Tag Archives: recovery rocks

Recovery Rocks – Tebby B

My goal with the Recovery Rocks interviews is to include as many different types of people and addictions that I can. This weeks interview is with Tebby who has recovered from an eating disorder.

The hardest thing about eating disorders is that you have to eat, you don’t have to drink alcohol or smoke crack. So it is hard for people to understand what abstinence means when it comes to an eating disorder, because we have to eat.
With eating disorder, abstinence usually means being abstinent from the behaviour and sometimes particular foods.
That would mean abstinence from binging, purging, starving and for some people they have to remain abstinent from particular foods like sugar and white flour.
Tebby B
This may sound hard, but having an eating disorder is a lot harder. Like any addiction it is all consuming.

Tebby was binging and purging for many years until one day she realised she couldn’t carry on. Finally her life changed when she started down a path to recovery. She met her husband, had children and a wonderful career. All addictions are lonely but eating disorders are particularly lonely. Binging and purging are hardly group activities.

Tebby understands this and would like anyone who has questions about overcoming an eating disorder to tweet her at: @TEB2350
Please share this with anyone struggling with an eating disorder. Recovery is possible.

Describe your ‘rock bottom.’
At the height of my eating disorder (at the age of 30) I can remember binging and purging as many as 10-15 times a day. I used to drink water and continue to vomit until it came out clear in the toilet so I knew I had gotten all the “bad” food out of my system (like pasta). One night, I was alone and got very drunk. It was two days before Valentine’s Day and I felt so lonely. I remember thinking to myself. “No more….. this can’t continue.” That is when I started to look for help because I knew I couldn’t defeat this beast on my own anymore.

What was your ‘moment of truth’ or ‘clarity’ that prompted you to get sober/clean?’
Watching “Girl, Interrupted” that night I described in previous question. I am not sure why it spoke to me (I’ve never watched it since. For some reason, I don’t want to ‘go back’ to that place I was that night and I feel watching it would make me relive the pain. I’m enjoying my happiness to much.

What were your first 30 days of recovery like?

It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Unlike booze, you can’t live without eating so I was forced to face my demons at every meal. I went to my therapist once a week and I was very open with my friends about my struggles. Everyone was very supportive and helped me get through those tough days. I wasn’t perfect- I was out of the hospital in May but it was August before I had stopped all purging completely.

What are the best things that have happened to you since you got healthy?
I don’t think its coincidence that I had stopped all purging at the beginning of August 2001, and I met my husband the next month. I love not having the burden and shame of such a terrible disease hanging over my head. I feel free and alive and I’m so much happier.

If you could go back in time to you when you were binging/purging what would you tell yourself?
Life doesn’t have to be this hard. The effort that you put into this disease is the problem. You can be happy and alive if you get that monkey off your back.

What have been the most useful things you have learnt about yourself since getting healthy?
I am worth it. I have value. And I am so blessed to have my husband/kids as well as some fantastic and supportive friends. Life is GOOD!!
Tebby B Family

What are your favourite recovery slogans?
Sorry- can’t think of any

And lastly, why does ‘recovery rock?’
I think recovery rocks because of how great life becomes once you start actually living it and not waiting until you beat the demons before you let yourself begin to live it. When you are happy with yourself, others become attracted to your confidence and amazing things happen

Recovery Rocks – Beth Burgess

I’m so pleased to present this weeks ‘Recovery Rocks’ interview with Beth Burgess. Beth is a Sobriety Coach and NLP practitioner. She runs her own business in London helping other addicts and alcoholics get and stay sober. She is the author of two books The Recovery Formula and The Happy Addict due out in July 2013.

Head Thumbnail - Beth Burgess
Beth is dedicated to challenging the stigma of addiction whenever she can. Her story is particularly inspiring as a short time ago she couldn’t leave her house. Now she is a public speaker.
Her website is here.

1) Describe your ‘rock bottom.’

The whole of my addiction was pretty much one long rock bottom. I sold my body to feed my addiction, ended up in two mental institutions and tried to kill myself seven times. I was also multiple diagnosis, so I had the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, Social Phobia and eating disorders to deal with, too. Towards the end of my drinking, my body was completely done, and I was in and out of hospital about every three weeks with horrendous alcohol withdrawals.

2) What was your ‘moment of truth’ or ‘clarity’ that prompted you to get sober/clean?’

I always wanted to sort myself out, so there was no moment where I suddenly thought “I’m sick of living like this.” I had always been sick of living like that, but I had an anxiety disorder, and I was too afraid to even leave the house without a drink. It was more a matter of finding the answers to solve my problems, so that I could actually recover.

Luckily when I was in my mid-20s, I had my anxiety disorder completely cured with NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming). At that point, I was able to go about my day like everyone else, without the crippling fear that had tormented me for so long.

It still took me a little while to get sober properly, as, despite going to alcohol services, I didn’t understand anything about addiction. I didn’t understand that controlled drinking doesn’t work if you’re an addict. I didn’t know that recovery was more than just putting down the bottle.

It took me a lot of trial and error to finally figure out what does work and how to have a strong recovery. That’s one of the reasons I wrote my books – I wanted to educate people who want to recover, so they don’t make the same mistakes that I did.

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

Let’s not sugar-coat this – it was very difficult for the first month or so. I felt like I didn’t know who I was. I felt like I had just ended up with this life that I didn’t want. I cried a lot; I was angry, depressed and confused. I craved alcohol so badly I had to lock myself in the bathroom at times.

But the more work you do on your recovery, the quicker all those things pass. I want people to know that it does get better as long as you work on changing your thinking and your responses to life. The first few months are almost always going to be hard, but the rewards of recovery are immense and last a lifetime.

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

The main thing has to be that I am finally proud of myself, and so are my loved ones. Recovery has also brought some amazing people into my life.

But in terms of what I’ve done, the ability to help other people is the best thing I could have dreamed of. I’ve published books and articles about recovery, I make videos about it, I’ve been asked to do speeches; and every day I hear lovely things from people I have helped directly, or have inspired with hope. I trained in NLP myself, so I could help to free others who had been stuck like I was. The words of gratitude I hear from my clients make every day wonderful.

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

There isn’t really anything I could have told myself. It might have been nice to have been told it would all be OK one day, but it was a matter of me learning things, rather than telling myself anything. I never needed a wake-up call – I needed the right education about addiction, the right treatments for all my issues and the right support. It would have been nice to get all those things sooner, but I’m just grateful they came at all.

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

I am the one who determines what my day will be like. I have the power to choose my responses to life. I can choose to focus on the positive or to focus on the negative. I can choose to sulk, or I can look for solutions. It is empowering to be able to take responsibility for my life. As long as I am sober and living with integrity, there is no problem that can floor me. There are always solutions, silver linings and lessons as long as I stay sober and have a good attitude. When I do what is right and what is effective, I win, I am free, and I go to bed with a smile on my face.

7) What are your favorite recovery slogans?

Haha, I like “Recovery Rocks” actually, because it truly does. “This too shall pass” works well to tolerate great pain. If anything, I live my life by the mantra “Do the next right thing” and the Serenity Prayer: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” (I leave out the ‘God’ word, as I’m not religious; it’s more an appeal to my brain to think the right thoughts and serve me well). I just got an amazing tattoo which says: “Face your truth. Take your freedom” which reminds me that as long as I face up to reality, and have the courage to do the right thing, rather than hiding behind faulty coping mechanisms, I can be free.

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

Because I am finally free. Before, I was completely enslaved by my need to drink, and I had no real control over what was happening in my life. I missed out on so much through either being drunk or in withdrawal. In recovery, I get to do what I want, not what the bottle wants. But most of all, these days I live with integrity, and am proud of who I am. That’s priceless.


Recovery Rocks – Clare Clarke

This week’s recovery rocks interview is with Clare Clarke. Clare has been sober since 1991 and has helped many women over the years get sober. She is dedicated to personal growth and being of service to others where ever she can. As a dedicated Elvis Presley fan, one of the gifts of recovery for her was marrying the love of her life at Graceland!

Clare H&S reduced

1) Describe your ‘rock bottom.’
My first husband had threatened many times that he would not put up with my drinking and associated behavior any more. I loved him and he was a good man. I put him through hell, disgracing myself and him over and over – I lost count of the number of alcohol-related hospital visits (stomach pumps, falls, accidents, alcoholic fits) and times where he would have to literally pick me up and/or apologise for me.

He tried so hard, bless him, but I let him down one too many times. I never believed he would actually leave me. No matter how many times I made earnest promises and assurances from the bottom of my heart that I would not drink, or could stop drinking, I just couldn’t seem to see it through. I was completely addicted to alcohol – I drank every day and needed alcohol to function in every aspect of my job/life. I suffered severe withdrawals when I didn’t have alcohol including fits. Once I had taken the first drink, I was simply unable to control the amount I took and could not stop – yet I couldn’t ever envisage life without it. Alcohol had been my solution since the age of 14 and, as I saw it, had helped me to cope with my fears and feel ‘normal’ – from a young child, I had always been very uncomfortable and ill-at-ease with myself and with life and felt that life did not live up to my expectations.

Eventually, my husband told me that although he still loved me, he no longer felt he could stay with me, as he was sure I would drink myself to death. So he asked me to leave. You’d think I’d have been devastated, but I didn’t really have many feelings left by this time and, actually, deep down I was relieved – my first thought was that finally I would be able to drink as much as I wanted without anyone trying to stop or control me! I had no idea just how sick I was.

I enjoyed the freedom of being on my own for about 2 weeks! For the next 5 months, I drank solidly, around the clock, on my own in my cramped studio flat, weeping and commiserating my awful life and feeling very sorry for myself. I passed in and out of alcoholic stupor, most times unaware of whether it was day or night. I had a vague realization that I had lost someone who had cared a great deal about me. I rarely left the flat – taxis or neighbours would fetch my alcohol – I got an answerphone and ignored the phone ringing until it stopped. I ignored my family and friends (they made comments about my drinking!) I chain-smoked and pretty much stopped eating and washing myself (or my clothes) and didn’t open the curtains or the door. I smelt, was physically very fragile, painfully thin and my skin was yellow and had sores from lying down all the time.

I had started a really good little business a few years back when I was still a functioning drunk – this had fallen by the wayside as drink became more important and, repeatedly turning up drunk, I was asked not to come back by most clients. So I now couldn’t work, stopped paying my mortgage payments and got into huge debt, with the threat of my flat being repossessed.

My husband divorced me and cited alcoholism as the cause of our breakup – then he found a new partner. How dare he!!? I was incensed and was now convinced more than ever that it was impossible to ever stop drinking – I told myself that I would not see the age of 30 (I was 27!) and prayed that I would not wake up. I didn’t care about anything any more – my life was over.

2) What was your ‘moment of truth’ or ‘clarity’ that prompted you to get sober/clean?’

It is slightly vague as I was very drunk at the time, but I do remember writing a garbled letter to my husband (now ex!) telling him that I was thinking about going to get some help for my drinking, when a clear voice popped into my head saying “instead of saying you’re going to get help, why don’t you get help?!!” At that very moment, I got the Yellow Pages out and started to look for helpline numbers and made a call for help. Thank God for that moment of clarity and that someone who had been where I was was available to help me!

3) What were your first 30 days of recovery like?
Amazing – it was tough, but I was fortunate to be surrounded by (or was that hounded by!?) strong people in recovery who were willing to help me. I identified with the very first person who shared with me about their alcoholism and also with the reading material that I was given. Although if I’m honest, I thought about alcohol every day in those first 30 days, I felt a strong sense of hope instead of desperation for the first time. I took each day separately and broke it down into hours or even minutes when I was struggling. I was so grateful to have regular contact with people who understood and could listen. My physical health improved very quickly and I began eating and sleeping again.

4) What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?
My obsession for alcohol has been removed
I have found myself through recovery and a God of my understanding
I am comfortable being me and love myself as I am
I have made amends to all those I hurt in the past and have no skeletons in my closet!
I rarely get angry or frightened and when I do I am able to process my feelings appropriately
I have been blessed with the willingness and ability to help others
I have had and continue to have a spiritual awakening
I feel a part of humanity and the universe
I have a deep and meaningful relationship with my husband who I trust and who trusts me
I have a wealth of friends who I genuinely love
I can be in a room full of people and feel comfortable
I can feel the love of my friends for me and feel worthy of that love
I am not ruled by selfishness and fear, rather I tend to think of others
I am trustworthy and honest at work
I sleep well
I laugh a lot
I am truly happy!

5) If you could go back in time to you when you were drinking/using what would you tell yourself?
I’m not sure – I don’t know if I could have done anything different if anyone had given me advice earlier. I was given opportunities for help and didn’t take them. I think I had to reach the point of desperation before I would seek help. Even if someone had told me that there was a life beyond alcohol, at that time, I wouldn’t have believed it! Maybe I would say “There is a solution”!

6) What have been the most useful things you have learnt about yourself since getting sober/clean?
That on my own power I cannot stay stopped, I need a Higher Power (the Universe/God)
That I am a good person
That I have a huge capacity for love
That I am not my thoughts
That thinking about my last drink will never work for me
That acceptance is key
That I am never ‘cured’ but have recovered from the physical and mental aspects of alcoholism
That I need to continue to work with others if I want to stay sober.

7) What are your favourite recovery slogans?
There is a solution
Faith without works is dead
It works, it really does!
Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace within the storm
God could and would if He were sought
It’s the first drink that gets you drunk
Trust God, clean house, help others
If you get well, everything around you will get well
Willingness, honesty and open-mindedness – WHO – the WHO is YOU!
This too shall pass.

8) And lastly, why does ‘recovery rock?’
Recovery ROCKS because now I know a happiness, peace and usefulness that I could never have imagined and have a way of life that is incredibly more wonderful as time passes. I am free from the fear that used to cripple me and am able to take part in life rather than feeling left out or worrying about what people will think. I know who I am (and who I am not!) and am calm and comfortable being me and as long as I stay that way, I’m able to be helpful to my fellow human beings and God.

I never believed those people who said it would work for me – but it does work, contrary to every fibre of my own self-will, as long as I keep showing up for life and remain willing, honest, open-minded and teachable!