I am not kidding.. Every time I hike - I cannot help but compare it to the journey of going AF (alcohol free) or sober *whatever title/phrase works for you*.. The other day I was hiking. It was wet, slippery, there were acorns everywhere, the roots and rocks were all little obstacles that could easily send us onto our bottoms. The path was neat, it almost always had 2 or more ways to go. One side would be 'wooden stairs' and the other was slushy mud, or you could take the leaves in the trees where no one had gone. Sometimes there would be wet roots protruding through the soil, and the other side was a nice little mud trail.. All I saw was: our journey. Sometimes my hiking partner would go one way and I would follow her footsteps because it looked sturdy. Other times I got curious and I would try the stairs or slick mud. A perfect example that there is always more than one direct route to get to the top - or to get sober. Sometimes our pace was great, other times we would slip a bit and have to take a second to find our footing.. but.. WE ALWAYS KEPT GOING. The roots, slippery rocks, leaves with wet soil underneath all represent obstacles to me.. whether that's triggers, family get togethers, dinner, dating, etc.. all of those are examples of things that could represent a slip for us. Also - there is NO ONE WAY. There is no right way, no wrong way, and sometimes you have to change your route. No matter what route either of us took, our goal was clear. Get to the top. And if we slipped, did we sit in the mud? No. Did we start over again? No. Did we keep on going? Absolutely. Next time we came upon similar obstacles, we used our experience to approach it differently. There was no competition either - she is a faster hiker than me and if I found myself slowing down, I just told myself to keep going.. I did not ask to slow down, nor did I beat myself up that my pace wasn't as fast as hers. We are two different people with 2 different levels of fitness.. that is totally okay. There is no race against anyone else: the only competition is you vs you and continuing that climb. So if you have this amazing alcohol free momentum and you had 27 days but you slipped for one night, does it mean all of the work is undone? Do you have to start over and go back to the beginning? Not necessarily. You can take this experience to learn from and continue moving forward. This time you have more wisdom than when you started. It it entirely up to you. Or if you’re like me - you start again at Day 1 because one slip almost always lead to more and you need that fresh start to re-set. Everyone is different. What works for one, may not work for the next. Finding what works for you is critical in reaching the top.