Running To, Not Away

It was to be her second official 10K race and as she took her mark at the starting line of the 6.2 mile journey I hugged her, gave her a high five and quickly rushed up the racecourse to briefly catch a few photos as she would soon be running by. Gathered around her several friends, a few acquaintances and a massive amount of strangers all in pursuit of the same goal… to finish.
At 7 AM sharp the race began and she passed me with a wave of confidence as she was absorbed into the massive human wave of excitement. I quickly rushed to my car so I could get to the finish line, run backwards on the course and hopefully meet her halfway. It took only 10 minutes for me to park the car and hit the street running, knowing that inevitably we would be reunited and I could help pace her to the finish.
Running up the racecourse, opposite the runners, I felt like a salmon swimming upstream. Although I was not in the middle of the racers, having to look at each individual face to be sure that I did not pass my runner was the daunting task. It was difficult to say the least. During the second mile my focus had to be more attentive so as to not miss her.
It got me to thinking how many times in recovery have we been running away from a relationship, away from a struggle, away from the pain of the past or even away from responsibility? I also pondered how different our experiences were going to be when we met, her still trying to complete her goal of finishing the 10k and me pacing her without pushing her too hard.
There are many times in early sobriety that the relationships we are in also are in need of recovery. Inevitably one individual will move faster or more efficient than the other. Each person’s recovery speed is different, each goal for recovery different and therefore great harm can come if one member in the relationship attempts to rush the other through.
As this was to be her experience I knew that simple motivational pushes would be more appropriate than to aggressively force her to pick up her speed. Alas after submitting a significant hill our eyes connected and I quickly joined her in the race. I was proud that she had made it this far on her own and even more so that I was able to run beside her. I noted that she was keeping a good pace and not wanting to kill her mojo I adapted to it. As we exchanged positive affirmations we were joined by another athlete and I realized that harmoniously and quite naturally we had both picked up our speed. The natural rhythm of pacing one another until equalized and balanced, establishes a united goal. I thought to myself, this is how all relationships should be. Giving and taking ever so slightly so that fatigue is held at bay and goals are more likely to be obtained. She crossed the finish line breaking an old record, beating the goal she had set and solidifying herself as a finisher.
Running to something whether it be sobriety, relationships, accountability and happiness is much more valuable than running away from anything. To meet in the middle and adjust so that both in a relationship can share success is the key to unity. Yet, the value in the words, “Thank You” she gave me meant more than the finishers metal hanging around her neck.
Take account of who and what we should be running toward and focus less on things we are running from.
Marissa, You Are A Champion…

Olympians Of Sobriety

Have you ever pondered, “What does it take to become an Olympic athlete”? I would say it takes years of learning and practice. An Olympic Athlete must be willing to spend years practicing to be the best in their sport. To be an Olympic Athlete requires commitment, a kind of promise or pledge to work toward a goal.
Olympic Athletes follow a schedule and plan for training time. Every day of the week, they go to practice. There is much sacrifice, or giving up what one likes to do. Olympic Athletes give up many activities. They keep up with schoolwork by studying before and after practice. Parents and families also sacrifice. Sometimes they drive their athletes many miles to practice before sunrise and late at night.
Before athletes can compete, or try out, in the Olympics, they compete in their state or country. When they lose, athletes work hard to overcome their disappointments. The most successful athletes are those who keep working toward their goal even when they lose.
Olympic Athletes must have strong minds as well as strong bodies. The best athletes believe they can win. They think positive thoughts which give them the energy, or the push, they need to win. Olympic Athletes concentrate on, or put all their attention or thought into their routines. They picture in their minds each action or step they will take in their routines. And they picture themselves winning! Athletes see their dreams come true when they receive the gold, silver, or bronze medal.
I bet this sounds familiar because…
“What does it take to become an Agent of Recovery”? I would say it takes years of learning and practice. An Agent of Recovery must be willing to spend years committed to sobriety. An Agent of Recovery requires a commitment to themselves, family, friends and stakeholders. An Agent of Recovery follows a schedule, or plan, for training time such as attending meetings, service, and spending time with loved ones and personal investments. Every day of the week, they go to practice. There is much sacrifice, or giving up what they once liked to do such as; using, partying, fighting and all night social inebriation. An Agent of Recovery must give up many activities; no longer lying, cheating, stealing or manipulating. They keep up with work and other activities by showing up and doing the best job they can do. Parents and families also sacrifice for an Agent of Recovery. Sometimes they call and ask hard questions like how the Agent is doing in recovery, they hold boundaries, push them to be independent and love the Agent despite their short comings.
Before an Agent of Recovery can compete in sobriety they compete in groups, therapy and in meetings. They compete with addiction and never let it get the upper hand. When they lose, an Agent of Recovery works hard to overcome their setbacks. The most successful Agents of Recovery are those who keep working toward their goal even when they relapse or when sobriety looses its purpose.
Agents of Recovery have strong minds as well as strong spirits. The best Agents of Recovery believe they can win. They think positive thoughts which give them the energy, or the push, they need to triumph. Agents of Recovery concentrate on, or put all their attention or thought into, their routines like substance refusal, avoiding unhealthy relationships, critical thinking and balanced lifestyles. They picture in their minds each action or step they will take in their routines. And they picture themselves winning!
So you see, Athletes you are already on your path to become Olympians of Sobriety. Take your steps now to be committed, have a schedule, sacrifice, compete, think positive, create energy, concentrate, and have a routine.

Balance

There I sat, in a room of about fifty or so people from all avenues of life. To my side a half dozen adolescents wishing they were somewhere else. I was responsible for these kids and besides, they should be grateful, sitting in a 12 Step meeting had to be better than sitting in their rooms back at the youth treatment center they came from. I listened intently to the accounts of attempted sobriety and successful moments of a few brave souls who dared enough, or cared enough to share, when an older gentleman raised his arm to the sky, an indication that he was next to speak.
With a worn voice he identified himself with a conviction of divinity, he testified to his eleven years of sobriety and that despite this
particular night being his son’s birthday he chose to attend this meeting instead of appearing at the birthday celebration because
well…his recovery comes before all else.
When you limit your choices only to what seems feasible or self-fulfilling, you detach yourself from responsibility and attempt to create a compromise. Compromise…A scary word when you really think about it. In the classic John Wayne movie Operation Pacific, the submarine he captains is hit by an enemy’s torpedo when a frantic officer rushes to his post and reports, “Captain, the ships hull has been compromised, abandon ship!” I see it as a “surrender” of principles, values and hopes.
In a session I recently had, a client asked, ”Does my recovery, my new way of living have to come with great sacrifice? I’m personally trying to figure out how to arrange my family time, my job, personal recovery, workouts and racing while identifying and pursuing my specific goals in Addict II Athlete.” “Well,” I responded, “you have a choice to make but I’ll tell you it sounds a lot like an overachiever to me and with no balance you’re on a path to burnout. How can we tell, look at the choices you’ve made thus far and how you came to them?”
The Origin
Dig back a few layers, and uncover what’s really at the root of most overachievers. It’s an addiction to accomplishment, material
achievements, and ultimately to self. I think most overachievers do love their families and I believe that most understand that
involvement with their family is a necessary extension of this love. Yet, ultimately the tension leads to inevitable guilt and the justifications that they try to pull off are just attempts at reducing that guilt. Convincing themselves that their efforts are actually for their family, instead of against them, and allows them to continue on with as little guilt as possible.
Emotional Cost
Take a moment to consider the nature of the emotional cost. An emotional cost is the value of emotion that has been used up to
produce something. An emotional cost occurs when there are two options that both really seem attractive. One option is noble but incredibly painful, the other, usually more personally gratifying but not as generous. Emotional cost is choosing the nobler option. Reading Lance Armstrong’s books and following him closely over the years I realize that in order to be at that kind of athletic level, you must choose sport or family, you can not have both. I mean look what happened when we chose to use substances. That became our driving force for all choices that followed. To be the best, to be the strongest or even the someone, everyone aspires to, you must give up something of greater value, just like an addiction. But hey, me training and participating in races is good right? Until the balance is tossed off kilter and something very familiar begins to happen. Start with a 5k, 10k then half and full Marathons, dare we say ultra racing then back-to-back ultras…bigger, faster, stronger…stupid? Indeed, but also a cross addiction, same principles, different substance used.
Deception
Overachievers have a unique ability to phrase their addiction as the nobler option. Through some mental or relationship gymnastics, they depict spending time with family as the self-indulgent thing to do. Long hours at the office are the sacrifice they make for more income for the family. A belief that the sacrifice is something they feel they should be commended for.
Look in the Mirror
It’s easy to point a condemning finger at overachievers. But all they’re really doing is choosing the wrong option when faced with a tough decision and then justifying their choice. If you think about it, doesn’t that really describe us all in a sense? How many times do we take the easy way out, and then justify.
Athletes, be very aware of the choices you are making. Sacrificing family, time, love, respect, money, compassion or humility for self-gratifying experience is not a goal, its self-centered stupidity. The things that are not measurable are more important than those that are. The real key to long term sobriety is balance. In 10 years no body will care what time you got on your Marathon, but your child, spouse or loved one will forever remember that they came second, third or even abandoned.

Becoming Who You Are

I once heard that you have to ‘be’, before you ‘do’, in order to have lasting inner peace. More simply, making a living is not the same as creating your life. It is to discover the tune or rhythm of life that allows your heart to sing and moves you to the beat of your own music.
Many individuals work long hours, struggle through weeks, months and even years only to regret or dislike what they do for a living. It’s known that around 53 percent of people in the American workplace are unhappy with their jobs. What a sad existence to put in so much time for an outcome of regret, anger, discontent and depression. Yet one thing holds true and that is; loving what you do is one of the most important keys to maintaining a positive attitude.
Loving what you do goes beyond the 9 to 5 work existence and flows over into the daily lives of recovery, personal sobriety, relationships, time and investment and over all quality of life. Think about it, you can’t fake genuine passion. Passion is Wheaties that provides the fuel to achieve your dreams of running that marathon. Before the shoes are tied however you need to make sure you love running because the first step is to really analyze what it is you love about running, about sobriety…about your life.
We all have unique talents and interests, and one of life’s greatest challenges is to match these talents with opportunities that bring out the best in us. It’s not easy – and sometimes we can only find it through trial and error – but it’s worth the effort.
There once was an athlete that was unsuccessful for most of his young life. He was a sickly young man often plagued by pneumonia, chronic bronchitis yet was still required to work with his family, no matter how many times he moved so his parents could find work. He too struggled making friends; he found difficulty obtaining an education began to slip into the thought process that he would never amount to anything. That was until he understood that he must change himself if he was to have any shot at success.
And what changes did Jesse Owens make? He followed his passion. He always loved the outdoors and was an excellent runner. In addition, because he struggled so much as a youth to illness and poverty running was a precious ability he valued. It meant freedom, it meant strength, it meant avoiding danger and he was good at it.
Once he stopped trying to convince himself he wouldn’t amount to much he enrolled at East Technical High School. Owens quickly made a name for himself as a nationally recognized sprinter, setting records in the 100 and 200-yard dashes as well as the long jump. After graduating, Owens enrolled at Ohio State University where he continued to flourish as an athlete.
His dominance at the Big Ten games was par for the course for Owens that year, which saw him win four events at the NCAA Championships, two events at the AAU Championships, and three others at the Olympic Trials. In all, Owens competed in 42 events that year and won them all thus qualifying for the 1936 Summer Olympic Games to be held in Berlin Germany.
For Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games was expected to be a German showcase and a statement for Aryan supremacy. Most notably, Hitler criticized America for including black athletes on its Olympic roster. But it was African Americans who helped cement America’s success at the Olympic Games. In all the U.S. won 11 gold medals, six of them by black athletes. Owens was easily the most dominant athlete to compete. He captured four gold medals (the 100-meter, the long jump, the 200-meter, and the 400-meter relay race) and broke two Olympic records along the way. After Owens won the 100-meter event, a furious Hitler stormed out of the stadium.
How do you find your purpose in life? There are no easy answers, but here are two practical tips that can help:
1. Discover Your Gifts – We’re all unique and each of us has our own special gifts. Make a list of what you consider your strengths and your weaknesses. Next, don’t just assume your assumptions are correct. Get feedback “trusted truth-tellers”, friends and family members who won’t just tell you what you want to hear but who will share their true opinions. With their help you can get a realistic perspective of your gifts.
2. Discover What Moves You – Find your passion and strive to live your life around it. Make your list. Do your homework. There is this caution, however…have patience. Your purpose in life probably won’t surface overnight, but like love, it will find you when you least expect it.
Finding your reason for being brings a positive attitude that can be unstoppable.

Time Of Your Life

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Well said Mr. Bueller. But have you ever stopped to think, why life seems to speed up the older we get? How amazing could it be to really live in the moment, to see that there truly are no ordinary moments.
When addiction distracts us from our purpose we lose track of time and so many other experiences we could or should have had. Putting yourself on an addictive time out may lead us to believe we can delay time, yet time will not wait. As the fog of using begins to lift a real fear and concern grasp our minds as we look at time wasted. That fear begins to shape our plans, dreams and goals as we think there may not be enough time left, everything seems to be moving so fast. We long for the times early in our childhood when everything felt like it was moving slowly. Hours seemed like days and summer vacations never ended. We can get this back Athletes, chances are if you are part of AIIA, it already has.
Intense moments of your life are remembered as lasting much longer than the times that were relatively dull. Psychologists say that the reason for this is our brains take deeper and richer memories of events that are novel, or events that are intense than the ones that aren’t. When your experiences are intense or unique you’re not remembering more things about it, you are making more copies. Rather than just making normal memories during intense moments the amygdala in your brain gets involved and also remembers things. The amygdalae perform primary roles in the formation and storage of memories associated with emotional events. Many people believe that is why intense moments are remembered as lasting longer.
This phenomenon becomes quite mind blowing on a macro scale. Think of it this way, when you are a one-year-old baby, that one-year of life represents 100% of your life. But when you turned two years old that second-year was only half your life and the next year you live through is only a third of your life. So by the time you turn 80, one year only represents an 80th of your life. Those percentages are important because they may explain why your childhood felt longer but as you get older the years seem to fly by. You have more peak experiences when you’re young. You first learn a language, you first see your mother, you first learn to walk, and you have your first kiss. These are all deeply, richly remembered by your brain and so later on it feels as if they took longer to happen.
Now here’s what’s really mind blowing. When you turn 80 years old and take a look back at your life, the point that feels like the middle isn’t your 40s it’s actually your early 20s. The good news here is the more novel things you do, the more things you see, more places you visit or travel to or people you meet… the slower time feels and the more rich your life becomes. So go out there and do something amazing, something weird, and something new. Meet as many people as you can, build and invest in friendships, relationships and above all, get out of your comfort zone. Life will slow down and you will enjoy it more.

Run For Your Life

I have a confession to make, despite my previous statements I can earnestly and honestly tell you all, I do enjoy running. That has not always been the case for me, as I was the mindset of dreading every training run, local race or running event to the point I had convinced myself that, “running is for criminals.”
Many of my in-laws are avid runners. I have one brother in law in particular who finds great joy in running long distances. My mind can’t understand the reasons why he would like to run 135+ miles when I don’t even like to drive that far. I have done many races; 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon. Each experience had its own challenges, and having a mindset of dread and anguish, running felt like more of a chore then something pleasurable. It wasn’t until this fall that I fully understood what running meant to me, that there is an athlete in each one of us that can carry a message of purpose and direction.
People have asked me why we choose running as our core exercise for Addict II Athlete. I smile and respond, half believing it myself, it is because running is the most simple and basic thing a human being can do. However it takes the most amount of mental strength and ability to engage in. Similarly, the principles of recovery resembled those principles of running. The natural state of an individual is to create peace, comfort and love. Yet those can be the most difficult emotions and principles to maintain.
I have spoken with many people over the years that ‘hate running’ and have come to the conclusion that the number one reason they don’t like it is because they can’t do it well. They go for a run and are in discomfort the entire time. Sounds eerily like those in early recovery, each group or social interaction can be very uncomfortable. Why is that? It is because they are working harder than their body can handle comfortably. We tend to make it more difficult than it has to be and don’t pace ourselves. So I ask you, “Can you run a marathon (26.2 miles) tomorrow?” If you can, you are probably either wasting your time on this blog or heard of the group and wanted to check it out. If you think you can’t run a marathon, what about a half marathon? A 10K (6.2 miles – what is it with the .2 miles anyway)? How about a 5K? One mile? What about 100 yards?
If you have gone for a run of whatever distance – long or short – and thought the whole way, “I hate this,” what made you think you could run that distance in your current shape? And that applies to couch potatoes or former runners who said “I think I’ll go for a three mile run today,” after not running for a while. You were just not in shape to run that particular distance.
What an absolute mirror image to those in recovery. I have had many clients say to me that they can’t talk about their problems in a social group setting, and then downplayed their addiction by saying things such as, “it’s only alcohol.” And I have seen clients come into group and become wallflowers because they believe the journey is going to be too difficult. I have seen clients put their head down and trying to sprint through treatment and I have seen clients hit the wall and attempt to take a knee.
The common theme I hear, “I didn’t realize it was going to be this difficult. I didn’t think we were going to talk about those issues. I didn’t realize treatment was going to take so long.” Make no mistake athletes; these are the same feelings and thoughts that will go through your head at various points along any race or journey. Whether it is mile 18 in the marathon or month number three in recovery, we all pass through the same gauntlet of self-doubt, mental anguish and priority adjustment. There is a feeling when you are running simply because you enjoy the experience, not looking at your watch for time and distance however becoming one with your environment. As it is in recovery, there is a simple and powerful experience to be had when you come to the knowledge that you are here to create a better life based on purpose and direction, than to simply suffer through this chapter of life.
Coming down the chute of a race, no matter the distance you have traveled, is one of the most exhilarating feelings you can experience. It is the culmination of your hard work, diligence and self-respect to feel of the delayed gratification that puts all your hard work into perspective. As it is with recovery…all your hard work, sacrifice, willingness, honesty, strength, integrity, value and purpose will help you cross your finish line. Now you’re ready to take on the next event because Athletes…you can do hard things. -Blu

A Real Superhero

Would you be able to recognize a superhero if you looked one in the face? Would you be able to see the unique features that make them extraordinary? Would you aline yourself next to them to face an enemy head on?
There are superheroes among us. They are our neighbors, friends, co-workers, complete strangers and even our family members. They are artists, musicians, employees, scholars, teachers, healers. Their actions create messages of inspiration as they possess the superhuman power to soothe guilt and feelings of helplessness. They instill compassion and goodwill to all those who witness them in action. These superheroes are exceptionally skillful and have become successful in standing up to a villain so sinister that if they let down their guard for even a small moment, it can take their life.
These superheroes choose every day, to make a difference in the world around them. Whether it be feeding the emotionally hungry, comforting the sick, cleaning up their neighborhoods, installing hope within the younger generation they save real lives in very real ways. Yet these superheroes don’t hide behind superhero masks nor are they recognized by a costume. But they are easily recognized by emblem, their sheer numbers and their call to arms. They are, simply put, the AIIA Athletes.
On any given day you would never be able to distinguish them from any other productive member of society, yet several times each week and often every weekend you will see these superheroes assemble at the starting lines within the battlegrounds of your local 5k’s and Marathons. You will see them on a journey’s course, knocking off miles and crushing the adversarial grip once possessed by addiction with every footstep. You see them preparing for battle as they draw their laces, securing their running shoes to ensure there tactical weapons are protected. They synchronize their watches to monitor physical exertion to reach maximum potential. Last but not least, they identify themselves by adorning the distinguished garment complete with the unifying symbol of ‘Addict II Athlete’ directly over their heart as to protect the most vulnerable chink in the armor.
These heroes are not cowards and they do not surrender to challenge or foe. They do not bask in the glory of accomplishment nor do they boast about their personal strengths. The only reward given to them is the occasional medal, a job well done, yet the inner reward felt deep within their heart is one of tremendous value, overwhelming love, immense gratitude, tremendous inspiration and solid purpose.
That is how you recognize an AIIA superhero. Just to make sure it’s the real deal and not an imposter, you find yourself running alongside these athletes, simply call out as loud as you can, the AIIA battle cry… “Athletes who am I”…. and trust what you hear in response.

Coach, am I a Champion?

That question can be music to my ears or can be the prelude to another disappointment. Claiming to want to be a champion is the easy part. Understanding what is actually required to become an AIIA Champion requires more than working out, racing or competing. Sobriety, focus, heart and investment are only the precursors to becoming an AIIA Champion. By creating a more excellent way to live a substance free life one must completely commit to do what is necessary to become a champion.
Wanting to be a Champion, wanting to be the best at everything, whether it is in recovery, treatment, education or in athletics requires the same basic process as sobriety; an understanding of the subject, a knowledge of the limitations, a love for the subject. Becoming a champion requires a strong work ethic and a willingness to sacrifice old habits, friends and relationships in order to achieve success in athletics, healthy living and of course…sustained sobriety.
There are many individuals who have bought into the lie that they can never be a Champion. They tend to stumble upon the notion of being a champion after years of being stuck in life’s deep emotional ruts. The last thing they believe is that overcoming adversity strengthens them from the core-out and that a little self belief can create a fire that has the potential to create the Champion. But there lies the key, the foundation of success;
You see, True CHAMPIONS are made, not born. CHAMPIONS are created through adversity. Yes, bad days, stressful situation, heartaches, emotional pain and losses are all necessary elements in the production of a CHAMPION. Your character is built in the storm life offers. It is not built in success, it is built in adversity. You develop strength when you are in difficult spots yet, the key is learning to handle opposition with courage and integrity and rising when you fall, so you become that CHAMPION.
Characteristics of an AIIA Champion:
• The Athlete discovers how great they can be
• The Athlete talks soft and plays loud
• The Athlete loves the battle more than the victory
• They are not afraid to lose
• The Athlete faces their giants to reach their goals
• They compete with purpose and passion
• The Athlete learns from losses
• They live in the present moment
• The Athlete produces continuous improvement
• The Athlete knows how much they’re worth
So what are you waiting for? I once heard that every story has a hard part in the middle. Take a look at your life, where you currently stand. If you are having difficult times or circumstances seem overwhelming, congratulations this is the middle, not the end. Even greater than that is the undaunted fact that those adversities can be the platform you need to take a stand, rise up, flex the muscles and overcome that which keeps you stuck. Then you, will know, exactly who you are! You Are A…………….

Erase And Replace

Erase and Replace is my philosophy of eliminating attributes of addictive relationships, behavior, emotion, and objects then Replacing them with things of greater value. This concept is fundamentally the keystone to a sure foundation of recovery and healing.
This process is challenging and will require an abundant amount of resolution to be effective. The repossession of our life is quite possibly the most exhilarating, yet scary time in early recovery. Having grown so accustomed to a certain lifestyle, the unknown for individuals early in recovery, can seem a daunting task if not approached with care. It is the courage to push for the unknown.
Grand is the task that lies before us all when we truly take a solemn look at where life has been, where it is now and where it could potentially lead. In order to establish a firm foundation in recovery and to thoroughly heal from addiction the transformation from victim to agent must start with Erasing the attributes that hold us hostage and anchor us from progression.
If you are in active addiction or early in recovery, close your eyes for a moment, take a deep breath and slowly open them. Take a look around your environment. Are the first things you see somehow connected to your addiction? These are the first things that need to be Erased within your environment if you hope to gain advantage in sobriety. A social detox is just as crucial as a physical detox in that following the sickness and illness; you must begin to cleanse your environment to become stronger. The social detox is much more difficult and tricky because you have convinced yourself that ‘things’ don’t actively keep your mind addicted, only that these items set you apart as an individual.
A total transformation is often the pivot point that so many in recovery are not willing to do. From the music they listen to, to the clothing they wear, to the haircut they adorn. Every aspect of your identity could also be the potential downfall to relapse. Countless times I have challenged a group member to cut their hair, take piercings out, or cover themselves from exposing parts of their body in order for them to discover their value within rather than external distractions. Unfortunately many refuse this simple request of seeing the inner value and potential progression in order to maintain, that which is familiar to them. Our attachments to things actually keep us hostage and stereotyped as addicts. Those that accept the challenge and follow through with social detox get a head start on Erasing those labels and are thrust into an environment of more opportunity.
Yet still our attachment to things pale in comparison to the individuals and relationships that we will have to Erase in order to have the freedom of success. Success can be defined as the attainment of one’s purpose. In order to maintain sobriety one must have a purpose. Thus, individuals in our lives that keep us from obtaining our goals will have to be dissolved in order for us to truly discover who we are and what we can become.
Personally speaking this is one of the most difficult aspects of recovery. Having had to commit social suicide myself in order to maintain a progression of healing I had to dissolve all friendships that could be a threat to my sobriety. It is difficult enough to go through a transformation with support let alone forgoing this journey by yourself. Yet sometimes it is necessary to learn how to be alone and begin learning about who you really are. This solo experience can be one of the most powerful mechanisms for growth if you learn how to become one with yourself. More often than not as these relationships dissolve anger, sadness, pain and discontent arise and the ability to offend is extremely high. It can literally reopen the wounds of abandonment, self-pity and neglect therefore halting the transformation.
If this principle is applied an understanding of progression is established, the next principle of Replace can move forward. An immense part of letting go is identifying when it is time to stay in a condition and when it’s time to move forward. Remember, when one door closes another opens but if we remain fixated on the closing door we fail to see the opening door behind us.
Filling the emptiness left behind by the Erasing of the potential setbacks can be a daunting task. Balance is key when establishing replacements for things, activities and people we needed to let go of. By nature we love to be surrounded in a comfort zone that maximizes security and contentment. Stepping out of the normal routine can be uncomfortable and lead to insecurity but getting out of a comfort zone and Replacing the addiction with things of greater value will enhance and increase your likelihood for achievement.
When replacing the addiction with something of greater value it is important to enrich your personal experience and to learn new things. Having new experiences will also entail learning how to act in new situations. This can be scary at times when we are unfamiliar with how the other half live. Once we immerse ourselves in new situations and settings we are able to break the routine and face the situation and tasks that will greatly increase the likelihood of success. Many individuals stepping into the Addict II Athlete program are fearful because they feel they are not able or athletic enough to be a part of the physical aspects we produce. Unbeknownst to so many we have athletes of all different levels of agility, strength and fitness and every new member can plug themselves in at any level they feel most comfortable with and increase from that point. Doubting our ability re-engages the scarcity paradigm that halts progression. By breaking the routine, taking on new challenges we are providing recovery by stimulating the senses.
Simply think of Erase and Replace like wiping down a chalkboard of a past life and writing a new story in which you are the Champion. In order to Erase those memories you must return and Replace them. Recently a client of mine took his young son and taught him to ride a bike without training wheels at a park that he once littered with drug paraphernalia; creating for them both new memories and a more excellent way of life.

Devil's Playground

A crucial factor within the foundation of Addict II Athlete was addressing the importance of unstructured leisure or free time. If left unchecked this time is what makes or breaks recovery. When this time becomes unstructured and boredom sets in most people switch back to default settings, old habits and make poor decisions.
Boredom is one of the most important topics in recovery because it has the potential to be the source of much misery. Boredom is just a precursor to some fairly heavy emotions that if gone unchecked, will overwhelm even the most dedicated individual. Feelings of emptiness, helplessness, sadness, inadequacy, and most frequent and common, depression will all rear their ugly head if we allow ourselves to fall into the scarcity of boredom. We may not even realize that something as innocent as being bored could have such severe consequences if not dealt with quickly.
When someone is bored they evidently don’t like what they’re doing but don’t really want to invest in thinking to do something else. It’s like the light bulb in your head is so bright you don’t turn it on because of its glare. Becoming inactive or relaxed in recovery is dangerous because it takes away from the fundamental principles of what Addict II Athlete teaches, those being action, creativity and personal investment.
I think about it this way, I’m never bored when I am busy, even if it’s something that I don’t thoroughly enjoy. I remember talking to client who spoke about feeling bored to him meant that he had too much free time and when he realized that, it was an indicator to produce something of greater value with his time. It’s time that can be used to increase relationships with family, social networks, sponsors and of course my personal favorite physical activity with other athletes. It is also a great time to work on yourself and your surroundings such as write, fix, create, or meditate. It’s funny how when we wanted something so desperately like our next score we could create and produce out of nothing because the desire was so strong. Typically we tend not to spend the same amount of time and energy to battle the potential relapse because the real world does not manifest as instantaneous as our drug of choice does.

A common cause of boredom may be the endless hunt for pleasure. In pursuing pleasure, inevitably its more likely we will be disappointed. Life is not about a mission for gratification, but about a reason for existing. Our reason for living is a personal one, and one that we create. If we create it and live up to it during our free time, we won’t experience boredom.
Boredom always sets in when we are preoccupied with scarcity. How can we be bored when we live in such an abundant world? When there is so much to be created for our fellow man and ourselves. When we direct our attention outward, we will find much to be excited about, learn about, and get involved with.
Thus the beauty within the AIIA program by establishing relationships, becoming trained in and developing passions for physical exercise, relationships, purpose, service, goal attainment and personal accountability we have the power to change lives, starting with our own.

II

People sometimes ask why we chose the II in our name rather than the word ‘to’. The II comes from the numeric system of ancient Rome, which uses combinations of letters from the Latin alphabet to signify values. The numbers 1 to 10 can be expressed in Roman numerals as follows: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X. The Roman numeral system does not include a zero. Meaning, the system does not start or even identify with zero. It starts at the number one and builds upon that number. Therefore the II can never be less than one but can grow beyond measure. It represents and signifies that even in our darkest hours, when addiction ran rampant in our lives, when we believed that all hope was lost, that we had nothing left… we were never a zero.
For it was because of that one remaining value, that one remaining drive, that one remaining relationship, that one remaining spark that the addict was able to discover the courage to build something more. The Roman numerals build upon one another through strength, conviction and momentum. They support the numbers below and the numbers above by constantly increasing value with the assurance that in our darkest hour there will always be something more.
Moving deeper into establishing relationships, the symbolism of II is kindness, balance, tact, equalization, and it beckons us to increase. The spiritual meaning within II deals with exchanges made with others; partnerships, relationships, ourself and our supreme Creator and calls us to unite with like-minds, and like-ideals.
You see, there lies the beauty of II as it offers choice and accountability made up of opposing dualities. Do you choose liberty or captivity, life or death, light or dark, scarcity or abundance…addiction or athletics? Thus, completing the circle of Erasing and Replacing for things of greater value.

Carrying The Message

2012—-For quite some time we have felt Addict II Athlete should host a race of their own to promote recovery. The activity board felt a 5k would be the best idea and the upcoming Recovery Month in September would be the best time to hold it. I wanted to use this event to be more than just a race; I wanted our Athletes to get involved. Instead of simply submitting the paperwork to the city, we met with the Substance Prevention Team and picked a city in our County. Discovering the City of Highland had a large number of overdose deaths we selected them to host our event. I had a thought. I would ask the Athletes to address Highland City Council to educate them and hopefully get their support. This is not often the case when seeking a race permit but again this was going to be bigger than a regular race. Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 Josh, Cody and Wade attended the City meeting and the outcome was more than we could have expected.

Josh’s statement to the City Council:
First let me express my gratitude for the opportunity to address this council on something that has had a profound impact on me. My name is Josh Foster, and I stand in proxy for members of Addict II Athlete. We are a group of friends, peers and family members who all have one thing in common…addiction. By knowing an addict, having been affected by addiction or being in recovery ourselves. We have come together to help one another produce a better outcome, free from addiction. We have found a new way of life, by exercising and becoming physically fit. This has become a pivot point in our new way of life. We are here to carry the message of recovery and change the outlook of the word… addict. To show that there is hope for every individual affected by addiction out there. We have adopted the philosophy of Erase and Replace, defined as; erasing our addiction and replacing it with something of greater value (ie. friendship, family, respect and compassion). Our goal is to spread the message of recovery to the addict and family of the addict who still struggle with addiction and to show that we have discovered a more excellent way to live. We wish to redefine the public’s view on addiction and recovery.
Addict II Athlete is here tonight to request and inform the citizens of Highland concerning the 2012, Utah County recovery week to be held September 8th, 2012 at the Health and Justice Building in Provo Utah. On that day, we would like to hold the first annual AIIA 5k Recovery Run. Its purpose to bring awareness and action to an epidemic of great proportion. Statistically speaking, we have chose Highland Utah as a host city because of a large number of overdose deaths. This is a community whom we feel could greatly benefit from seeing what kind of help, support and outreach is available. As well as an opportunity to educate and produce a better outcome for the citizens of Highland and the residents of Utah County.
We are proposing the 5K race begin and finish at Lone Peak High School, following a predetermined route that includes public streets and trail systems and looping back to finish where the race begins. We are prepared to submit race permits and abide by any requirements, financial obligations and promotion Highland City would require. Again I would like to thank you citizens of Highland and this counsel for allowing us the time to share with you and your community something very passionate to us. We will remain present after this meeting to answer or discuss any questions you may have.
Thank you.

Josh’s personal account about this experience:
Having been blessed to be a part of such an amazing group, and being very passionate about recovery, I was given a great opportunity to present our First Annual AIIA 5k Run to the Highland City Council. Being able to stand up, proud of who I am and what I was presenting was a great experience. Being able to see the look on the Mayor and his council members faces when they heard and felt the message of Addict II Athlete, what we are all about, and what we are doing in our community was nothing less than exceptional. I love the thought of knowing that along with local law enforcement we are here to help battle and shake addiction to the very core. To be able to stand up there and share with them our message of hope, love, strength, courage, and passion about overcoming addiction, and to have them welcome us with excitement and open arms was very gratifying. To see the relief on their faces when they got the message and knew that there is a group of proactive individuals out there that are fighting back reassured them that the troops are coming to join them in taking back their community. It was exciting for them to jump on board with us and offer their help in promoting our run and our group in any way possible, and to hear their thanks in deep gratitude. It was a very humbling experience that I’m truly grateful for, and have been blessed with the opportunity to get our message out to a community that is in such need of help from a group of friends, family and people that are so willing to show up at any means necessary to help in this great cause. Our mission is to put addiction and recovery in the front of everyone’s mind and to take it into the homes of every family that is being effected by it. This is a great testament of how powerful our group and AIIA is and how big of an impact we are making. There is nothing better than giving back to this community and leaving such a positive influence on the minds of the people that are being touched by it.

Nothing Is Impossible

“Nothing’s impossible, it just takes a little longer,” was my first thought as I woke to the alarm reminding me of an impulsive decision to run the Provo marathon. Of course just like in addiction impulse decisions lead to some fairly drastic consequences. There was no turning back as I pulled the new AIIA running jersey over my head. I would be made into a human billboard for 26.2 miles in hopes of other runners taking notice and asking questions. My brother in law and AIIA’s muggle ultramarathoner Jarom Thurston was also running as the pace runner for the four-hour finishers.
“Nothing’s impossible, it just takes a little longer,” crossed my mind when I reminisced one year ago on this very date and this particular race was the catalyst of the AIIA movement. One year ago today five athletes whom I chose were asked to run the Chase the Mayor 5K.

These individuals trusted me enough to propose a new method of recovery and now, one year later, I am here sitting on a bus headed towards Provo Canyon attempting to repay the favor to the 150 athletes we have increased to. Fortunately our bus driver was not familiar with the area and took us for a tour of Provo, at one point even headed toward the Utah State mental hospital which really was where we should have gotten off. Nonetheless we arrived at the start and had an hour to wait before the race would begin. As I attempted to weasel my way toward the fire I overheard many conversations about past races and events that seem to mimic those of war stories told during breaks following process groups. Some stories focusing on pain and anguish others on humor but even more on the passion these mixed breed of humans connected on. They were veteran runners talking about losing toenails and having some surgically removed to become a better long-distance runner as others reviewing the finer details of bodily
functions. Much like when talking about parties, drug deals and sketchy dealers, this crowd was spewing the same content with different names. I thought to myself, “These two groups are not that different after all.” The pursuit of the drug or the pursuits of
experience have the same players yet very diverse consequences.
A deep breath and a wispier, “Nothing is impossible, it just takes a little longer,” escaped my lips as the rising sun began to produce more light on the runners. We were called to the road to begin our 26.2 mile journey. Do to the urgency of time as final notes were being sung of our national anthem, I began to manically fidget with my iPhone to ensure the right play lists and GPS mileage tracker were set. Being so distracted by this technology I was thrust forward when the gunshot made it clear that the race had begun. I quickly found my stride that seemed a bit fast and the first 2 miles were all downhill. Knowing that I had a long journey ahead I thought I should really tone back, not rush through but to me I figured if it was going to be this easy I should take advantage of it. Thoughts entered my mind of clients walking into their first day of treatment and literally beginning to run through therapy. At almost breakneck speed they process the reasons they believe they are there and try to distract from the core issue that got them there in the first place. They typically candy coat the legal issues and all but leave out the trauma and pain that the addiction was born from because they are going to sprint through treatment as fast as possible. And that is exactly what I found myself doing as I descended the 2 1/2 miles in under 14 minutes. Knowing that I had started too fast and this pace would not hold but, of course, I decided to see how long I could push it. Running down the Provo River Trail I knew every corner, every landmark and every advantage that would allow me to maintain an 8 minute 10 second average. As it is in treatment, when clients have been to previous programs they use all the language, have the ability to say what the therapist would want them to say in hopes that it will be just enough to stay at processing pace through the duration of counseling. The first 6 miles of the run was amazing. I felt good, strong and focused. I did not doubt myself nor did I humble myself to the great distance that was still to come. I was content.
With two ear buds jammed into my head, I had already forgotten the reason I was there in the first place. A few runners would pass giving me the “corner of the eye” look but being so involved in my marathon playlist I would assume they had enough information on AIIA, and heck they could just Google it. Thinking about that now I see how it relates to complacency in group therapy. Thinking that the other members haven’t got a clue about who you are and besides, “I’m different.” Leaving the other group members to guess who you are and what you’re about. Chances are they will also guess wrong. Thus after a tap on my shoulder a woman about 30 years old asked me what the AIIA logo meant, thinking it was a sweet running club I belonged to. I gave her the lowdown thinking that would be it. She then began to tell me about a brother of hers who was in prison due to a very aggressive addiction. I could tell she was feeling emotional and as she pulled ahead she stated that she was impressed with the message. Investing in another person, even when you may not feel like doing so, reaps the sweetest rewards. That seemed to be the pattern for the next several miles as one runner after another would instinctively get my attention and process for even a moment the significance of what AIIA creates.
Toward the halfway point or 13.1 miles I was on track to beat my old time by 9 minutes. As we approached the middle of downtown Provo I was running with a group of runners that I had conversed with over the past several miles. We were joking, chatting and in a very temporary sense bonding as we were all beginning to hurt a bit. As mile 13.1 came into view, identified by a massive amount of people cheering runners on and the obvious Run 13 finishers arch marking the path, I noticed the pace increase and all the runners I was with slowly peeled off and made their way to the left side of the road. I quickly realized that my new friends would not be making the entire journey, they were all half-marathon runners. I soon found myself absolutely alone and even the spectators were watching the finish line leaving the more intense, crazy marathon runners to simply get a glimpse of the finish line, as we had to run passed it proscribed to another 13.1 miles. Watching these runners finish, I got to thinking about outpatient clients who are typically in treatment for six months to a year and how it must be difficult when you see some members getting out before you and in some cases you working harder than they. Realizing that your journey’s going to take longer to complete yet you are pressed to keep a positive attitude. I crossed the halfway point to very little applause and the reality of 13.1 more miles to go. Understanding that my pace would be drastically reduced on this more flat, windy and visually stagnant section was the first real sign of doubt in my thinking and uncertainty of completing this excursion crossed my mind. I turned my head to see how much distance I had between me and the runner quickly catching up, only to discover it was the four hour pacer Jarom. I was happy to see him and I ran with him for what seemed seconds before he began to pull away yet again I was alone.
“Nothing is impossible, it just takes a little longer,” I articulated once again and again, I was doing this as a tribute to one year of an amazing program that has literally changed hundreds of lives. I was debating in my mind if this were possible or what would a poor finishing time do for my character. Instinctively my thoughts crossed over to active addiction and the same thought process that goes into debating whether or not sobriety and healing is possible or even worth it. Even more so in recovery trying to identify the purpose or reason behind sobriety in the great battle that must ensue in order to come to a final decision.
“Nothing is impossible, it just takes a little longer,” I thought as I saw the aid station in the distance the long-awaited water and Gatorade, the lifeblood that would hopefully sustain me until the next aid station. My legs became tight and stiff muscles began to tighten, the precursor to pain I knew too well. Muscle cramps have the power to literally stop an athlete in his tracks and drop them like a stone. Having experienced leg cramps so severe I have wrecked my bike just to avoid the excruciating agony of flexing a locked tight muscle in the chance that doing so could prolong the agony. The slight twinges, the electrical impulses and the anticipation of muscle locked down immediately got my attention as I began to strategize how to avoid them. “More salt pills? I must really need to be drinking more Gatorade. I could really go for a massage right now. I really could just give up.” Yet here I was at mile 16 and “heck, I’ve made it this far…” before my mind to track any further a white car pulled up alongside me out jumped my long awaited running companion Josh, having been chauffeured to my location by another athlete Brandon. It was enough to boost my spirit. Not only to be joined by a fellow athlete but when I saw Brandon I had to reevaluate what pain really was.
My pain was insignificant and minuscule compared to what Brandon had been experiencing, I am not a special case. Here is a man who was not only disabling his addiction, he was also in the final stages of a very intense chemotherapy regime to obliterate any remaining cancer cells that seemed to kick him in a very inopportune segment of his life. Simultaneously healing from addiction and cancer, the pain he must have experienced gave me absolutely nothing to complain about. It’s a lot like recovery when you’re being asked questions about the pain that created the addiction in the first place. Trying to cover and shield the cause from discovery awakens the dormant wounds. Just the effort in smothering the pain to avoid reliving it can be enough to thwart healing and put the individual in a downward spiral to relapse. We humans try avoiding pain at all costs; we want it gone now by any means necessary. The problem behind thinking like that is without knowing the pain we will never truly experience the pleasure. Unbeknownst to the addict, pain is crucial as it signals warning and stimulates learning. Through painful experiences come spectacular growth, insight and wisdom. When the correct principles are applied pain subsides and only the scars remain painless to the touch yet still visible. Seeing him gave me the push I needed to carry on.
“Nothing’s impossible, it just takes a little longer,” my mantra repeated in my mind as I knew mile 18 was approaching, my self proclaimed wall. As I pondered the wall and felt it’s powerful stopping force I received a phone call. Kind of funny to be in the middle of the race and get a phone call from someone cares. Much like a pat on the back or a compassionate complement to someone you care about while in treatment. This call came at the exact time my mind would have been focused on hitting the wall. Like a gift from above my wife, obviously inspired, called at that very time, distracting me long enough to realize when the conversation was over I was at mile 19. Soon I approached the corner that led to the Provo trail, which signified I was no longer running away from the finish line. Just as I rounded the corner there in the distance I heard the familiar cheers of little voices screaming encouragement for their Dad. Just when you think you can’t give anymore loved ones are there to express their love. Hugs and high fives, running and walking and a bunch of praying delivered me to the last one half mile of the run where I was joined by more Athletes and family, crossing the finish line 4 hours and 30 minutes after the starting gun fired saying aloud, “Nothing is impossible!”

Thank you Athletes for an amazing year and all the hard work you’ve put in to make this program what it is.

How Much Do You Want It?

I’m inspired by those individuals who recognize addiction and choose to not hide, not be ashamed but rather stand up and fight for their life. I once heard that if an individual wanted success as much as they wanted to keep breathing we would be surrounded by thriving human beings. But there lies the question, “How bad do we really want this?”

How bad do we really want recovery, furthermore what are we willing to do to make it happen. It’s 24 hours a day, it’s 60 minutes every hour and 60 seconds in each minute. Inevitably it all comes down to today. Today either we can heal as a group or we can crumble into oblivion second by second, minute by minute, hour to hour, day to day. Recovery is not easy sometimes. Seconds seem to go on for hours but believe me athletes it’s much easier to simply sit here on our ‘buts’. “I would join addict to athlete ‘but’ I can’t run. I’d like to go work out with the team ‘but’ I don’t have any running shoes. I’d like to support the organization ‘but’ I don’t have the time.” In Addict to Athlete, we work off the ‘buts’.

So we can sit here and get knocked around or we can find our way back one minute at a time. Your teammates cannot do it for you, nor can your coach. There are times when I look around and wonder exactly what this outcome is going to be. The one that stands out is the belief your life can change. Believing in yourself, believing in this team, believing you can climb your way back up to the top… one minute at a time. As you dig your fingers in and claw your way back up, understand that all those minutes will add up to hours. And all those hours will add to days, and those days to months and those months to years. You are creating a new history. I’m telling you, one day you’ll look back, you’ll see the sacrifice you made this day, this hour, this minute, this second as the defining moment in your life. Then as you lace up your shoes, take a deep breath and listen for the starting gun to fire, you will have been prepared to hit the pavement running, focus on the goal and enjoy the journey as you experience it. As the great Mohamed Ali once said, “I’ll show you how great I am.” Now believe it!

Anonymous

Anonymous, no way…
As we move forward in this new way of living, promoting recovery I take a step back to look at who we are and who we are becoming. For years people with addictions have been looked down upon being called weak minded lowlifes with a poor value system. That is simply not the case. Not too many years ago being labeled an addict ostracized an individual into hiding. It signified moral decay, self-centeredness and criminal mindedness. Who wouldn’t hide from such a label or even keep it a secret?
The problem is addiction, but it is nothing to be ashamed of. Rather an addiction is the beginning of an inspirational story. A story beginning with an open heart, a purpose and investment, this can inspire thousands of people. Think about it…Anonymous, defined as: (adjective) Lacking individuality, character, or distinction. Having no known name.
What a disappointing way to describe an individual who has a name and is full of character and endless possibilities. Someone who admits there is a problem. What an unfortunate way for an individual to show their potential inside their heart, that unique part of them that makes them stand out above everyone else. What a disheartening way to allow oneself to not become the agent of recovery they’re destined to be rather keeping them stuck in the victim stance of addiction. Although many of our stories are the same in theme its the heart within the individual that changes. The activating event or push that motivates them and the love they discover for self, others and stakeholders loosens the grip of addiction’s ugly head. Allowing them now to stand tall, head held high as the addict is erased and the individual is replaced with something brilliant. These individuals are no longer addicts. They are athletes, fathers, mothers, students, artists, creators and producers in their new world.
There is nothing anonymous about Addict II Athlete. There is nothing to be ashamed of. There’s never a sense of endless woe but there most certainly is unique characteristics that make you who you are. When you pull the label over your head and dawn ‘Addict II Athlete’ as a banner for all to see, you are literally changing the way people view you. And if those individuals watching you build up the courage to inquire your story, you will stand out as an Agent in Recovery, changing the Mess life once was into a Message of who you are and who you are becoming…. for you are a champion.

One Voice

Do we truly understand how powerful our voices can be? It makes me wonder sometimes how we can all be united in one voice yet say so little. What makes us stand out, what makes us believe we are less than, what gives us the right not to live up to the potential that we can become? Could it be fear? Could it be a lack of motivation? Or could it be the fact that if we truly understood how powerful we are, we would have no boundaries or limitations that would hold us back from happiness? Addict II Athlete got a very small taste of this on February 14, 2012 as what we thought was going to be just a visual experience at the Rally for Recovery at the Salt Lake City Capitol building actually turned out to be a pedestal and launching pad for the program. With only a few minutes to prepare, I was asked to speak on the benefits and basic components of what Addict II Athlete was. Even more impressive was when they told me to take my seat amongst the suits preparing to address the crowd on the benefits of providing recovery to individuals who so desperately need it. I sat there stunned and amazed at the caliber of individuals who not only surrounded me, but also the hundreds of individuals who sacrificed some of their time to make their voice heard in one sound and in one location to promote healing and recovery in Utah. To literally have the lawmakers of Utah hear their pleas and cries on the second floor of the rotunda, in harmony and unity, expressing that treatment works if you work it.

And as the speakers ran down. I was left sitting alone in a chair donning an addict to athlete T-shirt in full, running gear, ready to address these individuals of a program that will bring extreme joy and purpose to anyone’s life. For the first time addict to athlete would address a public crowd and introduce ourselves into the community as agents in recovery and athletes who have left their addiction in the dust.
As I addressed the podium and leaned towards the mic, I could see many individuals optimistically looking at the message I was about to deliver. And after a quick shout out to all my athletes, given me more than I deserve in applause and recognition, I was able to address the group and tell them about the successful program we have developed. Following a few rounds of applause from the audience an immense feeling filled all of our hearts as the athletes themselves came forward to not only represent A II A but to stand up for something that they believe in. Never in my life have I felt more gratitude in that moment, as the athletes surrounded me giving me support and creating a visual display of strength, respect, honor, and integrity.

Following our message we assembled outside the East side of the Capitol building, and after a brief 1 minute moment of silence for the addict who still suffers the athletes did two full laps around the Capitol building, which consisted of some strong hills and 1 1/2 miles. Addict II Athlete has left their mark, which is now the catalyst for things to come.

2011 Year In Review

Last March as Blu was transitioning into his new position at the County Health Department he had an idea brewing. All the individuals whom he works with seeking recovery are required to attend a 12 step meeting in the community to help them with their recovery from addictions. After much thought he proposed an idea known as Addict II Athlete. This program would incorporate his erase and replace philosophy, meaning erasing the addiction and replacing it with something of greater value, that being athletics.

While working at one of his last programs Blu really enjoyed the physical activity piece that the young men were asked to be a part of, which was triathlons. The young men would go through training and competing in community triathlons. And anyone who’s ever done any kind of race understands the feeling of accomplishment once you cross that finish line. Let alone the growth in self esteem, decreased depression, and improved health to name a few.

The clients could choose to attend an Addict II Athlete group in place of one of their three required 12 step meetings weekly. They would meet as a group for 30 minutes to process the philosophy and anything they are currently struggling with in recovery, then they go running as a group. Well, after a year of growing and promoting he has assembled around 50 athletes that have competed in local races. Some competed in 5K’s, 10K’s and even a half marathon with many more races to come. Blu has also registered them for a community recreation basketball team which he coaches.

This evening we wanted to commemorate and show off the athletes, to others struggling and supportive family members, and the work it took to achieve these goals. These individuals have increased their chances for recovery, accomplished insurmountable goals and are doing things they never thought they could.

What we thought was just going to be a simple meet and greet turned into quite the affair. From a light dinner, that was organized by the athletes, to speakers, awards, and a slideshow presentation of the athletes from the five original players all the way up to the multitudes.

It was so amazing to see something that he created turn out so well in such a short amount of time. Giving these individuals whom society has tossed away another chance to show how strong and capable they truly are. As his wife I was in tears hearing their stories about how Addict II Athlete has changed their lives and what they have given up in order to erase their addictions and replace it with love, compassion, goal achievement, and a new direction. One gentleman smoked for 25 years and is now running half marathons and planning his first full marathon this summer. Another was in a coma less than a year ago from a drug overdose and is now running 10 to 15 miles a week.

I couldn’t be more proud of my husband for the love and compassion he shares in doing all he can to help these people change their lives.
One of the most amazing things that happened was following the special night. We’ve had some overwhelming support come to Blu and this program. Help to promote this program are now beginning to flood in. Currently we are looking at starting a softball team and doing triathlon training as well. We can foresee this becoming a very amazing program and are excited to see what the future has in store for Addict II Athlete.

Secret Of Success

Inevitably, there will be times in an athlete’s life that finishing the race will not be possible. There are so many variables stacked up against the athlete that sometimes, I repeat, sometimes finishing the race alludes them. From being under or over hydrated, to a strategically placed blister forming on the sole of your foot that makes completing the journey impossible. Yet, we consider that a failure. You will never have a perfect race, just as your sobriety will never be a perfect experience. It’s how we look at what we deem as failure that shapes us into the agents of sobriety. It takes an emotionally talented individual to be willing and able to separate successes from failures. It begs the question then, “What is the secret of success?”One of the secrets to success is understanding what to do with your feelings. Feelings can be misleading, and it is so common for people to interpret their feelings in ways that create misery and discouragement rather than hope and faith. It’s often hard to tell whether you’re on the right path just by how you feel. Everything looks like a failure in the middle. Just look at some of the movies you enjoy watching. The heroes always have a difficult part in the middle, but through perseverance something amazing comes in the end. Sometimes life’s growing pains can feel like failure—and sometimes failure is part of growth. Athletes don’t be too quick to interpret what you feel in a difficult learning experience as failure. It could be more likely that you are actually on your way to something great through a powerful learning opportunity.
You’ve heard it before, that crossing the finish line is not representative of a success. The success is at the starting line where you had the courage to go when the gun was fired.