I think it’s really important when you get into the thick of life and feel like you have no time to breathe, that you take extra time to breathe.
We went on an impromptu little road trip on Monday. I had just gotten back from working in Florida for a week. The week before that, we had my friend at the house who has had some mental health woes. And the week before that, I was in back in Florida. Needless to say, it seemed like Flea Market Guy and I had spent three weeks without each other.
When I got home from Florida this go round, FMG decided he was going to take the day off on Monday and we were going to spend it doing something that did not revolve around laying about in the house all day.
If you read this blog regularly, then you know that Flea Market Guy and I are going on 20ish months of sobriety. He quit drinking because his drinking was a problem. I didn’t have a problem drinking, I had a problem stopping after I started, so it only made sense that when he decided to get sober, that I would stand in solidarity/sobriety with him.
My sister always jokes that I’m not an alcoholic because alcoholics go to meetings. I do not attend meetings for a couple reasons. Reason one is that I’m really good at getting my feelings out in writing (and oversharing on this blog). Reason number two is because FMG does go to meetings and I feel like that is his space to share his feelings in some other space besides our house. I know I could go to a different meeting if I thought I needed it, but I think a lot of the reason I don’t need a meeting is because I don’t hide my issues or pretend they are not there. I think lots of people do that. They want to pretend everything is OK, when really, they are barely holding it together which causes resentments and relapses (just my opinion).
From what I’ve experienced with FMG going to meetings, there is a LOT of that happening outside of meetings. People just pretend like everything is fine and then they get to a meeting and pour out all the things that are wrong. There is a lot of blaming and very little personal development at the meetings that he goes to. I always encourage him to encourage others to work on their issues and/or read a self help book, but some people just like living in their own misery and others can’t get out of their own way long enough to find improvement. So they just stay stuck even if they are sober.
Flea Market Guy is not one of those people. So, in an effort to not just go through the day to day motions of just being sober, he suggested that we take a trip to the mountains to ride horses in the morning. And then he said, I was in charge of the afternoon activity.
We drove to Townsend, Tennessee to a little stable called “Next to Heaven.” I dream about riding horses. Until Monday, I had only ever done it one other time. And it was on a guided trail. This trail was not guided. The horses knew where they were going and it was basically a big circle. We stopped at the grocery store on the way and bought some Honeycrisp apples to feed the horses.
When we got there, they brought out two horses. A male and a female. The male’s name was Ranger. My horse was named after FMG’s ex girlfriend. A name that we shall not speak because I am petty and it puts me in a foul mood and causes me to say things that hurt people’s feelings. One day, I may get over it. That day was not Monday. I ended up changing the name of the horse temporarily to Jelly and J-baby. I don’t think she cared much.
The horses were super well behaved. J-Baby kept getting a little close to the mountain edge and I kept holding my breath and praying that we did not fall off and die. I don’t think I’ve ever clenched by butt cheeks for so long in one stretch as I did that day. And I work out almost daily.
Even though we had a nice time riding the horses and it wasn’t too warm, which is always a concern because I don’t want the horses to be uncomfortable, I still felt really bad for even going on the ride. We were literally climbing up a mountain and then coming back down the other side. The horses weighed about 1000 pounds. I weigh about 190. That means that she had to carry 1/5 of her body weight up and down the mountain which is basically the equivalent of me carrying a 38 pound rock up the mountain and back down. It seemed like a lot. By mid ride, I was feeling tremendous guilt about horseback riding. It probably added another 100 pounds to the saddle. Luckily, by the time I really started getting weighed down with it, the ride was over. I still had the apples in my bag, so when we got back to the stable, the owner said we could cut the apples up and feed them to our horses.
FMG fed Ranger and I fed J-Baby. She really liked the apples and seemed to be happy. I started feeling a little better, but I finally resolved to never go on a horse ride up a mountain again. I do still want to go to a dude ranch or something and ride in the great wide open, but that’s not available here and I will wait until I lose 30 more pounds so the horse doesn’t have to work so hard.
After the horseback riding we drove toward Gatlinburg and made a pit stop at Goats on the Roof. There are really goats on the roof. You can’t actually get on the roof with them though. But you can go upstairs and see them out the window. And you can feed them by pedaling a can of food up a chain from a really uncomfortable bike. We went to ride the roller coaster. I guess it’s not really a roller coaster so much as a single car on a tiny track that goes really fast for about 60 seconds. But, the price was right and Flea Market Guy is a fan. It turned out to be really fun and I didn’t put on the brakes at all.
When we left there we went and had Mexican food for lunch before riding a skylift up to Anakeesta.
Anakeesta is a mountain top “amusement” park. It’s got a zip line. It’s got a treetop canopy of trails you can walk. There’s a botanical garden. A couple shops. A couple restaurants. And a really tall viewing tower with glass floors that makes you want to puke.
Of course, we stood on the glass floor and looked down. I’m terrified of heights, but I’m also oddly into being scared by them. It’s a weird dynamic.
I also know the likelihood of dying from it is pretty low. And with this whole pandemic thing going on, I feel like, I’ve become more of a risk taker considering there is an actual chance that I will go to the grocery store and buy something that will infect me and kill me. And the odds of that are way more likely than being struck by lightning or than the glass floor breaking on the viewing tower and me plummeting to my death.
We attempted to take nice photos but couldn’t get our act together.
We got through the day without incident. Nobody died. Nobody got sick (that we know of) and we rode the ski lift back down to lower ground and took the long drive home.
We talked about our future and our relationship. We told each other that we felt grateful for one another. We reminisced over how far we have come in this short amount of time from binge drinking and karaoke to day trips and meaningful conversations.
And I’m thankful for all of it.