Disc golf to stay sober | News

CADILLAC — Sobriety is not a one-way street. There are several ways that those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction can get clean, and Carrie Zeigler hopes to add disc golf to the list.

With two and a half years clean, Zeigler has been a consistent member of the Narcotics Anonymous community. After finding her own sobriety, she decided to help others on her recovery journey by becoming a Certified Peer Recovery Coach.

Zeigler said the Cadillac Alano Club recently moved its meetings to North Mitchell Street. With no meetings on Tuesday nights, he wanted to find something that would still allow connection among the recovery community, and the sport of disc golf came into greater prominence. Soon, Zeigler was putting the pieces together to form a Sober Disc Golf League.

It is a known guideline in the NA community that NA itself cannot be promoted, due to its focus on anonymity. Zeigler wanted to create a separate NA group that could properly spread out into the community and let people know that there are safe spaces outside of NA where they can connect with others and support their sobriety.

“I really strongly support multiple paths, and it’s that the 12 steps don’t always work for everyone,” he said. “So it’s just about opening another outlet and getting people out and moving and giving them a safe recovery space so they can have fun and bring their kids.”

Strictly sober events are already hard to come by, and Mindy McNamara didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to participate with her children. She and Zeigler have been friends for about 10 years and bounced back together, so joining the league was a way for McNamara to support herself and someone special to her.

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Having the ability to include his children in the league was a huge plus for McNamara.

As a single mom, it’s hard to find the time to participate in sober events, but disc golf league gives you the opportunity to spend time with your kids and the Cadillac recovery community.

“There aren’t many events that are geared toward sober people in this community that, you know, only sober people will be there,” he said. “So it’s a safe place to take my kids to learn the sport of disc golf.”

McNamara is a newcomer to disc golf, but by the end of the summer, she said she hopes to pick up some putting skills.

Although she doesn’t claim to be an expert in disc golf, Zeigler said she considers herself an outdoor enthusiast and said she’s confident the sport will be a blast for her and others.

Disc golf is also a low-cost activity, making it accessible to all walks of life. Zeigler said a member of the Cadillac Area Disc Golf Association donated discs to help get the league off the ground.

Programs like NA, AA, and Alano are important to the recovery process, but so is building relationships with other people in recovery. Zeigler said for her that the opposite of addiction is connection, and one of the intentions of the Sober Disc Golf League is to get people talking and learning from each other.

The final step in the 12-step program is getting your message across to other addicts. Sober Disc Golf is Zeigler’s way of achieving that step by inspiring others to stay strong in their sobriety.

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“The most important thing as a peer recovery coach is to use people’s resources and not see them as just another resource,” he said. “Because I know personally that I can only keep what I have by giving it away.”

For McNamara, becoming a member of the Sober Disc Golf League means meeting like-minded people in your area. The common thread of recovery is what ties their lives together, and she looks forward to seeing the league family grow.

“Maybe you’re just on a disc golf trail, and you talk to someone and hear an encouraging word,” he said. “…If you’re really excited about sobriety, you really want to be around sober people.”

Spending time outdoors can also have a positive impact on the recovery process. Spirituality played an important role in Zeigler’s recovery, and nature allows him to live in the moment and become more recent.

Outdoor recreation is also a common theme for recovery outings. McNamara said a recovery group she knows recently went on a hike and camping trip.

“Being in contact with Mother Nature at any time is very healing, calming and grounding,” he said. “People, places and things have to change when you’re sober, so really being outside in nature is very empowering.”

Zeigler said another big part of recovery is rediscovering who you are as a person. She said many people trying to get sober were once defined only by their substance abuse.

It can be a struggle for addicts to find something to add spark to their lives after sobering up, but exposing them to an activity like disc golf could set them on a new path.

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The league had its first meeting on Tuesday, July 5, and will continue to meet every Tuesday through August 31. The first spot is at 6 pm on the wooded side of Kenwood Park. Zeigler said the only requirement to join is that participants are in recovery or know someone who is in recovery.

Through his involvement with Sober Disc Golf, McNamara said he hopes to show people that sobriety can be fun. Being sober does not equate to a “boring or monotonous” existence, sober people can still enjoy themselves. His motto in his recovery has been “just for today,” meaning take it one day at a time. He said he would like to see others in recovery join the league and find support in his community.

Zeigler said the league will likely continue beyond the summer months. She has considered starting to put indoors for the winter. For now, she said she hopes to help people make connections and enjoy the sport of disc golf with her children.