This one’s for Stinky.

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I’ll dispense with the usual chattiness and get straight to the point–I FEEL TERRIFIC!  And not a phony, toothy-grinned Tony Robbins sorta TERRIFIC!  But a real, bona-fide “small cities could be powered by my zest for life” sorta TERRIFIC!  In the last two months, my life has undergone some amazing changes:  My weight has dipped below 200 for the first time since I was 24.  I’ve ridden my bike for over 1200 miles.  My ankle has finally relented and permitted me to be a runner again.  My wellness and appreciation for life has never been better.  And, most importantly, my wife is proud of me. Wow, I can’t tell you how incredibly powerful this last one is.

I was recently annoyed by a well-intentioned friend who asked me what my secret was.  As if I were taking a miraculous new drug.  TRUST ME.  I LOVE PILLS!  Especially the little ones that help me make beautiful sleep at night.  No, not the blue ones.  Definitely don’t need those…  Amazingly, as it turns out, the secret was no real secret at all:  Sacrifice those things in my life that are bad for me, and commit every fiber of my soul to those that are good.  When I cut out booze (sweet, glorious nectar from the heavens!) I, in turn, was also cutting out cigarettes (delicious manna from God!) and most of the refined sugar (ice cream is my cocaine) in my diet as well. Package deal.  The secret, as it turns out, was doing what a Type II Diabetic should be doing anyway.  I’m also currently testing out a theory– were I to pour myself into healthy endeavors with the same vigor with which I was routinely poisoning myself, What amazing things would result?  So far, Summer of 2012, despite our record drought, is shaping up to be the best summer I can recall. And I truly lament that I could not have learned this lesson sooner.

For as long as I can recall, Craig Lycke’s problem has been a complete disregard for moderation, and in all facets of life.  If I were a fan, I would only have two speeds:  Tornado, or off. It would be one thing if this character flaw involved too much reading of Chaucer, or providing to much service to my community.  But my excesses always tend to be a tad more “injurious” than these sorts of noble pursuits. So where am I going with this?

For the last two months I have been attending AA meetings.  Now, before you go all fucking “woe is me, pity party” on my on my ass I want you to know a secret:  These meetings are NOT what you think they are.  Depravity and self-deprecation are more than likely the first things that come to your mind when you think AA.  You, like me, would be wrong.  These meetings are about hope, and turning hope in to joy.  And meeting attendees are not street urchins:  Doctors, business owners, youngs, olds, burnouts, me.  All types.  And think more along the lines of intellectual philisophical/theological discussion, instead of your initial reaction, in case you’re wonder about subject matter.  Recently our discussion centered upon the topic of “humility.” Humility!  Ever really think about it?  It’s heady stuff.  I walked out of that session feeling like we’d just wrapped an entire semester of a 400-level college course.  Oh, one thing you do have right- LOTSA COFFEE!  LOTSA CIGARETTES!  Now there’s an AA myth than I can definitely confirm!

That coin you see above was given to me by my AA group after I achieved 60 days of sobriety.  It is an amazingly powerful token for what can be accomplished when I put my heart in to an endeavor.  It also contains very potent prayers by some of my glorious friends, and, perhaps even more powerfully, by strangers to me.  I know it sounds hokey and corny, but this coin means the world to me. And I’m not one to argue with results.   I panicked when I recently discovered this coin went missing.  I keep it in my wallet and it had rolled out in to my pants pocket. So I glued it to my blood donor card, where it now rests on my hip.  I don’t go anywhere without it. 

Am I an alcoholic?  Dunno.  Do I show some alcoholic tendencies?  Possibly.  Do I feel better now than I have ever before in my life?  Absolutely!  And, as any good gambler will tell you, when you’ve nailed a winning streak you don’t change a damn thing.  To those friends whose prayers I hold in my wallet– I’ll spend an enternity paying down my debt of gratitude I owe to you.  And to those friends who might be confused– I completely understand.  I’ve done a sufficient job of conditioning you to accept a certain type of behavior out of me.  But if you love me, or even if you just like me, know that I am now a better person.  And please, please, please- don’t treat me any differently.  If you wanna drink around me GREAT.  As a matter of fact, get shitfaced!  You’ve got your own personal driver now!

Thanks!