About last night, and today, and everything.

Last Night:

Last night was the first night of the Great American Beer Festival. I have either attended or volunteered at this festival every year since 2008. This has been a do not miss event for me every year. Two years ago I chose an expensive flight home for a wedding just so I could squeeze in two sessions. I used to base much of my identity on my knowledge of craft beer and the industry itself. I prided myself on who and how much I knew.

I could never have guessed where I would have been last night instead. When I decided to get sober seven months ago I would never have thought I’d be at an Y12SR meeting instead of GABF. But I was and I’m so grateful that I was able to be there and I was actually happy to be there.

I shared last night about how much life can change in just a short amount of time. Sometimes these seven months have felt like the longest stretch of time and then it can also feel like a blink of an eye. It was nice to look back and reflect on how far I’ve come. I started and still maintain a regular yoga practice, I’ve cultivated relationships with my home LifeRing group, I’ve lost weight, I experience less anxiety, I’m more active, I ended a relationship that wasn’t working, and I’ve saved up a significant amount of money which makes me feel more secure.

Sobriety is fabulous.


March 7th, 2016 was SEVEN months ago so happy anniversary to me! I will celebrate by going for a run, maybe yoga if I can get there in time, not drinking, planning tomorrow’s day hike, eating a healthy dinner, and getting to bed early.


I’m been struggling with depression since breaking up with Dave. I was ok the first two weeks or so but now all of a sudden this week the loneliness and depression have hit my hard, seemingly out of nowhere. I don’t want to drink because I know it will only make the situation worse. I don’t want to drink because my sobriety is so important to me. But at the same time I am grasping for something to make the way I feel go away. I don’t want to sit with these feelings. At the same time I don’t want to talk about it either. I just want to be alone. I know that’s not going to make me feel better but it’s what I needed this week. I’m really glad I dragged myself to LifeRing Wednesday and went to Y12SR last night because I am feeling a little better today. I’m going to be ok, I know I won’t feel like this forever.

I’d like to end this post with a quote from Holly Whitaker:

“Dealing with the world straight up with no numbing is hardcore. Not the other way around.”

214 Days

A happy moment on the trail.

Everything is the worst (and nothing feels good).

I broke up with Dave a week ago. I spend every unoccupied moment feeling depressed. I feel generally depressed, lonely, tired, bored, sad, anxious, and irritable.

That sounds terrible but honestly I don’t feel as bad as I thought I would. I put off breaking up with Dave because I was terrified of how bad I would feel. I was scared I would start drinking again to deal with it. I thought my friends wouldn’t be able to support me. But none of that has happened. I’ve been ok. I don’t think I could have done this much sooner though. I think the strength I’ve found in my sobriety enabled me to make this decision and handle what came from it. Like I said in my previous post, I am handling this break up just like early sobriety. Thankfully I’m eating less ice cream thus far.

This isn’t the worst I’ve ever felt. I’ve gone through periods of depression so deep and dark that I never thought I would get out. I felt worse this past winter before I got sober. I spent a lot of time in the relationship feeling unhappy. I’ve already mourned the loss of this relationship because it was over a long time ago for me.

Should I feel worse? Is it weird that I can get out of bed and go about my day? Last Thursday was tough but since then each day gets a little better and a little easier. I know the up coming holidays will be tough but Dave and I never spent them together because I was always home.

New Years Eve. That will be hard. Sober and single.

198 days.

View of Longs Peak from the saddle between Chiquita and Ypsilon Mountains, RMNP.




I broke up with my boyfriend last night. He wasn’t surprised. Neither of us had done anything terrible to the other person. We weren’t going to move forward. We both cried, me more than him. He admitted he would never have been strong enough to end it. We could have been together forever. I couldn’t fake it any longer.

I’m going to treat this break up just like sobriety.

  1. Self care
  2. Yoga
  3. Meditate
  4. Stay active by going to the gym and hiking
  5. Reach out to friends and family for support
  6. Find new activities to do without him
  7. Try my best not to eat my feelings but if I do that a little it’s ok
  8. Say nice things to myself

That’s really all I can write about it at the moment. The word single looks like it’s spelled incorrectly.

192 days

Six Months

Yesterday, September 7th 2016, was my six month sober anniversary. I celebrated by:

  1. Waking up without a hangover
  2. Having a productive day at work
  3. Drinking a mango smoothie
  4. Going to my weekly LifeRing meeting
  5. Eating sushi and gelato for dinner
  6. Bottling two batches of kombucha and starting two new batches
  7. Netflix and chill with my boyfriend

I spent Labor Day weekend here:

Chicago Basin campsite view.


Then I hiked here:

Twin Lakes

I am grateful, as always, for my sobriety.

185 Days

Once my boots hit the dirt

longs peal wp

I’m climbing Longs Peak on Saturday and Sunday. I’ve had a boulder field camping permit since March. I’ve wanted to do this hike since before I even got into hiking, before I even climbed my first 14er. I’ve wanted this mountain for so long, for years. Dave and Kara are coming with me. I almost wish I was going by myself.

I am freaking out.

Why am I so nervous? Ok here we go, I’m going to take a huge feelings dump:

Unpredictable weather, Kara and Dave will want to “sleep in” Sunday morning, we have to get the ranger station before noon on Saturday, no parking at the trailhead, bad weather in the boulder field, we’ll be stuck in our tents, there will be snow, one of us could get altitude sickness, Dave’s sleeping bag isn’t warm enough, Dave’s shoes aren’t good enough, this is Dave’s first 14er, Dave will not have fun.

I’m mostly worried about the weather because it’s out my control. Worrying about things out of your control accomplishes nothing. I need to stop.

Maybe I should worry about whether or not I’ll have fun. Backpacking is my jam, my thing, my favorite. I’m like a pig in shit when I have my pack on. I just need to hit the trail. Once my boots hit the dirt I will feel better.

170 days.

Backpacking is my Favorite

The Master Shift Quotes

I read this quote recently and it resonated with me. Since reading it I have tried my best to do as it says. It exemplifies radical self care. Everything you do should be an expression of self love. Take care of yourself like you love yourself.

In practice this is hard to do, well for me anyways. I have said and done some awful things to myself over the years. Since I’ve stopped drinking those awful things don’t surface in my head as much.

I realized this weekend that the only time I’m really able to achieve self love and self care is when I’m backpacking. It makes a lot of sense. You have everything you need on your back so you’re only going to bring the essentials. I think very hard about each item I put in my pack. How will it serve me? Do I really need it? How will this item make me feel? A non-negotiable for me are camp shoes, something to wear around camp after I take my boots off (which, by the way, is one of the best moments that occurs while backpacking). Camp shoes make me feel happy and comfortable.

Another non-negotiable is yummy, nourishing food. Cheese? You got it. Expensive beef jerky? Yes! Two Trader Joe’s breakfast burritos? Hell yeah. I don’t use backpacking as an excuse to overeat but I also don’t spend a single second feeling guilty about one morsel of food that passes by my lips. When you’re backpacking your body becomes a machine. Your muscles power you up hills, over boulders and across streams. Your brain makes important decisions about safety and direction. You need fuel and rest to keep going. You need to say encouraging things to yourself if you have any hope of completing your journey.

I am writing about this because a long time friend and hiking partner was on a backpacking trip with me this weekend. They said the same things they do just about every time we’re in the woods together. This friend will eat a light breakfast on purpose, follow it up with very few snacks, a light lunch and a light dinner. They talk about how they want to lose a pound over the weekend. They push themselves hard on the hike in. They obsess about what they have eaten and feel the need to share it openly. This makes me uncomfortable probably because I have my own food issues. But thankfully they fade away when I’m on the trail. I eat when I need to. The only concern I have about the number of calories is making sure there’s enough. I’m so grateful that these thoughts melt away and I wish my friend could find the same peace as I do.

On strenuous hikes I bust out my mantra. My left leg is strong and my right leg is able. I pat each quadriceps as I repeat “strong and able” over and over in my head until I believe it. I repeat it until I become it. I am strong and I am able. I can get up this mountain. I can stay sober. I can love myself.

162 days.


View from our camp of Lone Eagle Peak, Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Why I can’t have just one

Recently, I told a friend that I have decided to stop drinking. Her response was very similar to the responses I’ve gotten in the past. I get surprised looks. They say they never thought I had a problem with alcohol. Everyone has been supportive. However, almost everyone has said something along the lines of “well can’t you just moderate? just have one? set a limit for the evening and stick to it?” These are great questions but they have one answer…


I can’t. I have tried. I have been trying ever since I started drinking thirteen years ago. I have been struggling for years to keep alcohol in my life even though it’s been tearing it apart. I’ve tried to keep it in my life by controlling it but I can’t, it has always controlled me.

Here’s what would happen to me when I tried to moderate. I wouldn’t drink all week because I had work, went to the gym, was saving those calories for the weekend etc. Then Friday arrives and I have plans. Go out for drinks, dinner, a show at The Bluebird. I’s say to myself before leaving my apartment “You can have 4 drinks tonight, that’s enough to catch a buzz but not too many where you’ll end up blacking out”. Or I would decide on a dollar amount I could spend and then that’s it. Except there’s a huge problem with this. I was trying to control my consumption of a substance that when consumed impairs your judgment and self control. I would get to that fourth drink (usually a beer) and not want to stop. If four drinks makes me feel this good then eight will make me feel even better! Why would I want to stop drinking now after four drinks? I want this feeling to last the whole night.

Then that would be it. The four drink rule has been abandoned and I’m free to drink however much I please.

There’s so much inner struggle that went on in my head that I never shared with anyone. I would debate with myself constantly over whether or not I could get another drink. Is anyone noticing how fast I’m drinking? Is anyone else ready to get another? Do I have enough money? If I go big tonight I can cut back the rest of the weekend and take it easy the next. It was a constant stream of justifications and arguments with myself. I’m surprised I even socialized with anyone while I was out because I was so busy with myself in my own head.

So that is why I can’t have just one. It’s too hard for m to do. Even when I was able to do it I was miserable. For me the only option right now is to eliminate alcohol from my life completely.

I’m really happy about that decision.

147 days.

Sandbeach Lake


Another weekend, another camping trip, more abstaining from alcohol.

This past weekend was roughly 50% perfect and 50% disaster. I organized an overnight backpacking trip to Sandbeach Lake in RMNP. Back in March when I requested the permit I didn’t know that THREE close friends would be returning to Colorado the same week after their time abroad. The stars aligned, everything fell into place and we were together again. I was so happy at the trailhead that I started crying. The hike in was tough. It was made even tougher due to my back deciding to give out that morning after the drive to the trailhead. It was too late to back out, I just had to hike.

It’s hard, looking back on the weekend, to separate the physical pain from the emotional pain. My boyfriend and I were mad at each other almost the entire time. I would have been happier if he hadn’t been there. I would have been less stressed out and less anxious. I don’t want to go on a trip like that with him again.

I’m also getting tired of spending my weekends with alcohol around. This past weekend there was beer, a bag of wine and whisky. After the hike, instead of going straight home which is what I needed to do because I was in so much pain, the group wanted to get food and beers at Southern Sun. I went because I knew it would mean a lot to everyone and I did have an OK time.

Mike noticed I wasn’t drinking and asked why. I told him about my decision to stop and he seemed supportive. That made me feel good especially because at that point in the trip I was feeling pretty invisible.

I don’t know where this post is going. I’m at a crossroads, I’m in turmoil, I’m lacking direction.

I’m so grateful I’m sober.

141 days.

Not my usual drinking dream

I usually dream of relapsing. I dream that I go to a bar with friends and drink like I used to. Sometimes I regret drinking in the moment and other times I enjoy it. I always wake up to a guilty feeling and a knot in my stomach.

Last night the dream was different and I think it’s a culmination of a few things.

I haven’t told many people directly that I am no longer drinking. I could list them…

Sara, Dave, Kara, Corinne, Casey, Chris, Sophie, Laura, Mom, Dad, Kate.

That’s not a lot of people. I’ve kept it that way on purpose. Moving forward if a friend asks why I’m not drinking I will be honest and tell them but so far no one has asked.

That brings us to this weekend. I went camping with friends up in the mountains and of course it involved two nights with a camp fire and drinking. This first night was fine because the group was smaller, maybe 6 to 8 of us around the fire. The second night however there were 18 people. As far as I could tell everyone was drinking and several people got very drunk, including my boyfriend, not cool. No one asked why I was drinking La Croix and passing the fireball away as quickly as I possibly could.


So I had dream in which someone accused me of being drunk. I was surrounded by drunk people but I wasn’t drunk in my dream. I screamed as this person. I got really mad.

“I’m not drunk, I’m over four months sober!!”

“I stopped drinking!!”

“I gave up alcohol completely!!”

I’m happy to see myself owning my decision even it was just a dream. Perhaps this is something I subconsciously want to start doing in real life? Talk about it, let people know, let them know it feels really good. The anger in the dream was palpable. I was angry. Am I upset that I had to completely give up alcohol? Am I resentful of people around me who appear to be able to drink and control it?

The situation I was in on Saturday brought up some very negative emotions. I would have removed myself from it but it was a freezing cold night and the fire was so warm. On the drive home I started having thoughts of being able to drink again. I even played the tape forward to the point of drinking like I used to and felt ok about it. Even though I’m four months into my sobriety I might need to make a few changes. I went into sobriety wanting nothing about my life to change. Dry people, dry places is starting to sound better and better.

I will not drink today.

126 days.