– Bob Hennen, MS, LPC, LCAS

In 1950 a French mountaineer named Maurice Herzog led an expedition to summit a mountain named Annapurna. Standing at 26,545 ft., Annapurna is the 10th tallest mountain in the world and was the first mountain over 8000 meters to be summited. This was an enormous feat, and has proven to be even more so over the years as Annapurna has developed a reputation as one of the most difficult and dangerous of the 8000m peaks. To put it into perspective, only 191 people have ever stood on top of Annapurna whereas 800 people summited Mount Everest in 2018 alone.

The journey to the top of Annapurna took years of preparation, months of travel, hundreds of people, tons of supplies, an unimaginable amount of perseverance, physical and mental strength, and suffering. When he returned to France, Maurice Herzog published a book recounting the expedition. The last line of his book reads, “…there are other Annapurna’s in the lives of men.” This line has stuck with me for years.

Early recovery is an Annapurna in the lives of many people. Repairing relationships, making amends, recovering physically, mentally, and emotionally, grieving losses, creating new friendships, building trust, learning to be in a healthy relationship, etc. It can all seem overwhelming and insurmountable. But early recovery is not the only time mountains appear in life. Watching parent’s age, medical conditions and diagnoses, loss, financial difficulties, relationship strain, watching loved ones make mistakes, and life and work stress are all mountains many of us must climb at some point in life.

There are journeys in life that require much preparation, time, support from others, physical and mental strength, perseverance, and a willingness to move through suffering, whether you are climbing a mountain or a person who likes to read books about people who climb mountains. What Annapurna are you climbing today?