We spoke with Samuel Kearse, a client at Midwestern Connecticut Council of Alcoholism (MCCA). In this interview, Sam shares his perspective on how TryCycle has provided structure and connection in early recovery.

By: Michelle Voegtle, M.Ed., LPC, and Director of Clinical Programs at TryCycle

What was your initial reaction when you learned about TryCycle?
I liked TryCycle from the beginning. I appreciate change and TryCycle was a pleasant change for me.  TryCycle is a simple and easy-to-use tool.  You can use it any time!  I can call a friend or family member, but they may say that I caught them at a bad time or that they are busy.  But, with TryCycle, they are never busy.  TryCycle is available and reliable.  And TryCycle is a good listener, I don’t have to worry about TryCycle gossiping.  I like TryCycle for several reasons, but one is because it is simple, and you can use it any time of day or night.

There are two parts to the TryCycle: the self-inventory and the journal. Why are each of these important and how do they serve your recovery?
I like TryCycle because it’s a daily opportunity- it allows me to stay current and up to date with my thoughts and feelings at the moment. With TryCycle I can be alone, but not feel lonely; there’s a difference.  TryCycle is simple but flexible, I find I can make the tool work for me!  There’s a lot of structure, but I can also be creative.  I try and help others in the group that are new learn the tool; I share with them that there is a balance between expressing your feelings and sharing data with clinicians so that clinicians can better understand what is going on in my recovery.  TryCycle allows me to experience choice which is impactful to my recovery.  I decide when I use TryCycle and if and how much I want to journal. The inventory questions are good for me, too. They help me when I am trying to figure out how I am doing or feeling.

I can also let go of what is causing me stress and get feedback from my clinicians. Once I share, I am more open to receiving.  It is helpful to share at the exact moment when I am going through something. It also helps my clinician know what is important to me and I can get feedback from several members of my treatment team.  We don’t always have that kind of time in group to focus just on me as we do in TryCycle.  There are a lot of people in group, but with TryCycle it’s just me.  I can recognize patterns and see how far I’ve come, today.

How does TryCycle help with being more open and willing in treatment?
TryCycle provides a vehicle to help maneuver around situations I am facing.  It provides structure and a support system.  I can check in with how I’m feeling and share about it.  I can process through the journal, let my team know how I’m doing, stay connected, and also learn from my team.  I know I am not alone and that helps.

TryCycle brought me closer to my clinician.  When I first met my clinician, I didn’t know about him or care about him.  There are details I later shared that I would not have shared if not for TryCycle.  Over time, using TryCycle helped me build a relationship and create teamwork.  TryCycle builds a team; it brings together clinicians and clients.  I have many clinicians now that are there for me through TryCycle.  They are all wonderful!

How does TryCycle allow you to speak your truth?
I am open, honest, reliable, accountable, innovative, and creative.  I have an imagination and I’m bold.  I don’t like to be closed.  Some people like to stay on the fence, which keeps them stuck, but TryCycle has helped me to be more expressive and move ahead!  Had it not been for this situation (treatment), I might not have met the good people that I have met. TryCycle allows me to express my real self in real-time.   You can get the stress and whatever is bothering you “out of your system” on a daily basis.  The worst thing is keeping secrets; secrets and resentments fester inside, they hurt your insides and you have to have an outlet.  TryCycle provides a healthy outlet; you can reach out to TryCycle and in turn, you receive something back from your team, and you receive peace within.

How does TryCycle provide the freedom for you to share purposefully in your recovery?
I do not like to be closed off because it feels like I’m in a box.  If you are outside the box, you can see a way out, you have experience and perspective.  Those of us who have come into treatment and are in early recovery are all just experiencing a situation.  And there’s a way out and into a better life.  Here’s an example. Tissues come in a box, but you can’t blow your nose if the tissue stays in the box.  TryCycle is the tissue; clients have to take it out and use it. Everyone’s situation is different and TryCycle supports us as individuals so that we can heal. Treatment is a place that aids in early recovery and TryCycle is a tool that is used in treatment.  TryCycle helps me share honestly, but privately. I don’t have to hold secrets and that allows me to be free.

How has TryCycle helped keep you safe?
TryCycle is an organized program that provides a tool that allows for structure.  It is like a to-do list that leads to the action that is needed in early recovery. TryCycle helps me know what I am doing well, what I need to focus on, and what I need to ask for help with.  It provides a learning process when I go through the questions daily and then reflect in my journal.  TryCycle grows on you!  You do have to want to help yourself and be willing to put it on your to-do and act. Clinicians cannot do it for you, you have to do it for yourself.

I look at it this way, a TryCycle (bike) has 3 wheels, you can’t fall off. The beginning step of recovery is TryCycle, it keeps you from falling off your recovery path.

You have been using TryCycle for over 100 days in a row, and earned a badge, congratulations!! What keeps you coming back to TryCycle?
I look at it like getting continuing education units (CEU’s). I renew my education in recovery daily when I check-in on TryCycle. It really is a reinforcement tool. I may know the information, but I go back and reflect consistently and that helps me in recovery. The tool is consistent.  I may get off track, but TryCycle is consistent and shows me the way back, it helps to keep me on track.

What advice would you share with someone new to TryCycle?
I would say, look, if you’re coming into treatment, you’ve tried everything else, and you can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. There’s a bottom line where you need to try something different so let’s try this (TryCycle).  I would say to them that I will help them try it. I would let them know I could give them tips on how it’s worked for me. I could help them try it.

Is there anything else I haven’t asked you that you’d like to share?
I encourage everyone to use it. TryCycle is a team of international individuals and clients, that’s what it is.  Some in Canada and some in America.  We can now have international conversations.  I see TryCycle going a long way with a bright future.  They (TryCycle) are always there for me, and I can go to TryCycle every day!  TryCyle is never tired, busy, or on the other line.  TryCycle just says, “Welcome Back.”