Alicia Jenkins struggled with alcoholism for 8 years. Then, she began running. She signed up for races. Joined a Ragnar team. Got connected with a running group. Now, she’ll run Reebok Ragnar Napa Valley to mark 10 months of sobriety. This is her story on how running saved her life:
I am a young woman of 28 years who has struggled with alcohol addiction for the past 8 years.
This is a topic that is near to my heart because for years I denied the fact that I was an alcoholic, I was doing great in school, able to work, able to run, but when I drank, I blacked out. I became someone I didn’t know. I did things I normally wouldn’t do.
My friendships suffered, my schoolwork suffered, my running suffered, I didn’t like the life I was living. I was hiding bottles in cabinets, calling into work “sick,” wandering around at 2 am alone in the city not knowing how I was going to get home.
It had to stop.
So, I made a decision to quit drinking.
I didn’t use AA, instead, I used running.
I signed up for a bunch of races and in early February. I saw a Facebook post that a Portland relay team needed an extra runner. So, I sent a message to her without knowing her. Her name was Jules. After I joined her team at Hood to Coast team, she immediately let me know that her #GRRLS team had got in the lottery to run Ragnar Napa and asked if I would join. I didn’t know Jules. I didn’t know anyone else on the team but I thought this would be key to my recovery. A great way to meet like-minded individuals. A great way to get that buzz without the alcohol.
I “friended” all the other #GRRLs on the Napa team and over the months have got to know them through the world of Facebook. I have even had the chance to meet with a couple of them at other Ragnar races, such as Ragnar Northwest Passage and Ragnar Trails Cascades-WA.
I’m over 9 months sober today and will be 10 months sober come Ragnar Napa.
I like to share my story in case there are other women out there like me, someone that you wouldn’t look at and think, “Oh that person is an alcoholic.” Running saved me and continues to save me. I’ve replaced an alcohol addiction with a healthy addiction.
Ragnar has allowed me to meet so many new friends; new sober friends; new genuine friends.
I call my sobriety my sober marathon.
No more hangovers for me, only “ragnovers.”
Read about Alicia’s teammate, Jean Oh, who is running Ragnar Napa 5 months after being transported in critical condition after a bike crash here.