My friend Zac is a crusher. Not just when it comes to mixed climbing. He’s a crusher at life. He helps people. He’s a genuinely good person. Husband, father, friend, climber…crusher…

So you can imagine how honored I was when, last year, Zac featured little old me in a presentation he put together for Wild Northeast magazine, called “Beacons of Psych.” I was a beacon of psych. To Zac. To one of the country’s strongest mixed climbers. Crazy, I know.

In preparing for his presentation, Zac sent me a little questionnaire. Amongst other questions, he asked this: What do you think about the fact that you are a beacon of psych to me and others?

I’ll just copy my reply here…

Oh man, I literally got goose bumps when I read this question. I still find it so hard to believe that I have the power to get people psyched. Five years ago, I wasn’t a beacon of anything to anyone. I was this hollow shell of a person, so physically and spiritually sick that I couldn’t make eye contact with myself in a mirror. Naturally, with sobriety, the body-and-soul sickness lifted—but the self-doubt sometimes take a little longer to follow. The first time my climbing partner told me that “I took away his excuses” it was, like, this eye-opening moment for me. I had this feeling that, if I could motivate and inspire him to push just a little harder, then maybe I could do that for other people, too. It’s still a little surreal to hear people say that I bring the psych, but I’m going with it.

Well, here we are, a year later, and the Patriot Ledger just published an article about…little old me, Climbing Out of Addiction: Easton Woman Uses Rock Wall at Randolph Gym. It focuses on my story of addiction, recovery and climbing, with a heavy emphasis on the addiction part. Not everyone knows the whole story. I was injured, got addicted to pain killers, ended up on heroin, got sober, now I crush. End of story. But the Patriot Ledger really put it all out there…

…and the amount of love and support I have received in response has been—humbling. To say the least.

The article has been shared by dozens of people, received dozens of comments. You’re an inspiration. So proud of you. You are a role model. You’re amazing. You rock!  Pun very much intended.

And I cannot express how wildly appreciative I am for each and every comment, message, share, like…thank you, thank you, thank you.

That being said, I think it’s important to note that I am just one, teeny, tiny miracle in a sea of millions of miracles. And my journey, sure, it was tough. But spend a few nights in the halls of A.A. and you’ll hear about journeys that make mine look like a joyous walk in the park. I’m not diminishing what I have accomplished—active addiction was a thousand times more painful than my more-painful-than-terminal-cancer spinal cord injury, and getting sober was absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do—and probably the hardest thing that I ever will do.   

But there are so many other miracles out there, so if you don’t find hope in my story, you can surely find hope in someone else’s. There is no shortage.

While the vulnerability is a bit uncomfortable, I’m honored that my experience has been shared on a larger scale—if I can bring just a glimmer of hope to one suffering addict, or help the parent of an addict see that recovery is always an option…if I can be a beacon of sobriety psych to just one person—then I’ve accomplished my goal. But I’m just one non-anonymous face amongst millions of others anonymous ones. The banker, the pilot, your 7th grade teacher, the barista at the coffee shop on the corner, your kid’s best friend’s dad…there are countless miracles happening right under your nose…all the time. Mine just happens to be in print.

I’m just an ordinary girl. An extra ordinary girl. My miracle is one of millions. There is hope. There is always, ALWAYS hope.

Photo credit: Alyssa Stone