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Sober, Not Dry

I have a hard time listening to podcasts. I’m not exactly sure why, but my best guess is that I need more stimulation than simply listening to people talk; I need bright lights, dancing dogs, fireworks and champagne, and then I need the whole scene to change every 3 minutes or so. I’m sure I would have been diagnosed with ADHD if I had gone through grade school twenty years later than I actually did. But Denny from Diz Runs posted an Instagram post about an interview he did with a man named Gene, and Denny called it a life-changing post, and for some reason I trust that guy, so I queued it up. And? Denny was right.

Gene is a recovering alcoholic, nine years sober. About 18 months after he quit drinking, he quit smoking and then about 18 months after that, he started running. He was quite overweight and so the process was extremely slow.

If you guys need some motivational energy, go listen to this podcast. If you’re going to skip it, then at least check out these quotes that I wrote down, straight out of Gene’s mouth during the podcast episode, a podcast episode that I listened to not just once, but twice. And for someone who needs bright lights, dancing dogs, fireworks and champagne as motivation to pay attention, that’s really something.

Underlining the entire tone of the interview is the theme of gratefulness. Interestingly enough, my dad practices gratitude more than anyone I’ve ever known, and he too is a recovering alcoholic. I sense a theme here. Gene says:

I have always counted myself very lucky. I have always been someone who is deeply satisfied by incremental progress. That’s the thing that applies to my sobriety as well.”

I don’t need to be the best there is; I’m just satisfied with being a little bit better than I was yesterday.”

Denny asks Gene, “Is there a direct link between your journey to sobriety and running?” Gene answers, “One day at a time. A marathon takes training. One day, step by step, moving forward, and doing what you can do today.”

Gene is super-educated as a science guy with a bunch of degrees and he makes a statement that I passionately agree with and have since I did my senior thesis on the subject in 2009:

Physical exercise is about as effective as a lot of pharmacological interventions for depression and anxiety if it’s done regularly.”

All I need to do is find someone who does what I want to do and let them teach me…I just look to people that know more than me and then I try to do what they do.”

And the only thing it takes to be good at something is to be willing to be bad at it long enough. And if you’re willing to be bad at something and to not give up despite being bad at it, then eventually you will become good at it, whatever good at it means for you. I still can’t dance because I’m not willing to be bad at it.” *he laughs*

And my favourite quote out of the whole interview:

Everything good in my life, I have, because I did something I didn’t want to do.”

This is what I took away from this podcast episode: That to be successful at something, we need to be humble, teachable, and most of all? Thankful. It’s easy to read on paper and then forget about, which is why this interview is so potent to listen to. Here is the link. And you can also find Gene at his website here.

Do you relate to any of what Gene says? What hits home the most? 

What would you add to Gene’s recipe for success? 

Gene, if you are reading this, is there something that I missed that you’d like to add? Thank you for sharing your story with us! You are a huge inspiration.


{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Dr24hours December 14, 2016, 2:23 pm

    Thank you so much for the kind words. I really appreciate and I hope to have done some good for someone.


    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com December 14, 2016, 6:21 pm

      You totally did some good for someone! For a lot of people, no doubt! You’re one of the greats, Gene!

    • Susie @ SuzLyfe December 14, 2016, 6:38 pm

      Gene, I can’t wait to listen to your episode. I love Denny, I love Suzy, and if both of them call you life changing, then I can’t imagine that the episode is anything but just that.

      • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com December 14, 2016, 9:45 pm

        Gene is good shit.

  • Lisa @ Mile by Mile December 14, 2016, 4:02 pm

    I plan to listen to this podcast! DizRuns is one of the few that I listen to regularly. Im definitely looking forward to this episode- thanks for sharing!

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com December 14, 2016, 6:16 pm

      Let me know what you think when you hear it!

  • Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home December 15, 2016, 4:59 am

    I like his take on “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”. It’s my mantra these days.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com December 15, 2016, 8:08 am

      I hear ya.

  • Megan @ Meg Go Run December 15, 2016, 5:31 am

    Thanks for the podcast rec, Suzy! I have to be honest, the only Diz Runs podcast I have listened to is your’s!

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com December 15, 2016, 8:08 am

      I don’t listen to a whole lot of podcasts, but I do like Denny’s!

    • Denny December 15, 2016, 11:10 am

      You’re missing out Meg! hehe

  • Laura @ This Runner's Recipes December 15, 2016, 9:59 am

    This one’s on my queue, and now I’m extra excited to listen to it. That last quote really stands out to me and I love listening to the podcasts where people discuss how running improved their life.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com December 15, 2016, 12:49 pm

      That last quote is everything.

  • Denny December 15, 2016, 11:16 am

    Thanks for this Suzy.

    Sometimes it feels like I’m talking into a vacuum on the show. I know people are listening, but it’s a rare treat to get even a couple of comments. When I finished talking to Gene, I literally sat down and said wow.

    I can’t remember the last time I’d done that after an interview.

    And I don’t mean that to sound like most of the other interviews aren’t good. I mean, we got into some deep shit in your episode as well, and it was great and I did get some great feedback on our chat. But this one with Gene just felt different to me somehow. I don’t know why, but it did.

    So thanks for sharing it with your tribe and your followers. There are so many lessons to be gleaned from what Gene had to say, and I appreciate your willingness to help spread those lessons beyond my little corner of the world.


    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com December 15, 2016, 1:00 pm

      I’d like to feel like a saint on this one, Denny, and tell you that I shared this post out of the goodness of my cold little heart, but I really did it because I feel so passionate about turning dirt into flowers, making beauty out of bad experiences, mistakes, and adversity, and Gene’s story reflects my own cold little heart, because I can see my story in his story. Nobody gets a free pass; we all have shit that stinks. But it’s what we do with our mess that really differentiates between the successful and the stuck. If Gene was all RAH RAH RAH, standing on a podium, preaching it with sparkly white teeth and orange skin, I’d be like, no. thanks. But the way Gene spoke on the podcast is what really got me. He didn’t try to be funny. He didn’t try to be convincing. He didn’t try to be amazing. He just was. He just is. And the simple truth he spoke of out of his own fuckups and his own struggles is what resonates with me.

      • Denny December 16, 2016, 8:47 am

        Amen sister. A-fricking-men.

  • Amy Lauren December 15, 2016, 12:04 pm

    I also have a hard time listening to podcasts and don’t listen to them when I work out, but I do listen at work… and I love the DizRuns podcast. It is a great one. I will have to check out this one, I love inspirational stories like this!

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com December 15, 2016, 1:01 pm

      Let me know what you think after you listen to it!

  • Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets December 17, 2016, 7:54 am

    I love Podcasts but I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I need to listen while doing other things (cooking, cleaning, etc). I don’t have the attention span to focus on just a Podcast either. I might have a touch of ADD.

  • San December 19, 2016, 10:06 am

    I have a hard time with podcasts, too, but I think this would be an interesting listen-to… although I don’t really relate to the things this guy has gone through, it’s truly inspirational to know someone turned their life around like that.

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