Tag Archives: addiction and recovery

The Mind of a Marathon Runner

By Eliot Godwin

Beep beep beep beep…

shutterstock_152330102I can’t say for sure why I hate my alarm clock. It’s an inanimate object. I’m definitely smarter than my alarm clock and it does exactly what I tell it. Perhaps I really just hate myself for committing to getting up early and running miles upon miles every Sunday morning. More likely it’s that I love myself enough to commit to something that makes me physically healthier and mentally stronger, and follow through on that commitment each week. Clearly, it’s tough love.

The perspective from under my comforter is bleak. A snoring, farting roommate. Accruing laundry. Clouds and rain. Once I get up, however, the world doesn’t look so intimidating. How quickly the body responds to the act of going from horizontal to vertical in the morning. The brain needs blood to operate, and getting vertical denies my brain the blood it needs to make bad decisions like ‘stay in bed’ or ‘do drugs’ or ‘gamble.’ I leave my room! I interact with people! I eat bagels!

When I start running, the endorphins start to flow and life is good. Invariably, I wonder how I ever considered not getting out of bed. With the unwavering support and infectious enthusiasm of Stephanie Cullen and Craig Miller, along with everyone else on the team, I feel a part of something. We train on our own during the week, and every Sunday the team meets at the Santa Monica Pier for our weekly runs, some as long as 20 miles.

In so many ways, my weekly marathon training is a microcosm of rehabilitation. Arresting my addiction is difficult because it is uncomfortable, like getting out of bed. Training for a marathon is hard and daunting, but the road is paved with success and encouragement, along with the inevitable difficulties. My team is supportive and present; we look out for each other and hold each other accountable.

Once training ends, the real thing awaits. Hopefully we’ve been present in our preparation and have amassed a toolbox of the strategies and skills necessary to succeed. Like life, the marathon is fraught with peril and unexpected complications will certainly arise. But failure is much less an option than a choice we simply cannot make.


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Filed under Beit T'Shuvah, Community, Current Events, LA Marathon, Run To Save A Soul

Are We Responsible for Amy Winehouse’s Death?

Amy Winehouse at Eurockéennes de Belfort (Fest...

Addicted to addiction

By M. Alexander

We buy her albums that glorify addiction, albums that talk about her maintaining sickness instead of seeking health. We go to her concerts, reveling when she is too loaded to perform. We devour magazines depicting her as a train-wreck.

The Al-Anon program directs family members of alcoholics to stop enabling the one who is sick.  But as a public figure, she had the entire world enabling her habit.  A coworker told me that she got wasted singing-along to Amy Winehouse’s song Rehab, belting, “They tried to make me go to rehab, I said ‘No, no, no.’”

We enjoyed watching her choose death over life.

We might have enabled her continued downfall, but we should also pay heed to the other Al-Anon slogan, “We didn’t cause [her addiction], we can’t control [her addiction], and we can’t cure [her addiction].”  Though we are not culpable, we do need to take a look at the role society plays in standing idly by while people shatter into a million little pieces.

Our society is addicted to addiction.  We like to see the hero struggle, we feel better about ourselves when we see a picture of the “perfect” woman sporting cottage cheese on her legs, and we get a rush from seeing the heroin addict use.

In the recovery community, we need to defy this societal norm.  We need to be the example of health, of bettering our own lives.  People like Russell Brand and Eminem have shown that celebrities can get better.  They are open about their recovery and show that we do not have to glamorize addiction, but we can instead romanticize recovery.

We are not responsible for Amy Winehouse’s death.  We couldn’t do anything to save her.  If she wanted to use, she was going to use.  But we have a responsibility to be open about recovery, to show the world that for every person dying a tragic death, there is someone reclaiming their life with sobriety. To show that for those who want to better their lives, to save their own souls, there is a way.  We can and will lead the way— if they are willing to take the necessary steps away from death and toward life.

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Filed under addiction, Current Events, Sobriety, Uncategorized