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I don’t like to throw the fact that I’m participating in “Sober January” in anyone’s face. I realize the oxymoronic nature of that sentence but I really am trying, at least IRL, not to talk about it with friends and coworkers.
I’m still going to go to the bar with my friends – I’m just going to drink seltzer water or Coca-Cola over the course of four to five hours rather than eight to fourteen Miller Lights.
I’ve actually never tried doing this challenge before so if I make it a four full weeks without getting wet it’ll be a small miracle. When you participate in something like this it’s important to find activities of the wholesome variety that can occupy your time when the rest of your team is day drinking on Saturday or Sunday afternoon. One such activity that has shot some life into this dry lifestyle of mine is rock climbing.
I’ll be straight up with you – I’m not very good at it. I’m sort of kind of scared of heights and I’m one of the least flexible people on the planet. But last weekend I went to an indoor climbing gym, got into a harness, and gave it my best shot.
I haven’t been able to put my full, God’s honest trust into those harnesses just yet but I think with time that will come. I was immediately drawn into this sport the second I walked into the gym because of the fashion. A bunch of wiry men and women walking around in sick Patagonia or North Face brand pants that fall just above the ankle while wearing these strange curved rubbery shoes.
Everyone seems like they’re baked out of their gourd (althought that’s probably just their chill demeanor making me say that more than anything) and the best part? There isn’t a bar anywhere. There is zero temptation, and I could not for the life of me imagine trying to do it drunk.
My first time up I was doing what the seasoned vets refer to as “rainbowing”, which just means using every colored shaped grip available on the wall. If you’re real, you use the same colored grips all the way up to the top and it gets increasingly more difficult the higher you go.
I made it halfway up one of the very intermediate walls in the gym before looking down over my shoulder and ruining my confidence. That was my undoing. There I hung, suspended probably a hundred or so feet up in the air, sweaty palms gripping the walls as hard as I could.
I was paralyzed with fear, unable to move myself any higher despite the fact that I was safely harnessed in and all of my knots had been checked by the trusty belayer below. I simply couldn’t get past how high up in the air I was. A real mental midget.
I screamed for my belayer to lower me down, but that required letting go completely from the wall which I was unwilling to do. It felt like an hour before I finally agreed to push myself off of the wall and put all of my weight on my harness. The entire ordeal actually lasted more like two or three minutes, and despite how terrifying it was that is when I became hooked on climbing. I’m thinking this weekend I’m going to try my hand at bouldering. Being sober isn’t so bad when you’re doing activities like this. .
Image via Youtube