Category Archives: Recovery Rocks Interviews

Recovery Rocks is a series of interviews with people who are clean and sober. it highlights all that is fabulous and wonderful about being sober.

Recovery Rocks – Amy Parrish

Amy Parrish a 44 year old sober woman! She has been married for eleven years and has two boys ages 10 and 7, two Australian Shepherds, and one guinea pig. Amy is a writer, a runner, and a yoga student, who love to talk, read, and write about life- the puzzles, the questions, the spiritual, the funny and the tough stuff. Her favorite place is outside in the woods tromping around. She likes music and turns the radio way up in the car so she can sing and still hear the music.She is excited to start her yoga certification in January. Please check out her fantastic blog Sober-bia.

Amy Parrish stomping around the woods.

Amy Parrish stomping around the woods.

1) Describe your ‘rock bottom.’

My very rock bottom was the morning I couldn’t get out of bed because I was so hungover. I’d drank so much- maybe two bottles of wine, and a few beers- the night before ( a pretty normal amount for me- about three times a week) and eaten these pot coconut oil things. My children came to wake me up and I couldn’t get out of bed, could barely talk. I had promised to make french toast that morning and help my oldest study for his class spelling bee and I couldn’t get out of bed until 1PM that day. I found a plate of cold french toast next on the bookshelf beside my bed. It was terrible and heartbreaking- my children had seen me so incoherent and out of it, then had to head off to school not knowing what was wrong. I had a clear vision of me ending up alone: my children ashamed of me, my husband moving on without me, and me alone and drunk. I knew I couldn’t take one more day, I saw clearly that there were two ways it was going to go: keep drinking or quit. So I quit.

2) What were your first 30 days of recovery like?

My first 30 days were hard and easy. I would drink seltzer and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice out of my favorite giant wine glass while I made dinner. Then right after dinner I would bundle everyone upstairs and into pajamas to play Crazy 8’s and read stories. I couldn’t be downstairs, I was afraid I would drink. I knew if I was in bed I wouldn’t. I would get up at 5AM to write and then do yoga at 6AM- my own free classes in my own living room! I wrote to my pen pal religiously every day, and blogged too. I didn’t really miss drinking- I was so ready to quit! The hard part was not knowing what to do with myself- it was so awkward to just live. I spent so much time drinking or trying to recover from my hangovers that I found I had a lot of free time. At first that was so annoying and kind of scary, but then I learned to stretch and try things.

3) What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?

The best things are all the things! I have found such joy in my relationships with my family and have made friends. My husband and I continue to heal and find deeper love and understanding with each other. I am a present and loving mama. I have learned about myself- the kind of person I am, what I like, what I don’t like, the things I am capable of- like flossing my teeth every night! It’s such a pleasure to have a 9 o’clock in the morning appointment and be able to actually show up. The very best thing is seeing how drinking kept me in such a small box of miserable life, and how now that I’m sober I can be big and in the whole world.

4) If you could go back in time to you when you were drinking/using what would you tell yourself?

Get some help. This thing is bigger than you. Find a person to reach out to- even if that person is your own self. Surrender to what you know to be true- you are worth it. Face the shame you feel- the scariest things are the ones we can’t or won’t see. I would tell myself it doesn’t have a thing to do with willpower, or discipline- it has to do with listening to that voice that wants out: that’s the voice that’s telling the truth. Accept the alcoholic in you- don’t tell it to fuck off. That alcoholic is the part of you that needs extra love and care, try not to be shy around it.

5) What have been the most useful things you have learnt about yourself since getting sober/clean?

I am capable and reliable. I am able to make mistakes with grace most times. I have learned that I like feeling and feelings- even when it sucks. I have learned to stop trying to mold myself into some random idea of who I think I should be and be the person I actually am.

6) Tell me about something wonderful that happened to you recently that never would have happened if you had been drinking.

I signed up for MBCY-RYT teacher training! I’ve wanted to do yoga teacher training for years. I signed up four years ago and then developed an umbilical hernia and had to back out. Although I was quite disappointed (and totally not ready!) at the time, now I’m so grateful that it happened just that way: the sober woman I am today is ready for such a huge and glorious undertaking!

7) What are your favorite recovery slogans?

“It’s none of my business what you think of me.” I’ve spent so many years worrying and watching what other people think I am or what I should be. That’s none of my business! Other people ain’t me! I have to do the things that make me feel centered, safe, challenged, alive, and whole- that makes it all come full circle.

8) And lastly, why does ‘recovery rock?’

OH!!! Recovery ROCKS because it gives me life. It gives me BIG dreams, it gives me such a comforting feeling of being right where I’m supposed to be.

Recovery Rocks – Joy A

Joy has already graced this blog with a guest post, after seeing what a great writer she was I *cough* persuaded her to do a recovery rocks interview. I knew her story would be interesting and I wasn’t disappointed….
Read it and then send it to someone who is struggling,
because if she can do it……

Joy Anderson - dog lover, Cure fan and all round fabulous person.

Joy Anderson – dog lover, Cure fan and all round fabulous person.


1)Describe your ‘rock bottom’
WOW. I hardly want to mention it lest I give it life – but it was bad – seriously strung out, kicked out of where I was living, living in my car and then briefly in an apartment that quickly turned into a den of iniquities. Sick, skinny, dirty, hungry afraid and sad. There were lots of tears. I left that place with nothing but the clothes on my back and 2 dogs, got them somewhere safe and then I went to detox. I think the real rock bottom was having to let go of my dogs. It was HORRID and heart breaking having to give them to somebody. It was heart-grindingly tough to leave my sig-o (significant other) too but I had too. We were dying and they deserved to live happy dog lives. I had to let them go so I could get better.

2) What were your first 30 days of recovery like?
A complete fog. I’d go along each day (in treatment) thinking, “Ok I’m getting it together this isn’t so bad, I’m not in such bad shape.” I’d wake up the next day thinking, “what the hell happened yesterday?” It was all very surreal. I stayed in survival mode for a long time and when in that state it’s all just about what comes next to survive. There’s not a lot of depth to mere survival. The first 30 days were just me coming back in to my body and mind. I had put myself through the wringer sideways, there was a lot of damage and I just had to rest and sort of let everything flow over me. Knowing I was in a safe place to do this made a huge difference. I had to let people take care of me.

3)What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?

Amazing things – I have my dogs and my sig-o back in my life, these are both nothing short of miracles. I landed a killer job doing what I love – writing and networking – also a miracle and a pretty nifty “God-wink.” I’m also happier and healthier – I’m not a skinny wasted waif of a woman – I feel good about myself and with that in place I’m more available to the people I love. I am full of love again – my whole outlook on life has changed. There is no better feeling that actually being able to “show up” when someone needs me and with no strings attached.

4)If you could go back in time to you when you were drinking/using what would you tell yourself?
Nothing really, because I know I wouldn’t listen. I would “yeah ok” me to death. I entered into addiction knowing full well where it could take me. I had to find out for myself. Sick but true. I was even aware of what would happen and of the terrible consequences I could be facing in life. I did it all anyway as if it were my job, my calling. I don’t think that it’s just a cliché that we say all of our experiences we had in that previous life serve us in serving others – it’s really meaningful and intense. There was no wasted time. It was not a “wasted life” as so many commented about me in my using days. Now I call all those experiences “field research” and you can bet that my experience helps others who have travelled a similar path. If there were accolades for being a drug addict I’d have a string of letters after my name – but there was nothing anyone could have said to me to stop me on my path. If there could have been anything at all…I would have told myself, “I love you – you’re in for a crazy ride, and you’re going to be ok.”

5)What have been the most useful things you have learnt about yourself since getting sober/clean?
Again, so many things – #1: Healing takes a long time, I need to be gentler and more patient with myself. I no longer strive to be better but remain fully present in the moments in my life and how I am in them. #2: I’m way more empowered and capable than I choose to take responsibility for. I held myself down for so long and blamed everybody else for what I was doing to myself. Once I came face to that and owned it, things started changing. Instead of looking in the mirror and hating the liar, the sneak, the thief that I saw looking back, I learned to talk to those parts of myself as if they were just sick friends going through a tough time, striving for change – I learned to accept them. That took away their power and allowed for the more positive aspects of myself to shine through. I definitely hid my light under a bushel for a long time. Now I see that I was simply afraid of taking responsibility for these things because that meant I would have to actually do something with them. I have learned how to feel grateful about the gifts I have been blessed with and to share them unabashedly and without ego or pomp. Learning this has created much humility in how I choose to live today.

6)Tell me about something wonderful that happened to you recently that never would have happened if you had been drinking.

This is so simple but it really is a gift of recovery; I have a place to call home that’s all mine. I signed a lease on my own apartment. Something I haven’t been able to do on my own for years. I hang out and enjoy my place, my dogs, and life with my sweetheart. I take care of my things, my clothes, I keep my place clean. I pay attention to my dogs and really enjoy having them. People take for granted having an apartment or a house – I do not and never will again. I worked really hard to get this. I can’t wait until the day when a woman new to the world of recovery tells me she needs a place to stay or a meal and a hot shower. I can finally give back and THAT is really something wonderful.

7) What are your favorite recovery slogans?
There is no chemical solution to a spiritual problem.
You cannot save your face and your ass at the same time.
When you find yourself going through hell,…KEEP GOING!

8) And lastly, why does ‘recovery rock?’
Recovery rocks in so many ways – I’m just reborn – I feel like I can hear the trees growing.
I’m just more aware of everything and my relation to it. I really love how I can engage with people now and have amazing REAL conversations about meaningful things. I like using my brain and my mind and really engaging in this gift of life. I got none of that when using – only in recovery. My life is full of good people today. All the things I sought with chasing the high have come to me sitting still in recovery and that rocks!

Recovery Rocks – Josh Butcher

Josh Butcher is a recovering alcoholic/addict. Being in recovery has opened his eyes to many new things that he once never even considered doing on a regular basis. He is a very active person who loves to be outside and enjoy the summertime. Spending time on the lake or just going off the grid for a hike. He has now opened a treatment center in the town he caused so much trouble in. Now he is giving back to the town instead of taking away.

Josh

Josh


1) Describe your ‘rock bottom.’

It wasn’t hard for me to realize when I hit rock bottom in my life. I ended up in jail for numerous charges that had built up over my years of using. It was my step father (who happens to be a police officer) who ended up helping me reach my bottom by personally arresting me and putting me in jail himself. I had missed several court dates for the charges I had racked up and he and my mother took it upon themselves to put me in jail. Detoxing in a jail cell for what seemed like an eternity brought me to a scary realization that there’s no way I could possibly go on living my life the way I was. I ended up being offered an opportunity to go to rehab and I jumped at it.


2) What were your first 30 days of recovery like?

My first 30 days in recovery (after treatment) was an interesting time in my life. After all the time I had spent using drugs and spending my days figuring out what it was going to take to get that next fix, I realized that without that time consuming process that I had a lot of free time on my hands and became rather restless. I remember thinking to myself how bored I was all the time and what I could do to fill that time. Of course I attended meetings daily and spent time with guys from my sober living house, but I still found myself alone a lot and being alone with yourself early in recovery can become a scary situation. I never had time or really cared about all the bad things I had done in the past because I was worrying about getting high, but after I got sober all those memories and situations that I had been involved with came to the forefront of my mind and I knew that I was going to have to face them.

3) What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?

I would have to say that having the independence of an adult and being taken seriously by my family and the people in my life is the best thing that sobriety has brought my way. I no longer have to make excuses and wonder if the person I’m talking to actually believes what I have to say. It’s an amazing feeling to know that you’re taken serious by the people in your life and your opinions now have meaning to those around you. Nobody ever believed anything I said because I was constantly lying and trying to keep up this charade that my life was fine when it was very obvious to those around me that I was far from fine.

4) If you could go back in time to you when you were drinking/using what would you tell yourself?

If I were able to go back in time I would tell myself that if I just get myself together and learn how to live again that I could have anything in this world that I put my mind to. We as addicts and alcoholics are so talented and capable of doing anything that we want in life. I would give myself the pep talk of lifetime and try to instill the ability that I posses into myself.

5) What have been the most useful things you have learnt about yourself since getting sober/clean?
The most useful thing I’ve learned about myself being clean would have to be how much positivity I’m able to bring to a situation. I never seen myself as a positive person, let alone a role model. Being sober I’ve learned that I have a lot to offer to someone and that if I give all that I have to a person and show them who I really am that I’m able to positively impact their day or potentially their life.

6) Tell me about something wonderful that happened to you recently that never would have happened if you had been drinking.

Recently I was able to sit with an award winning doctor and have a in depth conversation about recovery and how its changed over the years. After that conversation I was able to offer a DOCTOR a job at our treatment facility and to me that was an amazing accomplishment. This little drug addicted child has grown up to be a contributing member of his community and able to be taken serious by a doctor who is extremely well respected in the field of addiction medicine. To me that is what recovery is all about.

7) What are your favorite recovery slogans?
I would have to say that “keep coming back” is my favorite recovery slogan. So many people give up after trying their hand at recovery and the facts are that not everyone gets it the first time. If you keep showing up and you hang around recovery long enough you just may fall into sobriety.

8) And lastly, why does ‘recovery rock?’
Recovery rocks because we as addicts and alcoholics get the chance to become what we always had the potential to do in the first place. It’s a second chance at a beautiful life that we almost let get away from us.

Recovery Rocks – Emily Crawford

Emily is a mom of two kiddos, ages 11 and 8, and a 10 year old golden retriever. She is the wife wife of one incredibly patient and loyal husband and the daughter of an alcoholic who is the daughter of two alcoholics, one of whom took his own life and the other who got sober. Emily loves to write and launched her Quit Wining blog in 2014.

Emily Crawford - aged 4

Emily Crawford – aged 4


1)Describe your ‘rock bottom.’
My rock bottom was a slow demise. It began at a client event in March 2014. Just before checking into my hotel room to change into my dress, I located a package store and bought a six pack of Sam Adams lager. While I primped and perfected my appearance, I downed four beers. Then, I strolled across the parking lot to the event. I have absolutely no idea how much cheap red wine I drank. I can’t even recall whether or not it was open bar or if I was buying the drinks. I had a glass in my hand all night – even taking it with me, spilling like crazy, each time I went to the ladies room. I had conversations I don’t remember. I couldn’t put two words together and when I did my speech was terribly slurred. I was interviewed for a video documentary and was astonished weeks later (when I received a link to the finished product) that there was actually a decent clip of me that made the final cut. To this day, I shudder when I think about all the unusable footage of me. Long story short, I went out with a crew after the event and drank more beer and smoked a few cigarettes. I’m not a smoker. In the morning, I felt like complete garbage, had awful shakes, and promptly downed one of the remaining Sam Adams before my client picked me up for breakfast. The other beer I saved to drink before my four hour drive home. About a week or so later, I placed a call to a wellness coach I had worked with years ago. It was my cry for help. A couple of weeks later, after continuing to drink to excess daily, I had my first session with her. It was another several weeks of off again, on again drinking before I managed to stop completely.

2)What were your first 30 days of recovery like?
I remember that my first 30 days of recovery were tough, so difficult. I yelled at my kids and my husband a lot. I cried, and I am not a person who cries. I kept wondering how long I had to stop before I could start again. There was a huge part of me that thought I wouldn’t have to give up alcohol completely, just take a good long break and then begin to drink with control. During my first 30 days, my dad was hospitalized. Waiting for the doctors to figure out what was wrong with him so they could start helping him get better was a nightmare. At the same time, I began a two-week cleanse/detox to help kick start my path to healthier eating. I actually think that helped the alcohol cravings. The weather was getting warmer, so I wanted cold beers when we sat around the fire pit on weekend evenings. But, honestly, I don’t remember it being that huge a struggle not to drink. Perhaps I have blocked it out.

3)What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?
Since getting sober, I have discovered experienced clarity on a daily basis. Yes, there are still times I am completely frazzled, but I can now focus and prioritize and manage the overwhelming feelings that from time to time flood in when I try to wear my mommy, wife, business owner, and sobriety hats all at once. I remember more. I smile and laugh with my kids more. I accomplish more in one day than I ever thought possible. I have rediscovered a love of reading. I am more present in my own life and the lives of those I love. I’ve recommitted myself to honest and authentic living, leading by example. I’ve grown my business with quality clients. And, I’ve made time for a healthy kind of self care.

4)If you could go back in time to you when you were drinking/using what would you tell yourself?
If I came face to face with my former drinking self, I would tell her she’s an idiot, that she’s throwing away her life, screwing up her kids, and stands to lose her business. I would tell her life can be so much more, so much easier and fulfilling without booze, and that nothing is truly as scary as it seems. I would tell her how great it feels to wake up clear headed every morning, sleep soundly every night, and how freeing it is to not have to plan every waking moment around getting and hiding a high. I would tell her people don’t care if you have something else in your wine glass, just as long as you show up for the party. I would tell her she is plenty creative and funny without the liquid courage and that the emotions she’s afraid to feel aren’t as bad as she imagines.

5)What have been the most useful things you have learnt about yourself since getting sober/clean?
Since getting sober, I have learned that I have even more value than I suspected I did. I wanted others to value me and tried to prove my worth, but it wasn’t until I started showing up for myself that I began to feel others’ confidence and trust in me. I have learned that the things we deserve most don’t always require hard work.

6)Tell me about something wonderful that happened to you recently that never would have happened if you had been drinking.
Had I not quit drinking, I never would have started my blog and its presence on social media. The wonderful thing that has started to happen as a result of that work is the opportunity to connect with others who are thinking about getting sober, struggling to stay sober, and celebrating years of sobriety. I’ve found a community I didn’t know existed and a place where I can share my story both as a creative and therapeutic activity for me during recovery and as a source of support for others with whom my story resonates.

7) What are your favorite recovery slogans? One day at a time. The longer I’m sober, the drunker I was. Sobriety is a journey, not a destination.

8) And lastly, why does ‘recovery rock?’ Very simply, recovery rocks because it has given me clarity, focus, and a whole new view of what life can be. Recovery makes me want to live. Every. Single. Day

Recovery Rocks – Britni de la Cretaz

Britni de la Cretaz is a social worker and community organizer in Boston, MA. She’s a feminist mama, queer femme, and Red Sox enthusiast. She is a founding member of Safe Hub Collective and also organizes with No Boston 2024 to oppose Boston’s Olympic bid. And she totally rocks, read her awesome blog here.

Photo credit: Justine Johnson Photography

Photo credit: Justine Johnson Photography

1) Describe your ‘rock bottom.’

My “rock bottom” was more emotional than physical. Yes, I was unemployed and yes, I’d been kicked out of my apartment and was staying on a friend’s couch and yes, I hadn’t showered in a few days. But that wasn’t all that unusual for me at that time in my life and I was so delusional about how bad things really were that I thought things weren’t all that bad. I was pretty convinced I’d be able to sweet talk my way back into my house and that eventually I’d find a job. So even though my life was going pretty poorly, that’s not really what helped me decide to get sober.

The day I decided to get sober was no different than any other day, really. It was 9 in the morning and I’d been up all night drinking and doing cocaine. I was still drinking and doing cocaine and I was in that horrible place where I’d been up all night and I look out the window at all the people living normal, functional lives. They’re walking their dogs, they’re going to work, and I feel like I’m on the outside looking into the fishbowl. This was a place I’d been a million times before, but for some reason, that day, I realized that something about me was different than all those other people. In that moment, I realized that not only did I not know how to get up and live life every day, but that I’d never known how to do that. In that moment, I realized that I needed help. I consider it a moment of grace.

2) What were your first 30 days of recovery like?

I went away to treatment and ended up staying for 4 months. I truly believe that I needed to be separated physically from places where I could drink in order to get through the initial period of sobriety. I’d been trying to control my drinking and drug use up to that point, and tried various ways of stopping, including therapy, psychiatric medications, joining book clubs (I joined 3 at once, being the alcoholic that I am), joining a gym, and all kinds of other things that never worked.

I think it’s important to note that though I had the initial willingness to realize that I needed help and that something needed to change, that doesn’t mean that I was immediately willing to do whatever it took to stay sober. Willingness was fleeting and often momentary. It came and went and it was through taking action and doing things even though I didn’t want to that got me to a place where I really did want to be sober. I’d say that I was sober for about three weeks before I decided that I really wanted to throw myself into getting well and that I might really want to give sobriety a shot.

My first month of sobriety was emotional. I was in a safe place, which was good, but I was left with myself, which was what I’d been trying to avoid for years. It’s why I used– to avoid having to be alone with myself. Not only was I alone with myself, but all of my coping mechanisms (well, my only coping mechanism– using substances) had been taken away from me. I felt raw and exposed. One of the things that got me through was listening to other people that had been there. Where I went to treatment, everyone that worked there was in recovery. It was really helpful for me because I didn’t believe they were full of shit and I believed that they’d been where I was and that their lives really were better.

On my first night of treatment, I was in a car driving to a meeting with some other folks and we all started singing a Kesha song at the top of our lungs and it was probably the first time I can remember having actual fun while sober. It was momentary and it was fleeting, but that moment stuck with me and gave me a glimpse of what was possible. I also spent the first 30 days of sobriety doing 12-Step work which was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was such a painful time and I was so raw emotionally and I cried so much. But that pain was the catalyst for change because if I didn’t push through and do something different, the thought of living in that much pain for the rest of my life was too much.

3) What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?

Oh gosh, so much! I’m employable and have been with the same organization for 3 years now. I got married in sobriety and had a daughter in sobriety. We bought a house. I have friends and a life, but mostly, I wake up every morning and I don’t wish I hadn’t.

4) If you could go back in time to you when you were drinking/using what would you tell yourself?

I would tell myself that my life could be so amazing if I would just let it. That there is a solution to a seemingly hopeless condition of mind and body. And that it’s possible to have fun sober!

5) What have been the most useful things you have learnt about yourself since getting sober/clean?

There are so many things that I always said I didn’t want (marriage, kids, to stop drinking) but I think it was because I knew that while I was drinking and using, I was incapable of having those things and I didn’t deserve them. I knew I couldn’t have them so I lied to myself and pretended that I didn’t want them. If you had told me when I was drinking that my life would look like it does today, not only would I have not believed you, but I would have said I didn’t want this life anyway. I’ve also learned that I’m a nice person who enjoys doing good things for people. I used to pride myself on hating everyone and being a bitch, but it was a defense mechanism to keep people away so they couldn’t hurt me.

6) Tell me about something wonderful that happened to you recently that never would have happened if you had been drinking.

I was able to save up enough money to buy a house. I couldn’t even pay my bills when I was active because all my money went to the bar and the dealer. It’s incredible to realize how much I was blowing!

7) What are your favorite recovery slogans?

Faith without works is dead. Act your way into right thinking. They’re both about putting one foot in front of the other and making something happen for yourself.

8) And lastly, why does ‘recovery rock?’

Recovery rocks because I don’t want to drink today and I don’t want to die today and both of those things are an absolute miracle.

Recovery Rocks – Laura Willoughby

Laura Willoughby MBE is the founder of Club Soda, a UK based on-line support group for people who just don’t want to drink alcohol. Laura has a background in campaigning and is also the CEO of Move Your Money, a website dedicated to advising people where they can make their money work for a more equitable and sustainable future. She has a background in campaigning and working in the public sector. Personally, I’m thrilled that she is applying her formidable talents to raising awareness of our alcohol problem by creating Club Soda. The alcohol free revolution is happening….

Laura Willoughby MBE

Laura Willoughby MBE

1) Describe your ‘rock bottom.’

I don’t think there was one rock bottom – my dad died in 2005 from an excess of cider and I know I am my fathers daughter. Despite my panic at the time and knowing I needed to sort my drinking it got worse before it got better. A job that I did not enjoy tipped me over the edge and I knew that would not change until I sorted my drinking.

2) What were your first 30 days of recovery like?

I drank tonnes of water (I was amazed at how much my body craved it) and I felt tired a lot. So I rewarded myself with sleep. It really helped I quit with my partner at the time. It made the first 30 days much easier. At the end of 3 months the tiredness gave way to amazing amounts of energy, which was handy as I volunteered on the 2012 games. I could never have managed the volunteering if I had still been drinking. I felt like an athlete.

3) What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?

I am a campaigner by background – I am motivated by causes and wanting to make things happen. Alcohol robbed me of the energy to physically, emotionally and mentally engage with that. Now I am firing on all cylinders there is no stopping me. I feel dangerous. I would not have had the confidence to fight the banking system as CEO Move your Money if I had still been drinking. After 6 months my brain began to snap back into action – you need a clear head to get under the skin of complex issues and make the case for consumers, but its something I really enjoy and so pleased I can do it again.

4) If you could go back in time to you when you were drinking/using what would you tell yourself?

You can’t do politics well if you are tired and I was making myself unhappy because I felt ineffective, not doing anything that mattered. It was a vicious circle of demotivating job and drinking too much and I wish I had snapped out of it sooner. I feel I wasted 5 years and I am gutted.

5) What have been the most useful things you have learnt about yourself since getting sober/clean?

You can be addicted to not drinking – but at times of stress, excitement or sadness I still crave something to make me feel different, to consume something to create a feeling. Its part of the way society has wired us. Sometimes chocolate is not enough and that is the time I need to be the strongest.I am scared of trying a drink and so don’t want to go there. I have fallen in love for the first time and I don’t want to fuck it up.

6) Tell me about something wonderful that happened to you recently that never would have happened if you had been drinking.

I could not have set up Club Soda without quitting. I have a long list of half-baked ideas that I want to make happen, but this one was my strongest desire. I could see there was a gap for something to help people take a self-guided journey to change their drinking – like there is for running a marathon, losing weight or even quitting sugar.

The language of recovery and identification as an alcoholic was always difficult for me and I know I am not alone. So Club Soda is about helping people set their own goal, whether it is to cut down, stop for a bit, quit or stick. We don’t want to tell you what to do, just help. 1 in 5 people in the UK want to change their drinking but most would not use the word alcoholic and there is as stigma about engaging with health services and AA. So we use different language and by creating a community that can support each other, those that could ultimately benefit from services designed for dependent drinkers can get confidence from peers to go along.

We have sent 12 months trying to refine the offer and where we sit alongside more traditional providers and I think we have got it right (existing players in this space clearly think so and that has been great validation for us), but we are still learning all the time. All feedback is welcome.

7) What are your favorite recovery slogans?

I don’t really have any. If people ask why I don’t drink I says “its because I was so good at it I wanted to give everyone else a chance” – we surprise people the most when they realise that we are not anti-alcohol and we are pro-pub. It changes the conversation instantly and our members like it.

8) And lastly, why does ‘recovery rock?’

Those hours in the day you wish you had – they were hidden behind that bottle of red wine 😉

Cheers

Laura

Recovery Rocks – Jeanne

Jeanne writes the funny and engaging blog Soberly Speaking. I love how she describes herself as ‘intentionally sober.’ Originally from New York she now lives in Florida with her husband, kids and father. She obviously did a great job in making sobriety look attractive because her husband and best friend saw what she was doing and decided to stop drinking too. Here is her story of recovery.

Jeanne - Soberly Speaking

Jeanne – Soberly Speaking


1) Describe your ‘rock bottom.’
It was a hangover. A bad hangover. It wasn’t the first. I’d had them occasionally throughout my life. I’ve got to stop drinking like this, I would say to myself. And I would. I would stop. I would stop for ten days, a week, a month, until Friday, whatever. I stopped for ten months twice, while pregnant with each kid. I would stop long enough to convince myself that there wasn’t a problem. And then I would resume the drinking lifestyle. This time was different. I’ve got to stop drinking like this, I told myself again. And then I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t sure if I could stop. That was frightening. Funny, I knew I had to quit for good when I realized I might not be able to quit at all. Sure enough, by that evening I really wanted a drink. I hung on. I hung on the next day too. On the third day I opened the phone book and found one of those support group thingies. I went. Hands down the smartest thing I’ve ever done.

2) What were your first 30 days of recovery like?
Like I said, the first two days were awful. Frightening. I didn’t have physical withdrawals but mentally I was scared to death. On day three I met people who had already accomplished what I was trying to accomplish. On day three I felt hopeful. Each day that followed, I felt slightly better. By two weeks I felt brand new. Good to go. False alarm I thought. Look, I quit. There’s no problem after all. I thought of rewarding my success, with a drink. Thankfully, my new friends had told me this would happen. They encouraged me not to be tricked by my own my mind. They warned me that the drinking thing only gets worse. They suggested that I push further into sobriety. They predicted that it would be better than I could ever imagine. I listened. I took a lot of naps. I took it easy on myself. I knew I was doing the most important thing I’d ever done in my life. Cooking was tough. I associated certain foods with certain drinks. We ate a lot of breakfast food that month. Boredom was a big problem. Then, a saving grace. My daughter begged to foster a litter of puppies for the local animal shelter. There were nine of them. Along with my daughter I fed them, bathed them, played with them and cleaned up after them all day long. Those little guys took away the excruciating boredom of early sobriety. Later, of course, there would be no boredom. My days since have been filled with activities and self discovery that I only dreamed about back in the day when I was still drinking.

3) What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?
Realizing that there are millions of others like me, that I didn’t have to do it alone, that was pretty good. And one of my best friends joined me on the sober journey. Back in the eighties she and I were on a quest to find the perfect bar. We searched for a bar like Cheers. Like I said, it was the eighties. After I turned sober and had been to several of those support group thingies, I called her up. I think I’ve found Cheers, I told her. Everybody knows your name, their troubles are all the same, they’re always glad you came, yada yada. We laughed. She was happy for me. A year later she made the decision to live sober. And then my husband. He decided to join sobriety too. It’s been really cool having them both with me on this magical journey.

4) If you could go back in time to you when you were drinking/using what would you tell yourself?
Don’t wait. Do it now. Choose sobriety as a lifestyle. It doesn’t suck. It’s amazing! You don’t have to wait for a ‘bottom’ as defined by the images we see in the media. I meet young people in recovery all the time. Twenty somethings. I watch as their lives rocket to a new dimension. I’m jealous. How is it they’re seeking sobriety so young these days? I think (& maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong but I think) it’s partly because sober people are coming out of the shadows. Not preaching. Not hiding. Just living. Sober, happy, joyous and free. They’re letting their lights shine. And so, the young people are increasingly aware that there’s another way. Sobriety as a lifestyle choice. It’s not just for the church mice. It’s not just for drunken trolls and hobos. It’s for anybody who wants it. And it doesn’t suck. I didn’t know. I would tell myself, don’t wait. Do it now.


5) What have been the most useful things you have learnt about yourself since getting sober/clean?

Everything. I’m good and I’m kind and I’m lovable. Wait, back the truck up. I always knew those things about myself. I didn’t value them. Today I value those things. I know my self worth. Im a talented writer. My intuition is spot on. I can trust it. I’m not in charge of the world. That’s a relief. So much more. Everything. Kindergarten stuff. Stuff I missed the first time around.

6) Tell me about something wonderful that happened to you recently that never would have happened if you had been drinking.
There’s not one thing. There’s everything. Everything is good and better and wonderful. Better than I ever imagined.

7) What are your favorite recovery slogans?
They’re all good. Little nuggets that help in various situations. To name a few: My bottom is where I put the shovel down. Live and let live. Do the next right thing.

8) And lastly, why does ‘recovery rock?’
Freedom. I didn’t even know I was a captive, until after I was free. Sweet freedom.

Recovery Rocks – Nell Schroer

Since 2008, Nell Schroer has been in and out the rooms, doing what she does best – research and development. Literally struck sober in 2013, Nell knew there was only one thing left to do – share her experience, strength, and hope with others. As a professional life coach, Nell is wholly committed to helping women in recovery find+love their own path.

Nell loves Africa, Jesus, boiled peanuts, funny cat pictures, SnapChat, and Nine Inch Nails. She enjoys speaking and presenting on a variety of topics to young people in her community. You can find her at www.nellschroer.com.

nell13_aveweb

1) Describe your ‘rock bottom.’

In 2008, I thought my rock bottom was when I totaled my car in a drunk driving accident. I hear it was pretty nasty, though I blacked out and still have no recollection of the wreck.
In 2009, I thought my rock bottom was when I cheated on my fiancé. Out of my mind drunk. I cried for seven days straight.
In 2012, I thought my rock bottom was when I was fired from my first “real” job. After only 45 days. AND I had just signed a two-year apartment lease. I ended up being one of “those” people who had to return her two kittens to the humane society*.

But it wasn’t any of those instances.

It was in 2013, when I realized I had everything I ever wanted – husband, beautiful home, wonderful job, freedom to travel to incredible places – and I was the most miserable I had ever been.

Why couldn’t I just be happy, joyous, and free?

There were so many things I wanted to do – apply to graduate school, completely restructure the program I was overseeing at my job, lose weight. I would start working on all of them, but I could not finish one of them. I was left with all of these unfinished projects, and more than ever, was feeling like a failure. The cheapest beer and my favorite pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream could numb the pain no longer.


2) What were your first 30 days of recovery like?

After several in-and-outs through the years, I managed to slough off the crappy parts of early sobriety. This time, I wanted it so bad I could taste it (no pun intended, of course). I was finally doing what I always needed to do. And now I actually wanted to do it!

The best part? My husband (who is not an addict) told me that he thought I was more fun when I didn’t drink. During those first 30 days, we laughed and enjoyed each other’s company like we had just met. In just an instant, our marriage was transforming. The amount of change that occurred in our home during this short period of time is not short of a miracle.

3) What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?

The day before I surrendered it all for the last time, I literally heard God say to me, “If you want to do all of these things you say you want to do, then you have to quit drinking.” I woke up the next morning, told my husband I was going to a meeting, and that was that.

I had been struck sober.

There is no other way to describe it. The spiritual experience that has accompanied my sobriety cannot be put to words.

And as a result of this spiritual awakening, I have:
– Become a life coach
– Started my own coaching business
– Lost 25 pounds
– Started training for a half marathon (I’m up to 7.25 miles, woohoo!)
– Survived a move across multiple states
– Hired my own life coach
– Developed a greater awareness for my intuition
– Learned how to continuously love myself through it all

4) If you could go back in time to you when you were drinking/using what would you tell yourself?

This person shaped who I am today. I just want to tell her, “Thank you.” and “I love you.”

5) What have been the most useful things you have learnt about yourself since getting sober/clean?

When I choose to live in my truth. When I choose to share my story. It inspires. Stepping out of my fear is a victory for all addicts – recovering or not.

I can still find ways to numb my pain – my addiction gets sneakier by the minute.


6) Tell me about something wonderful that happened to you recently that never would have happened if you had been drinking.

Oh, wow. Can I just tell you how much fun a wedding can be sober? Some friends of mine in recovery recently got married, with a fairly intimate group of friends and family. Not a drop of alcohol was served.

It was incredible to see all of these sober people – young, old, in recovery, out of recovery, and all in between – dancing their butts off, stuffing their face with cake, and gabbing like school children. It was a beautiful sight to see. And you could feel the love. There was so much love.

I don’t think I have ever experienced that at a wedding. Ever.

7) What are your favorite recovery slogans?
“Progress not perfection” is my go-to daily affirmation. Paralyzed by perfection all of these years, I have a daily reprieve to live through imperfect action so that I may carry my message to others.

“They will be done, not mine” is my daily prayer. It is exhausting trying to run the show.

8) And lastly, why does ‘recovery rock?’

I get to be the real Nell. No more hiding. No more story telling. There are no versions of Nell. I get to learn more about who she is everyday. She is a beautiful person and I love her very much. And for that, I am incredibly grateful.

*Happy ending, my two loves were adopted immediately after I surrendered them. They are so much happier than they would have been with me! I now live at home with my husband + 3 fur babies.

Recovery Rocks – Magz shores

Magz Shores is a person in long-term recovery from a substance-use disorder. She is the blogger behind the Sober Courage website. She is also a mom of three remarkable kids, and a wife to an awesome husband who is likewise in recovery. During the day, she works full-time as a Senior Content Specialist at an e Learning firm in Washington DC. Maggie is also an avid gardener, music lover, coffee junkie, and happiness fanatic. Find out how she went from liquid courage to sober courage.

Magz Shores from Sober Courage

Magz Shores from Sober Courage

1) Describe your ‘rock bottom.’

Well, the rock bottom for me was not as catastrophic as I expected. I have already been to detox, rehab, and jail, and lost custody if my daughter. I always thought that if one of these events happened, then that would definitely be my rock bottom. Yet, it was not, and after each event, I swore that I would never, ever drink again, and then I drank again. This is how baffling and cunning the disease is.
Strangely enough, my last drunk and the day I consider my rock bottom was not something I planned; there was nothing really wrong in my life. It was a sunny, springtime, Friday afternoon when I started drinking. However, when I woke up, it was Monday morning, and I was laying face down on the kitchen floor, barely able to move. The house was a wreck and I was still wearing the same clothes I did two days ago. When I realized that I just spent the entire weekend in a blackout, I completely freaked out! Somewhere in the middle of all the crazy thoughts running through my head, I had a moment of clarity. I finally came to the complete understanding that I could NOT drink like a normal person, and that I really was an alcoholic.

2) What were your first 30 days of recovery like?
That very first month was tough! I drank so much through that last weekend that my initial physical withdrawals lasted about a week and I had the shakes and sweats and was not able to sleep at all. Emotionally I felt completely exhausted. I was scared, and anxious, and felt like an outcast without my liquid social buffer! I realized that I had no idea how to live life on life’s terms; I had no coping skills, and could not keep my emotions leveled. In desperation, I spent my days in 12-step meetings, one after another. I remember often just sitting there and crying as I was finally letting go of the idea that I could ever drink safely. I had come to a realization that I was no longer drinking because life was bad; I actually drank no matter what was happening in my life.
Those first 30 days were really foggy; however, I do remember one amazing moment. I was driving to work early one Saturday morning. I was finally feeling ok physically, and I was enjoying watching the sunrise as I drove in. I remember noticing many cars on the road, and several people walking their dogs, and some joggers and bicyclist. I remember thinking, what are all these people doing out so early? It is Saturday morning for goodness sakes! Is this normal? Do people actually get up early on a Saturdays on purpose? Really? I honestly though that everyone slept until late afternoon on Saturdays!

3) What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?

There were so many things! What at one time seemed completely impossible became possible when I go sober. I think the best thing that has happened was that I have regained custody of my daughter, and I have been co-parenting her along with her dad, which I definitely believed that it was never going to happen. I have also been able to go back to school, which then led me to a great job. I also got married and had a sober wedding, then bought a house, and had two beautiful boys. This all, is still often very surreal to me. The life I live today is completely different from the life I led when I was drinking.

4) If you could go back in time to you when you were drinking/using what would you tell yourself?
This is a hard question. The thing is that no matter what I heard from others my mind was not clear enough to listen or believe any of it. I do remember people telling me that I never have to feel this way again, and that sort of stuck with me for a long time. Maybe, I would tell myself that there is more to life than this, and that I am not a bad person, I am sick person that needs to get well. However, I do not think I would have listen to anything. I truly believe that I had to go through all the struggles to actually see the damage that my drinking was causing.

5) What have been the most useful things you have learnt about yourself since getting sober/clean?
The most interesting and surprising thing that I have learned about myself was that I am actually naturally outgoing, bubbly and fun – who knew! I always thought that it was the alcohol that had brought out these qualities, but then in sobriety, I found out that they were actually a part of my personality all along, and without the booze, they actually became even more predominant.

6) Tell me about something wonderful that happened to you recently that never would have happened if you had been drinking.
Well, sometimes the wonderful things that happen because we are sober are obvious, and sometimes they are not. Recently we have been dealing with our son’s extensive behavioral problem. It has been quite a challenge at home and at school. He is currently going through therapy and has just finished extensive testing by a child behavioral specialist. The wonderful part about this, that would have never happened if we (my husband is also in recovery) were still drinking, is that we are able to support him and love him no matter what. If we were still in active addiction, he would be on his own; instead, he has two parents who are actively doing whatever is needed to help him through this challenging time, and for that, I am truly grateful.

7) What are your favorite recovery slogans?
My very favorite is, “Nothing changes if nothing changes,” and that is because it reminds me that I have to actually change something in order to get different results. My other favorite is, “Forget all the reasons it won’t work and believe the one reason that it will,” and I love this one because it forces me to focus on the positive side of every situation. And I also love, “HOPE – Hold On Pain Ends,” because I know that I am not going to hurt forever.

8) And lastly, why does ‘recovery rock?’
Recovery rocks for sure and there are just so many reasons why, but I think that for me it is because it gave me a second chance at life. It gave me the freedom to do all the things that I have never been able to do because I was paralyzed by my addiction. To sum it all up – Recovery is not an anchor, it is a pair of wings! ~ (heard in a meeting)

Recovery Rocks – Nancy Carr

Nancy Carr

Nancy Carr

Nancy Carr, an avid reader of Memoirs, and Non-Fiction, began writing short stories and essays in her free time in her late 20s. In 2003, Nancy was 36 years old and was typing in her journal about how f&*#@ up her life was with alcohol and drugs; her life was spinning out of control. After receiving her 2nd DUI in early 2004, she walked into a self help meeting to get a court card signed. By 2005, sober for over a year, she had compiled a 250 page manuscript from her journal entries for her own Memoir. Having recently launched “Last Call, A Memoir” via Kindle, Nancy has received 5 star reviews for her honesty and openness about her alcoholism and drug addiction. Nancy is hoping her story will help others, specifically young woman. Nancy keeps busy by working from home with a day job that pays the bills, practicing yoga and spending time at the Beach with her husband and Lucy, their rescue dog and her constant companion. Nancy is grateful every day for her sobriety and doesn’t take it for granted, she knows that to keep it, she has to give it away. Nancy currently resides in Southern Florida. Feel free to read her blog at http://lastcall2015.blogspot.com.


1) Describe your ‘rock bottom.’

My bottom came at the perfect time as I knew I had a problem with drinking and cocaine for years, but I just didn’t care. I needed a strong jolt as I had resigned myself to the fact that this was my life and I’ll just keep plodding along until the wheels fall off . By age 18 I had become a cocaine addict, as well as a daily drinker. Fast forward to March, 2004, the wheels fell off! After drinking for 7 hours – a normal Saturday occurrence – I was served my 2nd DUI by the State of California. It was midnight, in front of a liquor store, and I was with someone I had just met at a nightclub. It was 5 years after my first DUI and I was surprised it actually took that long. I was 37 years old and had been living my life as if I was still 18. I was a functioning alcoholic and “recreational” cocaine addict with a career and my free-wheeling lifestyle was typical because most everyone drank and used the way I did. I had lowered my companionship and knew I needed help, but I also didn’t want to give up my best friends – alcohol and cocaine. I waited 6 weeks before I entered a self-help meeting (encouraged by my DUI attorney). I just went to get the court card signed and soon after I left that meeting, I went on to drink for the next week. During that week, I kept thinking that if others could do it, maybe I should give it a shot? I heard hope in that meeting and I felt that at this point in my life I had nothing to lose. It was complete blind faith. I realized that everything bad that had ever happened to me in my life was due to my drinking and drugging. I decided to give the sobriety thing a try. I had no other options at that point. I remember my last drink like it was yesterday. It was red wine, and I drank it right out of the bottle. The next day I went to my 2nd self help meeting and have been sober ever since.

2) What were your first 30 days of recovery like?

I was in a fog and felt quite robotic. I was living on auto-pilot and just started going to self-help meetings every day, and listening to what other women told me to do. Within my first week I started talking to some of the women and most were woman that I could have seen myself drinking with. I felt like I connected with them. The difference is they were sober. Some had weeks of sobriety more than I did, and some had years, either way, I wanted what they had. I couldn’t sleep much or I slept too much. I cried a lot. I felt ashamed about my past and started journaling to get the thoughts out of my head. I didn’t tell a lot of people (back home) and pretty soon I had 30 days. I couldn’t believe it. I just kept doing what the elders at the self-help meetings told me to do.


3) What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?

Since I got sober, so much has changed. The best things for me have been internal. Dignity, integrity, honesty, helping others – living life by those principles has guided me to be a better person. I want to help others and give back. I have choices today. I have moved four times in sobriety and I get to live life the way I want to – not the way alcohol wants me to. I have a career where I get to work from home, because I’m a sober person with a good work ethic who is accountable and can be trusted. I met my husband in recovery and we get to share our journey together. I have great relationships with my family and friends – they are full and I am a participant. Physically, I take care of myself now. I try to stay fit and eat healthier and I wash my face before I go to bed now! I would have none of this if I wasn’t sober.

4) If you could go back in time to you when you were drinking/using what would you tell yourself?

Gosh, I’d tell myself to listen to my inner voice. Listen to that voice that kept telling me “you have a problem, this isn’t normal.” I was so afraid of admitting that I had a problem and I was scared to let anyone think I did. I wanted everyone to like me and to be loved. I would tell myself that its ok to be true to yourself. That’s the first step in recovery – getting honest about who you truly are.

5) What have been the most useful things you have learnt about yourself since getting sober/clean?

That it’s ok to be who I am. I’m not a bad person. I was just a sick person doing sick things. Now I’m a healthy person trying to live healthy – emotionally, physically and spiritually. I’m much more apathetic than I used to be and I try to give others the benefit of the doubt. Nothing is earth shattering and horrific any more. I don’t have the impending sense of doom that I used to live with every day. I lived in a very black and white world before. The fear that used to rule my life is gone. It’s ok to make mistakes and be human.

6) Tell me about something wonderful that happened to you recently that never would have happened if you had been drinking.

The list is so long! Every day I get up without a hangover is still mind boggling to me! But, a few weeks ago, I was able to surprise some friends in San Diego. I got sober in Encinitas, CA and that’s where I feel most “at home”. I got sober with a core group of woman there. One of them recently got married and she had a party to celebrate her nuptials. I was able to get on a plane and surprise her (and my other friends) and visit with them for a long weekend. If I was still drinking, nothing like that would have occurred. I never went anywhere or did anything when I was drinking. I didn’t have money to travel, I didn’t get invited to nice parties and I wasn’t thinking of others. My husband and I are now saving for a trip to go to Italy to celebrate my Dad’s 75t Birthday later this year. The fact that I’m saving money to spend time with Family – again, never would have happened if I was drinking!

7) What are your favorite recovery slogans?

I like a lot of them actually, but a few I like to say to myself and use with others:
We will learn to love you before you can love yourself.
Keep coming back.
It works if you work it.
Let go and let god.
Don’t leave before the miracle happens.


8) And lastly, why does ‘recovery rock?’

FREEDOM! When you live a life of recovery, you have the freedom to do anything you want. Nothing holds you back. You have more money, more options, more choices and more dignity and integrity than you’d ever imagine.

You can follow Nancy on Twitter here.