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  1. #1
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    From heroin to healthy...

    Hey everybody, my name is Taj-short time lurker, long time bike enthusiast and former heroin addict from the Philadelphia area.

    I was always an athlete and rarely off my BMX bike in my freetime as a younger guy. Life didn't turn out the way I planned after high school and my spoiled privaledged a$$ didn't know how to deal with it. Long story short I spent most of my twenties sticking needles in my arm and hanging out in beautiful north phiadlephia.

    I'm 6' tall and had wasted away to under 130lbs when I finally got clean. I've been clean from opiates for over two years and my health has improved dramatically in that time. I have since started going back to school and acheived dean list every semester, I will have my associates degree at the of this school year.

    In May of this year I finally decided I was going to get back into shape and ditch the remaining vices I had, mainly cigarettes and poor diet. Once I got those under control and had been doing a simple strength routine 3x times a week I had a craving deep down for something more, and that's when it hit me- BIKING!

    I completely forgot how intoxicating riding was, and I yearned for that feeling again. I had been doing a ton of hiking(espeically the first few months off the dope) and mountain biking just seamed like such a logical fit. I dusted off an old and ackward ridgid 26" mtb and took it on some of the local trails. Two weeks later I bought myself a nice GT Karakoram 2.0 and I've been riding as much as I can since!

    I also bought a Trek 520 for some long distance touring. Earlier in the summer I went on my first 'overnight' trip. It was 50miles to the campground and 50miles home(obviously lol), but at the time it was the most ambitious thing I had done in a very long time, and hands down the furthest I have ever riden.

    On the ride home from that trip I had an absolutely incredible experience-I had already hit my second wind and felt amazing, then all of a sudden I got this inner glowing burst of happiness, it felt like I could ride my bike to the top of mt. everest! The natural rush of endorphins was so strong it was almost a spiritual experience as the sun was setting and my ride was coming to an end. It sounds so corney but in that moment I realized how foolish I had been, how much time I had wasted, how many people I hurt, but more importantly how far I had come and how strong I was. I was so overwhelmed, I had to stop and breathe- it was in that exact moment a chapter in my life finished and a new one began. From heroin to healthy.

    I'm here to start writing the best chapters of my life

    Oh, and because I need ALOT of tips/advice...and I could use some riding buddies!

  2. #2
    Hell Track
    Reputation: crewjones's Avatar
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    Good luck with your recovery. I've known many heroin addicts in my lifetime, some good friends. Some who had successful recoveries and some who didn't make it. I hope you stay addicted to bikes and stay away from the other.

  3. #3
    How much further ???
    Reputation: Douger-1's Avatar
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    Right on!
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  4. #4
    Elitest thrill junkie
    Reputation: Jayem's Avatar
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    Awesome story.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  5. #5
    Hi There!
    Reputation: thegweed's Avatar
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    Ride on brother.
    NTFTC

  6. #6
    mtbr member
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    Biking is a much better "high" than any narcotic. And much healthier too.

  7. #7
    MTB B'dos
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    Glad you got your chit together and figured things out. Not many things in life that are addictive are good for you, but mountain biking most definitely is.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
    MTB Barbados
    My Phantom pics

  8. #8
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    it's cool how you can remake your cardiovascular system in the course of a year

  9. #9
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    Thank you for sharing your great story :0)

  10. #10
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    Great story!
    thnx for sharing.

    I"m on the West Coast, I've riden with guys from all over.
    There are cyclists everywhere!
    You can always ask your local bike shop when they do their group rides.
    On the other hand, I bet there are many guys that have been through what you've been through.
    I have even heard of guys meeting cyclists at 12 step recovery meetings.

    I'm sure you'll find a group to ride with in your area. It's the best!---especially on road when you can draft.

  11. #11
    Oh, I've GOT bike money
    Reputation: JACKL's Avatar
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    Thanks for that, very inspiring. Welcome to your new life!

  12. #12
    Readin & Postin since '02
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    Awesome and welcome back! If this doesn't qualify for a Passion posting, I don't know what does.

    Cheers!

  13. #13
    Trail Prospector
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    Welcome. You may wish to try searching for local group rides ( Shops, Beers n' Gears, Fb Meet Up's, local clubs, etc.)
    Find the one that fits you best, then start making friends within that group. IME, MTB-ers are a pretty accepting group.
    The best is the one you want to ride most often..

  14. #14
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
    Reputation: Zachariah's Avatar
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    Former, 12 year meth addict here. The bike saved my life. Better yet - I'll die riding one. Lots of fellowship here, brother...
    Last edited by Zachariah; 6 Days Ago at 07:40 AM.
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  15. #15
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    Welcome. I wasted a good decade, give or take, on just about everything but heroin. My wife, (how shall I say), INSPIRED me to get clean. That was over 20 years ago. I was never in real bad shape in my eyes, but life had so much more to offer! I got into mountain biking from my sister in-law about 11 years ago. i grew up playing in the dirt on my bmx bike and dirt bikes in the early 80's so it was a natural fit. Glad your back in!

    I dig your forum ID. I'm guessing from TOOLS' Parabola? Still get the chills from it!

  16. #16
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    Taj, welcome to the forums.

    Thanks for relaying your inspiring story. Good on you for saving your own life, and demonstrating that one can be in control. I hope you continue to use your success to give hope to and motivate others.

    Ride on, brother.

    Mike

  17. #17
    gasping 4 air
    Reputation: HPIguy's Avatar
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    HUGE congrats on getting clean, and reinventing you! But I'll warn you now, the LBS will become your fix.

  18. #18
    > /dev/null 2&>1
    Reputation: Procter's Avatar
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    Great story man, huge welcome. You know, riding, and lifting, helps my drinking, a lot. I never had a serious problem but I got close, I have alcoholism in my family (who doesn't somewhere?) and I restrict it. Whenever I feel like a drink, I just say to myself, I can't, it'll ruin my ride, or ruin my gym session. Friends drinking? Sorry guys, I'm riding later. I have a long ride tomorrow. I'm training to beat my last time and I can't take the calories. Or, I'm lifting later. I channel my addiction into another, healthier addiction. Then when my ride is done or my lifting session is over, the desire passes. Having an outlet which you put all your heart, soul and energy into is the perfect way to stay focused and stay in target. If you think this might be the way for you, get Strava or mapmyride and use it to track your progress and improvements. It helped me for sure.

  19. #19
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    I ride with a group of AA/ NA guys every week for a number of years. Guys with double digits clean and sober to newbies. A great group of guys to ride with. A great way to share your recovery. Ask around. We meet and ride after a 7am meeting.
    Four wheels move my body Two wheels move my soul

  20. #20
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    I will second that. I use to be practically attached to my BMX, that was before college and drugs sent me into a riding hiatus, lol. Now that I've been opiate free for over two years I can honestly say the endorphin highs that are acheviable when riding are nothing short of spectacular- I also say it's like a low dose of meth and mushrooms, your body feels like it could ride another 500miles and every plant/road/peice of metal takes on briliant colors/hues with some awesome contrast...I also get elongated tunel vision when I'm cruising down hills, like I'm hyper focussed and aware of every pebble on the road/trail. I's a very special experience, and I'm soo happy I have been able to 'get there' on almost every ride : )

  21. #21
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    i tired to delet this post
    Last edited by Pain is an Illusion; 6 Days Ago at 07:54 AM. Reason: delete

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by movingmountain View Post
    I ride with a group of AA/ NA guys every week for a number of years. Guys with double digits clean and sober to newbies. A great group of guys to ride with. A great way to share your recovery. Ask around. We meet and ride after a 7am meeting.
    Awesome! Are you anywhere near Philadelphia?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Procter View Post
    Great story man, huge welcome. You know, riding, and lifting, helps my drinking, a lot. I never had a serious problem but I got close, I have alcoholism in my family (who doesn't somewhere?) and I restrict it. Whenever I feel like a drink, I just say to myself, I can't, it'll ruin my ride, or ruin my gym session. Friends drinking? Sorry guys, I'm riding later. I have a long ride tomorrow. I'm training to beat my last time and I can't take the calories. Or, I'm lifting later. I channel my addiction into another, healthier addiction. Then when my ride is done or my lifting session is over, the desire passes. Having an outlet which you put all your heart, soul and energy into is the perfect way to stay focused and stay in target. If you think this might be the way for you, get Strava or mapmyride and use it to track your progress and improvements. It helped me for sure.
    Great advice! Thanks for the reply! I've been clean for over two years, but just started getting back in shape/riding my bike around May this year. I'm totally hooked! Funny you mentioned mapmyride, which is something I'm looking forward to getting to track my progress.

    P.S. During my entire life I've always been the happiest when I'm eating really well and being very active. MTBing keeps my very active, and I also use it as a form of meditation when I'm stressed

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by HPIguy View Post
    HUGE congrats on getting clean, and reinventing you! But I'll warn you now, the LBS will become your fix.
    What is LBS? Sorry some of the jargon is still new to me

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by She&I View Post
    Taj, welcome to the forums.

    Thanks for relaying your inspiring story. Good on you for saving your own life, and demonstrating that one can be in control. I hope you continue to use your success to give hope to and motivate others.

    Ride on, brother.

    Mike
    Wow, thanks for those words of wisdom and encouragement! I started going back to school as soon as I got clean, and I've chipping away at classes since...

    At the end of this school year I will have an associates degree in pyshology and squalified to be a drug and alcohol counselor. It's something that almost killed me and has been killing a lot buddies I went to school with, not to mention it's an epidemic in my county anyway.

    I really think I have a lot to offer younger addicts, specifically opiate addicts.

    I'd really like to have a MTB/Adventure rehab one day, not like the draconian 'rehab' facilities that are offered to patients these days. That's my ultimate goal,

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