I am a “mountain girl” and I know a thing or two about hiking. I was born in a small village in the Alps, directly on the boarder between Italy and Austria, hiking was mandatory -not optional. There was an old joke going around about babies being born with hiking boots, skies and a backpack and I assume its still being told until this day. Not so far off the truth, I have been told I could ski before I actually walked.
Sometimes tourists came to town and stayed for a while in houses like ours. They paid for room and board and were treated like King and Queens. Some of us were hired for guidance and it was serious business. We all knew the way through all the forests and through the mountains; we knew what to show them and where to go to. All of us were able to guide them, however the hiking part was something they had to do on their own -very often for our entertainment (if I may say so). At first I was just the assistant, but then I got my first group alone when I was 15 and I was filled with pride. I planed the tour for days; I knew in which cabin we would eat, where we would rest and I packed my backpack with care. I knew from others that I could run into problems with the tourist-folks. A first-aid kit was needed, because some of them would get blisters as big as tennis balls, just because they went hiking with brand new fancy boots (really?) Some emergency food, flashlights, flares and some other “stuff” and I was ready.
I got up at the crack of dawn and collected “my tourists” and off we went. I showed them the mountain in the distance, the one we would all climb and the reaction was always the same. Some were excited and couldn’t wait to be up there and some felt overwhelmed and started doubting themselves just by looking at it.
It only took one or two hours depending on traffic (hayrides and tractor pick-ups) and we reached our destiny and could start our real hiking tour. The beginning is always the hardest, especially when it starts with a steep rise right away. I could hear them huffing and puffing and some wanted to turn around right from the start -like that was an option. It got better after a few hours, we left the treeline behind us and hiked in a steady pace, surrounded by beautiful vegetation and animals. There wasn’t much complaining anymore, they pointed out the different views and enjoyed the tour. We took some breaks, drunk fresh cow milk and ate the apples and butter-sandwiches that we had packed. Even the shortest break somehow recharged the “complaint-department” and some of them started whining again. They wanted to “turn around” and just go back, they were complaining that their bones were hurting and that the tour was just too much, much more then they expected it to be.
They really didn’t have a choice, turning around was only a option in emergencies and they knew it. Some people are just born complainers, they will find a “hair in the soup” before the soup is even served. They expected shortcuts, more breaks and they were wishing for a cable lift and an easy transport right to the top.
Of course that didn’t happen. I was a tough girl, cracked the verbal whip (or played just dumb) and we continued our hiking tour.
A few hours later we made it to the top and were rewarded with a breathtaking view. Some just sat there quietly and took it all in, others made a big fuzz out of it. But we all were proud that we made it to the top. Now everybody was just in “awe” and even the one who complained the most were finally quiet and just filled with pride and joy. Numerous pictures were taken, later on the evidence when they would talk about their hiking tour.
I often read “I just stopped smoking…please pray for me” and I never really knew what to say, until today when I found this quote.
“There are too many people praying for mountains of difficulty to be removed, when what they really need is courage to climb them.”
Isn’t the road to freedom of an addiction like a hiking tour in the mountains?
You don’t need prayers, you need courage and strengths. Start hiking and don’t look at it as being a difficulty, look at it as being the road to success. Hike without looking back and without complaints, look forward and think about how you will feel when you reach the top. No shortcuts, no help from a cable lift…just you and your addiction. Take it all in and look forward!
Guidance is available at online support forums, you don’t have to “hike” alone, other ex-smokers will be on your side. It’s similar to the AA meeting just online and it feels so good to talk to people who understand how you feel, because they all have started there on the foot of the mountain ones.
In the future when I will read “I stopped smoking, please pray for me” a link to this post will be my answer 🙂