A funny thing happened to me on my way to hell. I took the MA. 111 Exit into Ayer for what I thought was some brief sustenance and shelter. Or to wait for the grim reaper. Freshly released, although tentatively, by the VA Hospital from addictions to all things harmful, I was as shaky as a new born calf. Beyond a dying (dead?) marriage, a decaying business and an even deader bank account. (Think less than zero.) What’s not to like?
Those days are a blur as I was still pretty jacked up (or down) with Seroquel, Mirtazapine and healthy portions of blood pressure meds to counteract the stroke they were sure was on the way. Seems Xanax and alcohol are a no-no. Creeping up on 70 at the time, this wasn’t the picture I had been painting for my declining years.
Walking into my new claustrophobic confines, a small, pet friendly apartment tastefully furnished in a Davis, Crawford et al, design, I fetched my two puppies and settled in for a long cold winter.
Those first few months were brutal. As I was to learn later, I wasn’t fully detoxed from Xanax. It takes quite a while. Living in stroke territory takes a toll. My wife said, “You’ll probably want to get started on that divorce you’ve been talking about.” Huh? I must of killed off more brain cells than I thought. Yes, I wanted out but I didn’t think I was so vocal about it. Very confusing times indeed.
As the weeks and months passed, I started to accept my fate. Although I thought this would be the episode of my life I would be drinking and drugging through. My timing sucks!
One morning I looked in the mirror at myself and word associated, “pear”. That’s what I resembled, a friggin’ pear. Oh my God! What have I done? I turned myself into a popover. Generous portions of belly fat cascading over the top of my belt buckle. Yech! My deliberately intentioned body was gone. I had just one ab now and it was blocking the view of my feet. What’s next, a moo-moo?
One Sunday morning, on one of my many cathartic walks, I stumbled upon a nondescript, stand-alone building with a bunch of cars in the parking lot. I looked in the window and saw it was packed with weights, treadmills, bikes and heavy duty racks. Can this be? A half mile from my new digs? 24 Hour Access? Get outa here! I joined.
Bonus paragraph: On top of all that good news, the Nashua Rail Trail is exactly 45 seconds from my new door step. An 11 mile shot to Nashua starting in Ayer. A beautiful, scenic, endorphin filled bike ride all the way into New Hampshire. Love it.
Exercise soothes the soul and did my soul ever need soothing. I hit the weights and never looked back. Believing that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, it didn’t take long to start shaping me up again. My self esteem started inching up. My sleep patterns changed. I weaned myself off those cautionary doses from the VA and tightened up my diet. I’m back to flexing in the mirror again. 🙂
None of the drugs I ever took could make me feel this good. None.
I am now on the road to becoming a Certified Personal Trainer. At 71, this October, I will be giving as good as I get and helping folks like me get a leg up. Literally. I never was a silver lining guy but I’m coming around.
It’s true, Rock and Roll never forgets!