I lost my boots...“I’m going to die.”

When I finally decided I was ready for addiction recovery, I had lost a lot, much like many others who had walked in these same shoes before me.

In fact, I had even just lost my boots.

I was waking up in a hospital. I had no idea how I got there. I had no shoes. Nothing.

I thought to myself, “I’m going to die. This has to stop or I’m going to die.”

I didn’t really want to die. I just wanted to free of my addiction. Free to move to a better place in my life.

At one time earlier in my life, I had owned a “Health and Fitness” hiking tour company. I traveled the world and focused on hiking, practicing yoga, eating healthy cuisine, sharing these experiences and values with others.

Camping on a ski traverse of Colorado’s highest peaks.

I climbed sheer rock faces and mountains, big ones like Denali and Mt. Blanc. I skied across Yellowstone National Park and down 14,000′ peaks in Colorado. I lead teams and students on long expeditions during all seasons, in all types of terrain.

I fully understood the emotional value of being physically healthy. Exercising, eating well, breathing deeply, laughing with others and sharing lifelong memories.

After a time, my life had somehow become unmanageable, alcohol had snuck in and taken over. Drinking wasn’t fun anymore, it just caused problems.

I understood that there were a lot of chemicals at work, causing me to make poor decisions and feel emotionally and physically horrible.

I met with Lynn Smith, a nutritionist who specializes in sports nutrition and addiction recovery nutrition. She helped me put together a personalized addiction recovery nutrition plan and program. My initial goal was to reduce the cravings I was experiencing, but I soon realized that healthier nutrition went much deeper.

I realized I was going to be in a much stronger position to deal with the emotional and psychological challenges now before me if I felt better physically. If I had a headache, felt nauseous and lethargic, I could hardly put my full effort into my spiritual healing.

While in recovery, I began to meet many others with similar struggles. I realized that although they had eliminated their drug of choice, they were often hadn’t changed their “Nutrition Program” – frozen pizzas and microwave burritos washed down with soda and “energy” drinks.

I started mentioning the tidbits Lynn had taught me or I had learned while researching online and said that maybe they might consider changing some nutritional choices to aid them during their recovery.

Some people actually listened to me and agreed that maybe I had something with this nutrition angle. I started teaching a little class at a sober living home where I was staying, Serenity House in Loveland, Colorado.

I put together much of what I was teaching onto a blog called Hungry for Recovery. I talked to anyone who would listen about my thoughts on nutrition, exercise, and recovery.

Eventually, I applied for and was accepted into a Masters program for Wilderness Therapy at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Life has a way of intruding sometimes and I had to pass on that opportunity and instead focus my efforts on being a responsible husband, dad, and person. Life has a way of taking over sometimes…

But, I kept on with my desire to help others find a way out of addiction. A way to get off of “Hell Island” and find “Paradise,” whatever that meant to them.


I have become a Nationally Certified Addictions Recovery Coach and Interventionist, helping others in their sobriety with my services at here at The Art of Sobriety.

And now, well over 1,200 days into sobriety and a life I love, I host the RECOVERY INNOVATORS RADIO podcast, and more.

My goal is to help others in recovery have access to support, professional advice and knowledge, aiding and allowing them to find a path to their own recovery.

What the hell do I mean when I’m talking about “Bombproof?”

When I was a mountain guide we often taught our students and clients how to be “bombproof” in camp. Your tent and gear, your pack, your “kitchen” where you cooked are always put away, neat, tidy and “bombproof,” especially if you were out and about.

Shit, even if you were 100 feet away. Why? You don’t want to hold up the show when the wind picks up because you have to run back to your tarp to put your crap away. Bad form.

We often graded students on their ability to be consistently bombproof. If your stuff was all left out to dry and you were off hiking when a storm rolled in, the consequences of a wet sleeping bag or socks that blew away could be huge when you are a 4-day trek from the trailhead. Plus, you just failed Bombproof 101.

Or, if you didn’t bombproof your food and a critter came and snacked your vittles, you were going to be very hungry and that would suck big time.

Anchor failure is not an option when climbing...or in addiction recovery.

Anchor failure is not an option when climbing…or in addiction recovery.

Another time we talk non-stop about “bombproof” with climbing anchors. They to be bombproof, they can not fail or you might plunge to your death when you need them to be solid.

This is failing Bombproof 401, upper-level shit.

Building anchors is an art and skill that takes experience. If possible you would not create an anchor from just one piece of protection, more is better. That way you can equalize the forces onto several places and the possibility of even one of them blowing out would be lessened.

So, I incorporated several pieces of “protection” into my personal recovery plan, my Recovery Anchor so to speak.

These pieces of “pro” ease the forces of addiction onto any one area, eliminating a blowout and subsequent plunge of doom.

Pieces like a community, health and nutrition, the support of friends and family, a mentor and guide, spirituality, and more.

Also, I have continued to focus on the importance of keeping my life “bombproof” which has kept the chances of a “storm” causing major disruption drastically reduced.

I hope what you find here helps you or a loved one to build a BOMBPROOF RECOVERY ANCHOR, feel better and live longer.

Best wishes, James Healy

p.s. I did get my boots back, eventually. I left the hospital and went to a detox facility. While there I went to some great AA meetings, met with some professional counselors and decided it was time to get and stay sober. Finally.

I left after a few days and rode the bus (shoeless) back to my car where the boots were. The paramedics had taken them off of me when they picked me up.

And that whole deal is another story… Let’s talk sometime and I’ll fill you in…

James, Tawnya, Dutch and Hazel

An estimated 27 million Americans need help for substance abuse every year.

Are you one of them?

What about the rest of the world? Millions more.

Now’s your chance to start a new, fresh chapter in your life.

A life you desire.

A life you deserve.

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