Lessons From the Hiking Trail

Magazine Archives
| Spring
2023 |
Volume 2,
Issue 1

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Lessons From the Hiking Trail

The idea of hiking in beautiful, remote locations as a form of recovery therapy came organically to Brave Recovery founder, Carrie May after a first soulful hike with a friend. Since then, Carrie has led groups of sober women on hikes through some of the country’s most amazing places. The magic that has happened on these trips has been profound. Here Carrie shares some of the biggest lessons learned on—and off—the trail.

Photography credit: Hayley Haws, @hayhaws; courtesy of Brave Recovery

“Are we almost there?” a voice calls out a few women back. “Yes!” I emphatically answer and on we go. Full disclosure, I have no idea how much longer we have on the hike, and the truth is, the distance remaining is far from my mind. I know that we’re here for the journey and the lessons we learn along the path. 

 

The concept of hiking as a form of recovery coaching found me when I was least looking for it. When I became a Certified Recovery Coach during the pandemic, I envisioned working with clients in an office, not on hiking trails and mountain ranges. But on a spontaneous girls’ weekend trip with a newly sober friend in May 2021, I was inspired by the ease with which she opened up to me about her life and sobriety journey while hiking. 

 

That experience sparked an idea that I couldn’t get out of my head: What if I created a similar experience, on a larger scale, for sober women to meet up, share their stories, get more comfortable in sobriety, and have fun using nature as the ultimate backdrop?

 

Six months after that girls’ weekend, Brave Recovery Coaching hosted its inaugural Sobriety Hiking Retreat. Two years later, I continue to be inspired by the bravery, compassion, vulnerability and humor of each of the amazing women who attend these trips. We laugh, cry, leave our comfort zones, push ourselves, and get to know ourselves more deeply. The lessons learned on the trail are many, but these are a few that stick out the most: 

 

AFTER Magazine Cover Winter 2023-24
Photo credit: Hayley Haws @hayhaws; courtesy of Brave Recovery
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