Anyone who grows up in the Seattle area is used to seeing the large visage of Mt. Rainier on the skyline (when weather permits, that is). Most of us glance at it with some sort of awe – but some of us have stronger feelings. “I see the mountain all the time and joke that I’m mad at it,” says Abi Brewer. Abi has made two attempts to climb the 14,000-foot peak; both were turned around due to unsafe conditions. But this spring she’s preparing for her third attempt, this time as a fundraiser for Recovery Beyond, the program that changed her life and started her mountaineering journey.
As recently as two and a half years ago, if you’d asked Abi about her mountain aspirations and accomplishments, the list would have been short. Although she grew up in the Seattle area, she had never been much of a hiker. A long-standing battle with alcoholism resulted in her losing her family and brought her to New Life in Tacoma, where she stumbled onto the Recovery Beyond climb team. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight. “I hated it at first,” she said, “Everything was just so hard. I didn’t even like the hikes.” In the long run, however, some of the most miserable parts of her journey ended up being turning points. That year, their summit attempt of Mt. Hood was one of the most excruciating, throwing inclement weather and severe cold at a group of newbie hikers. “I have honestly never been so miserable in my life,” she says, “But I survived. That was what was empowering. I felt like such a badass just for having survived that discomfort.” That year she also bagged her first “big” peak, Mt. Baker, in similarly lackluster conditions: it was rainy, cold, and white-out conditions occluded all view. “I just cried. Like, how did I get here? It was not how I imagined my life would look.”
Now two years and three months sober and a New Life graduate, Abi continues to use the lessons she learned in the program in her day-to-day life. Exercise has become a mainstay of her anxiety-management protocol, as has the community she found at New Life. “Honestly, having that community is like, you need it in recovery. I wouldn’t have learned the importance of it without the New Life program and the Climb Team.” She and her husband are also in the midst of opening a tattoo parlor called “Northern Sanctuary Tattoo,” a risk she doesn’t feel she would have taken without having been through the program. “We see this company as a way to minister to people who might not have as much exposure to Christianity,” she says.
Abi also maintains her commitment to helping others achieve this same kind of transformation. “You get into rehab and you feel like you have nothing going for you. I just want to support people so they can get out and tell their story.” Besides volunteering at New Life both in the climb team and by leading Bible studies, she has also chosen to join the fundraising climb of Mount Rainier. A team of 8 climbers, guided by IMG, is making a summit attempt on Mt. Rainier May 16-19 this year in honor of the Recovery Beyond program. Each climber’s donations will support two individuals in the Climbing Out program. For Abi, this cause is deeply personal. “Without the climb program, I wouldn’t feel as complete. It really made my quality of life as a sober person – I’m happy.”
So what better way to exact “revenge” on the mountain that has eluded her than to climb it in honor of a program that has meant so much to her? “I’m just hoping the third time’s a charm,” she jokes.
Want to help Abi meet her goal? Check out her fundraising page below or join her on Sunday, February 24 at Northern Sanctuary Tatoo (her new studio) for a fundraising night featuring a screening of the film “A New High” as well as art by local artists and tattoos by donation. If you’d like to snag one of the last spots on the climb, details can be found on the Fundraising Climb page.DONATE TO ABI’S CAMPAIGN
Recovery Beyond Featured On
By Luciana Bosio –
You’ve heard the phrase “When you hit rock bottom, you can only go up…” The question is how high… How about 14,411 ft? That number may seem random, but it’s not… 14,411 ft is the elevation on Mt. Rainiers summit. And yes, Mt. Rainiers summit is helping people recover from addiction and homelessness… How? Well, that’s what this show is about. Recovery Beyond Paradigm addresses the problems of addiction recovery and homelessness in unconventional ways, like summiting Mt. Rainier… To Talk about Recovery Beyond Paradigm and their Climbing Out of Homelessness program, we’ve invited Gina Haines, Executive Director of Recovery Beyond Paradigm, and Program Manager Nate Lanting. Listen to our talk here…
The team at Cora+Krist worked closely with Recovery Beyond leadership to determine the logical steps for evolving the Recovery Beyond Paradigm name and its program Climbing Out Of Homelessness. The next iteration had to be instantly recognizable and relatable to what the organization had already established. With so much great visibility from the Now This and REI films the organization was presented to 1 million people and their very active base came to identify with Recovery Beyond Paradigm, staying familiar was a key requirement.
Any change we took, needed to ensure that we paid tribute to the bold vision of Mark Ursino when he and Mike Johnson set out to create Climbing Out of Homelessness around a truly monolithic physical feat; climbing Mount Rainier. The original Climbing Out of Homelessness program logo encompassed a team of climbers scaling the mountain; the mountain had to continue to play an important part in the brand going forward.
Expanded Meaning in the New Brand
In any tough decision, the simplest path is usually best. It was natural for us to simply shorten the old Recovery Beyond Paradigm, to Recovery Beyond. It preserves established brand cache and value and helps position the organization for the next step in its evolution. We continue to help people move through recovery to their next stage of life; to a better self… to what’s ‘beyond’ addiction and homelessness.
Much in the same way, the Climbing Out Of Homelessness program naturally evolved to Climbing Out. Addiction is one of the root causes of homelessness, we work to alleviate addiction. Preventing addiction and homelessness remains our overall goal. So if there is no addiction problem, there is less of a chance of ending up homeless. It still represents the literal and figurative metaphor around the climb that our participants make on their journey out of addiction. Whether that climb is literally up the mountains in Seattle’s backyard or that climb is represented through other equally demanding physical activities – the struggles and triumphs are very much the same.
Logo Evolution for Recovery Beyond
For the new logo, we took to heart that we are evolving the organization; the evolution of an established presence. In that spirit, we sought to honor the key elements already employed; such as colors and typography, gracefully elevate these to evolve to a more quickly identifiable look.
The result is a logo that, with a simpler name in place, balances on the bold variation of the typeface and incorporates the mountain so that the spirit of our founder’s original vision forms the foundation and reminder of where the organization started.
Graphic Design Elements Explained
Additional elements that you will see added to the brand include several gradients that emulate the start and finish of a person’s journey to sobriety. You will see these as subtle overlays on elements across our materials and within important activity buttons on the website.
Yellow to Blue illustrates the beginning of the journey to sobriety as the dawn of a new day.
The orange to yellow represents the fiery sunset experienced as one completes the journey.
The Story Of A Climb Through Photographs
Imagery has been refreshed in both historical photos provided by Mark Ursino, founder of Recovery Beyond and the photographs captured by Greg Balkin over the course of 2018 climb year. Together these images tell a visual story of our program; of the people who go through this journey and the countless volunteers that make it all happen.
A New Tagline
Our new tagline perfectly captures who we are and what we’re about going forward:
Healthy Lifestyles for Lasting Recovery
This is really what we’re all about and as our programs begin to grow and evolve you’ll start to see this in action. We’re expanding beyond mountaineering to embark on numerous activities that help our participants embrace a healthy lifestyle. We know the key to lasting recovery is in living a healthy lifestyle and having a community to share it with. It’s a simple statement, but one that is direct and packed with meaning.
The final brand identity is a culmination of intensified thought, powerful meaning, and emphatic dedication. This will be a powerful imprint that will continue to impact the lives of many who wish to embark on a climb like no other in their life, centered around a healthy lifestyle and a supportive community, to reach lasting recovery. Building a better future starts with the first step.