Category Archives: Women and alcohol

Do you want to go to She Recovers in NYC?

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Well now you can!
Tickets are sold out and there is a huge waiting list for cancellations, HOWEVER the event is going to be live streamed.
So you can attend She Recovers from anywhere in the world!
You will be able to see and hear keynote speakers Marianne Williamson, Glennon Doyle Melton, Gabrielle Bernstein and Elizabeth Vargas.

In addition to the above you will also have access to:
– TWO yoga sessions with Taryn Strong and Elena Brower
– listen to a talk by She Recovers founder Dawn Nickel
– go behind the scenes with the Sober blogging team
– Spoken word performance by Elena Brower
– Musical performance by Elizabeth Edwards
– Speakers including Nikki Myers from Y12SR

And there’s more! You will have access to the content for 60 days after the event, the keynote speakers will ONLY be available via the LIVESTREAM.

and finally…..you can take part in the She Recovers community online, chat with other She Recovers attendees and ask questions of the panelists and speakers.

All this for just $79 (if purchased by the end of March, $89 after). You can buy tickets for this exclusive event here: BUY MY TICKETS NOW!!!!

Marianne Williamson on spirituality


Sometimes I have a post in mind and then I realize that someone has said everything so much better than I ever could. Marianne Williamson is one of the greatest teachers of applied spirituality that I know. She describes herself as a ‘spiritual activists’. Don’t you love that?
I’ve seen Marianne speak in person at one of her weekly seminars in New York City. She is the real deal. Which is why I’m super excited to see her again at She Recovers* in NYC in May.
I particularly like this interview as she discusses the ‘addictive global-mind.’ How we have been trained since birth to consume, to buy objects as the ultimate fulfillment to happiness and how so many of us find that lacking.

” -that we are addicted to certain things because we’ve been taught that something outside us is the source of our happiness. Consumerism in that sense is a form of idolatry. That cruise…that object…that whatever…will make you happy. And then, of course, if it doesn’t work out, then here’s a pharmaceutical to lift your spirits about it. When, in fact, the source of our happiness has very little to do with what we get and has everything to do with what we give. Simply knowing that, strikes at the core of our addiction to immoderate accumulation”.

She has many great insights into recovery including why relationships are so essential to recovery and spiritual growth. You can read the rest of the interview here.
SheRecovers in NYC Member Sober Blogger Team
*She Recovers has sold out, BUT there is a wait list if you still want to try and come.

Caitlin Moran blocked me on Twitter and I’m kinda devastated.

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It’s true. She blocked me.

She was one of my ‘go to’ people when anything interesting happened, because she always writes so succinctly and is piercingly honest. Initially, I thought she was taking a Twitter break as I couldn’t see her tweets on Tweetdeck. Then to my horror, I realized she had actually blocked me. She had actually taken a nano-second out of her day to press the button that said ‘block user’.

I’m devastated that she imagines me to be some kind of troll who is sending her abusive messages (which as a kick ass feminist I imagine she gets a lot off). I’m heart broken that she thinks I’m one of them. And I’d like to apologize to her, as the last thing I wanted to do was cause offense.
It’s the first time social media has managed to dent my self-esteem. I assume it’s because she either read this, or saw one of my tweets, that I tweeted at her, imploring her to read this. I’m not a great writer and Moran does this for a living, but I tried really hard to balance how much I admired and respected her, with an attempt to initiate a conversation about how much binge drinking is normalized, and laughed about in our culture. I was suggesting she maybe mentioned this a bit too much, and could perhaps have a think about the impact of what she was saying. Obviously I came off as smug, patronizing and judgmental, and trust me, my 16 year old self is looking on in horror. How did I become this kind of grown up?

Because that isn’t what I set out to do. In truth, it is not binge drinking that I actually have a problem with. Adults need to make their own decisions, and many of us choose to do stuff that we know is bad for us, regardless. My issue has always been the rhetoric around binge drinking. The normalization of abnormal drinking. The jokey, jokey, references to hangovers and laughing about drinking quantities of alcohol that would kill a normal person.

It’s the subtext that says ‘alcohol is the solution to whatever problem you have.’

Stressed? I’ve got a bottle of gin here – that’ll sought it.
Bored housewife? Then it must be wine-o-clock, ‘wink, wink.’
Had a tough day? Nothing like a drink or two or three to sort that right out.
This is the language I’d like to challenge and I was hoping Ms. Moran would hear me on that.
But clearly I failed.

And I’m still not clear on how to address this. I do not want to be the fun police, I do not want to judge other people’s drinking, it’s really none of my business. I do not want to be a party pooper, or abstinence promoter (don’t believe in it).
What I do want to do is challenge how it’s represented in my culture. Because I believe our cultural representations of alcohol use are grossly incorrect, dangerous and actually camouflage’s our massive denial about the impact alcohol has. And it’s this collective denial that’s stopping people getting help.
We still culturally represent alcohol abuse as a bit of harmless fun. And it’s not harmless. It causes massive harm, to many people.
I’m not denying that drinking can be fun and can help with some unforgettable moments with friends. I’m also fully supportive of appropriate alcohol use. And even though I do have a problem with alcohol, not all my nights drinking were terrible, some were awesome.

If you have any suggestions how we can begin to change the conversation around drinking in a non-smug, non judgmental, non-twitter-blocking-by-celebrities-we-really-admire method. I would be very grateful to hear it. And if you happen to know Caitlin Moran, please tell her I’m sorry.

SHE RECOVERS – NYC

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I’m really excited to tell you about the She Recovers conference taking place in NYC on May 5-7.
I’m really honored to be taking part in this event as one of the official sober blogger team members. There will be a reception and meet on greet on the Friday night so if you are able to attend I will get to meet you in person.
The line up is killer:
*drumroll*
Gabrielle Bernstein
Elizabeth Vargas
Glennon Doyle Melton
and…..
Marianne Williamson

I know!!!!!!!!! Awesome, right!!!!!!

Tickets are selling out fast there are less than 80 left if you are interested you can purchase them here.

She Recovers is a community women who believe we are all in recovery for something and that we are stronger, together.

Dawn, me and Taryn

Dawn, me and Taryn


I met the co-founders Dawn Nickel and her daughter Taryn Strong for dinner last year, when they were out in New York planning the event. They are an awesome kick ass team and I love what they are doing for the recovering community. Dawn started She Recovers because she knew how important self care is to recovery.
She’s right. Self care is vital to recovery.
If you are free and you are able, we would love to see you at the event and meet you in person.

The SHAIR Podcast- my story

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I was delighted to be a guest on Omar Pinto’s The SHAIR Podcast recently. If you haven’t checked out a sober podcast yet then you must. The SHAIR website has over 50 different downloads available for you to listen to. Stories from addicts and alcoholics that are moving, funny, bold, brave and inspiring.

Omar is a terrific host and I loved talking to him about my story; how I got sober and what my life is like now. I lay everything out, I discuss my panic attacks, suicide attempt, my loneliness and isolation and how I got in recovery. I didn’t hold back (and there is some swearing!) I also talk about the emotional and spiritual aspects of recovery and how vital they are to sustainable recovery.
You can download and listen to the podcast here.

To my Sober Women Warriors

Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I am sober because of the good women who came before me. I am alive because of the women who stuck around and gave me advice and support when I needed it. I am well, because of their generosity and selflessness.
I have been lucky to meet many sober women warriors in my 15 years of sobriety. Whenever I felt close to defeat, one of them would show me how to carry on, for one more day. If they could overcome, then I could too.

My relationships with women when drinking, were not always good. I had a couple of close female friends (angels) but I generally felt suspicious, competitive and hostile to most women. This was mostly down to my own insecurities and low self-esteem. I always felt ‘less than’ when around women my own age, I would compare myself and always find myself lacking. One of my ‘drugs of choice’ was attention from men so other women were always competition for that. I always felt hostile to anyone who was trying to steal what I felt was rightfully mine.
All of this just added to my loneliness, it kept me separate from people, as I could never form close connections. My interactions were mostly artificial.
When I got sober I had to learn to be a friend. I had to learn how to trust women. Because women were my lifelines in early recovery, they were my teachers and mentors.
One of my greatest discoveries in sobriety has been that other women are my soul sisters, and not my enemy. Today, I have an abundance of close female friends who enrich and sustain me, and without whom I could not survive.

I read somewhere once, that you can always tell how you are doing spiritually, by how you feel, when a beautiful women walks into the room.
(I love that this could equally apply to a man or a woman).
In the past I would have thought ‘bitch.’
Now, I would think ‘she’s so beautiful.’ Because when my sister’s shine bright I shine too, nothing is lost, everything is gained.
Sober women warriors are the strongest women I know. They are a force to be reckoned with, they don’t give up, their strength and courage makes them beautiful.
Sober women warriors have much work ahead of them. There are so many young girls out there who are frightened and alone. Booze has slain them, they are without a path. They are ashamed and embarrassed, their self-esteem is crushed. If this is you, then know that sober women warriors walk amongst you. You can borrow our strength till you get yours back. You need never be alone again we will love you, until you can love yourself. You need never feel ashamed or embarrassed, we will teach you how to laugh and turn your failures into assets.

You may not know it, but you are a sober women warrior too.
Welcome to the tribe.

Recovery Rocks – KC

KC is a reference librarian at a large academic library in the Midwest. She’s always loved school, reading, and doing research. A music geek and a big animal lover who currently lives with three fur-kids (a dog and two cats). KC has a passion for greyhounds and pit bulls (the two most abused dog breeds), and has fostered several greyhounds over the years through a local greyhound rescue group.
KC has also started a recovery blog when she writes about her experiences in early sobriety, it’s delightfully called Sober and Awkward.
KC isn’t only facing up to the fact that she is an alcoholic, she is also facing a possible prison sentence due to the consequences of her drinking. Her attitude towards this is extraordinary, committed to her sobriety she is preparing for 6 months in prison with a positive and grateful attitude. Her story is amazing. Please show her some love.

KC

KC


1) Describe your ‘rock bottom.’

My rock bottom was waking up in the ICU of a major hospital last May. I was on a backboard, incubated, on oxygen, my arm in a giant cast, and my family and several of my friends were standing around my bed. I had no idea where I was or what had happened. I was too ashamed to ask, so I eventually picked up all the details: I was in a head on collision after leaving a family party, had hit another driver, and was rushed to one hospital then life-flighted to another. A state trooper later told me that he was sure I wasn’t going to make it to the second hospital, and that I was “the luckiest person in the world”. Thankfully the other driver’s injuries were minor in comparison, but I have to live with knowing that I caused physical and emotional harm to another person. While I wasn’t ready to label myself an alcoholic at this point, I realized that I had survived this horrific crash for a reason. I got a second chance at life, and many others aren’t as lucky. I also came to the radical conclusion that this “accident” was the best thing to ever happen to me. Yes, I’m still dealing with the after effects (physically, emotionally, and legally), but I’m alive, and I’ve changed my life for the better because of this.
2) What were your first 30 days of recovery like?

The first 30 days weren’t much of a struggle, because I was dealing with the aftermath of the car accident. I had to wait a week to have surgery on my arm (that’s now full of metal), and I was off of work for a month while I dealt with my injuries. After I was well enough to go back to work, I really started to struggle internally. I couldn’t drive due to my injuries, and I was dealing with legal issues as a result of my accident. I was lonely, angry and terrified. I felt like everyone else was out having fun, but me. But it’s not really fun, is it? Waking up exhausted and sick time after time, not remembering all the details of a night out that was only meant to be a couple of beers with the girls. While I continued to recover physically over the summer, I read everything I could on sobriety. Those books strengthened my resolved when I was feeling down or vulnerable. I got through the early months of my sobriety with the help of those books and with copious amounts of ice cream (ha).

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

I am mending my relationship with my boyfriend of nine years. I am no longer fighting my depression with, well, a depressant. There are no more white lies told to family and friends, no more feelings of guilt and shame when I wake up. No more wasting entire days lying in bed, horribly sick, unable to keep down even a small sip of water. I’ve always had issues with sleep when stressed, but I am sleeping so much better these days. During my last two years of drinking, my sleep was terrible. If there was any alcohol in my system, I would wake up in the middle of the night with my heart racing, and I wouldn’t be able to sleep without drugs. I am also feeling everything I need to be feeling. It’s hard to be dealing with all these emotions that have been numbed and swallowed down for years and years, but now I am able to deal with them and move on. I lost my beloved greyhound Grace Kelly in January due to a sudden and aggressive illness, and I blogged about how cathartic it was to be able to fully grieve her loss.

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

Simply that I am good enough, and that I am so much stronger than I give myself credit for.

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

I still struggle with shyness and social anxiety, but I do NOT need to use booze as a crutch for human interaction. I have learned that I am strong, and I have so many amazing people on my side who love me for me, quirks and all.

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

There is nothing specific that pops into my mind, other than how fantastic it is to always be clearheaded and in the moment. I’m also really proud of myself, which is something I’ve never felt before. Since I’ve been sober, life has thrown me the scariest curveballs yet. And here I am, sober, being positive, and trying to savor and enjoy every moment. In my treatment program and on my blog a few people have called me an inspiration, which is amazing to me. I still feel like a giant mess, but I’m doing the best that I can. Despite that, it’s wonderful to know that my story and my progress are helping others to also get well.


7) What are your favorite recovery slogans?

Its cliché, but it’s true: one day at a time. It’s the only way I’ve been able to get through my recent struggles, and it keeps everything in perspective. Also, nothing changes if nothing changes.

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

Recovery rocks because I am no longer hurting myself and others. Recovery means shrugging off the proverbial albatross that we have carried around for so long. Recovery rocks because we are free!

Confessions of a binge drinker

In my book I publish an extract on binge drinking a friend of mine wrote a few years ago. She wrote it after a drinking incident that really scared her. I think it’s one of the most powerful pieces of writing I’ve ever read. Sadly, what Clare experienced is incredibly common; a drunken woman incapable of defending herself is coerced into having sex. She wrote the first segment in 2006 and when I approached her for permission to publish it in full, she asked to write an update, which I have included. Clare is a brilliant writer and I think she eloquently portrays an experience that many women have. This is a story everyone should read.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/stopalcoholdeaths/5525252988/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/stopalcoholdeaths/5525252988/

2006
My name is Clare, and I am a binge drinker. I wouldn’t call myself an alcoholic; I’ve never craved a drink, never felt a compelling urge to drink on my own. But I do, and have, used alcohol to fuel my social life, take away shyness, and it has, at times, led me into trouble; there have been a few evenings over the years that I couldn’t remember properly, where I was embarrassed about what I’d said, when- and if – I could remember it. In this regard, I’m a lot like many British women; women who escape their busy working weeks through drink at weekends, who sometimes drink many times more the recommended limit for an evening’s drinking. I never really gave it much thought, until recently; because it was only recently, that my innocent pastime, my shyness releaser, my relaxant after a hard week, led me into trouble.

As I’ve got older, my alcohol tolerance has dropped. It takes less than it used to, to make me cross the line between being tipsy and being drunk. Between feeling slightly uninhibited and having my judgement completely destroyed. And sometimes, I forget that I can’t drink like I used to. Like the evening six months ago that is going to prey on my mind for a long time to come.

I started the evening at a party. It wasn’t very lively, a small gathering, and I was listening to some dull story someone was telling me. I tend to drink more when I’m listening, especially if the listening isn’t interesting. I had a few glasses of wine I guess; I can’t really remember. At about 11 pm two of my friends announced they were going on to another party. They invited me to join them. I declined.

Just one more drink….

At 11.30 I headed home. As I was walking, I thought, on the way back, that I might just look in to the other party. One of the friends who’d gone had texted me, urging me to come along; he seemed keen for me to join them. When I arrived, I was glad I had. It was a packed party, full of a wide mix of people, young, trendy, laughing, dancing. I remember someone filling up my glass with champagne. I remember someone else giving me a cocktail.

It’s after that that things become hazy. My memories are a series of interconnected chunks, not a continuum, but a jigsaw that doesn’t quite fit together. What I do remember is coming out of an upstairs bathroom, and my ‘friend’ was waiting for me. He put his arms round me and kissed me. I kissed him back. And then I stopped, and asked him what he was doing. He was married, and was coming up to his first wedding anniversary. He and I had dated briefly a few years previously, shortly before he met his wife. But nothing came of it, and we’d never slept together. I’d all but forgotten about it.

It seemed he hadn’t though. He suggested I came home with him. I reminded him he was married. He said that he and I had ‘unfinished business’- that we had never finished what we started all those years ago, so it wouldn’t count. I told him he was married – that it wasn’t on. Just unfinished business, he said. No, I said. Quite definitely, no. I kissed him again, and felt bad enough at doing that. I told him it wasn’t a good idea. I went back to the party, talked to some other people, and had another drink.

As the party was breaking up- and this must have been at about 4am- I realised I needed to get home. My friend came to find me, said I could take a taxi from his place. It seemed reasonable enough as an idea so I went back with him to his house. Quite what happened next I don’t know. My next memory is lying on his sofa, kissing him. Him undoing my bra. And at that time, I didn’t care. I’d forgotten my earlier objections and was only aware of being kissed by an attractive man. But I did raise my objections again, when he suggested we had sex. I remember saying no, saying again, ‘but you’re married’. And I can’t remember what he said, but it was something persuasive. He carried on kissing me. He took off the rest of my clothes. And somewhere, around about six am, he fucked me over one of his sofas.

Was it rape?
Does that sound coarse? But I can’t call it making love; no emotion was there. And I can’t call it sex, either, because it was hardly an interactive experience; a few seconds worth of him satisfying his ego. Now don’t get me wrong. It definitely wasn’t rape. At some point I had agreed to it, at some point, when he had argued away my protestations about him being married, I stopped protesting; but I was thinking with my body not my brain.
(Veronica’s note: What happened to Clare is rape and is recognised as such in law. The victim offered countless protestations, but was not in charge of her faculties and was worn down by the perpetrator – her intoxication had rendered her incapable of making a choice. The reason that Clare herself says she doesn’t think she can call this rape is because, as you will see, she believes she should take responsibility for the intoxication which made her incapable of following through on her original decision to say ‘no’ firmly.)

I woke up the next day, covered in bruises and feeling sick. It took me a few minutes to remember what I’d done. I felt a pulsating pain in some of the bruises. I felt sore. And above all I felt dirty and disgusted with my self. My brain that had somehow felt disengaged from my body the night before, kicked into life, and I realised exactly what I’d done.

It took months for me to stop feeling that I was personally responsible for intruding into someone else’s marriage. It was only a few months later, when he tried all the same moves again – putting his arms around me as I left a bathroom at a party, would you believe- that I realised it was nothing to do with me. He told me he’d slept with another ex since me. He suggested to me that we make ‘the guilt worthwhile’ by having a better night than the one we’d had before.

But this time I wasn’t drunk. This time I said no, and I wasn’t open to persuasion, and I went home, saddened that what I thought was a friendship will never really be, and what I thought was a happy marriage, is heading for inevitable ruin.

But the relief that I’m not going to be ultimately responsible for the downfall of that marriage won’t take away the knowledge that I helped nudge it part of the way down that slope.

Saying ‘No’
The question that still preys on my mind is why I did it. Whether or not I can really blame the drink. Whether or not my being so drunk means that I can blame him? I’ve read that in America that they’re sending out promos to students- in an anti-date-rape campaign- saying ‘if she’s drunk or she says no, don’t touch her’. In America, extreme drunkenness is taken as a sign that she can’t consent. In England, even women who were unconscious have failed to argue in court that they were sure they hadn’t consented to sex, and the cases have been thrown out.
For my part, I have to take responsibility for what I did. For whatever state I was in at 6 am that morning, I knew what I was doing when I kissed him. When I kissed my friend’s husband. When I let myself kiss him and enjoy it and convinced myself it was OK. I do blame him for the bruises he left me with, which took two months to heal. I do blame him for the lies he has told his wife- and continues to tell her. But it was me who got so drunk, me failed to follow my own limits, me who engaged in a drug that I know can change one’s state of mind and corrupt a person’s powers to decide, and therefore, that pointless, degrading moment of drunken intercourse is something for which I can only, in all fairness, blame myself.

2014
I was in my thirties when that happened and I had only ever slept with four people prior to that point. Three relationships, one-night stand- but even he was an old friend. Casual sex wasn’t me.

So what happened next? I so, so, wish I could tell you I gave up drinking. But what actually happened was that for a long time it changed my view of sex. I viewed my body as rather seperate and sex as something rather more detached and less precious and something I should, could, ought to do to make people like me. I also felt incredibly guilty and a lot of self disgust. I wanted love and absolution from my guilt but I found men could – and did – bully me into bed. I drank on dates and this made it possible; it also led to some unsatisfying encounters and didn’t give me much by way of sexual or spiritual pleasure. Sober me is very reserved; drunk me learnt to view her body as a separate thing.

‘Not an alcoholic’ was a fair description of me in the original article. But ‘problem drinker’ was, and probably still is an accurate way to describe me.

Alcohol and dating
I’m still single, and to be honest I blame alcohol for a lot of that. There have been at least three occasions where I got dumped after the guy saw me drunk- which usually went hand in hand with my making myself sexually available in a way that went against my core instincts. My new resolution is now not to drink on a date. Not so very long ago – more recently than I’d like to admit- I found myself making a move on a truly lovely man when I was drunk. He pushed me away; in retrospect I was deeply thankful to that man and it taught me and – rather late – it taught me an important lesson.

So, if I could talk to my 25 year old – or even 30 year old – self, I would say this:
A man worthy of sharing your body with won’t want you drunk. He’ll want you awake and alert and sensuous and responsive. He will be repulsed by the idea of shagging a drunk woman and will turn down an offer from a woman who is too drunk to be sure of what she is doing. He will want you to be able to feel every touch and caress. He won’t have a ‘3-date’ rule that you have to get drunk to adhere to.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


I’m now looking for a man who cherishes reserved me, and also cherishes the passionate me – and who thinks that sex should be a joyous, special, intimate thing. To anyone reading this – especially a young girl – please value sex so much that you keep alcohol out of it.

Recovery Rocks – Danielle Stewart

I am trying to think of a really witty introduction to this week’s Recovery Rocks interview with Danielle Stewart. But I’m not going to be able to think of anything better than what she’s written herself:

Photo by: Magnus Hastings

Photo by: Magnus Hastings


I am a stand-up comedian, writer, and ex-girlfriend to countless unemployed “men.” I enjoy isolating, binge watching Law & Order SVU, and eating popcorn. I host a weekly podcast called #TheDaniStew Experience and have a blog that I update regularly called Prayers and Medication. After hitting a gnarly bottom in sobriety back in 2009, I have become quite passionate about recovery and have become a contributing writer for AfterPartyChat.com.

See what I mean?
I obsessively stalk Danielle on Twitter because she is ‘piss your pants’ funny and I think you should too.

1) Describe your ‘rock bottom.’

I like to say that I hit bottom and then skidded there for a few years. But the catalyst for my first outreach call, which led to my first 12-step meeting, was in November of 2003. After a series of lower companions, I began dating a guy who was very promising. I didn’t want to make the same mistakes with him that I had made in previous relationships. After 2 months of cautious dating, seeing him about once a week for dinner, I drunk dialed him. And I don’t mean I called him at 10 pm with a buzz on, I mean I called him shitfaced at 3 in the morning looking for answers as to why we hadn’t had sex yet. To his credit, he handled it extremely well, kind of laughed it off, but when I woke up the next morning I was mortified. It was not a side of myself I wanted him to see, in fact, it wasn’t a side of myself I was particularly interested in seeing. And even though this non-event wasn’t in the ballpark of a deal breaker, I saw the signs that I was beginning to lose control. I knew it was only a matter of time before I was in his passenger’s seat, with urine soaked tights, trying to make my vomit go out the window. So I called an old friend who suggested I join them at a meeting. The rest is history.

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

Not bad, kind of pink cloud-ish. I am a task-oriented person so once I made the decision to not drink for 30 days, which was my initial commitment, it became a task-at-hand I was determined to accomplish. I remember I had this calendar, one of those 8 ½ x 11 ones that go month by month, and I began marking each day I didn’t drink with a big, black “X”. This made me feel like it was some kind of a game and I enjoyed tracking my progress. However, at 90 days I had full-on breakdown. That pink cloud turned dark and stormy pretty quickly.

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

There are three amazing things that have happened to me as a result of sobriety.
The first is that I was finally able to get up the courage to try stand-up comedy, which I ended up pursuing as a career. My whole life people told me I should be a comedian, and deep down inside I knew that was my calling, but I was completely controlled by my addictions and my fear. The grandest of esteem-able acts, getting sober, gave me the strength to walk through the experience of getting on stage for the first time, and then one night at a time after that. Which brings me to the second best thing; I found myself through the pursuit of stand-up comedy. For that, I will be always be grateful. Up until that point I had been mediocre at everything –school, sports, work, relationships, family—but with stand-up I had found something I was good at. It gave me self-esteem, something I had never had before—ever. It was life changing for me. The third best thing that has happened is the gift of serenity. That sounds a lot hokier than I am comfortable with but it’s just the honest to God truth. I have had my ass kicked in sobriety—life on life’s terms has pulverized my ego into a shit pate. There have been so many tears, so many days spent in debilitating fear and countless nights spent in fetal position, but the end result has been a complete surrender. This is what it took for me but I am grateful that I stuck it out because I now know what serenity feels like. Not that I feel that way all the time, but it’s safe to say I feel that way half the time, and from where I came from, that is more than good enough for me.

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

For the love of God, smoke opium! Because one day you will get sober and forget you never tried it. Also, have more threesomes and sleep with at least one black man.

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

That I am an alcoholic and that is the reason I made so many of the choices I have. I am not an evil person, I am not stupid and I am not a total pussy, I am just an alcoholic who gets sick if I don’t stay on top of my disease. That has made life make so much more sense.

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

Over the past year, I have written for two television shows and shot a comedy special with a few other fantastic comedians. When I was drinking I couldn’t accomplish flossing on a regular basis. Ok fine, I still can’t, but I can safely say I would not have had the privilege of experiencing much beyond the invention of Heineken light if I was still using.

7) What are your favorite recovery slogans?

“My ego is not my amigo” and “two sickies don’t make a wellie.”


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

At the risk of sounding brainwashed by some new age cult, being in a 12-step recovery program has not only blessed me the gift of choice but it has given me a much-needed structure and design for living. I was relieved of the craving to drink alcohol years ago but my lack of coping skills and inability to live life on life’s terms would be completely unmanageable if it weren’t for tools like 12-step meetings, step work, therapy, other alcoholics to talk to, and the ability to be sober and show up when I need to. Life freaking terrifies me but thanks to the recovery community I have been able to walk through most of it with grace and dignity.
And that totally rocks.

The Relationship Myth – Part 4

Relationships.
The Holy Grail of the human experience.

Every song, every movie, every commercial is selling us the myth of romantic love as the ultimate goal in life. Women are particularly sold on the myth that there is no greater achievement than a relationship with a significant other.

We are sold the lie that romantic love is the solution to any problem. We know it’s a fairy tale, but we can’t help but want it to be true.

Image courtesy of Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Yet, so many of us fail so spectacularly at them. They make us miserable, devastated and heartbroken. How are we getting relationships so wrong?

In the depths of my drinking I truly believed a romantic relationship would save me.
In sobriety, relationships nearly killed me.
At three years sober I was suicidal again. I didn’t want to drink; I didn’t want to drug, I was just making the conscious decision not to commit suicide today.

The collapse of a relationship brought me to my knees.
My insides were burning with the pain of rejection.
My soul was broken.
I didn’t know if I could go on. I was 30 years old and I seriously believed I was destined to spend the rest of my days alone, because I knew I couldn’t go through this amount of pain again.
The thing I thought I wanted the most, I always destroyed, and I couldn’t seem to stop doing it.

It had always been that way with me. Since I was about 13 years old, boys, then men were my Holy Grail. The way a relationship, no matter how brief, made me feel, was like nothing I had ever experienced on earth. It was an intoxicating mix of lust, euphoria, excitement and pain.
It was my cocktail of choice.

Pick up, indulge, drown, and repeat.

I wasted so much of my life on the search for the Holy Grail. It consumed me. It was my reason for being. Because I truly, truly believed it would save me, that those feelings would last forever and I would be home.

The reason I believed this so whole-heartedly is because I’d bought into ‘The Relationship Myth.’
The myth that when you find true love, with that special person who is just right for you, only then, will your life be complete. Everything will be solved; there will be no more pain or loneliness, because your romantic relationship will have fixed everything that is wrong.
Because that’s what happened for Cinderella right?

The reason the myth is so powerful is it sells you the lie that a relationship will be your salvation.

Reinforced by our popular culture, the relationship myth remains powerful because so many of us are lost. Empty on the inside and born without the instruction manual, we stumble around looking for our anchor and the person that will make us ‘whole.’
The most dangerous part of the relationship myth is the belief that another person will ‘save’ us. If only we can meet the right ‘one.’ All will be well.

I would enter into relationships with men under the delusion that they were my salvation. Dazzled by my sexiness and personality all was wonderful for a few weeks, I knew I had finally found what I was looking for. Those feelings of anticipation and hope were my heroin. Inevitably, I would see terror revealed in the eyes of my beloved when they realized the full weight of my expectations.
Unable to fulfill my impossible request they would flee as quickly as they could.
Whilst I stood aghast, watching my hope of salvation crumble.
A few short weeks ago they were dazzled by me, they were obsessed, they thought I was wonderful? Where did that go? I didn’t even see it slip away.
My story of abandonment played over and over.
The day after a breakup I would wake up and see little pieces of my soul crushed upon the floor with no idea of how I was going to keep on living.
Does that sound extreme? Because it was, the search for true love nearly broke me.

When this happened again in my sobriety I knew I was in trouble. Things were meant to be better now I was sober, not worse.
I was more frightened than I had ever been drinking.

But this is what the gift of desperation looks like.
When there is nowhere left to run too, the only place left to go is deep within yourself.
This is where all the answers lie and where salvation truly lives.
It took a shift of perception to see that I wasn’t abandoned and I could save myself.
The solution I had been desperately searching for in other people had actually been within me all the time.
I had to find a way to see things differently. I understood that my faulty belief systems were ensuring I kept repeating my story of abandonment.
But I could change that.
I was left with no choice; continue this painful pattern that had driven me to the brink of suicide or, finally learn the lessons my pain had been trying to teach me all along.

Image courtesy of Theeradech Sanin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Theeradech Sanin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Only then could I break the spell of the relationship myth and know that I could save myself. Self-love saved me not romantic love.
Romantic love is a blessing in my life but it is no longer my reason for living.
Love thrives when we set it free.

You can read the other parts in this series here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3