The Power Of Nature

How Mother Nature Kicked That Vodka Bottle's Ass

Alright, so go with me here, y'all. I'm about to go a lil' hippie on ya, but I think you'll like it. As some of you know, I was raised in the country, down a gravel road, which was just a hop, skip, and jump from a lake. My hometown was a few miles away, so I spent most of my time while growing up playing in pastures, the lake, or the woods. As time went on, and I was able to drive a four-wheeler, back gravel roads became my highway to freedom. I could drive hours on a tank of gas, swimming, climbing, and exploring. I wasn't always alone, but sometimes I was. 

I never felt alone, though, even when I was. I felt safe, as though I was with friends, hanging in the woods. The sound of the wind in the trees, the snapping of a limb, or the chatter of squirrels and birds, they were my friends. The tiny creek that only flowed after it rained was my friend. The meadow behind a gravel road no one drove anymore was my friend. I know, I'm channeling a Disney movie, but it's honestly how I felt. My mind would create adventures and stories, and I'd take to the woods or pastures with my imaginary friends. Or real friends. Whoever happened to be around at the moment.

Eventually, I outgrew imaginary friends, yet still, I sought refuge in the country. In pastures or fields. In the woods, or by the lake. Where my soul lived. I can remember being seventeen or eighteen and continuing to drive my four-wheeler to a pasture behind my house to decompress. It was encircled by tall trees, and high on a hill, overlooking my house, our pond, the gravel road, and another pond further in the distance. To say it was stunning is an understatement. In the summers, when the sun was setting, leaving a hazy feeling spread over the horizon, I would gaze in wonder at this view; a feeling of possibility and meaning would overwhelm me. The majesty and awe of nature would hold me captivated for hours. I could feel while surrounded by nature. I could understand the beauty and simplicity of life while laying on my four-wheeler in a field, staring up at the clouds or stars. I could breathe.

And then voodkila crept into my life, and slowly but surely, nature was eliminated. Phased out without me even realizing, for I was in love with something else, you see. I had found another way to decompress and view the majesty of life. Or so I thought. Ah, to be fooled by the bottle. Or the sack. Tricky little suckers, aren't they? They've got their deception and manipulation down to a science, and make no mistake, you will find yourself willingly handing over everything you once thought sacred in their name. But never fear, we can rip it back from them with a vengeance, my friends! They shall rue the day, best believe!

It wasn't until my fourth trip to rehab (yes, you read that right, fourth) that it dawned on me how vital nature is to my being. I write about this in my memoir, my hike in Utah, which was a major turning point for me. I mean, sure, I drank for a couple of years after this, but it put me that much closer to finding my way to sobriety. I was gradually gathering the tools I would one day use. Also, to be fair, I'm an extreme case of alcoholism, so it probably won't take you nearly as long to reclaim your glory.

Anyways, the point is, after my hike, I knew nature had to be included in my healing process. I had unknowingly deprived myself of its benefits for years, and forgotten of its power. I had forgotten that I could breathe, and listen, and feel whole. I had forgotten my roots, my strength; I had forgotten myself.

Upon moving back home, I was able to revisit my old sources of power, and y'all, I can't even begin to describe how it felt. I mean, I will, since that's the whole point of a blog, but dang, it was magic! It wasn't that I was doubled over with sobs, or anything as dramatic as you'd think, but more like a faucet had been turned back on. Something within me shifted, and I was able to feel like I used to, before my alcoholism and depravity.

I took myself on a drive, down a few gravel roads, and ended up in an alcove on the shore of the lake. Stepping out of my car, I heard the wind rustling through the trees and a rush of tranquility swept over me. It was as if no time had passed, and my old friends were singing their greetings. In that moment, I knew who I was, I felt my place in the world. I was content and at peace. It reignited my sense of possibility and purpose; it validated that I should hold myself back no longer. I felt seen and heard by the universe, and I was grateful to be alone no more. My spirit soared that day, and I've decided to let him keep flying. Life is fuller that way. Life is better.

Perhaps you're not in a position where you can seek nature, but if you are, go for it. Put down that bottle or pipe and go for a walk, yo! I mean, maybe don't, if you're hella faded. But if you're in your right mind, get outside. Enjoy the world around us, for too often we take it for granted. Or at least I did, for many, many years. And maybe nature isn't your thing, but something is. There is something you've given away to your addiction that you must get back, like, ASAP. It's of the highest importance. Only when we take ourselves back from our addiction do we heal, do we grow and thrive. If your "something" still eludes you, search for it, listen for it. Let it guide you to it, for it's always calling, we're just not always listening.

Enjoy the sunshine, and have fun until next time!


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