“I Don’t Want To Be Drunk: I’d Rather Be Climbing”
A Collection of Voices following an Occupational Therapy climbing group
I’ve been working as an occupational therapist in Glasgow Addiction Services for six years. I am a keen climber and Munroist and understand the personal benefits and the sense of achievement that is gained from these activities and I wanted to develop a group that allowed clients to experience this too. The climbing wall is a major challenge to anyone and can evoke fear and anxiety. By learning the correct techniques and determination allows individuals to overcome these challenges, conquer their fears and achieve their goals. These skills can be transferred into other areas of the individual’s life and act as an incentive to encourage positive thinking and motivate them to face their difficulties. The sport of climbing, and the skills required, evokes the development of self -belief and confidence not only in the individual themselves but in other people.
I don’t crave alcohol anymore. The daily battle of picking up that first drink is getting less and less. My self worth has become higher. I have a lot more to lose. I don’t want to be drunk, I’d rather be climbing! Climbing has taken me further and further away from relapse. I don’t want to relapse because I don’t want to be unfit and unable to climb.
It’s climbing! It’s fitness! It’s where I want to be: Fit. I’m building confidence all the time, fitness brings that. The fitter I get, the clearer I start thinking. Being able to challenge myself is important. It takes my mind off the problems I’ve got. It takes my mind off everything. I’m there, concentrating on climbing and all my problems take a back seat.
Climbing has given me a focus, something to look forward to. It has helped me with my addiction, there is no doubt about that. Having something to focus on is so important. I just say to myself “great, I’m going climbing this week” instead of saying “I’m off to the pub”. I can focus on climbing so easily because I enjoy it so much. My friends and family are keen to know I’m doing something. I’ve told my family all about it and they are really pleased I’m doing something positive and not drinking.
I had already made my mind up and moved away from drugs but climbing has given me another interest, something to look forward to. I focus on climbing and that means I’m not thinking about drugs. I look after my mum so it is hard for me to commit to many things but I have tried to attend as often as I can. It is something else for me to do and concentrate on. The hardest thing about stopping drugs is the boredom and that is why it is so easy to lapse. Having an activity like climbing where you are challenging your body and mind is helpful and really helps you to stay clean.