Addicted to Flying

In Nancy's Writings by Nancy Sliwa

Addicted to Flying
by Nancy Sliwa

Hello. My name is Nancy Sliwa and I am a pilot in recovery. It has been 1 year, 3 months, 17 days, and 2 hours since my last flight.
It all started so innocently, over 10 years ago now. My husband, a merely social pilot, encouraged me to develop a taste for flying so we would have more in common. Little did he know the havoc it would wreak. After the first few flights, I was hooked. I would sneak out on my lunch break for solo flights. After my initial license, I progressed to the hard stuff, getting my instrument rating and joining the 99s. Every weekend would find me out on a binge. Mystery flights, poker flights, section meetings, whale watching, you name it – I tried it. And I confess, I loved it! I never wanted to give it up. I even bought an airplane so I could indulge my vice more frequently. Now local flying was no longer enough. All across the US, across Canada, to the Bahamas, throughout Alaska — the pursuit of the thrill of flying kept expanding in ever-widening circles. The downward spiral continued when I was seduced into air racing. The Palms to Pines, the Air Race Classic, the Great Southern Air Race – over and over, lower and lower, on and on, until my logbook was fat and my wallet was thin. Until I had experienced things that could only be whispered among close friends, never to be shared with the FAA.
Here I stand before you today, my airplane sold, my flight bag dusty, my landing skills atrophied. But the siren call of the “wild blue” beckons, and my flying buddies are ever ready to ply me with chances to succumb to its lure. I know my plunge back into addiction is only a flight away. I always wanted to get my commercial rating anyway…
Nancy Sliwa
17 July 2004
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