This post probably won’t be a very popular post with you because it consists of the “fact-finding” that is prevalent in Steps 4 and 10 that we like to avoid sometimes, myself included first and foremost.
I have some unanswered questions that I’d like you to help me answer and I’ll try to be as honest as I can too. The following questions concern how our running can sometimes teeter on the edge of our former addictions…see – I told you that you might not like this! Here it goes:
- Do you find yourself spending money on running attire or races almost as if against your will and better judgement at times? – Yes.
- Does your performance at work suffer some days due to running-related fatigue or obsession? Yes, though I am sure it also benefits from my running-related focus and calm.
- Do you get into an obsessive running routine at times to the point of injury risk and overtraining?
- Do you neglect family/friendship obligations and/or attention at times because of your running? Yes – see caveat in #2
- Are you irritable, restless and discontent when you are unable to run either due to injury or life-constraints? Not always, but yes.
- Do you hide new race sign-ups or running apparel from significant others at times? Yup, done it, not proud of it!
- Does your running life ever interfere with your duties and responsibilities as an active member of a 12 Step program? Rarely ever, but yes.
- Do you run sometimes to seek an altered state or to escape your problems? Fuck yeah!
I can’t think of anymore right now, but they certainly remind me of the “12 Question” pamphlet I first saw when I came into AA – 11 of which I answered “yes” to by the way, with a small degree of separation in the one, which I could have easily answered “yes” to at other times in my drinking career.
So…. a quick and non-thorough inventory taken, am I overly concerned with what I find? To be honest, not really. I mean, maybe the next post needs to be a gratitude list for what running has added to my life. I’m pretty sure it would far exceed any negative effects my running may produce on occasion. And let’s face it, I don’t remember the last time I ended up behind bars or contemplating suicide because of an excessive amount of running. Come to think of it, the opposite is true: never do I feel so free and so alive as when I’m out there on the trails, living in “The Now” and being at one with my Higher Power and the environment around me.
“The Twelve and Twelve” warns us in Step 10 that “there are cases where our ancient enemy, rationalization, has stepped in and has justified conduct which was really wrong” (94), however, I guess it really boils down to this: when was the last time you went around after a race trying to drain the sweat out of everyone’s left over headbands and socks, seeking desperately for just a little more to put you over that elusive and invisible edge? I think a little “progress not perfection” is in order here, but please, if you catch me hanging around your tent after the next race eyeing up your leftover gels and Tailwind, promise to call my loved ones and check me in.