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Whatever Happened to Joe(l)...

Early on in sobriety, I attended meetings daily. I was surrounded by a strong support group; honestly, we had lots of fun. We laughed a lot, made jokes, and made fun of ourselves and others. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have stuck around if it wasn’t for the laughter and the people. I am one of the lucky ones. I somehow randomly stumbled into a group of folks who have all managed to string together a handful of one day at times. And while age, life, marriage, and kids have taken all of us in different directions, most of us are still prominent in each other's lives.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen that way for everyone.

Our group always sat in the front row at the 5:45 pm meeting. Directly in front of us was the head table where the day’s discussion leader would sit and lead the meeting. Below the front of the table was an old metal brochure rack with lots of dated brochures on the program, the steps, sponsorship, and meeting schedules. Think of the brochure rack in the lobby of the Holiday Inn that you might have stayed in as a child. One of the brochures, was titled “Whatever happened to Joe?” The brochure detailed the epic saga of “Joe” who stopped going to meetings and his ultimate relapse. We would routinely write in an L so the brochures would say “Whatever happened to Joel?” Now that I’m writing it 30 years later, it seemed much funnier at the time.

I knew in high school that I had a problem with alcohol. Most people around me knew I had a problem as well. My family, friends, and school principal, I was not very good at hiding it. For me, it was as textbook as one would imagine. I had a deep insecurity and fear that, plainly put, I was not enough, and you won’t like me. Alcohol changed that.

Alcohol changed that for a while anyway.

I look back on those days with amazement that I made it through them at all. In and around all of the “great times” I write about, there were some pretty tough moments for me too. That feeling of never fitting in can be a heavy weight to carry.

With age, time, life, and lots of good people, today I’m pretty comfortable living in my own skin. I talk too much, repeat my stories, think I’m funnier than I am, and eat too much dessert, but I’m okay with that. And if you’re not, I’m okay with that too.

As I (we) prepare to participate in 30 races this coming year to celebrate (our) 30 years sober, I (we) have decided to use the opportunity to raise money for Joe’s Fund. Joe Bodine was a Decatur High School graduate and a charismatic young man with an infectious smile and a generous heart. Joe lost his battle with addiction in May of 2016. In memory of Joe, his parents in conjunction with the Decatur Education Foundation, established Joe’s fund to support mental health and addiction resources in the City Schools of Decatur.

I know things are tight for many and I recognize that we all get asked almost everywhere we turn for something, but I’m hopeful we can collectively support this program and all of the great work they do. Maybe consider donating $30 ($1 for each of the races). I would love to reach a goal of $3,000. The Link to donate is below.

Off to go train…Wishing everyone the best, safest, and happiest of holidays. So much love to you all.

Stay Tuned…or Don’t

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