Climbing to New Heights

As much as I loved our first apartment with my husband that was on the 14th floor of an apartment building that overlooked the beautiful Assiniboine River and Manitoba Legislative grounds, I rarely went outside onto the balcony. It would freak me out when he sat on the balcony to watch storms roll in or when he would peer over the side to see what was going on down Osborne Street. I was content to watch Canada Day fireworks, not leaning on the rail like some people, for a few minutes before going back inside.

Heights have just never been my thing. It’s the fear of falling, not the actual heights. I’ll never forget the skydiving gift that my husband gave me that went unused and I sold to get the money back. Like any rational person, falling out of an airplane freaks me out but I have still always wanted to skydive. It’s a weird confliction that makes no sense to me.

With the skydiving gift, I attempted to recruit some mommy-friends for a “mom’s day out” since I am more motivated to try new things when part of a group. No one took me up on my idea and I am pretty sure they all thought I was on crack.

I like stepping out of my comfort zone. My confidence soars when I push just a little more. I’ve rock climbed three times with Backcountry Women and a couple of times previous. The first two times that I went with BCW, I couldn’t make it past the middle of the wall because I was afraid. I was wearing a harness and climbing with an auto-belay but I just kept getting stuck at the same spot.

On my third visit to the rock climbing wall, fear of falling did not enter my mind and I climbed with more freedom. What stopped me was my body. My arms gave out before my mind was ready. I climbed my strongest climb yet even though I didn’t make it to the top. I’m in no hurry to be completely honest. I will get to the top on my terms and when I am ready.

On my way home from rock climbing, I stopped at a liquor store to pick up Partake, a non-alcoholic (NA) beer that I like. Until a couple of months ago, I had not entered a liquor store in almost 4 years. My husband told me that the NA options have expanded and I went with him to browse. I have since been back twice by myself. NA craft beer and wine that doesn’t taste awful have started to fill the shelves and the Manitoba Liquor Mart website has a section called Responsible Products where the full assortment is listed.

My relationship with alcohol has changed and it feels really good to trust myself during this entire journey. I see myself as a non-drinker now and do not identify with the word sober anymore. It has been empowering to recognize that in myself and to move in a new direction. I still plan to use sober hashtags on social media to advocate for mental health so that my stories continue to reach the audience that they need to.

I had my first NA beer in a social setting last week. I attended a planning meeting for Backcountry Women and Ashley, the founder gave me one. I was emotionally moved by her gesture and I hugged her. I usually don’t hug people who I don’t know on a deep personal level so that’s how much her support meant to me.

I feel like I have climbed to new heights recently, both in the physical sense on a rock climbing wall and when it comes to taking care of my mental health and choices surrounding alcohol. It is good for me to remain fluid and open to new ideas, to analyze my choices, and to trust myself. I am my own auto-belay system and I got this!

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