They Call Me Wolf

A Biker's hope and escape from suicide

I blame others photo

Wild eyes are the birth of sacred visions and no one knows this better then Wolf Running with the Spirit Wind.

It was with wild eyes and a surprisingly steady hand that Wolf held the .357 magnum to the corner of his jaw bone asking God to both forgive him for what he was about to do and to shield his loved ones from the pain and stigma of suicide. He closed his wild eyes, tears gliding down his cheeks, held his breath and...

But before we go to his transformation experience, we should insert a little background. Those of us in recovery know what brought Wolf to this point of not wanting to live. It’s called addiction. In fact many of us have found ourselves in the same spot, not that we want to die, we just can’t continue to live any longer. Or so we think, until our greatest sorrows are turned into our greatest assets and our wild eyes become our sacred vision.

His eyes have seen a lot, some would say unbearable. At age five the Wolf pup sat on his front steps and watched his Mom rig up, walk toward him and collapse from overdose. He called grandma to explain that Mama was sleeping and later grandma had to explain that Mama wasn’t ever going to wake up. “ My father soon gained custody” he explained. Raised by an alcoholic, sometimes explosive father and dysfunctional step-mother, Charles (his suit name) didn’t have a whole lot to celebrate in childhood.

A few years following his mother’s overdose, Charles began drinking. “I first got drunk at 11, smoked pot at 12, went on to huffing gasoline and spray paint and popping any pills offered,” he said. But it wasn’t all bad. Some of his fondest memories are his older brother (a 1%er) who would throw him on his gas tank and take him for 10 -12 mile runs for a burger or hot dog. When he was a teen, another brother, closer in age, would take him out to a dirt track and turn him loose for a whole day or 5 gallons of gas, whichever ended first. So it was a natural that when in the service in Germany, he ran chase for a local MC. He knew then that bikes and runs would be a part of his life forever.

Not forever, though, were his marriage or service career. After 10 years in the service, he was kicked out for drugs/alcohol and 4 months later his wife left with both kids. “I never saw them again once they went back home in ‘88.” Wolf lamented. “I abused alcohol and drugs for many years believing it was my right and macho and cool and a proper display of my image.” Yet actually, it was the proper way to lose everything.

Charles was dubbed Wolf, he thought, because he was violent and brutal. More likely, his spirit guides awarded him the name because it is his totem and signifies his path in life. No species more clearly symbolizes America’s changing view of wild life then the wolf. Once persecuted and feared, when understood they can be seen as part of the balance, strength, and glory of nature. The same could be said about bikers. Often feared and persecuted, when understood, their gentile strength, fierce loyalty and profound compassion often shock people. And a clean and sober biker can do nothing but add to that understanding so needed in America, today.

And this brings us back to the .357 and the moment his spirit guides spoke to him through a canid. “Please don’t” a voice said in his mind. “I looked down to find my dog pushing her shoulder against my calf. There was sadness in her eyes. I don’t know if it was inter-species communication or God that spoke to me, but it gave me that one more chance.” His dog wasn’t a wolf, but it is of the same genus, just a tamer version of his fierce totem.

There was nothing left but treatment and that’s what brought Charles to 12th step recovery in 1990. All the help, guidance, compassion, and dedication he found at St. Agnes hospital, the 12-step fellowships, the Headhunter Judge who planted a seed, the counselors who never gave up, and his spirit guides is something he brings to others today. “The Wolf Clan are teachers,” Wolf explains, and I teach “just by being present,when a person is open to learning. I teach in many ways; actively, traditionally, passively, through metaphor, by example, and soon.”

Like many bikers who get clean and sober, Wolf didn’t originally think he could be a biker and stay sober, “so I didn’t ride again until ‘95. Today he has two machines a customized ‘77 CB750K9 Honda with a shadow brand fairing and custom paint and murals which has been shown and even placed third in “Foreign.” His second scooter is a chopped ‘75 CB750K9 with extended forks, performance cam and carb jets. But being a full time student and part time worker it’ll be a few years before he owns  that new Harley dresser that he’d like.

It was also in ‘95 that Wolf came face to face with his true path. In one of those God-incidences, Wolf met an Old Onieda man, with long white hair and weathered face who told Wolf things he coudn’t possibly know. He spent an hour teaching and inspiring Wolf to “walk in a good way”. Before disappearing forever, he looked him dead in the eyes and commanded, “Be like a wolf and run with the wind of the spirit.” Advice he doesn’t take lightly.Wolf has tried to find that elder again but no one in that neighborhood or lodge seems toknow where he’s from... just that he comes and goes now and then and is very respected.

So Wolf is bold like the spirit of his totem and is open about being a biker in recovery. He flys his colors almost all the time, at school, work, meetings, functions, to the grocery store. Today, Wolf runs with the spirit wind. “In ‘97 I had a strong desire to ride with a larger, organized group of sober bikers. I started looking around and found ARM (Association of Recovering Motorcyclists.) “ They are my family in a way I have never had family. A family I believe in and can count on.”

And his family can count on him too. This man is a living example of the blending of the spirit of the wolf and spirit of recovery. Brutality has shifted to benevolence, violence to volunteerism, hate to happiness, wild eyes to sacred visions.

It isn’t just character that his sacred vision is changing, but career as well. Wolf is currently finishing his Bachulors in Psychology andplans to continue for a Master’s in Counseling when he graduates. Currently he speaks before groups of students and young people that may benefit from his experiences; he volunteers behind the wall for the same reason; he posts an inspirational recovery web site; he works with community organizations in peer assistance and substance abuse; he participates in research; he sponsors men from a local half-way house and speaks reglarly at treatment centers and open meetings in his area.

It was his his devotion to recovery and service and his quest to help others break the chains of addiction that inspired his latest sacred vision. That was the Sober Bikers World Wide convention held in Maryland last year. It was an ambitious endeavor to gather Sober Bikers from around the world, yet people did come from as far away as Canada and all four courners of the US like Washington, California, Florida and New York as well as many states in-between. The first gathering was small and a bit disappointing, “None-the-less, I try to keep an open mind and realize that something that big usually has problems and glitches the first time it happens. The next one should be better!”

So it is that the words of the Onieda man, the principles of recovery, the compassion and loyalty of a Biker, the strength and fearlessness of the canid are blended in the wind of the spirit we know as Wolf. And what can we learn from Wolf Running with the Spirit Wind? “Live to Ride-Clean, Sober, & Free-Ride to Live. And when you’re not riding? Walk in a good way.