Conquering a Mountain

Three years ago I wouldn’t have thought I was capable of running up a mountain that rises more than 2000 feet above sea level. Then again neither would I have considered it possible that I might one day not only stop drinking alcohol but also feel great about making such a decision.

This morning at 6 am I was eating a bowl of muesli by way of sustenance to get me up the mountain outside our holiday cottage. By 7 am, we were jogging through a field of cows with the sun casting a beautiful rose-tinted early morning glow all across the valley and rugged peaks laid out before us.

As we jogged upwards through the bracken and occasional sheep, the white houses in the valley bottom growing smaller with every step, I thought about how running up a mountain is similar in many ways to the process of becoming alcohol-free.

There’s the hard slog at the foot of the ascent when your legs are growing accustomed to the challenge and the summit is nowhere to be seen – just arduous sidestepping through muddy fields, trying to avoid cow pats and rocks whilst feeling somewhat apprehensive about what lies ahead.

As you get into your stride, the terrain gradually transforms from farmers’ fields to rugged mountainside with bracken and boulders all around, and the steep incline becomes more real – you suddenly comprehend the task before you, acknowledging that this climb is going to take every last ounce of strength you can muster. It’s tough going; head down, eyes trained to the ground, focus, focus, focus.

Occasionally you stop and turn around to catch a glimpse of how far you’ve come and even though the view isn’t yet at its optimum you know what’s coming – the hint of what awaits you at the summit is enough to keep bolstering your efforts and drive your feet further forwards. So on you go, beginning to feel the sensation of achievement.

At the top you get your reward; lying all around is the most fantastic spectacle, you can see for miles. You’ve never known such clarity, the skies are bright blue, the sea is just visible in the far distance and the world has regained some perspective – the little things you worried about are no longer an issue and the stuff that really matters is suddenly obvious.

Lucy Harter Fell

At the top of a mountain, life makes sense.


11 thoughts on “Conquering a Mountain

  1. What a beautiful visual. I will keep this visual in my mind each time I reach a boulder that must step over. Focus, focus. I love that. I love the descriptive reward as well. That is exactly what I see each morning when I awake alcohol-free. Thanks for those beautiful words!

  2. Yay! Congrats.. what a fantastic photo and love the analogy as well. You’ve just reminded me, I want to buy your book. Will do it now. Hope sales are going well xxx

    • Hi thanks for getting in touch. The book is doing pretty well, we are really pleased and hope that many more people will find it helpful in gaining a really optimistic perspective on alcohol-free life. All the best, and thanks for reading the blog 🙂 x

  3. Wow – great photo! It absolutely captures the entire sentiment of your post. And what a beautiful analogy – I’m 44 days AF today, and still climbing that mountain, but finding satisfaction in my burning lungs and aching legs. Life is good!

    • Well done, 44 days is great going – you’ll be getting the first few glimpses of that amazing view by now I’m sure! Thanks for reading and leaving your comment. Really appreciate it and good luck on your sober journey 🙂 x

  4. Hi Lucy, well done! I just read your article on and just wanted to send a thank you for writing it. As one who comes from a family of big drinkers and being a, as Brennan Manning put it, “an angel with an a amazing capacity for beer”, your article was a great perspective on what it is like to be someone who struggles with the “grog” in a society that is “grog-centric” 🙂

    Keep up the good work mate an God bless!

  5. janewj says:

    Lovely post and am reading TSR – very good. Just hit “like” and realised too late, blogging photo has me holding a glass of wine! :-/ Sorry…

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