Water seems to be my life's common thread...
"Achievement is simply the use of the abilities we have. Each of us have unique abilities that we must put to use as practical tools for success - for we will not be delivered some magical gift." For me, this was a revelation which took a long time to figure out. I had a lot of help along the way, but getting back to the water had a lot to do with rediscovering my personal potential in life. Now I'm out to demonstrate what's possible in the hopes of helping others to discover and fulfill their own potential.
Despite an increasing popularity in the sport of Solo Marathon Swimming, the concept of being alone in the water across miles of open ocean remains a mysterious and intriguing endeavor in the imaginations of many.
Concurrently, a good ‘turnaround story’ remains a popular and inspirational narrative in our modern popular culture. Overcoming addiction to drugs and/or alcohol to accomplish notable feats in life are as compelling a story as any that can be related through biographical documentation, yet these stories play out every day.
My own story relates a tale of discovering one’s potential in late middle age through the transformative power of Recovery, collaboration and swimming. Though this happens to be my story, I tell it in the hopes that it will hold lessons for others and help them to pursue their own achievements. Just as many others have inspired me through their stories, I'm relating mine as a way of paying it forward...
As a late forty-something suffering from multiple physical ailments, associated both with mobility and lung function, I spiraled into active alcoholism and prolonged unemployment. I had come to the conclusion that my depression was interminable, and that this life had nothing further to offer me.
In my early 50's, I discovered a renewed sense of purpose and an ability to focus on what was possible rather than what was missing - through the miracle of Recovery. Turns out, I yet had something to offer to this life. I began to set ambitious goals for myself and set about achieving them. In maintaining my sobriety and in pursuing my individual ambitions, I learned the important lessons of asking for and accepting help; Of seeking out mentorship and engaging in collaboration; and of the realization that a fulfilling life is one centered around working together and contributing – and most importantly - learning to use the abilities one already possesses as tools for personal growth and achievement.
And, that even a solo endeavor requires coordinated teamwork.
This is the story of Recovery through the lens of a marathon swimmer. A story of getting help and giving help to stay sober, and a parallel collaboration towards achieving aggressive and inspirational missions through swimming, with a concurrent purpose of giving back.
MY STORY IS SIMPLY A DEMONSTRATION OF WHAT'S POSSIBLE FOR ALL OF US - THAT IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO START ACHIEVING. THE ADVERSE CONDITIONS FROM WHICH I SUFFERED ARE NOT ALL THAT DIFFERENT THAN THOSE SUFFERED BY MANY OTHERS.
SIMILARLY, THE REVELATIONS I DISCOVERED IN RECOVERY ARE THERE FOR ANYBODY WITH THE WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE THEIR PERSPECTIVE AND USE PAST SHORTCOMINGS AS TOOLS FOR GROWTH. MY OBJECTIVE IS QUITE SIMPLY TO INSPIRE OTHERS TO BECOME WILLING TO CHANGE THEIR PERSPECTIVE THROUGH MY PERSONAL ILLUSTRATION OF WHAT'S POSSIBLE.
Although I relate my story and my mission as a solo endeavor, one of the primary purposes in documenting my adventures is to provide an inspiring revelation about the power of those who guide us along the way in our individual journeys. The story highlights those we choose to have beside us, like my kayaker – and sometimes those who are forced upon us -in the pursuit of progress; Those that demonstrate that while we may swim solo as a tiny speck in a giant ocean, relying on our own abilities, we are never alone. This is their story too, communicating a hopeful message that anything is possible - with the help of others.
At the time of this writing, I have just completed my most recent swim on the way to my goal of swimming the Cook Strait. I successfully swam "Around Coronado" on September 28th, 2020. This (nearly) 12-mile solo ocean swim was able to be accomplished during the pandemic as it required only a single kayaker as support and observer. View the video by clicking the link at the bottom.
So what's next?
I have my sights set on a crossing of the Catalina Channel and have scheduled a tentative date of September 22 - 23, 2021.
I also have received news that I have finally been granted a tentative "slot" for the Cook Strait in early 2023.
My Swimming in Recovery group is working towards a major relay endeavor, tentatively focused on six people with varied swim abilities and varied experiences in Recovery attempting to swim the Catalina Channel.
A Pioneer Solo Marathon is also a major personal ambition. My experience in Panama has inspired me to consider a one-day marathon swim with two - 10-mile segments in both the Pacific and Caribbean.
Around Key West, Tampa Bay Marathon and Boston Light are potential "competitions" in 2021. Stay tuned.
I'm excited to share the power of aquatics in Recovery with others. I aspire to coach adults of all abilities to improve their skills and stamina in the water and create a Community of swimmers who share the struggles and joys of life in Recovery from Addiction and Alcoholism.
Let me assist you in a virtual coaching program to improve your skills in the water and provide a workout program to achieve your swimming goals. I'm also looking for a few who would dare to join me to fulfill a dream of assembling a relay team of Swimmers in Recovery to take on the Catalina Channel in Summer 2022.