Running As A Means To Conquer Problem Drinking And To Meditate On Real Problems.
I was reading a fantastic story the other day over on TheFix.com about a man called Caleb Daniloff who was a bit of a pisshead back in the day, sobered up and now runs marathons regularly in the places where he’d go on drinking sprees as some sort of cleansing ritual.
It struck a chord with me as I’ve been doing much of the same this year with my half marathons. I ran Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle with view of reclaiming those places as my own after some negative experiences, by enjoying myself, drinking semi responsibly and not getting into any fights with stocky asexual hookers (again).
The article got me thinking into how running has changed my relationship with alcohol.
With Running, My Priorities In Life Are Straight
Nowadays my running comes first before the drink. I cannot have any more than a bottle of wine on a Saturday night otherwise the Sunday run will go wrong. I will then feel like shit for the remainder of the week and that is not the way I want to feel anymore.
I want to feel good.
Running feels good.
Drinking only feels good up until the point you feel poisoned and by then it’s already too late.
The Truth About Alcohol When You Already Feel Down On Yourself
Alcohol is an insidious chemical when you’re low on self esteem and/or confidence. It provides a solution to your problems that’s based entirely on self delusion.
When I was a much fatter man than today I’d drink to liberate myself from these negative feelings. I couldn’t directly pinpoint what these negative feelings amounted too as I didn’t want to gaze inwardly.
I drank for the numbing effect. I didn’t want to think negative thoughts. But the drinking would catch up with me and I’d experience a huge amount of anger and frustration for no apparent reason.
It was obviously the repressed negative emotions that I was trying to extinguish with the alcohol.
The worst thing about booze is that it results in your problems appearing out of proportion. If you’re pissed out of your head then your issues disappear out of focus only for them to reappear the next morning when everything seems 100x worse than before.
You then come to the wrong conclusions as you never see your issues in clear light.
I was playing a very dangerous game for quite a long time.
At my heaviest I drank to feel lighter inside as I always felt down (not in a weeping over Enya albums down, but I interpreted everything negatively. Everything was shit or boring. The world seemed a grey, grey place, but I was just a grey, grey person in honest when drunk)
I’d drink and things would seem tolerable internally until I had one drink too many, then I’d feel the poison within (both the alcohol and the repressed emotion) and I’d explode.
I would then say and do unpleasant things that would leave me feeling contrite and in a state of self loathing.
This lasted for about 4 years until I finally discovered the running and found out what actually feeling good feels like.
Meditating On The Hatred And Not Being Sorry For Who I Am Anymore.
Back then I could not express my frustration when I was sober. I felt like I had to be nice and apologise for being myself.
This fed into a self hatred loop that meant that I would get even angrier when drunk and I wouldn’t know where it all came from. I’d then complain about being misunderstood. The vicious cycle of problem drinking would continue and the bile would just burst out of me.
Fuck that shit.
I find it healthier to just admit when I’m totally fucking pissed off now, feel the hatred and use it as energy for a run. If I don’t pin the ‘hatred’ on anyone or anything but instead just fucking feel it then it can seriously drive me a lot further.
Running isn’t my salvation from problem drinking but it’s definitely acted as the balance I’ve always been in search for, for most of my adult life.
Some people pick religion. Others heroin.
Greedy people pick both.
Me? I just pick jogging.