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Riding for Recovery

Bruce, a Caron alumnus, and Ellen, Bruce’s wife, are embarking on a Ride for Recovery to raise money for scholarships to attend a Caron treatment center. Below, they answer questions about their upcoming journey.

Q: Why are you doing this ride?

Bruce: This is my 27th year in recovery. Ellen and I love to do long-distance touring by motorcycle; in 2011 we spent three weeks riding coast to coast and back again. This year is a tipping point for me. I spent 27 years drinking and using other drugs and I’ve now been sober for as long as I drank. We wanted to do something to commemorate that, so we’re riding to the four corners of the country, to Florida, California, Washington, and Maine.

Ellen: I was inspired by Linda Quirk, founder of Runwell, who spoke at a Caron reunion about how she raised funds for recovery by running marathons. I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be great to combine something Bruce and I love to do with raising funds for Caron?” My own story also inspires me. Bruce and I have been married a long time, including 17 years before Bruce entered recovery. We experienced the family issues that go along with that. I’m thankful for Bruce’s recovery and what I’ve received as well. We attended Caron family workshop weekends early in his recovery and thought it would be cool to raise funds so others can experience a Breakthrough Couples Retreat. I’m also an alumna of Caron’s 5-day Breakthrough Program, which back then was known as a co-dependency program.

Q: What do you hope to get out of the ride?

Bruce: I hope to pay it forward in return for all Caron has done for me. I received a scholarship from Caron in 1988 so that I could attend one of their centers, and I’d like to raise scholarship money so that someone else can have the benefit of their lifesaving program. I also expect to make connections throughout the ride. We plan to visit all of Caron’s treatment centers, meet with alumni, and spread the message that people can recover; there is a way out, and help is available.

Ellen: During this trip we’ll celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary. I believe that long-term marriage requires a big commitment, and for me, part of that is taking epic journeys that create memories. The ride will create a memory that we’ll look back on fondly. It’s a valuable experience for couples. We hope to meet some other alumni and celebrate together. We have a lot of fun things planned, too. We’ve had a flag made for our motorcycle that has the Caron logo and the Ride for Recovery logo on it and we’d like alumni to sign and date it along the journey.

Q: Why is this ride important to you?

Bruce: First, we want to get the message out that addiction is a disease and there are proven treatments for it that give people the opportunity to have happy and healthy lives. Caron is one of the leading organizations that provides a doorway to that. Second, this is a big item on our bucket list – again, we’re commemorating the special occasion of my tipping point. Third, we want to give back to Caron. I worked for Caron at one point, I’m active in its alumni association, and I’m on the board of directors. Caron has been a key part not only in my recovery, but has also empowered me to pursue opportunities beyond my wildest dreams. Caron enhanced my marriage and got me to appreciate my family in ways I previously could not. Caron treats the entire family.

Ellen: There’s a saying, “Let it begin with me,” that resonates with me. When I heard Linda Quirk talk about fundraising at that Caron reunion, I felt a calling. I thought, “We can do this. Why not pick up the torch and do something bigger than I ever thought possible? Let it begin with us.” All things are possible if you put your mind to it.

To learn more about Bruce and Ellen’s ride or to make a donation, visit: Going The Distance…Riding For Recovery