The very first time I saw Zion National Park was at 6am, drunk AF.
It was late November of 2010.
We had driven through the night,
I finished my leg of the drive at 2am.
Then I did what I did best back then
And busted out the Jameson.
I drank until we drove up to the park as the sun started to rise.
It was magnificent.
It nearly sobered me up.
Seeing the redrock radically change color at dusk
Knocked my metaphorical dick clean off.
I put the whiskey away as I marveled in awe.
We power napped for a few hours,
Attempting to sleep off the booze.
I woke up excited to explore.
For the first time in a long time,
Alcohol was not on my mind.
We heard about some steep switchbacks
That led to an exposed hike up to a lookout.
We went for it, despite being hungover.
Our sweat smelled of booze
We were extremely dehydrated
But we powered up the best we could.
Arriving at the top of the switchbacks completely enervated,
We stopped, inhaled the valley, & gave up.
Then turned around.
But, oddly not to go back to the car & the alcohol…
Instead, we wandered around the park on foot.
It was quite sobering.
Literally & figuratively.
It was quite healing.
Emotionally & mentally.
I wasn’t quite ready to be sober then.
But from then until 2013 when I did get sober,
I never forgot how the whole thing made me feel.
The sunrise, the hike, the failure, the exploring.
It did something to me.
And it’s kept me seeking it all since.
Nature is the present day crux of my sobriety.
All it took was an open mind & a road trip to kick the whole thing off 9 years ago.
And that’s honestly still all it takes sometimes.
Which is far from complicated.
If you are struggling right now,
Or know someone who is
Go the fuck outside.