A wise fisherman once said, "Fishing isn't a matter of life and death. It's far more important than that."
I've been fishing since I was about five years old, and fly-fishing since I was 12. I'm just about to get the hang of it. In 2009, I co-founded AFFI, Inc., a 501(c)(3) public charity based in Texas that has designed and implemented the world's only standardized curriculum and certification and testing program for practitioners of Piscatorial Therapy (Therapeutic & Adaptive Fishing). In 2012, my ground-breaking book, The Adaptive Fly Fishing Handbook, was published. It is currently used in multiple undergraduate and graduate university programs ranging from counseling to physical and occupational therapy.
I am disabled by a head and neck injury I suffered many years ago, but years of rehabilitation have resulted in it being very hard for most people to tell that I am abnormal. It's not that I've been "healed," but I've learned to manage my disability in such a way that it isn't obvious and doesn't prevent me from leading a productive life.
Plain and simple, when I found myself in the situation of being an unemployable invalid, I turned to my passion for hunting and fishing to find motivation for recovery. No doctors or therapists recommended or supervised my road to recovery. Instead, they facilitated it as I explained it to them. Frankly, my situation was so hopeless that they wisely thought, "What the heck, let's give this a whirl and see what happens!" It has NOT been a straight-line upward trajectory from where I was to where I am. I still have setbacks and struggle daily. Some days, I simply cannot muster the will to fight. But through it all one thing has remained: I rediscover the joy of living every time I go fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, or paddling. And THAT is what reminds me...renews my commitment...to Lean Forward Into Life!
September 21, 2014
“Thanks for taking me fishing today,” said the man’s nephew. The boy had just graduated from high school a few weeks prior. Now it was his last Summer of youth before he set out into the real world to make his own way as a man. His uncle had just moved back to the area […]