Smiles for Miles

happyface

Take a look at that smile there. That's real. That's genuine. That's me: High. On life.

After seven weeks of miserable runs, where all pleasure has been snuffed out by horrible abdominal contractions, ribcage pain, and overall uncoordinated breathing, I actually had a good run today.

Nothing. No drug, no chemical, no other sport, nothing in the world can compare to the cleansing I feel in my soul when I get in a good run.

It only made it better that it was raining. I love running in the rain. But, rain means I left my Garmin at home. So, I'm not sure how fast I ran. Or how many times I had to stop to stretch my bad arm, twist a bit, and walk. But, I know what I did.

I ran 6 miles. And I didn't have to lie down in the grass once.

My abs started kicking in the last few miles, forcing me to walk with more frequency. But, they didn't get so bad to bring me to my knees. The Botox is wearing off now. The Dystonia is settling back into my head, neck, tongue, throat and shoulder; where it usually is. It seems odd now that I started having these troubles with breathing and running right after my last round of Botox on May 26. Makes me wonder if the injections aren't just pushing the Dystonia into other muscles again.

I hope that's all it is.

Today? Not only did I get in a good run. But, I also got a little hope that maybe, just maybe, this abdominal issue is temporary. That it might just be related to this round of injections and so will continue to wear off.

It's all added up to put a great big smile on my face.

It's a good day. And I'm happy to be still breathing.

An Unlikely Inspiration

Some people might doubt me. For all the negative portrayals of addicts and addiction we seem to be getting via the media these days, it might be hard to believe my story.

How could anyone who claims to have chronic pain and Dystonia run? More than that, how could anyone who had the problems or consequences with addiction I say I did have turned their life around so very dramatically so that they do run? It must not have been that bad, right?

Wrong.

Addiction stole the best years of my life. It tried to kill me and I'm very lucky to be alive. But I clawed my way back from death, jail, psych wards and detoxes to turn my life around because I believe there is still life here for me to live.

And I'm going to embrace that life fully, chronic pain or not.

I'm over six years sober. After all these years, I wish I could say I put my past away. But, the damage to my brain, caused by head trauma and chemical dependency, is permanent. The drunk feeling, for me, unfortunately, doesn't seem to want to ever go away.

I can't change what happened. I can't take it back and undo the mistakes I made. I can only share my story with others and keep runnin', clinging to the hope that perhaps I can inspire someone to make a change in their own life. Before it's too late.

Running For My Life

After surviving years of serious chemical dependency and the near fatal suicide attempt by hanging that accompanied it, I fought tooth and nail to turn my life around in 2004. I got sober, started eating right, getting more sleep, and I also started running. Running breathes life into my soul. It helps me stay physically fit and mentally balanced. It also helps me stay clean and sober.

With life under control, I went back to school. I finished my college degree and got myself a good job. I thought my toughest battles were behind me. But, then a new foe came along. One that I never even saw coming.

In 2006, at the age of 26, I started having pain in my shoulder while sitting in my chair at work. Nothing seemed to help. I couldn’t function. As the months went on, it grew so bad that it forced me to call in sick and leave work early. At first I thought it was the aftereffect of an old shoulder dislocation injury rearing its head. I went to a shoulder doctor, who thought it was much more serious. Turns out, it was.