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Recovery Doldrums? Step Off the Marked Trail…

Recovery Doldrums? Step Off the Marked Trail…

Recovery Doldrums? Step Off the Marked Trail…

The title is not a metaphor. I actually mean be a little racy and try the path less traveled by. And I defy anyone who is feeling like their recovery from alcoholism is a big ho-hum to do what I did this weekend and not feel like a champ. On Saturday I met some friends at Saugatuck Dunes State Park for an off-the-beaten-track hike. And on Sunday I joined my townie walking buddies at 7AM and then headed out to Rosy Mound Natural Area for a solo scamper.

 

Oh, oh – Mare is becoming an exercise addict…

Not. It’s just that there are so many amazing hiking trails in Michigan. And I feel so much better when I am out in nature. There is nothing like walking through a copse of trees and seeing dappled sunlight coming through the mature pines. Or the satisfaction of completing a challenging workout – by my count 537 stairs up this weekend… and coming upon the glory of a deserted Lake Michigan shoreline.

 

I am not sure I was supposed to be here… at Rosy Mound they have signs everywhere telling you they are going to charge you $39 if you do something wrong (bring a dog, forget to pay the day-rate, wander off the path), so I may owe them $39…

 

And if you are listening to Bruno Mars’s Uptown Funk you will dance as you walk. You won’t even care if your smooth moves are witnessed by a family who sneak up from behind… And the thing is, you are doing it. Walking through sand and over the dunes and up the stairs – without a hangover or a buzz. No feeling of dread. No hankering for a slug of booze. Not even the yen to sit on a raised platform over the water and sip a glass of wine. Not even that…

 

The first glimpse of the water at Rosy Mound – feeling better already…

 

Don’t do anything dangerous – like ski in an avalanche area…

Or get lost in the North Woods without a compass. In my old drinking days, I never prepared for anything. Kim and I set out on a 12 mile hike in Scotland (I was hung) with no water, no backpack or snacks and no IDs. These days, I carry a rucksack with water, a power bar, a pink canister of pepper spray, my phone, an extra set of glasses to read the trail map and (get this) a first-aid kit with a snake-bite extractor kit.

 

I got the snake bite kit after I met this guy on another walk in another Michigan park…

 

Every time I go for a hike, I have one of those experiences where I feel very large and very small at the same time. This weekend it was as the path curved around a sandy dune and into a Tim Burton phantasm of climax forest, tree trunks. Awesome and breathtaking. And dare I say it? Better for being alone…

 

This photo does not do the feeling justice – silent sentinels straight out of Sleepy Hollow…

 

And this is what you see when you don’t heed the sign above. A grueling slog up the dune – loose sand and no wind – for this…

 

Today I’m not drinking, because I can truthfully say I like being sober…

 

 

How come you’re not drinking?

E2E – Want to go for a hike?

Comments (2)

  1. Beverly
    Aug 28, 2017

    How come you're not drinking?
    Because I made it through a week of vacation at my dad's house - a place and person that I associate with daily, heavy drinking.
    That poem is the dedication page of my PhD thesis. I have always enjoyed the road less traveled, as a tourist and in my heart.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Sep 2, 2017

      Me too. And congratulations for weathering a big trigger – families are the ULTIMATE button pushers. The thing is, they can’t push your buttons unless you let them. And I have found that I am far better equipped to handle stresses now that I am sober. Setting boundaries was a tough one for me. Good for you and see you on the road less traveled by…

      XXXOOO
      M

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