Tag Archives: Impaired

What Motorcycles Taught Me About Recovery

Old Engine

Recovery and riding a motorcycle may seem far removed from each other. At first glance, a person could reasonably wonder how they are even remotely related.

Riding a motorcycle is all about freedom and exhilaration. Often overlooked however, is the most important part of riding a motorcycle: discipline. In this instance, discipline has many aspects that work together to provide a successful and satisfying experience. When you ride a motorcycle, whether you admit it or not, you are involved in a relationship with that machine, and you only get out of it what you put into the relationship. You have to know the machine, its limitations, quirks, idiosyncrasies. You have to maintain the machine so that it functions at an optimal levels and does not let you down, leaving you stranded. Another reason you have to maintain the machine is that if you don’t (through complacency and/or procrastination), it will kill you. There are days when you can push the machine to its limits, and there are days when you caress and cajole the machine. You can not ride impaired. Impaired can mean lack of sleep, being distracted, angry, scattered, and of course, impaired by drugs or alcohol. The day you ride and fail to show the proper respect for the machine, it will kill you. There can be no lapses.

Our recovery also requires maintenance. Our recovery is a relationship we maintain with our deepest self. Like any good relationship it requires effort and truth. We can not “cheat” on our recovery; we can not procrastinate. We can not afford to take our recovery for granted and put it on “autopilot.” Just like the motorcycle, we have to show our recovery the respect it deserves and requires for it to be productive and successful. Just like the motorcycle, the very second we disrespect our recovery there are deadly consequences.

When I was riding, I learned something new every day. My attitude was to learn something new every time I rode, even if it was a small nuance of something I already knew. My recovery is the same way: Learn something new every day. Just when I start thinking I have mastered recovery and I can ease up a bit, there are consequences. Just like riding, when I become complacent in recovery, it whips my ass. A quality recovery requires constant respect, effort, and maintenance. I can never afford to forget that, even for one day.