While searching for new things to listen to on my IPhone, I often grab a book from the Travel and Adventure section. I have to say that there are some real gems in this category. The Sex Lives of Cannibals, AWOL on the Appalachian Trail, and just about anything written by Bill Bryson is a treat. It is also a very entertaining way for a blind guy to experience the world beyond what sometimes feels a very limited world view.
Ultra Recovery is one of those “overcoming adversity” books that I have really become hooked on in the last few years.
Author David Clark starts us off with a glimpse into his younger years of college, but the book really takes off during his early adult years. The amount of booze this guy consumed is absolutely mind- boggling. For example, two liters of scotch along with a six pack of beer along with a handful of Vicodins. Keep in mind, this wasn’t a sometimes occurrence but a nightly occurrence. One will wonder how he is still alive.
He takes us on this painful journey with an honesty that is crucial to any book like this. Most of us will not be able to relate. Some of us will. For instance I know someone who can polish off a bottle of Smirnoff easily on a daily basis. I good friend died of renal failure after consuming the sort of booze David Clark did. So this story isn’t completely foreign to me. Hell, I like to drink as well but, as my wife reminds me, I am already walking around like I am drunk. As a result of this condition, I am now limited to two beers (well, sometimes three if no one is paying attention). So I do have a hard time imagining what it was like to drink as much as the author was able to. That is only one of the shocking things about this guy and his book.
The other thing is his incredible road to recovery.
There are some real lessons here, lessons that would be valuable to just about everyone. The most important (and one I agree with) is that David shunned victimhood. “Own your own shit” is how he puts it. David owned his and figured out a way to make his life better, fuller. It is hard to imagine that he didn’t affect everyone he came in contact with. He actually ran his way into recovery, eventually running ultra marathons on a regular basis. These races aren’t for the faint of heart: he cramps, hallucinates and pukes his way through 100-mile races.
For anyone who loves to run or to exercise, this too is a must read. The light and positive nature of the human spirit is on display here. It is not a story you will forget anytime soon.