This past weekend I went to Joshua Tree with my friend Alyssa. It was my first nature experience since I quit drinking. And it was a turning point for me in several ways.
This weekend was the first time that I’ve felt happier sober than inebriated. This was my fourth time to Joshua Tree, but by far the most magical. Being with my friend we got to do and see a lot more than I could with my Mom on previous trips.
We took in the sunset on Friday and the sunrise and sunset on Saturday, hiked 6.5 miles on Saturday, did some free climbing on the rocks and boulder formations and then returned for more on Sunday. The whole time we got tons of great landscape photos and some portraits of each other.
This friend and I used to take photo adventures almost every weekend when we were in community college, but in the past few years life has gotten in the way of that. I didn’t realize how much I missed photography (and Alyssa).
The most magical moment for me was the sunset on Saturday. We were sitting out in open desert with the tripod setup for a sunset timelapse. Alyssa went to walk around and take pictures and I sat on a rock in meditation for 30 minutes. It was surreal to have the sun and wind hitting me and not have any sound other than the occasional passing car.
Driving home on Sunday I just couldn’t get over how magical the whole experience was. I feel like I’m getting my sense of wonder back. I don’t know how long it’s been. But it’s so nice to feel something again.
Another great moment was on Friday night. We went to the grocery store to buy water and snacks. I was looking for a cold Monster energy drink since I knew we were going to have an early morning on Saturday. I thought that it would be a good place to look for one over near the cold beer because some people use Monster as a mixer. Looking at the alcohol brought up my gag reflex. I saw Redds Apple Ale which used to be my favorite. And just looking at it made me feel sick. I could feel in my throat that residual acid feeling I used to get the next morning. Where I could feel it still churning in my stomach.
Not only do I not want to drink now, looking at it makes me feel repulsed. I hope it always feels that way. It will make it a lot easier to stay away.
I’ve decided that I will start having more nature getaways with hiking, healthy eating, photography and meditation. I want to walk in nature. Without people. And just take it all in. The beauty. The serenity. I’ve scoped out a really cute cabin in the forest up in Idyllwild that I plan on going to in the spring once it starts warming up a little bit.