top of page
  • Writer's pictureBill Stauffer

Gratitude Friday 05-17-24 – Without Means to Move Forward, Temporarily

Last week, I went to an event about 60 miles from my house. It was an afternoon jaunt a colleague had worked hard organizing. No big deal logistically. I got there a little early which is generally how I roll and pulled my car into a parking space. I was checking my phone for messages that may have come in during the drive when my air pressure light came on. Stepping out of the car, I could hear the air escaping from my rapidly deflating front tire from a small hole in the tread. My car has no spare, only nasty tire goo to avoid using at nearly any cost. The true scope of the logistical challenges began to emerge for me.


I knew this changed the calculation of the day. Fairly soon after that, I called AAA which turned into a five-hour run around, they were entirely unhelpful. As day shifted into evening, Julie made the trip down and joined me in the never-ending hold process with AAA and at that point at least I had an exit strategy. I was in rare form. She, being of clearer head than I and pragmatic suggested we just call a truck and just pay the bill.


She methodically searched for and found a reputable company that got good reviews. The young man was there in a short period of time. The car got towed to the garage and we ended up having a good Thai dinner and a drive home together. The next day, we drove back down, had an equally good lunch at a Mexican restaurant, picked up the car and I worked to get back on track, having lost about ten hours of time I had anticipated using in other ways.


It was not my most serene day. The loss of locomotion interfered with what had been a tight schedule. It threatened to impact some critical commitments. I don’t like the feeling of being stuck. I ended up getting stranded a lot in active addiction. It can be really disturbing to have your awareness return, to be in a strange place, to not know how you got there, how to get out, with no resources or frame of reference. While it has been decades since I have had such an experience, the feeling of it lingers when circumstances align in similar ways as a sober person. It is a terrible feeling.


There is a whole lot different in my life now. I have a reserve of what is called recovery capital, essentially internal, material and community-based resources I can call upon when I need to. In some ways, it is like a bank account of resources I have accrued over 37 years of continuous recovery. I started out with a negative balance, with no skills, physical assets, or community support for my recovery. Things are far different now. 


One of the most impactful things to me was all the people who I know who reached out to help me. Some close friends, some more distant connections, some people I have not seen in years. I know the offers were genuine and if I had asked would have actually helped me. It really was touching to me to see such support. It also reminded me of what it is like for people in early recovery. What it is like to have no resources, surrounded by burned bridges and a huge sheet of liabilities with no recovery or any other kind of capital.


For readers who have not experienced addiction, it may be very difficult to understand how addiction takes people to such a point. Simply put, addiction is a condition that impacts the reasoning centers of our brains. People of all kinds of backgrounds find themselves in dark holes difficult to extract themselves from. It would be my only observation here that smarter people tend to dig deeper holes as their cognition works against them. Anyway, it was a healthy reminder of the vulnerability of life, and that we are all connected, that the terms of life are subject to change and the need to approach every day with humility.


As noted, it was a rough day, I got stuck in automated phone loops and spoke with phone operators who just kept pushing me off to others or promised a return phone call would come connecting me with a tow truck. Once I actually called a local company, I spoke with a young man at Delgado’s Towing. He quickly came to the scene as promised. The next day, when I went back to the garage, I met a guy who when I asked him what kind of day he noted that his cardiologist told him he could only have good days and not to stress and self-create “bad” days. Kind people who through their simple acts as treating me humanly helped me get back in a good space without even knowing it.


I was a little more sensitive to the needs of others around me in the days that followed. I also had an increased awareness of my own vulnerabilities. None of us in recovery are guaranteed continued recovery. Life in general lacks guarantees. Examples abound of people who had been in long term recovery, something happened, they initiated use again and soon their lives unraveled at a speed similar to a jet diving towards the ground. A few friends died in this way. Often the precipitating event was the equivalent to a broken shoelace that occurred at the wrong moment when they were not in a healthy frame of mind. Overall, I think that despite how unpleasant the whole experience started it was the day I needed to have, and I am grateful for it and all it taught me.

What are you grateful for today?

38 views0 comments


Bill beard 2020.jpg

Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I appreciate your taking a moment to check out my blog. Would love it if you add your email to be notified of new posts. Any thoughts or additions you may have, feel free to add them in the comments.

Stay well,


Let the posts
come to you.

Thanks for submitting!

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
bottom of page