between taking appropriate pride in your real accomplishments (which are considerable) and using them as props to wave around in search of ego-soothing attention. For the record, it’s never seemed to me that that’s what you are doing at all, but I’m not in your head. And I understand the angst of thinking “does any of this mean anything besides self-aggrandizement?” I think that too, or I used to when I had any accomplishments to brag about 😉
    Nobody bought a single work of art at either of the two shows I’ve had in my life. I don’t think I’ve made a grand total of a hundred bucks off my art or writing, and that includes the gift basket from the Washington state potato commission for my prize-winning poem about potatoes (available upon request). But you know what? The hell with it. I like doing it. And if it makes me happy to call myself an artist or a poet – so what? It’s just part of my identity. Your sobriety and your fitness has made a much greater impact on your life, the lives of your family and friends and colleagues, and even on the world than me art ever will. Your sobriety and fitness IS a big deal. You have done – are doing – something that few people ever manage to do – it’s called living up to your potential. It is admirable. I admire you. And there’s nothing wrong with me telling you that, either.

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