What If I’d Stayed In Monterey?

via Daily Prompt: Zip

I flew into Monterey on a wet and dark December day.  The 22nd to be exact.  That was nearly four and a half years ago.  I remember passing a range of hills that looked as though wispy clouds had been brushed onto the tops – and thinking “I’ve got to hike those.”  I was thrilled with the size of the airport – pocket-sized – and not nearly big enough to cause a panic attack.  monterey airport

I was coming in from a three-month stay at Betty Ford in Palm Springs – my longest stay in a residential treatment center to date.  I’d never lived in Monterey and figured it was a great place to start anew.  A peer from the center had offered me full use of her apartment while she stayed behind to finish out her program.

I discovered that Monterey is windy.  It was while I was there.  But I liked everything else about it.  It’s a quaint artsy sort of town that reminds me of a ski town in Colorado, though I couldn’t tell you which one. My original plan was to get back into AA, find a job, and figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  I spent the first week or so exploring the city, but as I think back – I can see that I wasn’t grounded.  I was actually very checked out.   Not only did I not know a soul in Monterey, I didn’t know my own.  And I had no idea how to discover my vision, my mission, or my life purpose.  I had no idea what the whisper of my heart sounded like.

Or maybe I did have an inkling, but the thread that connected the idea to my heart was too thin for me to recognize.  I have to credit something for wanting to go to Monterey in the first place.  Something pulled me there.  But I got lost in ideas of fleeing to safety rather than creating it.  The danger I was in was living without a vision of my needs and values.  This caused me to spiral.  I didn’t attend AA or do anything to support my sobriety.  But I didn’t relapse either – there in Monterey.  A month after I arrived, I left for Huntington Beach, and began the descent back into alcoholism.

Up until today, my life has full of moves – zipping from one idea to the next, one city or state to the next – never committing.  Never following through.  Never taking time to acclimate.  I’ve always had one foot out the door – no matter where I’ve been or what I was doing.  I’m grateful to have found the field of life-coaching.  I wonder if I would have found this eventually in Monterey had I stayed, or if it was necessary for me to go back out again and revisit treatment one more time.

Four and a half years later, I’m coming up on a year of sobriety – 11 May is just around the corner!  I’m committed and grounded, and focused on listening to my heart.  I even created a mantra!  This coaching program business is helping me change my life and I can’t wait for the opportunity to help others into recovery with these same tools.  It feels like a gift.  My fieldwork for class tonight was to repeat this phrase as often as I can remember it today: Today and everything about today is perfect – just as it is.

monterey boats

Maybe in a different universe, I stayed in Monterey.  Maybe in this one, I’ll go back.

But not yet.



  1. Great post, I lived on and off again in Orlando Florida. Just up, and moving from Spokane Washington. Like changing your shoes. That simple. Or not! It was there that I got on a plane calling my mom in shambles. That was 3 years and 8 months ago. One would never think she would leave her children behind. I was not well enough, or strong enough at that time. He was there, and I could not be. Nor could I ever go back. I knew my kids would realize even though I was an alcoholic the truth behind all the chaos. It was more than just me. They would realize, and come home just as I did. Sure enough as my name is Lisa, my son arrived here this Jan. 22nd. He drove across the U.S. as soon as he turned 18. Freedom awaited him too. He is here, and making a life for himself as well. I could never not even for a single day go back to Orlando. Thanks for sharing. 🌞❤


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