My Turn: Northern Pass and the land that gave me sobriety

  • A snow-capped Mount Chocorua looms over Lake Winnipesaukee in February 2006. AP file

For the Monitor
Published: 8/21/2017 12:10:14 AM

I am the chief operating officer, and soon to be part owner, of Lakeside Life Science. We are a small biotech company here in New Hampshire, likely the only one of our kind.

I am also, and more importantly, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict.

I moved to New Hampshire to live with my parents in September 2009, a time when I was lost, tired and just plain broken.

I was 23 years old and had nothing except a trash bag of belongings, two DUIs and a trail of suffering behind me. I was living in New Durham on Merrymeeting Lake, with no license, no friends and nothing to do.

I was in rehab in Laconia and was surrounded by what I thought were people in their 80s. And now I was clean and sober, but I felt so alone. I had no joy.

Then one day in January, when the lake was frozen and not snow-covered – a rare happening here – I strapped on my ice skates and took off across the lake. I skated the entire lake, end to end. When I finished, and watched the sunset with the cool, crisp air biting my nose, I realized that there are a lot of people sitting in offices wishing they were right where I was. And for the first time I didn’t feel quite as alone.

It was then that I realized the mountains, the lakes and the land here in the beautiful state of New Hampshire were in fact saving my life.

I hiked every mountain I could get to. I fished every river that would have me. I laid under the stars and wondered what life was all about. This land that I call home gave me the strength to become a nurses’ aide, a very humbling experience. I am now in the process of taking over a family-owned biotech, and I am a recently graduated registered nurse.

I just married the woman of my dreams (our first date was hiking Mount Chocorua) and have a daughter due to be born any day. Most important of all, I have not had an alcoholic drink or any drugs in my body since Oct. 15, 2009. And none of it would be possible without the land that loved me back to health.

The great state of New Hampshire is now threatened by big business and corrupt politicians.

Northern Pass is not designed to help the people of New Hampshire; it is designed to put money in the pockets of those who want to build it. They aim to destroy my greatest hope of staying sober by cutting through the land and scarring it forever, and that is unacceptable to me.

I know scores of fellow sober addicts and alcoholics staying sober in New Hampshire and letting the land love them back to health, too.

Please help me tell Eversource and Hydro-Quebec that we don’t want or need their power lines. We need the land untouched. This sober New Hampshire addict says no to Northern Pass.

(Paul J. Allard lives in New Durham.)

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