Sobriety is indeed a journey in people’s lives. There are people who actually don’t succeed in being sober for a long time, and usually end up seeking treatment once again because they relapsed.
It could indeed be very difficult for some people, which is why those who actually make it through years of being sober are very proud of themselves and usually celebrates it each year that they make it through. It is definitely should be celebrated but this 55-year-old man seemed to have an extreme way of celebrating his sobriety over the years.
26-Hour Run On 26 Years of Sobriety
Most people probably know that there is such a thing as sobriety coin that people actually get when they complete the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, which is the very first treatment program for alcoholics. This coin symbolizes sobriety and each coin is different depending on the length of years a person stays sober. That might be a nice reminder of the strength of a former addict, but this man’s dedication to celebrating his sobriety every year is definitely something very inspiring.
Charlie Eagle went on a 26-hour run with some of his family and friends last July 23, in celebration of his sobriety for 26 years now. The plan was to run for 26 hours around the Dorothea Dix Park area in Raleigh, North Carolina, then again at that time, it was literally pouring so it almost got canceled.
In an interview with Men’s Health, Eagle said that people started calling him asking if the run is still happening on that day, and he simply said that July 23rd is the exact date he got sober more than two decades ago so he will continue even if it is storming, because “addiction doesn’t take a day off.”
Eventually, the rain stopped before they started their run. Eagle explained that he actually celebrates it every year and refers to it as his “sober birthday,” since he felt like he was reborn at that day when he ended and survived his battle with addiction. He considers it a physical milestone each year since he is celebrating his life.
This three-mile loop around the Healing Transitions center was actually the goal and Eagle ended up running about 118 miles. Eagle planned to run for 26 hours since this is his 26th year of being sober and he chose that route to encourage locals to join instead of being intimidated.
A Physical Milestone
Eagle admitted that the three-mile loop definitely seemed like ridiculous for some but he explained that he didn’t want the locals to be scared. This is why he actually went online and announced his plan, the community did see it even on the local news that same day. With that, more than 300 people actually showed up and joined him celebrate his sobriety through running. Some people who weren’t exactly physically prepared to run, even helped at the aid station when they volunteered.
Eagle explained that these people were all fighting for their lives and their loved ones, they have the same strength even if they’re all in different battles in life such as addiction, PTSD, depression, eating disorders, alcoholism, and more.
This is actually not the only thing he has done over the years in celebration of being sober. In 2008, he actually runs across the Sahara Desert with two other friends. In 2016, he ran in the Icebreaker Relay for 24 days. He also finished Badwater not just once, but six times, and even competed in the Ironman World Championship that was held in Hawaii.
Addiction and Recovery
Eagle explained that for someone like him who used to have a dark past, he realized that he could lose everything. There may be tons of triggers, and what he did was he got ready to face them and conquer them. Running has helped him a lot when it comes to sobriety, which is why he wants other people to try it as well. “Addiction is about feeling nothing and being invisible. Running is about you feeling everything.”
It is rare that we actually witness people stay sober for this long and are actually making sure that they are grateful for the second chance they took to have a better life out of addiction. Staying sober is considered to be the most difficult part of the treatment, the expectations are extremely high and the pressure sometimes could get to you.
One thing is for sure though, sobriety shows strength and courage, especially those who are like Eagle, who inspire not just people who are trying to stay sober, but also those who have family members who are struggling with it as well.