It's been a long time (too long) since I've been a regular, and it's time for me to come back. It's, frankly, been a tough two years and I'm ready for the clean slate I've been given. Those who remember know that I went from a nearly 600 pound man on his deathbed to down to 330 and riding a 135 mile gravel grinder. Since then, though, it's been on the down slope. I've fallen out with and cut my old riding partner/good friend out of my life, been on a rollercoaster of drugs prescribed by "doctors", realized I was an alcoholic, had a rather scary run in with high blood pressure, and haven't ridden a bike in over six months. I can only thank God for my wife, my children, my actual doctor, and AA for catching me before everything fell apart. So herein lies a true, raw, and probably at times disturbing tale of a Clyde who lost his way.
Almost two years ago now my old riding partner and I had a falling out. I won't get into details, but the summary is that it did a rather excellent job of completely throwing me off on my hardcore cycling. Shortly before that the local newspaper had done a story on me and while flattering, frankly it threw me completely off. No longer was I an anonymous fat guy on a bike, no now I was someone who had things expected of them on the bike. I was stopped and asked for advice, held up to a higher standard, and overall just completely thrown off by the attention.
Early last year (2010) after seeing a therapist for about 9 months, I was sent to a "psychiatrist" to help with some issues I had that were "diagnosed" as ADHD. After meeting with me for all of 15 minutes - which he spent typing on his laptop - the "psychiatrist" prescribed me Adderall XR, which is a very close relative to crystal meth. At first it was great - I had focus, loads of energy, and absolutely no appetite. I rode my bike with vigor on little sleep and little food, perfect!
Along the way stress was getting worse at work, and so on the weekends I drank more and more. I've always drank a lot, in retrospect even my best friend said "yeah, I wondered about you", he was the only one who really knew as he had lived with me for three years. It was a clear pattern, as the stress and annoyance with others got hotter, the drinking increased. It always has, but was overshadowed by the food consumption at the same time.
Sometime in May, one day I came home and literally collapsed into a ball of tears. I had no idea why, and it scared the hell out of my wife. Went back to the "doctor" and the prescription must be right - his nurse said - and so she'd add an anti-depressant to counter any side effects of the meth. Great idea. After a couple of weeks it started to work, sort of, but I was still pretty unpredictable. I lost my sex drive, I lost my desire to ride my bike or work out, but hey - I still felt pretty good and wasn't depressed at least. Never mind that I'd been fine two years ago..
Meanwhile I kept increasing how much I drank, somewhat hiding it. Everything came to a head in August, one Friday night instead of my usual Friday twelve pack of Fat Tire, I picked up a good bottle of whiskey. I really won't get into it further, but that night I hit the lowest point I've ever hit, and knew it was time to seek help. The irony of the fact that just two days before watching a co-worker photocopy his AA "cards" for the court after finishing his DUI sentence, I commented on how "horrible" the meetings must have been. Not as horrible as, frankly, almost losing everything. No I didn't go to jail, no I didn't get a ticket, but no I won't get into it.
Shortly thereafter I flushed the Adderall down the toilet. I had enough, at that point I was happily miserable, not riding my bike, and not really enjoying anything. I went to my first AA meeting on a Tuesday night, scared as hell but welcomed with open arms. IN the past 5 months I've discovered that no therapist can really help with something like that, it takes a brotherhood of those who have been in the same hell to bring you out of it.
I focused on that, and picking up the pieces of everything while also working to make my work life more sane for the past 5 months. About a month ago while at my actual M.D. (a great, great guy) I got a scare with my blood pressure.
I've tried buying a spin bike to use inside, and I've tried dieting. The spin bike is great but frankly, I miss the pure serenity of riding my bike outside. I miss riding into work every day listening to music, the power of my legs and the strength of my conviction being more powerful than my V8 powered truck. I also miss C&A, reading stories and helping other Clydes on their journeys.
So I'm back. I'm not sure why I typed all of that, aside from my wife and the folks in AA only one other person - my best friend - knows all of the above. My co-workers still ask me for beer suggestions, but really, nobody has any idea. All I know for certain? I'm ready to be back.