Sunday, October 26, 2008


100 days . . .
I've reached another milestone: today I am handing myself a 100-day chip.
because like a person in AA, I have made a commitment and stuck to it. and, like a person in AA, I benefit from receiving outer, verbal and/or physical acknowledgment of achieving a milestone.
and also like a person in AA, I have a long time to go before my next one.

in AA they start off with 30-day chips. not all AA chapters are the same, but in general you receive a chip at the end of 30-days sobriety, then at two, three, four, five, and six months. the next chip is typically after nine months, and then again at one year. after that can be an 18-month chip, then they become annual.
rewards are heavier in the beginning, when it's logical that one needs more support. the acknowledgments taper off as one moves deeper into the program, with the idea being that one doesn't need quite as much acknowledgment as one settles into their sobriety.
like toilet training, once we start peeing correctly every time, we're less likely to receive M&M's for doing so.
well, here I am, giving and receiving my 100-day chip. and since I'm in charge, I get to decide when the next one will be awarded.
logic tells me it should be at one year, while my inner child is insisting that 200 days is well worth another reward. my adult self is quite capable of living another 265 days before giving myself kudos, but that little girl inside me is thinking some kind of acknowledgment 100 days from now is exactly what she needs.
as I count it out, I see that my 200th day of posting here will arrive on february 3rd.
I'm thinking my inner child may be right.
because all through these first 100 days, I have had a huge external reward: my bike rides.
this may not seem logical to you, but in susan's world these things are connected. I ride, I write, I ride again. my writing here drives me to ride again, to soak in that inspiration. and my riding fuels my writing. so, although my rides aren't truly a reward of my dedication to writing, they are a side benefit, as it's not as easy to write about cycling when one isn't cycling.
got it?
today's reward was glorious: I rode to draper, taking wasatch boulvevard until it swoops down and meets 17th east, then eases around and down to 13th east, until it meets with highland drive somewhere in the heart of draper. I love wasatch boulevard. not for it's wide shoulders (which come and go) or its smooth asphalt (which comes and goes and when it goes, disappears in great chunks), but for its views. at different times, you have a view of the entire salt lake valley, or of draper and the jordans, or of places I don't even know the names of. from wasatch boulevard you look down on a crazy quilt pattern of multi-colored trees. and this time of year, every hillside and mountain slope and tree along the edge of the road is glistening with bronze and gold, with deep yellows and intense reds. fall colors are not my favorite, but I can't help but be amazed by the ochre, umber and sienna display.
a rich reward indeed.
and come february 3rd, I will have had many, many days without that reward.
so it stands to reason that my little girl self will be made giddy and joyful if I surprise her with some kind of "200-day" treat.
the perfect reward would be a trip to somewhere warm and beautiful so I could ride my bike.
but I may settle for 200 M&M's.

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