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Cycling to recover from alcohol and drug abuse?

Old 10-01-17, 02:33 PM
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Juhan
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Cycling to recover from alcohol and drug abuse?

I was just wondering if anybody else here feels cycling has helped them to recover from alcohol or drug misuse. I am curious based upon my own experience in this regard and as I am doing a study on the topic. Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-01-17, 02:40 PM
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Maelochs
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Can't help you. I abused while cycling and quit while cycling.

For others ... I have heard some stories about it ... endorphins, activity, a new obsession ....

I found this on another forum .... Bikes > Pills 'Nuff said
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Old 10-01-17, 04:10 PM
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For me, being in moderately decent shape makes me more aware of the damage that damaging things do to my body. And if you're athletically goal oriented, you'll definitely feel things like drinking and smoking thwarting your goals. IME, being goal oriented, especially athletic goals, is one of the best components in kicking bad habits.

Having said that, not everything considered a bad habit tends to thwart athletic goals, but certainly booze and tobacco do.
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Old 10-01-17, 05:56 PM
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CliffordK
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Lots of cyclists that can no longer drive!!!

As tyrion said, something like smoking may well be at odds with top level cycling, although I certainly see quite a few bike commuters around town who smoke.

Is cycling a drug to some?

Anyway, perhaps there is a benefit of a shift of attitude from the quick reward of a smoke or drug of one's choice to the long term attitude of cycling as a way of life.
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Old 10-01-17, 07:08 PM
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to me you have to replace your addictions with something. cycling is a good option.
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Old 10-01-17, 07:16 PM
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Scarbo
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Lots of cyclists that can no longer drive!!!

As tyrion said, something like smoking may well be at odds with top level cycling, although I certainly see quite a few bike commuters around town who smoke.

Is cycling a drug to some?

Anyway, perhaps there is a benefit of a shift of attitude from the quick reward of a smoke or drug of one's choice to the long term attitude of cycling as a way of life.
Yes.
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Old 10-01-17, 08:45 PM
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Cycling, and guitar are my drugs, in that order. Every single member of my family smoked cigarettes, and being a contrary person, this caused me to avoid them. My brother was a flaming alcoholic, until his alcoholism finally killed him. He and I grew up in bad places, where drugs and alcohol were huge problems, and luckily I was wise enough to connect the dots, and see the end such addictions led to. Unfortunately for my brother, he could not.

Cycling exercises my body, clears my mind, and soothes my soul. I owe much of what success I have to riding my bike. From dirt roads in New Mexico, to the ghetto in North Long Beach, to the old cities and tall mountains of southern Europe, to a very nice home in Tokyo, cycling has helped me move onward and upward.

On my ride this morning I loved the sound my my tires whirring along the smooth road, enjoying the smell of trees and cut grass, and soaking up a little sunshine. Afterwards it was a nice meal at a small restaurant washed down with a bottle of Heineken. A great way to spend the first half of my day. The rest of the day I will spend at work.
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Old 10-01-17, 10:34 PM
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Well...I'm an alcoholic in long-term recovery, an addict who found alcohol to be the best of all drugs. A good number of the men on my dad's side of the family have problems with the booze. I've been sober now for 7 1/2 years. I was quite addicted: it was much easier for me to quit smoking than drinking.

Cycling has been a huge part of my recovery. When I first got sober, I had problems sleeping...so a few nights a week, I stayed up all night and then rode to work (33 miles). If I had a bad day or whatever, I rode my bike. When my dad was battling cancer, then eventually died, I rode my bike - and got through it all without booze. During the 9 months or so that I didn't ride my bike, I was a hot mess. Cycling helps me kill off some of that anxiety, anger, and fear that I used to kill off with alcohol.

Along the way, I discovered that riding my bike fast, long, and hard gives me a buzz. I feel good after putting down a few hills, and I feel high somewhere around the 3-4 hour mark. The more I push it, the more I get the buzz. I actively seek the feeling. It's a replacement addiction, and I will readily admit this. Just like with alcohol, I don't want to stop until I'm passed out. The difference is that with cycling, I can and do.

Cycling alone is not enough for me to abstain from alcohol, but it helps. It's a big part of my action steps for maintaining sobriety, which includes treatment for biologically based mental health issues, therapy, helping those in need, and actively trying to be a bit better each day.
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Old 10-01-17, 11:34 PM
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wgscott
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Sometimes I contemplate alcohol and drug abuse to recover from cycling.

But, seriously, I have been fortunate enough never to have experienced a chemical addiction. I do wonder if that contributes to my being a less than exceptional cyclist -- maybe I just never got the endorphin rush that serious and more compulsive cyclists get.
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Old 10-02-17, 05:34 AM
  #10  
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I am a recovering drug addict. I started cycling somewhere around maybe a year or 2 into my recovery though (I can't really remember at this point). I spent the first bit going from thing to thing, trying to find something that stuck...cycling has been the only thing. It helps a lot...I have something now that I actually enjoy and care about, that is good for me. It gives me something to do, something new to learn, goals, a new community, etc.

I can relate to much of what Wipekitty wrote above...especially about the 'buzz'/thrill of it - I too seek that out. And also the burning off anxiety, fear, & anger. When I get too stuck in my head/thoughts, it's great to be able to go out and "ride it out" instead of trying to stay constantly numb to it all. So while I didn't start my recovery with cycling, it has been an important part of it, and will continue to be once I am finished with my current treatments.
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Old 10-02-17, 06:21 AM
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Juan Foote
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Addiction is a funny thing, and different for everyone.

I rarely suggest that anyone attempt to "cure themselves" from addiction. (I know this wasn't part of your inquiry) It takes a particularly strong will and focus to break that cycle alone, and with that mental strength it's hard to BECOME an addict in the first place. It is very important (for most people) to get into a program or support group of SOME sort. You must be wary of WHAT group that is, and recognize why you are there/stay on track. I find (personally) that NA is possibly the worst thing in the world to send a (drug) addict to...but will do fine in AA so long as they keep focus on what the therapy is FOR. IE. NA is a great place to meet dealers and fellow users, and triggers for a "druggie"...much like AA for an "alchy"

One of the single most important things for an addictive personality is to break the cycle, break habits, find new things and new people to do/be around. With that said, if you are involved in your addiction THROUGH cycling, then probably not. I don't think any activity(ies) are going to be THE solution to an addiction. Finding a way to keep your mind off the addiction until it becomes "passe" is important, so if cycling (or whatever other activity) does it for you then so be it.
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Old 10-02-17, 11:39 AM
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Cycling certainly was a big factor in my recovery from opiate addiction. All the abdominal surgeries (16,) and other procedures over a decade, along with a spinal injury, opened the door to easy heavy duty opiate prescriptions, for the long term chronic pain with no attempts at any rehabilitation or means of managing the pain cause. Cycling allowed me to shed the anxiety and a wholt lot of pent up need to do something active and athletic/aerobic. It worked, is continuing to work and is much better than the suffering and numbness. Finding a qualified, strict, caring pain management physician was the key to getting started and being able to begin cycling.

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Old 02-03-21, 09:06 AM
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Personally, it helped me to stop drinking alcohol by contacting the rehab where I was for 3 months. And it was the most pleasant 3 months of my life).
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Old 02-03-21, 09:09 AM
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Get deeply enough into cycling, and you won't have any money for booze and drugs.
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Old 02-03-21, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Juhan View Post
I was just wondering if anybody else here feels cycling has helped them to recover from alcohol or drug misuse. I am curious based upon my own experience in this regard and as I am doing a study on the topic. Thanks in advance!
This is likely not too useful as my profile is not normal and this is a serious question.
I found for afternoon (5ish) group rides and working out I would avoid alcohol before, but drink more per hour after. So the net was it didn't really help and I would be a bit high strung and disjointed before the ride.
If I did a morning workout I would drink earlier.

I am moderate in that it is rare I'd be over .08 and that would be at home, but I will drink over long periods of time. I consume too many unneeded calories. I should drink less, but primarily for the unneeded carbs.

So IMO - for me, it did not really help one way or the other even at the time I was doing 300-400 miles a week. I was of course lighter, but I still drank a lot. Being fitter, I got a quicker buzz, but nothing was really different.
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Old 02-03-21, 10:53 PM
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Ironically, cycling got me back to drinking beer again!

I was completely clean for many years, not even a drop of beer nor any wine / alcohol. Keeping my abs flat and waist tiny was one motivation, another was morbid hate of hangovers.

Come cycling, I realized I can keep flat abs despite eating lots of carbs so I got back to drinking beer. Actually in just tiny amounts, 1/5 can of beer per day mixed with other beverages (note, I NEVER mix beer into my cycling bottles for that is dangerous!). 1 can of beer would last me 5 days. I simply love the taste of beer, not for the un-sobering effect!

Being a gravel bike rider was another minor motivation. Sadly, I can't grow a full beard to match my gravel biker looks so I drink beer instead to compensate!

Unfortunately, I'm no help to this thread! Perhaps, start riding and ride with other people and organized groups should at least take your mind off alcohol and get you busy with other things

What made you abuse alcohol anyway? Problems? Depression? Dealing with loss?
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Old 02-04-21, 01:36 AM
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what did George Carlin say?

"Kids, if you are hooked on drugs and alcohol, get into sports.
"If there are no sports in your neighborhood, then do drugs and alcohol."

it helps me in that i used to chair 3 meetings a week in AA, but since C-19, i quit so i would not croak from C-19.
this gave me time for cycling everyday except Mondays which is a recovery day.
So cycling has been something that is helping me until i can get a C19 shot or two, and then get back to the fellowship and service work that is part of my program.

I would rather suit up and show up rather than shoot up and throw up.

for the real alcoholic, the only solution is spiritual in nature, anything else is substitution, like retail therapy, food, sex, getting on power trips, all that noise.

used in conjunction with a spiritual approach, cycling sure does help lift depression associated with many addicted to their choice of things that really turn out to be a quest for a spiritual uplift, the only problem being that is not a permanent solution and in the morning, there you are again, sometimes feeling worse than better.

i got a DUI on a bike one night, drank a case of Hamms with some lime flavored vodka sidecars, took me three tries to get the bike rolling, doing fine for a while, then fell down and cracked my head, woke up in the hospital and the cop was writing me out a ticket, which was DUI #7. Insult to injury plus medical bills. Only good thing was the bike was put in the cop's trunk so i did not pay an impound fee. Made the San Jose Mercury newspaper the next day as bike DUIs are quite rare, headline was: "Pedaling while Pickled" 'a Los Altos man was arrested friday night..."

I have not had a DUI since i quit drinking.

Last edited by cjenrick; 02-04-21 at 01:55 AM.
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Old 02-04-21, 03:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Lululovely View Post
Personally, it helped me to stop drinking alcohol by contacting the rehab where I was for 3 months. And it was the most pleasant 3 months of my life).
I understand you very much,I went through the same thing and I'm glad about it. I'm glad that everything is fine with me now and you I'm a cyclist and I've been drinking alcohol for about 6 years and all these years I've been trying to stop drinking but I couldn't. A year ago, my very close friend advised me to look for rehab and go there to help me. I was totally against it because I thought it was just a holiday hotel, but I was getting worse. I didn't want to do anything but drink alcohol for weeks, so my friend and I decided to sign me up for rehab. As a result https://www.abbeycarefoundation.com/rehab-scotland/ helped me , professional psychologists worked with me, and I was so rested and stopped drinking. It's been 6 months and I've completely forgotten about alcohol, so if you have a problem, don't be afraid to ask others for help.

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Old 02-04-21, 06:31 AM
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I started drinking as a way to try and break my gum chewing habit.
Cycling has hasn’t helped me with either
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Old 02-04-21, 08:31 PM
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I started drinking at the age of 12 and became a functioning alcoholic, went to high school with a cooler in my car and drank between classes, worked 2 jobs my whole life and still do at age 65 , never a DUI but it all finally caught up with me at age 50....lost a wife of 30 years and she got the house that was paid for, now living alone and would have never made it without AA but haven't been to a meeting since Covid
My bike keeps me sane and I'm trying to find a spiritual connection with/to life and each day life gets better when I do my part
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Old 02-04-21, 08:46 PM
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alcoholics are good workers, getting fired would mean no more juice. nightmare!

as a sub for meetings there are many great AA speaker tapes on youtube and pastor chuck smith also, smith does a great job of extracting the important spiritual concepts laid out in the bible. online meetings are kind of a joke.

cycling is good for a hangover, use to close down the bars and get to bed at 3 am, woke up two hours later and climbed on the bike, still kind of tanked, and rode an hour and a half time trial to work, by the time i go there the hangover was gone. and i was not dizzy anymore.

that is why drinking and riding does not really get you drunk,

Last edited by cjenrick; 02-04-21 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 02-04-21, 08:53 PM
  #22  
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Let’s put it this way: after I got my 6-month chip I went out and bought my first real road bike with what I saved from not drinking. That was a few years ago.
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Old 02-04-21, 09:24 PM
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I stopped drinking long before I started riding, but I could certainly see it being useful for some people. It's a very individual thing. Programs work for some folks and more personal solutions work for others.
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Old 02-04-21, 11:28 PM
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i got busted in Lodi Ca one night, weaving across all 4 lanes of I-5 going 35 MPH in a blackout ,

luckily somebody called me in on the cell phone, when i saw those party lights come on, i knew the party was over for me,

next morning, there i was, no money, no car, vicious hangover, stuck in Lodi again.

Greyhound bus station for a Wells Fargo money wire, got the car out, immediately went to the Shell Station for a 12 pack of Heiniken to drive home to the Bay Area with.

by the time alcohol kills you, you wish you would have died a long time ago. not a fun way to die, like getting kicked to death by small rabbits.

when a problem drinker quits, his problems are over. when an alcoholic quits, his problems are just beginning.

i set a line for how much i can drink every night, but i keep moving the line.

Russia does not like AA. As a result, over 500,000 people die every year from alcoholism.

So may as well take advantage of AA in the good ol USA.

Last edited by cjenrick; 02-04-21 at 11:50 PM.
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Old 02-05-21, 08:15 AM
  #25  
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The best smoke of the day is pre-ride.

The best glass of wine (or a cup of coffee) of the day is post-ride.
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