Rappelling 17 Stories for my Son


Rappelling down a 17-story building in my forties was NEVER on my bucket list. I was perusing social media one day and a friend of mine, who is in the middle of the battle of her life with her son, posted that she would be rappelling down a building in honor of her son. What? What does that mean? I clicked on the link and found shatterproof.org.

Shatterproof is a national organization committed to protecting children from addiction to alcohol or other drugs and ending the stigma and suffering of those affected by the disease.

Through my epic two year battle with my son, the stigma from addiction is what affected me the most, down to the center of my core. The lives behind those addicts matter, God loves them deeply just as much as you or me. Based on our personal experiences we had through addiction and recovery, I want to bring more awareness and change to the uneducated.

Committing to the Shatterproof Challenge meant I had to step out of my comfort zone on so many levels. For one, I had to openly raise money for my rappel and that meant I had to talk about my son and his addiction. I had to willingly open myself up to hear any type of criticism, good or bad. Two, I had to rappel down a 17-story building!! I told my youngest daughter she might have to step into my spot if I get cold feet. And she said, “no way, you’re doing it and I’m doing it with you!” A few of my friends wanted to be there to support me. Which is awesome.

To motivate myself to get through the rappel, all I could think about was the daily battle my son faced. I was there battling through every step of it with him, I saw it first hand the sometimes minute by minute struggle. I also witnessed the small victories along the way. I know how hard it was and I know how hard he tried. So I could do this. I will do this. For him.


After my daughter and I checked in, an escort took us to the top floor of the building. I was fine until we walked into the room with a wall of windows looking out across Orange County. Phew. This is real. I don’t think I said a word to anybody. I just shook my head and maybe an umhuh whispered out. I was somber, I was scared, nervous, sad and anxious. I held back the tears as best as I could. Getting fitted into a harness, the volunteers were so encouraging. We had a practice run in the stairwell. Now my legs were shaking uncontrollably. We stepped out onto the rooftop. Whew… it took my breath away! This is it. No turning back.

I was clipped in, Morgan was chit chatting with her instructor, laughing, talking about the rappel. I was quiet, peeking over my shoulder to see how far down it looked. Only nodding for confirmations to the instructor. Once I started the rappel, all I remember saying is “oh Jesus, please!” almost the whole way down. It’s such an awkward feeling in the harness, I never really found the sweet spot to lean back so the entire time I felt like I was going to flip backward. My stomach muscles were clinched so tight, I thought it would somehow help. Trying to find the right speed to let out the slack of the rope was a challenge at first. You had to get a feel for it If you went too fast, you would suddenly drop and the safety would lock. Which meant you were stuck hanging until the guy at the top reset you. That only happened once. Thankfully. I couldn’t look down or around as I repelled. I saw the pool of the hotel in my peripheral vision and focused on that getting bigger as I got closer to the ground.

Once I touched the ground I was elated. Why was I so nervous? It was such a release of so many emotions to have completed the Shatterproof Challenge. And to actually go through with it. With my daughter! I want to do it again, right now. Wooo! Now we can celebrate!!