I have been pretty secretive about being a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. I have been clean and sober since September 10, 2012. I don’t talk about it much because I don’t like to put a label on myself. I think of it as part of my past and I would like to live in the now. There is also a lot of judgment and negative ideas in society about drug addicts. I don’t want to be looked at differently or thought of as sick. I came to Utah to go to rehab and fell in love with the mountains.
One thing that has helped me stay sober is getting outside in nature. Hiking helps me so much with my mental and physical state. I can’t imagine living anywhere without the mountains.
A friend of mine, Jess Grambau, started a hiking group called New Heights Hiking. It was started as a support hiking group for anyone who struggles with addiction, anxiety, depression or anyone who has a loved one struggling with these issues. Grambau has struggled with anxiety and found hiking to be the best cure. I asked her why she started the group and she said, “A few years ago I found my love in the outdoors. My sister was battling drug addiction and I was struggling with anxiety. I wanted to put my passion for the outdoors into other people. My hope was to help our community battle mental issues together. I wanted to have a hiking group with a purpose.” It has been amazing to watch the group grow and I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for us.
New Heights Hiking group has about two hikes a month and the days and times are random. They post the time and the place of their hikes on their Instagram page, @newheightshiking. It is an amazing group of people and I have made lasting friendships with people who love the outdoors as much as I do!