20120529-223932.jpgAfter work today, I grabbed my bike and headed out of the neighborhood. My only goal was to wear myself out. Fortunately, given my current level of fitness, that only takes about an hour.

Pedaling down St. Mary’s, reminded me of countless times when Jerri and I rode our bikes on Lancelot Drive as kids. Back then I could pedal standing up. I was all bone and muscle—my, how things change. I could also ride with no hands and even climb up and “surf” on the banana seat of my Sears’ special while coasting downhill to the clickity-clack of the straws I’d added to the spokes of my wheels. I can still remember the wind in the streamers attached to the green plastic grips on my handlebars, my skinny tan legs covered in fine, white-blonde hair, pedaling faster and faster, the look on Jerri’s face as she squinted back at me over her shoulder to see if I was gaining.

Today, I turned right on Terry Road because it’s my namesake, geared down as far as I could, and coached myself up the first hill. It made me think of how hard life is at times and how what we tell ourselves matters. When I told myself, “This hill’s not so steep and the rise isn’t so long that you can’t make it,” I did make it. But on the hills where I thought, “it’s too steep and it climbs forever,” I’d end up walking my bike to the top. Even then I’d tell myself, “There’s no shame in walking. You’re still getting exercise. You’re still burning calories. You’re still moving forward.”

I’m really having to coax myself up the hill that is Jerri right now. I’m really tired and I just don’t have the energy to pedal. At times like this, I have to stop the inner dialogue because the the story I tell myself isn’t helpful. The story is, “This will never change. There is no recovery for Jerri. She has given up. All she wants is to numb the pain in any way that she can. She is not equipped to live life. She doesn’t have the will to choose a different way.”

As I crested hills and coasted down the backside, I wondered why life couldn’t be more like that. Coasting. Easy. Wind in my hair. My only worry? Going too fast. And maybe getting bugs in my teeth.

It seems I am always straining against gravity. Where are all my downhills?

Still, I am moving forward. The going is slow, but I am making progress. Even when I have to stop for a breather and a swig of water. I am getting closer and closer to home. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself.

[Photo attribution: Porro, http://foter.com/photo/v-i-i-r-u-i-s-a/%5D


4 Comments on “Hills”

  1. Connie F says:

    Any tips on how I can find me a good therapist for helping me deal with my 21 yr old son who has a drug and alcohol problem? I am finally coming to the realization that I have been in the “fix it” mode for years. Obviously this is not working and I need help “Letting Go with Love”! My husband thinks what our son is doing is typical teenager stuff (mind you it put him in a psych ward for two weeks last Nov.). To me that is no longer “typical” teenage partying. I hate paying $150 for each new therapist I try. I think I am going to try Al-Anon again but would like some one-on-one counseling.

    • Hi Connie–I have a couple of ideas. First, contact your local NAMI chapter and see if they have a suggested therapist list or if anyone there can make a recommendation. Second, do a google search for “psychiatrist dual diagnosis” plus your city. If you find a therapist with experience working with dual diagnosis patients, they usually have great advice for family members too. Third, if you are in or around Durham, NC, I have a recommendation for you. Email me at trophydaughter@nc.rr.com.

      You mentioned Al-Anon. There are also Nar-Anon groups if you feel drugs are more the issue than alcohol. Sometimes people attending these groups have recommendations for therapists too. It can be frustrating trying to find someone, like kissing frogs to find a prince. Wish you all the best!

  2. I hope you know what a terrific writer you are.

    I hope Jerri knows how much you love her.

    • Thanks, Lynn. Coming from you that means a lot. I remember you as a talented writer and artist at a very young age. It’s funny how others see in us our true gifts long before we do.

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