Day 52, Aug. 20, Hermann, MO.
This is the second day on the Katy trail, a dirt/gravel rails-to-trails conversion, the longest in the U.S. at 238 miles. It’s been a delight to be in the trees, by the Missouri River, and mostly, away from cars! It’s been worth the extra work on dirt with the Elliptigo that was made to travel on pavement. In Missouri now, and in much of Colorado and Kansas before, and Illinois and Kentucky to come, I am in the “middle miles”. This in-between the start’s energy, uncertainty, anticipation, and fear and the expectant, reinvigorating view of the finish of a project, race, or journey, this space is the hardest to me. Racing the mile, the 3rd lap is the most painful psychologically. In the 5K its trying to hold the pace in the 2nd mile. What about your experience in a project or effort, is this your observation as well?
Staying focused on the goal and its why is harder than at the beginning. Things become more patterned and habitual requiring less thought. We can become less engaged, less attentive, less wary of hurdles. And its harder than approaching an end when we can become re-energized by the prospect of reaching our goal. Our mind and will can wander. I am definitely feeling the “middle miles” right now where it is taking regular intentional attention on the “why”. Of that at least I have no doubt, no vacillation.
I think that those in recovery can experience this same, normal, human process. Only they cannot let their guard down. This is where support from others in recovery, a group, a mentor can be so vital. Connection. Community. Not trying to do it alone because our brain will play tricks on the best of us. Remembering the adage from AA that no matter how far we travel, we are always the same distance from the ditch. Following the white line of the road with the ditch a couple of feet away constantly, I am reminded of that need daily.
Addiction is a treatable brain disease that disables decision-making.