Trying to beat an addiction to drugs and alcohol is one of the most challenging things that a person can go through. If a person enters rehab and goes through the necessary follow-up care, they can get clean; however, they are always considered an addict. Fighting an addiction is a lifelong battle, and it is important that you continue treatment.
The mantra in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous is, “One day at a time.” Each day that a person remains clean is the equivalent of winning a minor battle. When people attend meetings, they are given chips for reaching certain milestones. This is a great way to stay motivated and want to remain clean. A man named Charlie Engle from North Carolina managed to beat his addiction, and instead of getting his chip, he had a better way to celebrate his sobriety.
Charlie’s sobriety has always been very important to him. It is also something that he celebrates each year. The 56-year-old man says that his sobriety birthday is more important to him than his real birthday. Charlie says that he had no choice over the day that he was brought into the world, but he did have control of the day that he got sober. He has been sober for 27-years, which is something to be very proud of.
Charlie Is a Runner
Charlie loves to run. He always has. After getting sober, he ran across the Sahara desert on one of his sober birthdays. On six of his sober birthdays, he ran the Badwater 135. This is said to be the toughest foot race in the world. The Badwater 135 is a non-stop, 135-mile run from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA. The run begins at the Badwater Basin in Death Valley, which is the lowest elevation in North America. It finishes at Whitney Portal, which is one of the highest points in the United States. Runners need to travel over three mountain ranges and through several national landmarks. Just doing this once is incredible. Charlie did it six-time, which is absolutely amazing.
Celebrating 27 Years
When Charlie’s 27-year sobriety birthday was approaching, he decided to do something special. He knew that he had to do more than run across the Sahara or run the Badwater 135 for a seventh time. He figured that since he was almost 27 years sober, that he would run for 27-hours. The idea was to run one mile for each year that he stayed sober.
Although Charlie did his 27-mile run alone, he had plenty of people in his corner. Many people knew about his plan to run for 27 hours, including former addicts, recovering addicts, and patients at a local rehab center. All of these people were cheering him on, hoping that he would reach his goal.
A Three-Mile Loop
When Charlie was planning his sober birthday run, he didn’t want to run a certain number of miles. Because of this, he couldn’t choose a specific destination to run to as he had in the past. He decided to run a three-mile route over and over again until he had reached his goal of running for 27 hours. During his run, he stopped to eat, rest, and to update his supporters on Instagram. One of his posts was written at the 10-hour mark. In the post, he wrote, “It’s beautiful out here at Dorthea Dix Park! I’ve passed the 10-hour mark of my 27 hours for 27 years sober run. It’s always a good day to be running sober, and today is special along with the local community in support of the recovery center healing transitions. I’ll be out here until 11 am tomorrow morning. Come say, hi!” He also posted a photo of himself running down a dirt road in the middle of a gorgeous field of sunflowers.
A Tough Journey
Charlie says that his 27-hour journey was hard. He says that he thought about giving up a few times, but he wasn’t just running for himself. He says that he was also running for the people he knew at the rehabilitation center, Healing Transitions.
One Day At a Time
Charlie says that his run was a lot like his sobriety. He says that people often look at the big picture, thinking, “I have to stay sober forever.” Charlie says that this isn’t how recovery works. He says that you have to be sober today and focus on that and that only. When you wake up the next morning, you have to focus on staying sober again.
By the time Charlie reached the 27-hour mark, he had run 114-miles. He says that although this year’s sober birthday is over, he plans to make it a tradition and do it every year. When he isn’t running, he hopes to inspire people. He said, “My job is just to live my life and to live the life that I can. If other people see that they understand where I came from, hopefully, it gives them the realization that they can have that too.” This man runs for 27 straight hours to celebrate nearly 3 decades of sobriety. His story is incredibly inspiring.