Alison's Insights

Making Sense of Addiction Recovery in Midlife One Slow Deep Breath at a Time

How I Got Roped into Tubing

I went tubing this weekend.

For all of you who know me, you can pull your dropped jaw back up.

Yep, that was me holding on for dear life alongside my 10-year-old niece who somehow convinced me tubing would be an “awesome” thing to do with her.   After the words of agreement flew  from my mouth, my brain caught up them.  Inside a loud voice screamed, “Are you nuts?”  Yet I’m a woman true to my word, so I reached for her hand and said, “Let’s go!” two handles

As my brother stood at the ready to captain our adventure, several other members of my family watched in amazement as the two of us jumped into what initially felt like liquid snow.   I wiggled my way onto the tube and assisted my niece to assure her hands solidly gripped the handles.   When we were both secure, I raised my hand to signal we were ready and distantly heard my brother telling my comfortably dry family members to watch me.  You see, he and I have been down this path before.

Fifteen or so years ago I said “yes” to tubing with my now sister-in-law as he got ready to drive the boat.  I vividly remember seeing a long-distance twinkle in his eye as he yelled back to us, “Ready?”  When we signaled yes, he launched us into a tubing experience that will forever be embedded in the minds of many.   At one point I do believe we were both completely vertical clutching the rings of the tube with all our might.  I was completely determined to hold on.  I refused to let go.

This is the exact same intensity I took hold of recovery and to date have no desire to let go.

There were two incredibly powerful moments that resulted from this past weekend’s tubing excursion.  The first was when my niece and I were back in the boat, exhausted but elated for what we’d just experienced she turned to me and said, “Let’s do that again!  Next time I won’t let go”  I held her hand and said, “In my heart, we never did.”

The second was when a family member congratulated me for undertaking the tubing adventure.  As he held me in a hug, he quietly acknowledged how five summer ago, prior to treatment for an eating disorder, my physical strength would have kept me from being able to do what I had just done.  There is absolutely no doubt in my mind he was right.  Prior to that treatment, I had let go of what had proven to be a lifeline, the program of recovery.

As I sat back enjoying the ride to the dock, I noticed I was positioned between the calm of the few white fluffy clouds in the sky and the choppiness of the wavy waters below.   I took a moment to reflect on the idea this is precisely where I stand every day; positioned between the calm I feel in connection with recovery resources and the ups and downs of everyday life.

Just like when I’m tubing behind my brother’s wildly aggressive boat driving, I’m determined to hang on to my recovery no matter what tests my strength or my willingness to face rocky waters.  With every ounce of energy I have I will not take my hands of the rings of hope keeping me from slipping away from what connects me to a life that makes sense.


A Moment to Breathe … 

What are you gripping onto today?  Are you holding too tightly to something that’s good for you or not so good for you?  Are you hanging on out of fear or out of faith? Wherever your hands may be placed remember to take a deep breath, catch up with yourself and get ready for whatever your next right step ought to be. 

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One thought on “How I Got Roped into Tubing

  1. I loved reading this Alison. Good for you for grabbing the handles and holding on.
    Just goes to show, there is so much to enjoy in life when we are actually living life and not fearing it.

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