Thinking About Quitting Drinking? It’s a Pretty Big Climb…

I am currently obsessing about climbing a set of stairs. The stairs begin at a feeder road to the expressway in Grand Rapids and end, like Jack’s beanstalk, high and steep enough above the ground to disappear into the early morning mist. I am obsessing (and I don’t use that word lightly), because this staircase is a big challenge. And it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier. Even after a two-week long, daily dose of its cardio hellishness.

No Instant Results

I’ve been  thinking about the stairs at odd times. I’ll be in a meeting and it will pop into my mind. Wait. Maybe I should pack a lunch this weekend and go up and down the stairs a bunch of times. Once doesn’t seem like enough any more, because I want to be the BEST stair climber in the whole world.  I am an instant gratification seeker, so the fact I still heave like a dying mule and go into  slow-mo as I get to the final steps up top, bothers me. I don’t understand why both David (who has joined me in this quest) and I can’t run up the hill by now.

It should be easier.

This kind of thinking is probably one of the reasons I became an alcoholic. And one of the reasons I was able to quit with such dogged determination. Once I start something, I go huge. This morning, I am mercifully in Puerto Rico. So I have an excuse to not be kitting up at the crack of dawn to stair climb again. But, it has me thinking about what it takes to quit drinking.

It’s not that big of a stretch…

It’s not a big stretch to think of quitting drinking like climbing a staircase. (Which reminds me I should stretch before and after…) Especially when you imagine the whole, painful project at once. There is a reason difficult tasks are best broken up into small, attainable parts. Standing at the bottom of the stairs and looking up is daunting. There are certainly other ways to get around Grand Rapids. Or you could just stay in bed and pretend the staircase isn’t there…

But if you look at the first landing, you can tell yourself (a lie) that you will only go that far today. And when you get to the landing you look to the next landing – and so on till you reach the top. I’m assuming you get the symbolism here. It works for every overwhelming challenge…

And the things you will see

I am never sorry I have gone for a challenging hike. When it’s all over. And the things I will see at the very top of a hill are a big incentive to get the job done.


I’m tired today. And as I mentioned, I am basking in PR. However, after my second cup of coffee I am off to climb a mountain. In Puerto Rico they call it “the hill”. The things I will see.

The things I will see at the top of that hill.

Today I’m not drinking because I continue to climb to the top.


How come you’re not drinking?