In my experience, most 12-step meetings function in pretty much the same way. It’s pretty simple, really. There are a few opening readings, announcements, and then they pick a topic. After the chairperson picks a topic, things get tricky….

Get a pencil and write this down.

Try not to get too overwhelmed, as it is very involved.

Don’t try to swallow it all at once.

Are you ready?

After a topic is picked, you know what they do?

They talk about it.

So basically, a large portion of my recovery is based upon sitting in a room full of people with different experiences, at different areas of their lives, discussing the exact same thing, only with a different perspective. All types of people. Same topic. Different angles. That, my friend, is where I find peace in my life.

I find that I get similar results when wasting away a few hours hours while waddling on the trail. I have been asked before, “What do you do for four, six, or eight hours on the trail?”

My response is always the same….

“I pick a topic.”

I take whatever angers me most, bothers me persistently, confuses me deeply, disturbs me immensely, or excites me greatly, and I think about it. I think about it one thousand times over. I think about it from a distance, and I put it under a microscope . I think about my side, as well as the vantage point of others. I put myself in the middle of the equation, and I remove myself entirely. I take it personal, and then I let it go. I think about it under these conditions, and I think about it using an entirely different lens.

When I have the opportunity to go for a run and be alone with my thoughts, I am essentially running a flight simulator of a plane that I have never flown. I crash it, and crash it, and crash it again, but with every step comes a little more understanding of the big picture, and with each mile, a bit more acceptance.

I don’t know exactly what factors that fitness plays in my recovery, but I know that there is a deep calm and sense of understanding that I can only find while my heart rate is elevated. My mile one problem is different than it is on mile two. Mile three doesn’t feel as hostile as one, and mile four is a different world than mile two. Maybe mile five presents some opportunity, or some idea how to find growth in my situation, and maybe mile six brings about empathy- some compassion for the person or thing which I am upset. And usually, sometimes around mile seven, I can expect that moment…..

That mile seven moment.

That mile seven moment when everything in your entire universe, if only for a brief period, has all perfectly aligned itself and all of your world makes perfect sense. The good blends with the bad, the anger in your life fuses with the ease of your existence, and suddenly it feels as if your life is a well written play, where you feel fortunate to have been picked for the leading role, and you can’t wait to see how the story ends.

I can’t always say at what point this feeling will come, but if I keep my head down, put one foot in front of the other, one day at a time, it always comes. Sometimes mile one or maybe mile five. Maybe mile three or even mile twelve. The clarity might be at the mailbox, or it might take me to the edge of town, but I have to get active to get it- I have proven that time and time again. My mile seven moment doesn’t appear on my couch and cannot be bought under a heat lamp or in a frozen container (God knows, I still look there.) It’s out there. It’s there where it’s hot, uncomfortable, and potentially embarrassing. It’s out there waiting for you and for me. There have been times when I can’t seem to run it down at all, but I know it’s there. If I keep moving forward, I will find the peace and the closure that the mile seven moment provides me.

Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,