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Seventeen and Counting

"My tool to stay sober is when I share my story..." D. Howley

The opening part of this blog post is to share the incredible milestone of our founder and CEO, Dylan Howley. May 2, 2023, marks the seventeenth anniversary of Dylan's sobriety. Throughout his journey he has used many tools that have strengthened and maintained his recovery. The Lefty Cycles Project, Inc. is one of those tools. We are constantly in awe of the infinite support from our friends and family within the Lefty Cycles community. We have had a steady year with monthly events and want to thank SCADD, Sound Community Services, Inc. and Reliance Health, Inc. for the space to share our mission and Dylan's story in order to remind people that WE DO RECOVER!

Since the start of 2023, The Lefty Cycles Project, Inc. has incorporated the art of journaling into its core messaging. Collaborations with The Southeastern Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (SCADD) and Sound Community Services, Inc. who support those in recovery from substance use and mental health issues have been the highlight of our recent work and also an important opportunity for us to learn from these organizations. The unsung heroes, aka the staff who facilitate our visits, have allowed us to connect with over 80 people through four different journaling events within the past five months. Journaling as a resource for maintaining sobriety and improving mental health is widely promoted by these organizations but The Lefty Cycles Project, Inc. is proud to be able to bring notebooks and pens for participants and even add the excitement of a raffle at the end of the informal discussion.

Writing about stressful and traumatic events can significantly benefit our physical and emotional health. Research shows that keeping a journal can help you identify what’s causing stress or anxiety, which can help you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns. Studies link writing privately about stressful events and capturing thoughts and emotions on paper with decreased mental distress. Having trouble getting started? Keep reading for some writing prompts below.

Getting bicycles to people who are in recovery from substance use disorders and/or living with mental health issues is still our main focus but the message is expanding. Exercise is a tool. Journaling and making art are tools. Group discussions about the road to recovery and maintaining sobriety is a tool. Breathwork is a tool. Our goal as we develop into the local nonprofit organization that we strive to be is to learn from those around us while sharing successful tools for managing feelings of chaos and negativity. SCADD, Sound Community Services and Reliance Health, Inc. work tirelessly and have prioritized the underserved populations of Southeastern, CT for over fifty years. We appreciate their guidance and the opportunity to connect with those within their communities.

Last week Dylan spoke to approximately thirty adults who are working towards recovery as they reintegrate into their lives. He shared his story and spoke about how he uses a journal on a daily basis. Many people shared about the different ways they utilize a journal. One person shared a poem they had written, another spoke about song lyrics and "letting it flow" as a form of written therapy. One tip to get started is to write out the ABCs of gratefulness. If you can’t think of anything to write, try and list one positive thing for each letter of the alphabet. Too long? Try the 3 Gs. List something that was GOOD today, one thing you are GRATEFUL for and one GOAL for tomorrow. We always talk about the benefits of writing a “to-do” list on a daily basis and the importance of reflection. Reading what you wrote last week or last month can offer insight and possible motivation for the week ahead.

As always, we meet people who are interested in cycling and could benefit from a bicycle for exercise, transportation, hobby or leisure. This has proven an effective way of networking and expanding our reach within the recovery community. Check out our website for updates on events and once again, we want to give a shoutout to Dylan for his remarkable accomplishment and daily efforts towards sharing his story while promoting effective tools for recovery.

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