The Hangover

I’ve got to tell you about a Killer Hangover I had a couple days ago. WOW!

Last week I told you about some mind muck and tough stuff going lately around here, and I’m not going to skip the details, so here you go.

At least 3 times last week, I found myself smack dab in the middle of a hardcore, all out heavy-duty powerlifting workout, and felt every bit of the pain.

1. Recently, Lindsay and I have had the extreme pleasure of working with world-class coach Bobbie Robertson, and her six-gun Texas-style approach to real progress on tough issues. I say it was an an ‘extreme’ pleasure, because vanilla and ho-hum, it ain’t. In fact, we’d been cranking up the heat during our conversations, until last week’s meeting brought us to the boiling point. And boiling is not fun.

We are working on career issues with Bobbie. Let’s just say, it’s a B-I-G D-E-A-L.

So the pot boiled over, and we had a mess. It lasted for days. It was exhausting, it was tough, it pushed us hard.

2. Later on in the week, I had a close brush with insanity during and after a somewhat ‘normal’ evening amongst the guys. Helping my brother-in-law with his camper, and just doing guy stuff wouldn’t bring most people to insanity. However, my already beat-up brain was near meltdown, and after a full evening of just hanging in the shop; I was losing it.

This personal decision to release of one of my old vices (alcohol) has been a rickety roller coaster, yet clinging to it’s steep and winding tracks.

On Friday night, I thought it had come off ’em.

While I was glad to be among friends and family and helping out, my old demons were a dancin’ baby. They wanted to par-tay, crack a couple cold-ones and the inner gun-fire was blasting from both sides. I drove home, passed the liquor store, and soberly exhaled deep over and over, while wondering if all this pain is really worth it.

3. Saturday morning, I arrived to my privilege and duty, at a retreat for the leadership at my Church. I love these meetings, among strong people of faith, people who care deeply for each other, and our place of Worship. This retreat day, a block of time for decision making and progress, again offered a challenge and a workout.

We covered many issues. We all care so much, and out of love, we discussed tough stuff facing many churches today. I, of course, didn’t keep my thoughts to myself, and after a full long morning of real important work, I was drained. I wasn’t the only one. Our whole team of elders, and especially Pastor Tim, care so much, they put their hearts and souls into this place and it’s not always easy.

I relate the feeling afterward, to that of a seriously intense workout.

The aftermath, the exhaustion and effort resulted in a serious hangover.

Yes, a Serious Hangover.

Seriously Amazing!

Late Saturday night I thought back over the week. I remembered how close I came to drinkin’ it up. After that moment of escape, after almost 8 dry months, I would have had a big fat head-throbbin’ hangover, the price you pay for a fun night out. (which experienced thousands of times)

So, since I decided to take the other route, what where the ‘consequences’ of these choices? I say ‘these’ because I mean that;

  • In event #1. Lindsay and I could skip the hard work of these coaching calls, and just figure stuff out as we go on our own, without professional dynamic help.
  • In event #2. I could have had a couple beers, no big whoop, relaxed for a bit, and called it a night, rather than fight my urges and feel like a looney-toon.
  • In event #3. I could have passed on the invitation to be a part of our Session at Church. It’s much easier to just go and worship and eat snacks.
So back to the hangover idea. Here it is.
  • Hangover from hardcore coaching sessions on the career path of the Nichols family:
    • Lindsay and I have been into battle together. We’ve learned more about the strength and willingness and desires of each others hearts. I had the chance to deepen my love for her, as we uncovered raw wounds and found mutual understandings. We aren’t ‘fixed’ or ‘out-of-the-woods’, but we have grown and created a solid structure to begin building the foundation of our future together. Thank You Bobbie, for Your Tough Texas Love!
  • Hangover from skipping the suds and having one more moment of sobriety:
    • I get to know that I can make it through those moments. It is possible, I am capable with the God’s help. More of these moments are to come, I intend to ask for that help without ceasing. This just feels right, for me now.
  • Hangover from our powerful retreat and deep sharing of our ideas for the Church:
    • At our regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, our elders knocked out a bunch of good work. We’re moving forward. We’re making headway, and we had a really good attitude and energy in the room while we did it.

The pains have literally created a bunch of awesome gains! The party in this sense, comes in the serious hangover, the amazing aftermath, and the surprising real results.

In my world last week, I felt the floor coming out from underneath me, the foundation shifting, I was scared as hell.

Apparently I was feeling a relocation to higher ground 🙂

Thanks be to God.


Aaron Nichols

Transformers – More than Meets the Eye

Taking off our masks, and getting down to the real, sincere, loving, caring and understanding humans that we naturally are inside, electrifies me.

I saw it happen recently, between two people, who love each other, yet are at odds, frustrated, exasperated and fed up. Yet, in this special space of a real conversation, gifts were freely given through moments of love and acknowledgement, respect and validation.

Afterwards, I realized that this contrast from our ‘regular’ selves is one of my main motivations in life. Actually, the switch out of our normal mode of operation, and into another one of our personalities that rarely gets seen, is thrilling to me. This moment of letting down our guard, has intrigued me in everything I’ve ever done. 

In this case, it was a step toward healing and growth between two people. In other situations however, it has come at much different places, with much different motivations.

Namely this: When I was in the full swing of the hard-partying canoe trips, late night garage poker and deeply drunken campouts, I was always on the lookout for these moments of the switch.

I loved to see someone on their first ever ride down the river, transform from their everyday ‘regular’ personality into a loud and frolicking floating RumRunner like the rest of us canoe trip veteran heathens.

Same goes for showing a reluctant first-timer to the poker table. I loved seeing a rookie hit a full-boat of Aces over Kings and drag in a healthy pot of everybody’s chips, even without tons of experience.

And with the camping, well, let’s just say, that not everyone is born to love the outdoors. However, nothing excited me more than to introduce a newbie to the art-form and lifestyle of a weekend at the lake with Camp CarpCo. Seeing them transform from pressed-crisp city-dweller to dirty-footed lake-lover was the epitome of FUN.

So really, the transformations we’re talking about here, have always been a fantastic reward and motivator for me.

Why blog about this tonight then? Who Cares?

I do, and again, I write these to myself, as much as the readership here.

I need to remember what it is that has me striving ahead on this crazy career journey into the world of Coaching.

This week I’ve had some struggles. Nasty swampy yucky mind-mud that boiled up and caked the inside of my being. I’ve been questioning the effort and the pay-off for this stretching of myself that I’ve undertaken in the last couple years.

It certainly isn’t always fun or pretty or happy. This week has proved that.

Sure, the olden days seemed much easier to deal with, this week, in contrast to soberly attacking deep and profound issues, working toward monumental life-long decisions.

But, the sticky sloppy muddy valley path of the week’s mental turmoil has turned uphill. Climbing up and out, it’s getting greener. There are little flowers too. Watching this transformation unfold tonight, while two people stepped out of their rigid normal comfort zones, and into a space of loving understanding, support and healing, was a big shining signpost proving I’m still on the right path.

I love seeing people tap into their higher selves.

I love helping people tap into their higher selves.

No, this isn’t a metaphor for the old days either 🙂 Wasn’t into the drug thing 🙂

So, where are these opportunities at now? I know in my heart that they’re all around.

I just gotta get there myself. Into my higher awareness. Living my own brighter lighter operating mode more often, I’ll be able to invite others to this kinda party. It’s a different version, and a new kind of exhilarating.

So, simply noticing and identifying one of my core values, one of my driving forces, is powerful enough for me to record here and celebrate 🙂

When I know what my real reward, real payoff and real prize is, that makes me come alive, I can more easily choose my paths to get there.

Because I will keep stepping.

I will keep moving.

Forward is my motion, by choice.


Aaron Nichols

Night Light Bright

Twice last weekend I drove in the dark, without headlights and without shoes and with uncommon happiness in my heart.

Something tugs at me from my 6,000 mile summer roadtrip that my dog, Roxy, and I took a couple years ago.

I want to do it again!

Seriously, why wouldn’t I? It was such a fantastic experience to head out west and blaze my own path across the plains and mountains and deserts, all the way to the Pacific coast and back home.

I still think of little moments from that trip, every day.

Doing it again, or a variation on the theme, is one thing I enjoy living in my daydreams.

Although in my daydreams, there are a few differences. I now know that I would love to have a fully equipped trail-rig-ready SUV that could get me and Roxy, (and Lindsay too) out to the mountains, up and over the gnarliest passes, and back home again in safety, comfort and style. I would have a much nicer camera to shoot with and I would understand the power of a blog a lot better this time around too 🙂

I play around on Craigslist sometimes or the interweb and look at various 4×4 vehicles that seem like a blast to drive. I really do think I will own one sometime, and I will take that trip again, and maybe again and again too. Maybe in the U.S., maybe somewhere else. Hey, I did it once, I don’t rule out anything as a possibility!

So just keep in mind, that I can easily transport myself back to those vista points on the coast, or blazing canyons of California, near where the bristlecones grow, and feel it again.


Last Saturday night, however, the “Kinda” part, rose to a new level.

See I had spent the evening among family. I had been in a sacred place to me. I was honored to give the blessing before the meal. At the graduation celebration for my aunt Julie’s Masters Degree accomplishment, at the OU Lodge, at Pomona Lake, I felt a bunch of real LOVE.

This location, OU Lodge, held ancient memories for me. I vividly remeber being just a little kiddo, trying to roast the perfect marshmallow over a half-barrel charcoal grill, that still is sitting outside the north door of this building on the hill overlooking the lake. Our family and friends had camped a bunch there eons ago, and I loved it then, as now.

That night, we shared and ate and played and everyone walked outside to get the first glimpse of the “Super Moon” poking through the clouds when it started to get dark out.

So finally, after several hours of fun, I headed home.

In the car, with Roxy in the back, I drove across Pomona Lake Dam. I have done it hundreds of times. That night I remembered the many miles out on my summer roadtrip. I talked to Rox, I felt full of love. I promised her that we’d do the trip again sometime, and she’d get a better ride and it would be great.

And as the windows were down, and I cruised along, I decided to take the back roads home, to go slow and enjoy the ride, right then, right now.

That’s when things unlocked in my mind. I was having fun driving in the car with Roxy. I was in a landscape and a place that inspired me. I was in that moment of solitude and freedom and relaxation that I’d felt out there on the open road. I was completely sober, and found irony in how far I’d actually traveled to get to that point, at that time, on that road, which is all right around home, and yet so far from where I started a few years ago.

I am still on that very adventure, on that journey, right now.

But, one thing didn’t match up, from the true feeling, of my roadtrip days.

I was wearing shoes.

So, I kicked ’em off.

When driving across country, covering big wide states every day, and you’re into your second and third straight week of travel in the hottest part of the summer, you get used to not wearing shoes while driving.

It’s liberating! It’s fun! I don’t do it often enough!

I felt so happy at that point, out on Idaho road, driving barefoot, windows down, talking to the dog, it was beautiful!

Then I noticed the shadows cast from the Super Moon. It really was an amazing thing to witness the moonlight and the night-time still countryside all around me. So bright it was, that I figured I didn’t need my headlights either.

So, I kicked ’em off too.

There; I had my moment of freedom, my moment of adventure and inner peace, living something that I keep thinking is waay out in front of me. Unattainable today. In the future.

Nope, it’s now.

It’s wherever I am.

And Roxy too 🙂

So after awhile I had the lights back on, I was getting closer to home, but I had that moment, I got my fix. I didn’t have to go to the west coast to get it.

And lucky for me, I didn’t have to wait long to do it again.

The next night, Lindsay and I had dinner at my parents’ place. Then we drove the stone’s throw over to her parents’ new house that is right around the corner.

We got the grand tour and laughed at how my whole house could fit in the living room of theirs. By the time we left, it was plenty dark, and we had time and some back roads to cruise slow together.

I told Lindsay my story about driving shoeless. I kicked ’em off again. It was storming that night, and the lightning was bursting above and flashes scattered the horizon. Out on a chunk of gravel between Ottawa and Princeton as I slowly moved along, I kicked off the headlights and drove true by the light show of a Kansas thunderstorm.

Lindsay, really wasn’t a fan of that however 🙂 So they went back on 🙂

Anyway, I hope to show you that some of my daydreams and somedays turned into Right Here, Right Nows, as soon as I opened my eyes to the real values of the moment.

Truthfully the experience was so close, so memorable, that it is right in the list with oldies and goodies. And I do like having Lindsay along for the ride too 🙂 Even if she won’t let me drive in the dark. Roxy didn’t seem to mind though 🙂

She’s always happy to be along for the ride. Maybe I could learn to be too.


Aaron Nichols

And FYI, in case you wondered, I just looked it up. Driving barefoot is legal in Kansas, according to a random website that popped up.


I was kinda hoping that I was at least breaking a silly law, while having so much fun 🙂


I have a date to tell you about.

I got engaged Again!! Read all about it!!

ummm nope 🙂 sorry, not really.

But isn’t it kinda anti-climactic to go back to a regular ‘ol blog post tonight, after last week’s jolly bombardment of visitors to weirdforgood, to check out our question-poppin’ story?

Even a good week around here looks like 85 people reading a weekly blog post, and last week it was through the roof. We had well over 400 readers checking out the story of Lindsay and I’s big night at the Band of Heathens show. It was touching that you all cared enough to check it out, thank you 🙂

So posting our news on my weekly blog, was a great example of preparation meeting opportunity. Since I already have been writing for some time, and I share personal stories here, and big moments in life, I thought that I would post that one up as well.

And I really do have something big to announce tonight.

It’s been over 7 months since I last drank alcohol.

I want to share this now as a report and follow-up, since I did mention it previously, in a post, seven months ago.

I have a garden. It is thriving. It’s growing and flourishing. Neat things are sprouting, that started as tiny seeds in bare earth. For a long time, it looked dead, like just a bunch of dirt.

I’m not talking about this one:

There is a real life, new life, green and vibrant world growing up around me. Last week’s exciting post was proof. The fact that I’ve had an enjoyable 7 months free of one of my former addictions, is proof too.

I am showing this progress, on my personal channel, my space and this didn’t cost you anything to read. So please know that I am only sharing. Joyously Sharing.

There were things chewed up and tilled under in my life, in order to prepare the soil.

That involved pain. And heartbreak. And Loss. And Change.

What an eye-opening experience. What wonders I’ve learned. What things I’ve thought I would miss, that I didn’t. What possibilities are attainable now. I see no limits.

I am in the grasp of a force too big to explain. I can only show you.

I don’t have time to tell you all the stories. All the good times. All the horrible times. All the times I wish didn’t happen and those plenty of times I thought it was just normal to be drunk.

And today, sobriety feels intoxicatingly exciting. It feels powerful. It feels energizing. It feels unstoppable. It feels like a whole new normal.

Changes like this in a person’s life, are not “no big deal”, but they are possible.

Or, I could say it like this: (from a note I wrote to myself on my 33rd birthday in March)

“I don’t grow and change. Time doesn’t tick into the future. I merely readjust the position from which I view the kernel of Now, that I refer to as my life. Then another adjustment and the moment’s passed.”

So many of my readjustments have now led to a clearer perspective and sharper focus. I may have found a neutral space since last week’s big news, but from here, so many doors are now open.

You know that I’m mind-boggled at all the blessings I’ve received lately. I share them openly. In fact, they are not mine at all, they’re just opportunities to view God doing work.

So there, I’m done.

I have a garden in the backyard too. And it is magnificent. I love it and care for it and spend a lot of time out there.

In all of this, I’m a beginner. I’m a baby and a child. And I’ll stay just as wide-eyed and amazed just as long as I can. Last time I gave that up, and tried to be an ‘adult’ who knows all the limitations and worries of the world (and ‘needed’ an elixir to escape from it) it lasted waaay tooo looooooong.


Aaron Nichols