What is the main reason I ride? Currently, it’s a promise I made to myself. I am five years sober from alcohol, meth, weed, and pills. After struggling with it for over ten years, when I started my journey of recovery, I had a goal to get back into riding and racing.

I used to think I drank and used drugs to drown out a feeling of hopeless depression, block out the memories of childhood molestation by my older brother, and make me feel a part of something instead of feeling like an alone outcast. The real reason I drank and used is that I have what I like to call an allergy. Once I put something in my system that changes the way I feel, I can’t stop until I run out or blackout.

Between 18-23, I washed in and out of rehab with a one-month stint in a county jail in Texas’s BBQ capital Lockhart (change my mind, lol). Finally, at 22, I was beaten down to the point that drugs and alcohol no longer gave me the comfort it once did. They were a necessity to make it through the day. I didn’t want to drink but didn’t want to quit. I wanted to die but was too scared to kill myself. Once again, off to rehab.

Something was different this time. I can’t put a finger on what. During treatment, they make you do stupid little “when I get out, I am going to…” and my answer was always, “Get back to riding dirt bikes.” After treatment, I got into a 12-step program, which has been the backbone of what has kept me sober.

I celebrated five years of sobriety on May 15th, 2020. My sobriety is the single most important thing in my life, and I would gladly give up everything else in my life to keep it. I would be divorced, have no relationship with my 6-year-old son (who just raced his first race), jobless, homeless, and dirt bike-less. Without it, I have nothing.

I do my best to give away what I have learned about staying sober to anyone who has a problem and seeks help, from 12-step work to going to treatment centers and talking to patients to consoling family members of addicts who don’t understand what their loved ones experience.

So, what happens when I swing a leg over my dirt bike? I get to escape from life for a while. Everything quiets down, and the outside world fades away. Nothing matters at that moment. There are no politics, no hatred, no fighting. It is just me and my machine versus the world. It’s when I am truly free.

My dad got me into riding at age eight, and my favorite type of riding is XC racing and casual hard enduro trail. My favorite place on earth to ride is my back yard. We live on land, and I have a 9-mile loop of mostly sand, with some hardpack. Currently, I cannot ride it much due to a disagreement with the gentleman who runs cattle on the place, but that is a temporary setback. I would love to ride Colorado one day. I’m grateful for every time I get to swing my leg over a bike. Today is a Thursday, and my 6-year-old has his first race on Saturday. So that might change.

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