February 14th, 2016 is the day that I decided to love myself more than I ever had before. In less than a month I will celebrate two years of sobriety. As I write this, I know with confidence that I will reach two years but I also know that sobriety is rented daily and nothing is forever. Sobriety takes work and is one of the hardest things I have put my whole mind, body, and soul into.
Removing alcohol from my daily life has been life changing in so many ways. I can focus longer and my concentration is better than it has probably ever been, my depression and anxiety is more easily managed, and I have extra money that isn’t being spent on alcohol.
In the beginning of my sobriety, I redirected some of that money towards gear for camping, fishing, and hiking. Looking back, I did not intentionally do this and I just coincidentally had money available when I wanted to buy something new. I have been able to build what I think is a good set of gear because I decided to say, “no thank you, I don’t drink.”
I have recently started to think what my gift for two years of sobriety will be. I gifted myself a ring to celebrate one year. The ring is affectionately called Branches and is a symbol of how my love of the outdoors has played an important role in my healing.
The gift that I am giving myself is an experience where all of my acquired gear will be put to good use: a 10 day hike on the Appalachian Trail.
I believe that if I was still drinking alcohol I would not have joined various online hiking and camping groups, started Prairie Girl Backpackers on Facebook, and met like-minded women who love to play in the outdoors.
If I was still drinking alcohol and the idea of a long distance hike was presented to me, I likely would not have given it serious consideration. I will be honest as well, I probably would have found a way to carry wine with me to “relax” with in the evening. Not only is liquid heavy to carry, the alcohol would dehydrate me and I would wake up feeling sluggish. When I have the opportunity to be outdoors, I am up at the crack of dawn, soaking in every single moment of what the day has to offer me.
I have a few more weeks to go and on February 14th, I am buying my airplane tickets; the last major thing that I need for my gift to myself.