Hey all! Thanks for checking this one out. This is a longer story about how I got sober at CU Boulder 10 years ago today. Ultimately, that decision is what encouraged me and motivated me to build Rerouted. Revolutionizing the used gear industry spawned from my desire to facilitate access, education & sustainability to help anyone create their own wilderness adventures. Read for more details. Feel free to share with someone who may appreciate this story.
Ten years alcohol free
A full decade has passed by since I stopped drinking at the age of 19. It’s unbelievable how fast time flies. Not many of you all have heard this story from me and I think that the 10 year anniversary is the right day to share it.
This story doesn’t begin on August 26, 2019. Instead, I began this journey back in middle school. When I was a kid, my parents sat me down and offered some information that would help make tough decisions as I grew up.
My family is filled with addictive personalities. My dad, my uncles & my grandfather struggled with alcoholism & addiction throughout their lives. Unfortunately, it runs in the family. This battle would be something that I faced every day for the rest of my life.
The key to the conversation was that my parents never said, “don’t drink ever, don’t do drugs ever”. Instead, they offered the above family history as information for me to use as I explored the world. I started dabbling with booze in high school because I was a normal kid.
It’s hard to be an alcoholic (or observe red flags) when your age forces you to share a 30 rack and a ⅕ with 8 friends. Not enough access to overdo it. That was until college. Where there were multiple kegs & handles of the hard stuff. That’s when things started to go off the rails.
My issue wasn’t that I chose to drink frequently. I was barely consuming alcohol twice a week. It was my relationship with vodka that was the problem. I drank myself into a stupor. No matter what - when I started drinking, I’d drink until I couldn’t walk. It would ruin me for days at a time.
This was simply no way to live. I am an adventurer at heart, I’d get silly drunk and wander off by myself to be in the mountains. Not smart. Luckily for me, I got picked up by the police on 3 occasions my freshman & sophomore years - sent to the Addiction Recovery Center, the ARC.
The ARC is a jail for people that need medical attention. The ARC is a big concrete building with dorm beds in one room, and a grandmother’s living room in the other. 60’s reruns on TV, board games & puzzles that are missing pieces. They keep you held until you sober up - for me, 24hrs.
They take everything from you. You are obligated to wait it out. I was safe, fed & cared for. I am grateful to the police & staff to this day. Yet, I don’t want to ever go back. I was lonely, scared & really fucking drunk. Those nights were blurry, but the handcuff bruises the next day were clear.
After 3 miserable nights in detox, I woke up on 8/26/2011 - in a tiny, uncomfortable cot in an open room with drug addicts and remembered what my parents told me ten years before. Alcoholism was inevitable. The only question in front of me was to quit now, or quit later.
There is no need to recount the drunken details. I had developed a disastrous relationship with alcohol that was interfering with school, my relationships & simply my ability to function. I had racked up three alcohol related misdemeanors & my life was coming apart at the seams.
The change needed to be made. Ten years ago today, I started the best adventure of my life. Sobriety is challenging & rewarding. It is part of my identity. I can’t imagine what being drunk feels like any more. I have no desire to remember. I am lucky that nothing about drinking was fun.
I was able to maintain my sobriety all these years thanks to wilderness recreation & amazing people. When I quit, I needed to burn energy & make friends. Climbing provided that opportunity for me. My experiences & relationships made climbing formed the foundation for Rerouted.
In many ways, my sobriety is what made me so passionate about facilitating access & education to the outdoors. My whole life has been built on my ability to play outside - and I am so fucking lucky. Everyone deserves the opportunity to climb instead of drink. Nature should be available.
I am so glad for everything that has guided me to this point. I am proud of everything that I have accomplished. I am even more proud of everything Samantha & I have accomplished together. The family & business we are building is spectacular. Hard work does pay off.
Huge shoutouts to the family & friends along the way that have made this life so freaking fun to live. Together, Sam & I are making an impact. We couldn’t have done it without tremendous support from all of you. Especially, thanks for your patience as we work 100 hour weeks. :)
There’s so many things that I left out of this story. Too much has happened in the past decade that even by alcohol-free, steel trap of a memory, can’t remember every shining moment. If this is what can happen in 10 years with good behavior, I can’t wait to see what happens next.