fighting for free hearts

Boston Strong

i started running three years into my recovery journey.

While many people use running,or some form of exercise, as a way to kickstart their addiction recovery, my involvement in running was, initially, only about trying to stay somewhat fit.

But over the years, running has become very closely connected to my journey of freedom from addiction. And the two have become connected in such a way that now it is difficult to separate running from staying clean from my addiction.

For non-runners it will be hard — perhaps impossible — to understand, but something powerful happens to a person as they become a runner. The powerful things that happen transform you physically, emotionally and spiritually.

You become a better version of yourself. You don’t become better than other people, you become a stronger, more focused, more resilient, more healthy You.

Some of these changes are very subtle, but they are all significant.

Running has taught me not to give up. Running has taught me to how to have perspective. Running has taught me how to be patient. Running has taught me that I don’t have to be perfect, but rather, to learn to love The Process.

The Process is the way we grow and improve. There are runs on which I feel like a champion, running so strongly and quickly. There are even more runs on which i grind out the miles as i work toward a goal such as a half marathon.

Many runners are not interested in connecting with God, but many are. And i am one.

My relationship with God has flourished as a result of running. For me it is an indispensible part of my communication with Him and of His with me.

As a result, i have an emotional and spiritual component to my relationship with running. Plenty of other runners have that same connection, regardless of their individual reasons.

This explains the camaraderie that runners share. There is an instant affinity between two people once they discover that each is a runner. It’s encouraging to see a member of My Tribe out there running, or to pull up to stop light and see a “13.1” — or other such runnerish things — sticker on the car in front of me.

This is why, regardless of the fact that i have never run a marathon, and i don’t know if i ever will, I felt something surprisingly emotional when the bombs exploded at the 2013 Boston Marathon.

It is why today i wish i could be at the race as a spectator to cheer on my brothers and sisters.

The strength and ultimate triumph that this year’s marathon signifies is beautiful, but certainly not a surprise to anyone who is a runner.

Truly, there could not ever have been a question that the 2014 Boston Marathon would happen and that it would happen with a demonstration of not just strength, but unity, compassion and tribute.

Runners are a unique breed. It takes a lot to defeat a runner. Two misguided youths with bombs are actually no match for a pack of runners.

Runners feel invincible. It’s a result of running through all sorts of unimaginable conditions like freezing rain; sub-zero temperatures; insanely hot summer days; and rising long before the sun to ensure you get that long training run in.

This brings me full circle. Addiction is a killer — and a liar. Either it kills you or you kill it.

Running has been my warrior training. It silences the lies and trains me for battle.

i may never run Boston, but i am Boston Strong. All runners are.

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