How Climbing Shaped My Life

How Climbing Shaped My Life

Hello beautiful people, my name is Jad Issa, and I am 29 years old. I was born and raised in Lebanon. This country offers a lot—a very diverse culture, amazing food, stunning nature, and, above all, an incredible nightlife. Growing up here, I experienced a lot and spent much time enjoying the vibrant nightlife. However, I became so attached to this lifestyle that I began to lose myself in it. This lifestyle began to drain me, as I found myself merely existing to indulge in alcohol, losing control over my life in the process. Every day, I would drink until I was drunk. Though I believed I could stop drinking at any time, I soon realized it wasn't as easy as I had thought. I felt lost, depressed, and exhausted, having lost sight of my purpose in life.

On August 26, 2018, I made the decision to completely abstain from alcohol and transform my life. The beginning was incredibly challenging. In the first month, I started running every morning at 6 a.m., but that alone wasn't sufficient. Then, in October, my younger brother Elias invited me to join him for a climbing session, which marked the day I was properly introduced to climbing.

That day, I faced numerous challenges, but I enjoyed the feeling and kept returning for more. Climbing became my mental anchor; whenever I felt the urge to drink, I headed to the gym and climbed until exhaustion set in. This shift from alcohol addiction to climbing helped me rediscover my purpose in life.



Climbing enabled me to forge deeper connections with my family, introduced me to wonderful people who profoundly impacted my life, and, most importantly, provided me with a supportive community.

This experience taught me about the difference between purpose and pleasure. While I didn't have any purpose to look up to, I was drained by my pleasures—pleasures that, in the moment, are beautiful and easy to find but, in the long run, will destroy your soul and wellbeing. Finding your purpose in life is something that I feel is hard but worth it. It will guide you to grow and improve yourself and to find real happiness.
Now being in control of my life, I have learned to drink in moderation and occasionally. Nothing tastes as good as a fresh beer to celebrate someone’s send.

I will forever be grateful for the day I started climbing. This brief story barely scratches the surface of how climbing has helped me overcome challenges and achieve personal growth. I share this knowing it pushes me beyond my comfort zone, but perhaps someone can relate, and perhaps climbing can help them change their life, just as it changed mine.

As one of the climbing instructors I met wisely told me: "You will never be able to fully repay climbing for all that it offers you."

Thank you for taking the time to read my story, and I hope that climbing can bring mental, physical, or spiritual benefits to all who embark on the journey.

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