Sobriety is a Horse Riding Adventure (Guest Post)

shilouette of people riding horses in forest

This Guest Post comes from member @soberbutterfly who wrote it as an update in the Members Feed. It was so powerful and well received I thought it well worth featuring here. Enjoy.


What if sobriety is kind of like a horse riding adventure?

We begin on foot - walking (drinking).

We are having a hard time walking (drinking).

We keep falling down. Maybe we break a leg, or two. Maybe we just get lost and feel completely unsupported in general.

Then we see a few people riding horses (sobriety!) and think, "Hmmm, that looks interesting. They look like they are having a good time up there." One of the horse riders pulls over to chat with us for a bit, maybe they're members here at Living Sober or another person in recovery you meet. "I’ve been riding my horse for three years,” they tell you. “I love it up here. No way I’m ever walking again!”

You are intrigued. So you saddle up and start riding your horse. You get sober! Wahoo!! You feel great riding along. You feel supported in a way that you have never felt before, so you continue on your horse riding journey. You are getting pretty far along into unknown territory when you see a big pile of rocks ahead. You think, "Hhhmm, I haven’t seen that before." You are a bit unprepared and you fall off of the horse.

You are walking (drinking) again, and it sucks. So you decide to get back on the horse to continue your journey. But here’s the thing - you did NOT go back to the beginning of your horse riding journey! In fact you got back on right where you left off. Plus, you have the added experience of realizing what can cause a fall from a horse, so you are a much better rider now.

In fact, after you start riding again you notice a similar patch of rocks coming up, you remember what caused your fall the last time and make some adjustments so you can keep on riding smoothly.

Maybe you ride the horse for years. You get pretty comfortable in your horse riding skills. At one point you even get bored. It’s too easy. You look down at people walking and they look like they are having fun down there. So, you actually just get off your horse willingly. No fall. You just get off.

You hang out with the “walkers” (drinkers!) for a bit and realize it’s just as crappy as you remember. So, after a few weeks you decide to get back on your horse.

Although you detoured a bit, your horse is right there waiting for you. The horse did NOT go back to where you were when started your horse riding journey. And neither did you! The horse was chiilin exactly where you left him, happy to see you actually.

But this time when you look at your horse, he looks a little different to you. And you realize you weren’t really riding a horse after all. You were riding a unicorn! And you now realise maybe you actually needed get off the horse to take a step back and realize what it really was.

Some people realise they are riding a unicorn right away. But for some of us (myself included!) maybe we need our little detours to appreciate the beauty that is always there waiting for us.

Let’s be gentle on ourselves. It is all ok. Whereever you are on your horse riding journey, it’s part of your story that is super unique to you and only you.


colourful unicorn
  1. zittaa 2 years ago

    Thank you @soberbutterfly, I have read this several times. Beautiful.❤

  2. LadyQuig 3 years ago

    Your analogy lives on! I’ve been on that relapsing roller coaster for over a year now and I’m sick of it. Your words paint a beautiful outlook in my mind’s eye and all I can say is giddy-up! Thank you 🙏

  3. Camille 4 years ago

    This is such a great analogy! I am a couple months along into my sober journey and had some stumbling moments last week. It took some work to recognize that those were just learning moments, and it didn’t bring me back to the beginning of my journey. Thank you so much for this post, it really helps to think of it this way!

  4. fridaymay92014 4 years ago

    This caused me to tear up. It can be a long walk/ride. This is an analogy to keep near and dear as it certainly resonates with me.

  5. Lee@ 4 years ago

    This is absolutely gorgeous @soberbutterfly, Jess. I’ve followed you for over a year now and you define the true meaning of recovery. You’ve gotten through the worse and strive on. Much love to you sista and the world of respect, yeah, giddy up bitches!!!!!

  6. greynose 4 years ago

    Thank you for this post Mrs D. I was AF for thirteen and a half years and then because life suddenly got better I celebrated with a glass of champagne. That was eighteen months ago and of course the drinking has increased to every night. Not the level it was previously but not good. Struggling to find others that have gone that length of time AF and then fallen off the horse. This post gives me hope.

  7. Tom4500 4 years ago

    I agree that when we have a relapse, we don’t forget all that we have learned. And, we can re-learn that we have a drinking problem. But then there’s my friend Bob, who lived 20 meters/60 ft from where I now sit and type. He got down off the horse because it looked like fun, and he never got back on again. I think if Bob could talk, he would tell you, don’t get off the horse.

  8. soberlynn 4 years ago

    Yahoo and Giddy up!! Love this analogy! ???

  9. SugarBelly 4 years ago

    Fabulous post, @soberbutterfly.

  10. SillySassy 4 years ago

    Thank you @soberbutterfly for that very thought provoking post. As a long time Horse lover it hit home for me. One thought that came into my mind especially in this short amount of time that I have been sober Is…… sitting too high on top of my horse. I was one of those walkers for most of my life. In this process of recovery I must keep reminding myself that I am choosing to ride ( Stay sober ) vs walking ( Drinking ) and not to look down upon someone that has not saddled up, As you cannot change anyone except for yourself. Peace

  11. zulu 4 years ago

    @soberbutterfly thank you. So perfect for my first day back on my unicorn ?

  12. whichisnice 4 years ago

    Ride on!

  13. Cherry2000 4 years ago

    As a lover of horses (and unicorns!) I just adore this! Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this! I am back after a very long hiatus; I fell off my horse and walked around for quite a while. But I’m back on my horse; and yes it is actually a unicorn… a beautiful unicorn with a silver & golden mane and tail. Day 37.

  14. NewJu 4 years ago

    This is SO so wonderful @soberbutterfly Thanks so much for sharing this. It really works as an analogy, and the unicorn is the unexpected magical twist. And totally true too!

  15. delgirl68 4 years ago

    Oh I love this so much! I can really relate, as I hopped off my horse willingly, I walked along for another 2 years and now I’m back on and really seeing my horse as this unicorn! I’m holding on tight with so much more appreciation! Thank you for this lovely post xx

  16. Liberty 4 years ago

    Beautiful, I got tearful all over again reading this.

  17. Caroline27 4 years ago

    @soberbutterfly, you are so creative and I really appreciate your story, this is the magic life we all need to want. I feel that this time around, my skills at saying no to alcohol and yes to myself have really turned for the better… well done for sharing your knowledge in a joyous way.

  18. Ladyhawke 4 years ago

    What an amazing post @soberbutterfly. So beautifully written and very relateable. You certainly have a talent for writing. Thank you for sharing xxx

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Licensed by NZ Drug Foundation under Creative Commons 4.0 2024. Built by Bamboo Creative and powered by Flywheel.

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account