Hopefully your eyes have finished rolling back in your head and retuned to the optimal position for reading. I know, sober and vegan, it’s two parts of a trifecta that may only be completed by being a religious fanatic. Which I am not.

This is not meant to make anyone feel guilty or to push a way of living, it is just my story. I had dabbled with plant-based eating prior to getting sober, but it hadn’t stuck and I had been back on the meat train for awhile. A couple of months (exactly sixty days, I was counting) after…


A Personal Story

Maybe my story is more about medicating than it is about alcohol abuse/addiction. It’s both things, of course. But self-medicating with booze was very real and insidious and so has been my journey with therapists and psychiatrists over the years. Beginning in college and now, seventeen years later…

It started in Boulder with Dr. Katherine Bryan, a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado where I was an undergrad. She put me on Wellbutrin and Adderall. I was drinking heavily and seeing Matilda Grace, an off-campus therapist who I’d been going to for a couple of years for my, sometimes severe…


It’s the missing ingredient in your plant-based food

Many plant-based and vegan bakers are missing out on this trick. A uniquely alive, bubbly sourdough starter adds a spongey texture to food that is so often lacking in egg-free recipes. I’ve been plant-based for awhile and also a sourdough enthusiast, but I only recently made this vital connection.

Last Saturday I added a cup of it to a pretty standard vegan pancake recipe, made some minor tweaks to get the appropriate consistency and voila, the most wonderful pancakes I’ve ever eaten (including in my previous life as an animal product eater). …


Horror stories from a writing mecca

We moved to Taos and hated it. I am still finding it hard to write this and we left six months ago, it’s startling how upsetting the experience was, even with this much passed time.

A mecca for artists, a magical place for creativity, Natalie Goldberg, Dennis Hopper, painters, the mesa, Julie Cameron, vortexes, the Pueblo, Julia Roberts, the mountain, galleries, green chili, Georgia O’Keefe, skiing, hiking, biking and Earthships (you may have to look this one up for yourself) are things associated with the high desert town in Northern New Mexico. …


Maybe you do need to quit drinking

For most of us, there is never an intelligible rock bottom, because the very idea makes no sense. Life is not an episode of Looney Tunes. Most of us are smart, functioning adults who have slowly evolved into our lives as successfulish grown-ups who medicate with substance or depend on it or simply dabble.

The semantics alone scare people, close them down and overwhelm them. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

We can just breathe and sit back for a second to ponder a few things. Thinking about things won’t make them so, won’t conjure anything into existence…


Adventures in island living

Two nights ago I found a coconut crab in the kitchen, a little guy who scuttled under our gas stove. Little being fist-sized. I was opening the door of the fridge to get a glass of water when I looked down and saw a crab next to my left foot looking up at me, frozen, hoping not to be seen. I jumped away and let out a startled little “ahh,” and hopped out of our kitchen. Which was when he ran for cover.

I moved home to Guam five months ago with my girlfriend. We renovated the downstairs of my…


How we’ve lost our imaginations

I think about fantasies — our inner worlds — and how much time we spend looking at our screens, the other realm of reality and how the two are becoming interchangeable. Maybe that’s the goal, a seamless transition between imagination and the curated pages sent to us from the internet.

How they watch our moves, watch our minds and then essentially produce our imaginations for us, bringing them to life without our awareness. What was in our heads before someone guessed what was in our heads and then placed their guesses there? Do we know? We think we do.

We…


Overlanding and interloping in the Andes

I arrived in Lima at 5 a.m. from Denver, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ecstatic to see my friends. They’d left months earlier for their Overlanding adventure. Kim and Aaron brought me to their hostel where I was reunited with Ramona The Rig and Greg, the German shepherd. Our single-night in Lima commenced immediately with ceviche and Pisco sours — so many Pisco sours.

After dinner we drifted through a cliffside park overlooking the ocean to see the sunset and then headed down to Plaza Mayor, the main square, to absorb some of the city.

Overlanding is described as self-reliant, over land…


How to use them for personal growth

You may already have a deck or two. Tarot cards are one of the oldest self-help tools in existence and completely underutilized. The Tarot contains aspects of astrology and numerology, images of archetypal symbolism, as well as its own legend and lore. Don’t be overwhelmed.

Tarot cards haven’t revealed all the secrets of the universe to me just yet, but have shown many truths about myself that I, otherwise, may not have seen so efficiently.

Think of the cards as little windows into your life, illuminating areas that need attention. …


An adventure in the Philippines

I sit looking westward at the waves breaking out on the reef. It’s windy and there’s a swell so the waves are larger than usual, crashing hard. I love the moment that they arc and look like a sheet of blue glass before turning into froth. If I could only look at one thing for the rest of my life, I would choose a choppy sea.

I try to imagine what my dad’s life was like when he was young and at sea, captaining and cooking, transporting questionable cargo, avoiding pirates, the closets of guns, navigating tricky channels by moonlight…

melanie ahlf

Living and writing in Guam. Professional Tarot Reader. www.melaniesalchemy.com

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