Re(Pro) #29: Tommy Rosen

Tommy Rosen.

Yep, the one and only.  How do I begin to write an introduction on the man who practically wrote the book on a new, holistic recovery? 

Oh wait, he did.*

Tommy is one of the forefathers (foreparents?) of a new recovery, one that takes principles from the 12 steps and also principles from yoga, meditation, wellness, happiness, psychology, etc. and levels recovery up to an even higher plane.  I've had the pleasure of talking to him on the telephone and he's just as lovely and humble as you'd imagine.  Definitely can't believe my lucky stars (yes, I'm fangirling) that he took time out from his very busy schedule of planning a new online conference or globetrotting to India or just sleeping, because hey, the man needs rest, to participate in this gal's #indierecovery project.

I guess Tommy can see that I, too, am trying to elevate my own recovery (10 years this July 14!)- and the recovery of others.

Thank you, Tommy, and #namaste.

xoxo,
Laura


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Name: Tommy Rosen

Age: 49

Location: Venice, CA

Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction): 6/23/1991

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.): Writing and Entrepreneurship

If applicable, drug of choice (or *not* of choice):
Have experienced many addictions
 

 
Nutshell
 

Recovery story in a nutshell:

Had the right idea for a destination, but got on the wrong train.
Got off the wrong train and boarded the express train to the Divine.
Feel better now.
Thriving.


Top 5 Recovery Tools:

1) Spirituality
2) Community
3) Yoga/Meditation
4) 12 steps
5) Therapy


recovery_bookcover.png

*Oh wait.

He totally did write the book...

Here I am posing with the book.  A) Because I'm a ham for the camera, and B) because duh.


Connect with Tommy.

 
Yoga Mala Tommy.
 

Re(Pro) #28: Lara Frazier

In April of 2016, Lara and I became friends.

What an adventure we embarked on since then.  We crammed more into one year of digital friendship than many IRL friends have in five years.  For 6 of those months, we took part in a series called 12 on 12, where, with five other bloggers/creatives in recovery (Aaron Perry, Olivia Pennelle, Mark Goodson, Cristina Ferri) we would share 12 nuggets on the 12th of the month pertaining to our recovery and reflecting on that month's theme.  We took turns hosting on our blogs, and my month was last July (anniversary month!); chosen topic was MUSIC. The magic continued online, as we provided each other support through breakups, fighting the stigma outloud, and just day-to-day recovering woman in her 30s biz-ness.

And then?

We finally met!* 

xoxo,

Laura


LaraFrazier

Name: Lara Frazier

Age: 33
[Editor's note: Lara and I both in our Jesus year - I'll turn 34 on Thursday, 5/18 and she'll turn 34 in June].

Location: Dallas, TX | Spring Hill, FL

Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction): 2/10/2014

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.): 
Poetry, Art, Songwriting, Marketing, Writing, Social Media

If applicable, drug of choice (or *not* of choice): 
It started with an abuse of prescription opiates, but the drug that took me out was Adderall (usually combined with Xanax).

Recovery story in a nutshell:
I began abusing prescription opiates after a minor surgery around 21 years old and began experimenting with more opiates shortly after that. I was one of those people who said I'd never do drugs and I hardly drank in college. However, over time, the experimentation got worse.

nushell.jpg

I will say my doctor was my first drug dealer. When I was in graduate school, I went to a psychiatrist to tell him I believe I was becoming addicted to prescription opiates and he sent me off with another prescription. This time it was for an anti-depressant, Xanax, and Ambien. He didn't seem to care that I was abusing pills - he wanted to treat the symptoms of my withdrawal from the pills. The symptoms were depression, anxiety, and lack of sleep.

I stopped abusing prescription opiates for a few years and I didn't really abuse my other prescriptions. However, I was involved in a car accident in 2009 and I was prescribed a plethora of opiates and other pain killers. When I lost a job in 2010, and called my psychiatrist to tell him I wanted to die, he told me he had the answer for suicidal ideation in a pill. He didn't ask to see me. He just prescribed me something and when I went to pick it up the next day, I discovered it was Adderall, which is an amphetamine. It stopped my depression for a short while, but then it led me into a four year addiction and a lifestyle that involved institutions, homelessness, and loss of self.

Left to right: Lara's shero, Holly Whitaker, Lara, and Laura McKowen, fellow writer and co-host of HOME podcast.

Left to right: Lara's shero, Holly Whitaker, Lara, and Laura McKowen, fellow writer and co-host of HOME podcast.

I entered long-term recovery in 2014, about four years after I was first prescribed Adderall. I started in AA and worked all 12 steps. However, I started feeling like I had stopped growing. I felt that there were problems that AA and prayer weren't solving. I left AA, with the help of Hip Sobriety School and Holly Whitaker. I developed a holistic program of recovery that involves prayer, meditation, self-awareness, essential oils, empowerment, fierceness, art, creativity, passion, service, inventory, friendships, love, kindness, and a whole myriad of other tools.

I began my blog in early 2016 because I found the power of truth-telling. Many women went before me in starting to be open about their sobriety and their recovery. And I honor them always, for telling the truth and for their ability to be raw and vulnerable and real. (You were one of them) xo
[Editor's note: awww, I love you, lady! <3


*WE FINALLY MET!

Image 1: Carolyn Monticelli, Lara, me.
Image 2: My and Lara's wrists, #soulstamped.
Image 3: Lara, Carly Benson, me.


Top 5 Recovery Tools

1) Service

2) Prayer

3) Connection

4) Self-Awareness

5) Constant Growth/Self-Improvement


Connect with Lara.

Website: www.laraannfrazier.com
Instagram: @sillylara
Facebook: @laraannfrazier
Twitter: @sillylara


Re(Pro) #27: Melissa Johnson

This woman right here is doing magical things. The epitome of service in recovery, Melissa started a nonprofit called Clean Life Clean Home.  I'll let her tell you all about it but suffice it to say, expect big magic from her.  She's also got a well of patience a million feet deep because she's been waiting for her Repro for almost 9 months.  I had the pleasure and HONOR of meeting her in NYC last weekend for #SheRecoversNYC where I got to give her a big hug. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Melissa.

xo,
Laura


Melissa Johnson RePro 27

Name: Melissa Johnson

Age: 37

Location: Norman, OK

Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction): 5/19/2015 

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.):
Blogging and Non Profit Creator

If applicable, drug of choice (or *not* of choice): Alcohol

Recovery Story in a Nutshell:
I struggled for many years with alcohol. I was always so insecure and self conscious but alcohol gave me the confidence I longed for. I could say and do what I wanted without a care in the world. I didn't care if I blacked out and did things I would never dream of if I was sober, I wanted that carefree feeling. I would chase that feeling for many years through the depths of hell. I have been arrested three times for DUI in Dallas, Texas. I am a three time felon, DUI and two felony child neglect charges. I have multiple misdemeanors all having to do with alcohol. I never cared about going to jail, it was like a time out for me, then I'd be back at it. I never wanted to quit. Ever. After totaling a second car and leaving the scene of the accident to avoid another DUI, I went to an AA meeting and ran like hell to the nearest bar. I wasn't ready. I had many more years of hell to put myself through.

It wasn't until my kids were removed from my home by Dhs for the second time that it clicked. There I was in front of the same judge deciding where my kids would live AGAIN. I finally surrendered. I finally accepted that it will NEVER get better, it will never be fun, it will keep getting worse. It was one thing for me to suffer the consequences of my actions but for my kids to suffer too? I was done. The obsession and desire to escape reality has been removed.

After I found out I would not be going to prison for my latest charge I knew there was something else I was meant to be doing. I felt led to share my story. Not exactly what I wanted to do. Who wants to tell the world they have had their kids removed from the home twice due to their drinking? No one!! But I felt called to do it and I couldn't sleep until I listened to the little voice in my mind. So I fearfully began my blog My Truth Starts Here, because I felt it was time to finally own my truth and to share it without the guilt and shame I have felt for so long. I began sharing all the parts of myself that I wanted to hide, and what a journey it has been.

Almost a year after my kids were removed in May of 2016, I began a nonprofit called Clean Life.Clean Home. where I go in and clean free of charge for a mom or/and dad in recovery, but I also share their story of addiction to recovery. Basically I am being of service, paying it forward to a beautiful sober human being while sharing their story of hope. My goal is to show others out there struggling, that recovery is possible and that they don't have to be ashamed anymore, and just look at all these people getting their house cleaned that have been through hell but have come out the other side better than before.

Top 5 Recovery Tools

1) Blogging!

I get such a release when I type something up and send it out into the Internet. Crazy how much better I feel when I get it out there.

2) Yoga!

Hot yoga is my fave. I love to sweat. I feel amazing afterwards.

3) Running!

I'm definitely not fast. I'm not going to win any races lol. But I love running outside especially early in the morning. Nothing like it.

4) My life coach!

She is amazing and has helped me so much. I am slowly becoming the confident independent woman that I had always tried to be with alcohol.

5) 12 step meetings!

Although I don't have a sponsor and I don't work the steps this time I got sober, I still get so much out of the meetings I go to. I love hearing what people have to say. I always hear what exactly what I need at that moment. Plus I have some amazing friends in AA, I love seeing their beautiful faces.


Connect with Melissa.

Clean Life Melissa

Re(Pro) #26: Sasha Tozzi

Sasha is one of my CLOSEST sober tribe members whom I met via the Internet, natch.  Through our digital recovery vessels, we connected, and thank goodness for that.  We LITERALLY have a full photo gallery of time spent together and you best believe there'll be more - we're both members of the official sober blogger team for She Recovers in NYC!  T-minus 9  days!

xoxo,
Laura


Sasha Tozzi

Name: Sasha Tozzi

Age: 31

Location: Washington, DC

Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction): 9/02/2011

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.):
Writer & entrepreneur

If applicable, drug of choice (or *not* of choice):
Alcohol, cocaine, food, men

RecoveryStoryinaNutshell

In a nutshell, I stopped shaming and I started healing. I understood that I didn’t choose addiction, but I could choose recovery. I was suffocating in shame at the start, and still probably have some residue almost 6 years later. But in September of 2011, I half-heartedly decided to quit drinking at my therapists gentle suggestion, and from that was divinely led to so many more transformations. But I first had to get alcohol & illicit drugs out of the picture. Three months later, I quit my pack-a-day nicotine habit. That was a tough one. I had no idea how much cigarettes were helping me avoid my life. After that came facing my destructive relationship with food, my mood disorder, and then my very strong tendency to be codependent with others--essentially losing myself in their chaos. All of these things revealed themselves the longer I stayed awake on the path. I wouldn't take back a single thing. Because I have access to joy today, so much joy. And it's spectacular. And I'm pretty sure it feels as amazing as it does because I've been to hell a few times.

^ Pictorial evidence of friendship between Sasha and yours truly (along with other recovery rockstars like Cristina Ferri of Sober Unicorn, Maggie Shores of Sober Courage, and Mark Goodson of Miracle of the Mundane).

Top 5 Recovery Tools

1. My daily routine includes my "spiritual bookends," a.k.a how I start and end my day. I do my daily readers every morning along with some prayer & setting an intention for the day. At night, I take a moment to give thanks. These spiritual bookends give structure to my day.

2. Exercise or some form of movement. I take a lot of walks outside to commune with nature and I also practice yoga. It is the best way for me to keep my head on straight and move through negative energy. Yoga helps me get out of my head and into my body so I see it as a therapeutic tool, or medicine for my soul. It has been especially beneficial in helping to change my eating habits and heal my body image issues. Without it, my recovery would not be nearly as strong.

3. Having a food plan. Because disordered eating is part of my story, I do well with sticking to a regular food plan with room for leeway so I don't get all-or-nothing about it. For ex., I mostly keep gluten & dairy free but I made exceptions so as not to deprive myself, so it's more of an 80/20. I get hangry pretty quickly and then my mood is like a cranky toddler's so making sure I get 3 meals a day that are protein-filled and nutritious is absolutely essential to my recovery, and for the well-being of those around me ;)

4. Support system/care team. Connection is super duper important in recovery, because my addictions and mental health issues were incredibly isolating. I am part of many communities including 12-step and my yoga family and I stay as plugged in as possible to my friends and fellows. I also have a sponsor, a coach, and a team of medical professionals that I consult with regularly.

5. Stillness/Mindfulness/Meditation/Breathing. The 12-step meetings I attend are mostly meditation-based and I go to spirituality workshops and silent retreats to enhance my relationship to myself. My relationship to myself sets the stage for all my other relationships. I've learned how to meditate, even though I'm still not that "good" at it--I've learned that's not actually the point. Being able to sit still without ruminating or planning a to-do list, and just be, is wonderful. I've learned how to belly breathe and be present in the moment I'm in. The benefits of all these practices are numerous and essentially are the opposite of addict behavior.


Connect with Sasha

 
 

Website: www.sashaptozzi.com
Twitter: @sashaptozzi
Instagram: @sasha_tozzi
Facebook: @SashaPTozzi

Re(Pro) #25: Veronica Valli


I had the unique pleasure and privilege of meeting (nay, HUGGING!) our latest RePro feature, Ms. Veronica Valli, in October of 2015 at the historic UNITE to Face Addiction rally on the Washington, D.C. downtown mall.  I was so proud of this lady for traveling on her own with her little baby boy, Luke, for this monumental event.  Not only that, but it was such a dream to meet so many amazing women and men in recovery, and especially in the recovering blogging niche.  It was a first time reunion for many of us.  And now?  We'll be reunited again in just a couple of weeks as official members of the She Recovers in NYC blogger team!  Huzzah! 

xoxo,
Laura


Name: Veronica Valli

Age: 44

Location: Long Island, NY

Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction): 5/8/2000

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.):
Blogging, writing, helping

If applicable, drug of choice (or *not* of choice):

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Recovery story in a nutshell:

Born different, found alcohol at 15, that worked for about 2 years before I hit my rock bottom. Drug induced psychosis. 10 years of looking for help, anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal. Found help, got sober, emotional rock bottom because of relationships. Gift of desperation, worked harder on myself then I've ever worked. RECOVERED. My life is real, amazing, challenging and it totally rocks.

Top 5 Recovery Tools:

1. Inventory
2. Telling on myself
3. Connection with other people in recovery
4. Honesty
5. Working with newcomers


Connect with Veronica.

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Re(Pro) #24: O.R. Marv

You know him as One Rep Marv (aka O.R. Marv).  I don't even know the elusive man's full name but I will honor his sobriquet because we celebrate *all* paths to recovery here.  
Happy Birthday to the guy who will make us do SQUATS, not SHOTS. ;) 

 

xo,
Laura

OR Marv Repro

Name: O.R. Marv

Age: 31

Location: San Diego, CA 

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 6/22/2013

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.): 
Blending fitness with recovery: personal training, online coaching, blogging.

If applicable, drug of choice (or not of choice...): 
Alcohol, marijuana, opiates, cocaine, athletic drugs (steroids, etc.)

Recovery Story in a Nutshell:

Where do I begin?

Well, I was born in a very loving, well to do, religious family that pretty much preached “Leave It To Beaver” values. The problem was, even as a small child, I had no identity and no self-worth so I was extremely uncomfortable in my own skin. Now I firmly believe I didn’t come out of the womb a self-loathing narcissist or an egomaniac with an inferiority complex, but I learned these things at such a young age that they became ingrained personality traits of mine that would plague me for the first 27 years of my life.

I had a multitude of health issues as a young child which ultimately saw me having a total of 8 major operations and a head injury, so I also learned to play the victim at a young age as well. My identity was always based on something or someone – it was never intrinsic, it was never my own identity. I didn’t truly pick up a drink or a drug until I was 17 years old - I had dabbled previously and wasn’t impressed. My first time getting drunk was shortly after a pretty serious incident which left me with a head injury, snapped wrist, cracked collarbone, torn rotator cuff, and stress fractured vertebrae. Just prior to the incident my identity had been getting good grades so going from a straight A high school “A.P.” student to barely keeping up in remedial classes overnight landed me in a severe depression. And THAT’S when I found drugs and alcohol.

I should have known I was going to have a problem right away because once I finally got loaded that very first time I thought to myself, “This…..solves…..EVERYTHING!” I was somehow smarter, sexier, funnier, able to talk to the opposite sex, more sure of myself, all of that and then some! I would chase that solution to all of my so-called problems for the next 10 years. During that time I did despicable things that became black spots of my soul which only caused me to chase getting loaded even more feverishly. Any sense of morality from my upbringing was thrown out the window in order to get loaded. I became a professional self-victimizer because when I played the victim I felt self-pity, and when I felt sorry for myself I then, in turn, felt entitled to do whatever the F*** I had to do to make myself feel better. This came in many forms – drugs, alcohol, sex, materialistic things, bodybuilding (random, I know, for a daily drug addict/alcoholic), etc.

For years I resembled someone who had it all together, but in reality I was petrified inside. Petrified inside that everyone would figure out I wasn’t as cool as they thought I was. Petrified inside that everyone would figure out I hated myself. Petrified inside that everyone would no longer like me if they truly met the real me. So I played a role to hide this fear. The role of being outgoing, even cocky, and fully self-assured. It was false pride encapsulating self-loathing and it worked as I was very personable and well-liked by most people. During those 10 years of active addiction I flunked out of college, graduated from a different college with a stellar degree and GPA despite daily drinking and drugging, went to outpatient treatment programs, lock-down units of mental wards, inpatient treatment programs, therapy….everything short of breaking out in handcuffs.

How did I never end up with legal problems? I have absolutely no clue because I was into some pretty serious crimes and situations, so all I can say is my Higher Power was looking out for me even though I refused to acknowledge he existed. When left to my own devices for all those years I was nothing but a liar, a cheat, and a thief…and not just for the obvious reasons. I was a liar whenever I told myself, “Ok…THIS will be the last bottle, the last sack, the last vial” when I knew DAMN WELL it wasn’t even going to be the last one for that night. I was a cheat for cheating myself out of living a life I could be proud of, of having a relationship with my Higher Power, and ultimately having a relationship with myself. And I was a thief for stealing myself away from my friends, family, and loved ones when I was in the depths of my disease.

I was introduced to what Recovery looked like at 25 years old, after close to 6 months of total treatment where I was officially introduced to two 12 step fellowships. I told everyone I was in Recovery and embracing the new lifestyle…but that wasn’t the truth. I’m a “smart guy” whose got some “edumacation” under his belt so I had these theories. Theories of how I could drink or use like a gentleman, theories of where I lost control, theories of “it only got so bad because events X,Y, AND Z all happened at once and had they happened separately I wouldn’t have gone to such s***.” So I tried to pick and choose which parts of the programs I would follow, I tried to sponsor myself, I tried to be 90% honest instead of 100% honest. I tried, I tried, I tried. So what happens when I’m not recovering, I’m just merely abstinent as a “static addict” or “dry drunk”? Well, I secretary meetings dirty, I take dirty tokens, and I work dirty steps. I turn right back into that liar, cheat, and thief.

Repeatedly I did these things for 2 years. For 2 years I beat my head against a wall. For 2 years I was back to that insanity of where I had once come from…too afraid to live yet too scared to kill myself. And THAT’S when I found my GOD – the “Gift Of Desperation” – and on June 22, 2013 I finally became willing to go to any lengths to get and remain not only clean and sober…but to truly recover, as well. I did things I was unwilling to do in the past and I have been rewarded with a life beyond my wildest dreams.

Am I rich and famous? No. I’m still waiting on that…I’m still waiting to be handed life on a silver platter….I’m still waiting to be handed the winning lottery tickets. But today I have been given a wonderful gift – the gift of self-worth – something I never had as a child. That is my greatest gift in Recovery, and with that gift has come many changes in my life. I’ve been able to face some pretty tough situations and maintain my sobriety – the death of my mother, the life-altering diagnosis of breast cancer for my significant other and best friend, and the decision to quit my corporate job to become fully self-employed. I’ve faced things I once thought would be “un-faceable” and I’d like to think I handled them with dignity and grace…but only because I put my Recovery first. If no one told you this today let me be the first…YOU ARE WORTH IT. YOU DESERVE TO LIVE A LIFE YOU CAN BE PROUD OF. YOU DESERVE TO LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY. YOU DESERVE TO RECOVER.

I had a hell of a hard time coming to grips with those statements. For years, my total and utter lack of anything resembling self-esteem prevented me from allowing myself anything positive in my life so I would always self-sabotage. Today, I don’t have to do those things. Today, I allow myself positivity, self-love, and much, much more. It didn’t happen overnight, but trust me on this…it works if you work…so work it, ‘cause you’re worth it!

Top 5 Recovery Tools
 

1. Fitness

2. 12 Step Meetings

 3. Being of Service

4. Hanging Out With Friends in Recovery

5. Working With Newcomers


Connect with Marv.

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Website: One Rep at a Time
Twitter: @OneRepataTime_
Instagram: @OneRepataTime_
Facebook: @OneRepataTime
 

Re(Pro) #23: Helaina Hovitz

I get to meet this pretty lady in May (She Recovers in NYC, people--yaaas!) and share the love at her wedding in June.  I'm so, so, SO, stoked.  We've been friends (online) for over a year and a half now, which seems nuts when I think about it.  If you're not familiar with Helaina yet, get ready to dive into the life and works of one of the most accomplished sober twenty-somethings in the world.  Seriously.

xo,
Laura

Name: Helaina Hovitz

Age: 27

Location: New York, NY

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 11/12/2011

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.): Writing 

If applicable, drug of choice (or not of choice...): 
Then: Weed and definitely mostly alcohol. Now: Cookies at 2am when I can't sleep.

Recovery Story in a Nutshell:

Recovery Story in a Nutshell

Oh boy....a nutshell? Let's hope it's a Walnut and not a Peanut, more wiggle room....I was 22, a social drinker with a few years under my belt, high-functioning, and in therapy for PTSD and anxiety when it occurred to me that I was jogging around the finish line when it came to making a full recovery. It was only once I entered 12-step recovery that I was able to start to really become the person I always wanted to be, living a life that felt fulfilling, calm, and full of healthy people and relationships.

 

 

Top 5 Recovery Tools
 

  1. Meditation and mindfulness.
  2. Speaking to and being of service to other women in recovery both in personal relationships and through my writing.
  3. Reading inspiring literature.
  4. Being mindful of HALT/ strong self-care.
  5. Remembering that everything is meant to be as it is at any given moment, even if I don't like it!
 

Connect with Helaina.

 
 

Re(Pro) #22: Julie Elsdon-Height

Julie is the QUEEN of the sober lifestyle blog.  She's a beautiful soul and OMG the mocktail recipes she posts!  Amazing.  I'm a lucky gal because not only do I get to meet her and hug her this May at She Recovers in NYC, but I get the privilege and honor of sharing space with her and nine other magical women on the official sober blogger team for the event.  Laura McKowen, Holly Whitaker, Kelly Junco, Sasha Tozzi, Annie Grace, Jean McCarthy, Jen McNeely, Veronica Valli, and yours truly <3.  We get to be with Glennon! Gabby! Marianne! Elizabeth! Elena! Dawn! Taryn!  ALL THE YAYS. 
xoxo,

Laura

Name: Julie Elsdon-Height

Age : 43

Location: Right where I'm meant to be

Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction): 2/6/2010

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.)
Writing, owning, growing www.soberjulie.com ...a craft I had no idea I was passionate about until I was immersed in it. I am also an entrepreneur, owning a Marketing agency. 

If applicable, drug of choice (or *not* of choice): Alcohol

 

Recovery story in a nutshell: 

I was someone who at a glance had it all together. Had social media existed as it does now, no doubt I would have "outed" myself during my weekend black-outs as the drunk I was. I was a wife, mother of 2 young girls who defined myself by my career, my "successes" and other inconsequential things who lived for the "next big thing". My ride with alcohol began in my 20's when I began binge drinking on the weekend to "reward" myself for working so hard all week. Such a joke. Congrats on doing what everyone else in the world does....now go get hammered, cause mayhem and awaken hating yourself. This was my life pattern for far too long; wearing different masks and playing roles rather than looking into myself to fill the black hole where my self-worth should have been. For years I chased happiness and didn't actually live it in the moments. Finally at age 36 the shame took over and I realized that the fear of trying to live without alcohol was less frightening than the path ahead of me where I was about to lose my family and quite possibly my life. One fine Saturday afternoon I called out to God for help and then found a 12 Step meeting where I began my recovery journey. Each day has been different...life doesn't suddenly become easier because I'm sober, in fact it's often more challenging. The big difference is I feel grateful to be IN life and I know that I have a purpose now beyond anything "worldly". In recovery I've found my spiritual side which is the foundation for the peace in each day I live...that's the polar opposite of how I'd lived in the past. 
 

Top 5 Recovery Tools: 
 

1. My spiritual faith and staying connected with it

2. My recovery program - being active

3. My people - constantly nurturing those relationships

4. Being of service - thinking of others and feeling my purpose

5. Staying real with myself. Knowing where I'm "at" in each day


Connect with Julie.

 
 

Website: www.soberjulie.com
Twitter: @soberjulie
Instagram: @soberjulie
Pinterest: @soberjulie
YouTube: Sober Julie

Re(Pro) #21: Kelly Fitzgerald

Kelly is one of *the* OG sober bloggers.  She is a force to be reckoned with and a sweet, lovely, and opinionated woman with a strong voice.  I'm grateful to know her and be a part of her tribe.  

 
Here we are at UNITE to Face Addiction in Washington DC, October 2015.  Oh you know, just making history.

Here we are at UNITE to Face Addiction in Washington DC, October 2015.  Oh you know, just making history.

 

Name: Kelly Fitzgerald

Age: 31

Location: Cape Coral, FL

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 5/07/2013

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.): Writing 

If applicable, drug of choice (or not of choice...): Alcohol

Recovery Story in a Nutshell:

In May of 2013 the pain became too great and change was my only option. I tried something I had never tried before - quitting drugs and alcohol all together. It worked and I don't plan on ever looking back. Recovery saved my life and continues to do so every day!


Top 5 Recovery Tools

1) Writing
2) Reading
3) 12-step meetings
4) Exercise
5) Meditation


Connect with Kelly.
 

Website: www.sobersenorita.com
Facebook: @thesobersenorita
Twitter: @kellyfitz11
Instagram: @kelfitz11
Pinterest: @kellyfitz11
Snapchat: @kellyfitz11
 

Re(Pro) #20: Shane Watson

Name: Shane Watson

Age: 41

Location: Phoenix, AZ

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 11/29/2011

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.):
Speaking engagements, cryptic interactive online art and fiction, writing, poetry/lyrics, music 

If applicable, drug of choice (or not of choice...):
Alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, prescription drugs, excess, chaos

This is a ginormous nutshell.  FYI.

This is a ginormous nutshell.  FYI.

I got started down the road to substance abuse in middle school for a few reasons. I was a scared, awkward kid who desperately wanted to be liked, but didn’t quite fit the mold that everyone else was in. I was definitely different, and not always in a way that was seen as good. I wasn’t even remotely comfortable in my own skin. So I thought I’d win my peers’ approval and acceptance by drinking. In addition to that, I was curious to see what it was like. Finally, there were some people I looked up to who had substance abuse issues of their own, and they seemed completely happy and successful. So, while I had been told about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, what I had seen conveyed a very different message..

The first time I drank, one of the worst things that could have possibly happened did happen: nothing. I don’t mean that the alcohol didn’t affect me. I mean that there weren’t any immediate consequences, at least that I could notice. After having been told what drugs and alcohol would do to me, I was anticipating some kind of instant lightning bolt of consequence. When nothing seemed to go wrong, I thought, “There’s no price to pay for this. I just did it and I’m fine. The world didn’t end. They lied to me about this.” I’ve since learned something very important about consequences. There is a consequence for every negative decision we make, but they don’t always happen immediately and we don’t always notice them right away. Sometimes they don’t become apparent until much later, and sometimes they chase you down the road years later.

I noticed that when I drank, everything seemed to get better. My pain seemed to go away. I was dealing with bullying and feeling very out of place in junior high, and when I drank, I quit feeling the sadness from that. It seemed to allow me to finally be comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t realize that the feeling was a lie. When I got into high school, alcohol was a lot easier to get, and I started using it as a way to deal with my problems. My alcohol use became much more frequent and I started drinking larger quantities. I didn’t realize how much worse I was making things for myself. None of it seemed like a big deal at the time. Alcohol then gave way to marijuana, nitrous oxide (Whip-Its), and some initial experimentation with prescription drugs.

By the time I was a freshman in college, I was using marijuana daily and drinking frequently. Later in college I got caught in the web of opiate painkillers after a friend with a prescription gave me some oxycodone. After I started on painkillers, the floodgates opened. The feeling from opiates was a step beyond alcohol in my quest to escape my pain, disintegrating relationship, and my growing dislike for myself. Somehow I miraculously made it through college with a decent GPA and managed to get my degree. I’m still not completely sure how I managed that.

Shortly after college, I got into ecstasy and cocaine. I developed a huge cocaine habit that eventually led me to getting into meth, once the cocaine ceased being effective. Right around the same time, my painkiller addiction led to heroin after it became impossible to get legitimate prescriptions and expensive to buy illicit opiate pharmaceuticals. Alcohol was there all along, in ridiculously excessive quantities. Eventually, I became willing to use just about any substance that happened to cross my path. When someone asked what my drug of choice was, I laughingly quoted the Alice in Chains song “Junkhead.” “What’s my drug of choice? Well, what have you got?”

My life was a mess. I lost jobs due to absenteeism, quit other jobs due to an inability to focus, and eventually stopped trying to get jobs. I drained a $10,000 bank account on my addiction. I had nothing to show for it but increasing health problems. There was alcohol poisoning. There were overdoses. There was one particular overdose involving a combination of cocaine, meth, alcohol, and fentanyl (a powerful synthetic opioid) that was absolutely hellish and insane. To this day, it surprises me that I made it through that one. My behavior was erratic and I became angry and unpredictable. At one point, coke and meth made me a 130lb skeleton. At a later point, alcohol made me a 215lb slug.

This went on for years. I wasted my 20’s and the better part of my 30’s. I wanted to stop but was so caught up in it all. I was making all kinds of bad decisions. I’m responsible for my own choices, but addiction and the damaged thinking that comes with it makes it a whole lot easier to make bad choices. Eventually I was no longer using to feel good, but to not feel horrible. I was drinking and using purely out of addiction and the need to avoid withdrawal. Guilt and shame kept me running back to drugs and alcohol, which led to behavior that caused me guilt and shame. It was an endless cycle.

.I ended up jobless for a long time, and thousands of dollars in debt. My thinking and brain chemistry were so overwhelmed by the substances to which I was a slave. I came to a point where I hated myself and said, “I’m never coming back from this. I’ve done too much damage. I’m going to ride this train until it crashes.” The last night I drank and used, I went on a rampage. I hurt people who didn’t deserve it, smashed up my own house, and eventually attempted to end my own life. I was arrested and charged with multiple felonies. If I had been convicted of everything I was charged with, I was looking at the possibility of a doing few years in the Arizona Department of Corrections.

That’s what led to me serving time in Durango Jail, part of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s notorious Maricopa County Jail system. While in jail, I went through hellish withdrawals. The extent of the jail’s acknowledgement of my withdrawal consisted of giving me a bottom bunk, so I would be less likely to get a concussion if my withdrawals led to a seizure that ended up with me falling out of bed. I suffered horrible insomnia and only managed to occasionally sleep for about 15 minutes at a time. It was less like sleeping and more like passing out. I genuinely felt like I was going insane. I went through a combination of the worst physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual pain I’ve ever felt. I genuinely believed that I had lost everyone and everything I loved and cared about. I found myself at a nearly unbearable low point.

I became willing to do anything to repair the damage I had done, but wasn’t sure that such repair would even be possible. While in the midst of this, I somehow found a tiny bit of sanity, which allowed me to make myself a promise to make my faith, my family, and my sobriety my priorities. A fellow inmate named Troy gave me a Bible, which I started reading. It was a welcome escape and was the only thing that gave me any kind of hope in those moments. I latched on to that Higher Power and never let go.

I eventually bailed out while my case was pending, and I moved into a place called the Phoenix Dream Center. It’s a live-in facility where people who have had substance abuse issues, people who have been in jail and prison, people who have been homeless, former gang members, and victims of human trafficking can move in and get their lives back together. A lot of good growth and healing started for me there, but it wasn’t easy.

In a lot of ways, the Dream Center is harder than jail. Our days started at 4 a.m. and ended at 11 p.m. Every moment was scheduled for us and included intense morning workouts (run by a former pro rugby star), classes, janitorial work, maintenance work, labor, homeless outreach, church, etc. We were run ragged, but the discipline, structure, and purpose were what I (and the others there) needed as part of a successful recovery.

While in the Dream Center, I poured myself back into my faith, which remains a key component of my recovery today. I started communicating again, instead of trying to run from my problems. I made exercise and nutrition a big part of my life. I started creating art and writing again. I started to laugh again. I gained back my self-respect and others’ trust. As a result of the changes that began there, I was able to restore my marriage; something I hoped would happen but didn’t know was possible.

In court, the prosecutor was seeking 90 days of jail time for me, and the Probation Presentence Writer wanted me to do six months. I didn’t want either to happen, as they could delay the good work that had begun in my marriage, and in my growth as a person. I accepted a plea deal. Based on what I said and others said at my sentencing, the judge said that he didn’t see any benefit to me serving additional time. To this day, I am grateful he listened to me and to the others who spoke. I was sentenced to two years supervised probation. I was assigned 46 weeks of one type of counseling and 15 weeks of another. I was given a permanent (“designated”) felony and lost my rights as an American citizen. I paid thousands of dollars in court fines and fees. I was given a 10 p.m. curfew. I was randomly drug tested.

Under really interesting circumstances, I ran into a guy who overheard part of my story and told me I should apply to be a substance abuse Peer Educator at a local nonprofit called notMYkid. I did. In January of 2013, I started there as a part-time youth Peer Educator and worked as hard as I could. I spoke in schools across Arizona, sharing the experience and knowledge I learned during my journey with students in 6th through 12th grade. I decided to be as open and honest as I could about my past in order to help prevent others from taking the same path. I did everything I was asked to do and took on additional duties. I was relentless and determined in my efforts. Within the first three months, they made me full time. Four months later, I was given a staff position, and became the organization’s first Communications Coordinator.

I was then promoted to Manager of Parent and Faculty Education for the organization and eventually became a Prevention Specialist. I research several behavioral health topics and create presentations for parents, school faculty members, after school program mentors, and camp counselors. I have also recruited, hired, trained, and managed several Parent and Faculty Educators, who are primarily behavioral health professionals and current or former law enforcement officers. I do parent, student, and school faculty presentations on substance abuse, and I do parent and faculty presentations on bullying, depression/self-injury/suicide, and Internet safety. I also do TV, radio, web, and print interviews as the organization’s representative. I’ve done approximately 75 interviews in the last few years.

From "215lb slug" to 5 years sober.

From "215lb slug" to 5 years sober.

I currently travel around Arizona doing speaking engagements, sharing my personal story intertwined with teachable keys to behavioral health. I’ve had the opportunity to share my story with students and government officials in Boston, and students and parents in California. I’ve spoken to groups as small as five people and as large as 1,000. I’ve done as many as seven one-hour presentations back-to-back. I’ve had the chance to address the Pinal County Drug Court, sharing my story and thoughts on the way government and the courts view addiction. I’ve presented at Grand Canyon University, Arizona State University, Paradise Valley Community College, and a number of corporations, Including American Express, Cox, and Insight. As of December 1st, 2016, I’ve done 270 presentations to an audience of over 16,000 people. Approximately half of my presentations have been given to students, and the other half to adults.

I also had the opportunity to do interviews for a historic documentary called “Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona,” which was simulcast on every TV station (and most radio stations) in Arizona on January 13th, 2015. Additionally, I was appointed to the Recovery and Response Subcommittee responsible for developing, staffing, and overseeing the crisis line phone bank taking calls during and after the airing of the documentary.

In October of 2015, I had the chance to become an ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) trainer. As a registered trainer, I now have the honor of facilitating two-day suicide intervention workshops, and teaching genuinely lifesaving intervention skills to people around the state of Arizona. It has allowed me to combine my personal experience with the topic, and my passion for helping others, with the well-designed material that has become the industry standard (crisis lines, military, fire departments, police departments) for suicide intervention.

Most importantly, sobriety has allowed me the opportunity to become the type of husband I should have been all along and has given me the chance to be a very good dad to an amazing daughter who was born shortly after my one-year sober date. I give thanks every day for the fact that I got clean and sober before having a child. I owe it to her and my wife to have my act together. Every moment with my daughter is a gift that I never thought I would get. If you had told me when I was in jail that my life would be like this right now, I wouldn’t have believed you though I would have desperately wanted to.

I’m thankful for every chance I get to help other people, to let individuals who are struggling know that they’re not alone, and to destroy the stigma and stereotypes surrounding addiction and recovery. I take every opportunity I get to help people understand that addiction is not a failure of morality, but a behavioral health issue.

If you are struggling, please speak up. Find a trusted, caring, non-judgmental, willing, and ready person and let them know what’s going on. Things can get better, but not until you make the choice to change and move forward. Get connected with local professional resources that can assist you in your recovery. If the situation calls for it, detox correctly and go through residential treatment. If not, consider an intensive outpatient program, or at least 12-step meetings.

Find what works for you, and do it. Surround yourself with positive and caring people who are mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy. Create a support network. Fill your phone with the phone numbers of those on whom you can call when you’re struggling– even if it’s two in the morning. Practice intentional and consistent self-care that includes healthy coping skills and positive outlets. It’s not enough to just NOT use drugs and alcohol, but it’s important to figure out what to replace them with. For me, that includes things like music, writing, art, exercise, hiking, serving others, laughter, meeting new people, and experiencing new things. Find your recipe for success and then make a point to put those pieces in place every single day.

November 29th, 2016 marked five years of sobriety for me. I’m grateful to even be alive and amazed at the wonderful opportunities I’ve been given. Every morning when I wake up, I give thanks for the tremendous amount of grace I’ve been shown. I’m astounded at how much my life has managed to change for the better in that short amount of time. It makes me excited to see what’s next.

Thank you for taking the time to allow me to share my story with you. I hope it benefits you in some way.

-Shane

Top 5 Recovery Tools

1. Faith

2. Love

3. Purpose

4. Positive outlets (music, exercise, writing, etc.)

5. Serving others

 


Connect with Shane.

 
 

Re(Pro) #19: Beth Leipholtz

I adore Beth.  She is a magical sweetheart with mad graphic design and reporting skills, but more than that, my sister in sobriety.  I didn't realize how similar out stories/paths were until I featured her as TSC's 19th Re(Pro).  Expect big, beautiful things from Beth.

xo,
Laura


Name: Beth Leipholtz

Age: 24

Location: Alexandria, MN

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 5/07/2013

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.): Writing and graphic design 

If applicable, drug of choice (or not of choice...): Alcohol

Recovery Story in a Nutshell:

I grew up in a stable, loving home, in small-town Minnesota. Both my parents had struggled with depression/anxiety, and as early as third or fourth grade I remember feeling different than others my age. I had what I then called “bad thoughts,” in which certain things would enter my mind and I just couldn’t shake them. I remember telling my mom once as she was driving that I had this desire to just jerk the wheel and see what happened. It was those streams of thoughts that would enter my mind and take up residence, refusing to budge.

Soon after admitting this to my parents, I saw a psychologist and began taking an anti-anxiety/antidepressant. Overall, it really helped and I had a good grip on my mental health. I was a straight-A student and a varsity athlete, so drinking was never on my radar in high school. Once I got to college, I knew I was open to drinking. So when freshman year rolled around and I joined rugby, I jumped at the first chance I had to drink. I had two beers and felt immediately more at ease. Talking to strangers was easy and making friends came effortlessly. I fell in love with the way drinking made me feel, and from there I was always looking for more, more, more.

At first I only drank on the weekends. Then weekends turned into Thursdays as well, then during weeknights, until eventually I was drinking before classes. I was never a daily drinker and I never needed alcohol to function. But it didn’t matter, because I wanted it all the time. My life became a series of drinking and looking forward to when I could drink again. Blacking out became normal for me, and I was usually the drunkest one in the room. Moderation meant absolutely nothing to me. I had somehow made it through two years of college without any major consequences from my drinking habits. Sure, I did stupid things, hooked up with the wrong people, fought with friends. But nothing earth shattering happened, so to me, I was doing just fine. From outsiders, that wasn’t the case. .

My last night at school before going home for the summer before junior year, I went out with friends. I remember the first hour or so, and then nothing. The next memory I have is waking up in a hospital bed, seeing my parents huddled in the corner and thinking, “Oh, shit.” Oh shit was right. The night before I had apparently drank myself into a stubborn, blackout state, and refused to go home with friends. I left the bar alone (I have no idea how I even got in the bar since I was not 21) and tried to make my way back to my dorm. Instead of making it there, I passed out on the sidewalk, where the police found me. I was told I had a .34 blood alcohol content, so they took me to the hospital. Sadly, this amount of intoxication was normal for me, so all I needed was to sleep it off. However, nothing about this was normal for my parents. My mom immediately began making calls to treatment centers. I knew I wasn’t getting away with my actions, so I complied to treatment, thinking I would just go back to my previous ways after I was done.

The first month was hell and I was resistant to everything I was told. I didn’t think I belonged there and was convinced I was better than everyone else beside me. As time passed, I came around. One day I came across a quote that read, “An alcoholic is anyone whose life gets better when they stop drinking.” And that was when I knew. I was an alcoholic, because in just a month without alcohol, my life was immeasurably better. I had energy again, I had lost weight, I didn’t have to wake up with no memories, and I had begun rebuilding relationships. From that point on, I ran with it.

 
 

Today I am three years and three months sober. I am in a healthy, happy relationship with a steady job. I am an active voice in the online recovery community, something that makes me feel like I am finally giving back what I was so freely given. I’ve even been able to stop taking my antidepressants, in part because I have faced the demons that haunted me for so long. I still hit bumps, sometimes daily, but now I ride them out rather than drown them out -- that’s what life is about. 

Top 5 Recovery Tools

1) Writing about recovery/sharing my story.

2) Forging relationships with others who have been in the same situation.

3) Exercise/creating new goals for myself.

4) Being honest and open with myself and others.

5) 12-step meetings (on occasion).


Connect with Beth.

 
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Re(Pro) #18: Claire Rudy Foster

I've got a major girl crush on my fellow July '07 member, Claire. I'm SO SO SO excited to read her new book (details within).  She's a phenomenal writer and expresser of thoughts--and a warm, supportive, lovely friend.  I'm not much of a betting woman but I'd put money on a major legacy this gal will leave, and Claire is quickly making her mark in this space.  Viva la recovery revolucion!

xo,
Laura


Name: Claire Rudy Foster

Age: 32

Location: Portland, OR

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 7/06/2007

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.):

I’m a writer and a lifelong reader. I fell in love with reading when I was young: I was allowed to read whatever I wanted, even the books and magazines that my parents read, so reading was an early, illicit pleasure. In reading, I explored places and experiences that made me believe that adulthood would be wonderful, bursting with interesting people, gorgeous meals, and excursions to every corner of the map. In recovery, I’ve found those people and places, and they populate my novels and short stories. 

It might sound trite, but sobriety has made my dreams a reality. When I was drinking, and deep into my heroin addiction, I was trying to write and just going in circles. I saw a few stories published, and knew I had potential, but when I was using, it was just that: potential. Nothing more. Inevitably, I couldn’t write because I had to be high all the time and when I was high I could barely form a coherent thought, much less tell a story. Once I got sober, the pieces starting coming together again. Next month, my first book is coming out, and that’s a dream come true for me. 

I never thought I’d have my name on the cover of anything; I thought that I would be one of those tragic, unacknowledged writers who OD’d in her apartment and nothing to show for her life except a trunk of unpublished, not-very-good pages. A few times, that was a real possibility, and I think it’s my pride that kept me plugging along. I’m not gonna fucking die without accomplishing something, I always told myself. And here I am, with a book, and I don’t want to die anymore and I’m not going to overdose or drink myself to death. How’s that for a plot twist?

If applicable, drug of choice (or not of choice...): 

Heroin and alcohol. I stuck with the classics. In a perfect world, I would have been blacked out at all times. I loved blackouts at first, because it was like being in a time machine. You walk in one end and come out the other, and you’re in a totally different spot, with new people and better music and hopefully more of whatever put you in the blackout in the first place. The problem was that the more I drank, the scarier it got. I would come to and I’d be with people I didn’t recognize, in dangerous places, with bad things happening. It really frightened me. Whenever I think I miss getting loaded, I remember those times: the sensation of falling into this dark, dark pit and not knowing who or what was waiting for me at the other end. There’s nothing romantic about it, and as awful as it was, I’m glad I spent so much time at the bottom. Heroin may love me, but I don’t love it back. And I don’t love who I was then, either. I think part of me was addicted to suffering, and getting loaded was a more efficient, dramatic way of getting into that dark place. I’m grateful that I don’t live there anymore.

Recovery Story in a Nutshell:

In a lot of ways, my story is boilerplate. Once I got started, I couldn’t stop. I didn’t want to stop. Like I said, there was this void inside me, a hole that opened up and was impossible to fill. I was a really lonely kid---that’s not a reflection on my parents, or my family, I was just that way. I was a dreamer and I think I figured out really young that there was no place in the world for people like me, and instead of believing that things would get better, I gave up hope. You can only weather so much. And I wasn’t brave then, and I didn’t know who I was, so I was basically like “fuck it” and pulled a vodka blanket over my head and refused to come out. I started drinking and using fairly young, and it felt right to me in a way that was scary. You could say that it was my first love, and I had absolutely no interest in fighting it. I didn’t realize how deep my addiction went until I finally tried to quit on my own. I couldn’t stop. I tried everything, from moving apartments to switching substances, to therapy and yoga and being a vegan and getting married, and I was still an alcoholic and a heroin addict. I could dress it up and say “it’s because I’m a writer” or “it’s because I got raped,” but neither of those things are completely true. “I’m self medicating.”

I ended up getting sober at 23. I think that everyone has a few windows of opportunity, when it comes to addiction---and the longer you wait, the fewer opportunities there are. For whatever reason, I jumped through this one and I haven’t gone back. I got sober on my own, detoxed in a tiny studio apartment I shared with my then-husband, and decided I could just muscle through it. I didn’t know anything about addiction or alcoholism and figured I was just insane. I thought I would have to go on a mood stabilizer or antidepressants---in fact, I was prescribed both of those things by a well-meaning psychiatrist in my first few months, because I described my symptoms and they were concomitant with bipolar disorder. (Of course, I hadn’t told this doctor that I’d quit drinking and getting loaded, so she thought I was having a mental break of some kind.) I stayed sober on my own for close to three years, and my life got smaller and smaller. I lost all my friends and I was so lonely. I rarely left the house, and I was afraid to walk down the wine aisle at the store. Finally, I got a suggestion to go to an AA meeting, and that’s where my recovery really started. 

Top 5 Recovery Tools

1) AA meetings
For me, staying physically sober wasn’t enough. I needed to learn how to grow up, work on myself, and be brave, and I learned all of that in AA. I’ve been sober for almost 10 years now, and in AA for more than 6. The contrast between having a community and trying to go it alone is like night and day for me. I don’t think AA is for everyone, but it can help anyone. It was exactly where I needed to be, and I use what I’ve learned in the rooms every day.

2) Writing
I keep a journal, write letters, and stay creative. Cultivating the playful, imaginative part of my mind is critical for my recovery. I was surprised and pleased to learn that getting sober didn’t turn me into a different person: it’s helped me to live up to my potential. I was a writer when I was drinking, and I’m a writer now: a sober one. A few years into my recovery, I went to graduate school and earned an MFA in Creative Writing. It feels like such a gift to not only be able to finish what I start, but to say “writing matters to me,” and be able to invest in myself.

3) Friends
Where would I be without my people? From AA to the #xa community on Twitter and the awesome friends who have come into my life over the past decade, I feel loved, supported, and seen. When I was drinking, I felt invisible: like I didn’t matter, and that nobody would miss me if I disappeared. Now, I have friends who fill my days and nights with laughter, music, and fun. I have a man in my life who makes me feel like I’m full of stars. I would also say that, in sobriety, I’ve learned how to make new friends without feeling nervous or inhibited. These days, I’m grateful to have quality friends I can count on, and who keep me honest and grounded.

4) Naps
Enough said.

5) Hope
Emily Dickinson said, “Hope is a thing with feathers.” That’s how I live today. I have heard people describe hope as a kind of faith, and I think that’s true, too. For me, recovery is what happens after the initial pain and excitement and drama of early sobriety has passed. Life continues to be life, and I continue to learn. I try to go forward believing that good things are possible, for me and everyone. I write about my hopes, talk about them. I remind myself that my best days are ahead of me, and that if I stay sober and keep going, I’ll get where I need to be. Of all the things I rely on, I’d say that hope is the thing that has truly given me wings. One day, I decided that I had trudged far enough; instead of giving up, I learned how to fly.


Connect with Claire / Win a Copy of Her Debut Book!

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Re(Pro) #17: Chris Aguirre

Father of The Recovery Revolution (dot online), Chris is a man who needs no real introduction.  
But lucky you, because I'm going to give one anyway. ;)
 You may know him as one of the voices behind the Since Right Now podcast, or the artist behind The Sobriety Collective's logo (and his own edgy website and logo), or The Man Who Recovered Using No Program And Is the Anti-Guru™, or the curator of Recovery Revelations and publisher of I've Never Done This Before by Claire Rudy Foster, or the man behind the SRN Podcast Network (that Bad Story is a part of...).  Get my drift?  

xoxo,
Laura

 
Epic Reunion of #Recovery Revolutionaries, L to R: Chris of SRN; Holly Whitaker of Hip Sobriety and co-host of HOME Podcast; Yours Truly of The Sobriety Collective; Laura McKowen of her eponymous website, Six Mantras for Early Recovery, and co-host of HOME Podcast; Jeff and Matt of SRN.

Epic Reunion of #Recovery Revolutionaries, L to R: Chris of SRN; Holly Whitaker of Hip Sobriety and co-host of HOME Podcast; Yours Truly of The Sobriety Collective; Laura McKowen of her eponymous website, Six Mantras for Early Recovery, and co-host of HOME Podcast; Jeff and Matt of SRN.

 

Name: Chris Aguirre

Age: 49.9

Location: Right Here.  

 Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction): 9/1/1997*
*happy belated sober-versary, dude!

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.): All

Drug of choice (or not of choice...): 
Alcohol, cocaine, freebase, ecstasy.

 
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Recovery Story in a Nutshell:
Good, bad, worst, worse, better, best.

Top 5 Recovery Tools:
Hammer, vice grip, awl, carpet knife, blender.


Connect with Chris.

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Website: therecoveryrevolution.online
Since Right Now - The Pod: @itunes | @soundcloud 
SRN Podcast Network: /SRN-ntwrk
Twitter: @KLENANDSOBR
Instagram: @therecoveryrevolution
Facebook: /therecoveryrevolution
YouTube: The Recovery Revolution

Re(Pro) #16: Joey Bradford

I've known Joey, in some capacity, for all of 2016.  We made each others' "e-quaintance" back in January and it's been such a treat to watch what she and her BFF in life and business, Persia, are creating in the holistic wellness and recovery worlds.  Plus they're British.  That just makes everything more fun :)  Stay tuned for a rockin' interview and make sure to buy their new book, The Inner Fix!
Love you, Joey darling, my fellow Sober-at-24-er!
xo,
Laura


Name: Joey Bradford

Age: 28

Location: London, England.

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 05/05/2012

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.):
Co-founder of lifestyle movement Addictive Daughter (coach/ healer/ author)

If applicable, drug of choice (or not of choice...): Alcohol

Recovery Story in a Nutshell:

My ‘rock bottom’ was gradual. By 24, a series of events left me with a niggling feeling that I perhaps needed to look at my relationship with alcohol (in fact, on and off, I’d had thoughts about this since I was 17 or so).

The nudge to do so came just after I’d badly fallen out with my best friend over the Christmas period in 2011 during a drink and drug-fuelled evening of chaos (where my behaviour was very much at fault, unfortunately). Ironically, this is the same friend I later went on to set up positive lifestyle movement Addictive Daughter with!

Immediately after our fall-out, I began dating an alcoholic who was several years sober and in recovery. The six months we spent together gave me an opportunity to lay off the drink almost completely and experience the many benefits that came with that.

Then, having hardly touched alcohol for almost half a year, I went on a massive bender whilst on holiday without him. I spent 12 hours passing out and vomiting until I was just retching air, begging to be taken to hospital. I returned home from my trip to be broken up with (my boyfriend had met someone else during the time I was away, and promptly married her - but that’s a story for another day.)

Although I was obviously hurt, I remember panicking more about having to go back to my ‘old lifestyle’ than losing him from my life. And then the light bulb moment came… I didn’t have to. I could do sobriety for me.

Realising that pretty much every negative occurrence in my life had happened as a result of being under the influence helped me to see that building a substance-free life could be a positive step for me.

In my early months of sobriety, I learned a lot about myself; I loved waking up clear-headed and remembering everything I had said and done the night before, my skin was clearer, my eyes were brighter and I felt inspired and motivated.

However, I also began to discover how dependent I was on alcohol to have a ‘good time’ socially - in order to feel confident and relaxed. Working through this was a challenge at first, but one I became willing to take on. It was important to me to learn how to become comfortable in my own skin, without the aid of substance.

Over the past 4 years, living alcohol-free has become much more ‘normal’ to me, as well as those I’m closest with. Many people respect and even, dare I say, admire it as a lifestyle choice. Total sobriety has cracked me wide open to a more spiritual way of life, which wasn’t something I’d anticipated or set out to pursue particularly. That said, I’m really grateful for the unexpected detour. I talk about my journey into sobriety and how a relationship with a ‘power greater than myself’ has evolved in Addictive Daughter’s new book, The Inner Fix

Last year, I married a gorgeous man - a filmmaker - who is also sober (in recovery from drug addiction). Today, my life feels uncomplicated, honest, exciting, free and more purposeful than it’s ever felt before.

 

Top 5 Recovery Tools

 1) Letting go of other peoples’ responses to my lifestyle choice.

Not everyone wants to be around a sober person because you are a mirror to others peoples’ choice - and that can be uncomfortable for some people. I am pretty sure that I’m a fun, open, friendly person a lot of the time, but people who aren’t on this path can create distance relationally, and identify it as ‘boring’ or ‘too good’. I’ve learned that this is more about their way of relating to sobriety, rather than evidence of who I am. Friendships evolve, change, fade and sometimes even reignite again. I’m learning to allow my relationships to ebb and flow, as they need to. 

2) Not comparing my ‘rock-bottom’ to someone else’s.

The only thing that’s ever led me to entertain drinking again is hearing someone else’s story and thinking, ‘that is so much worse than my own, I guess I could have gone down further.’ But then I remember that I’d prefer not to do that, actually! The truth is, my journey got bad enough for me. And that’s really all there is to it. The fact that I was just 24 when I embraced a sober way of life is something I am grateful for. A lot of good stuff has happened since then - more than I could have dreamt of really - and much of that’s down to the clarity sobriety has given me.

 3) Surrounding myself with ‘radiators’.

In workshops run by Addictive Daughter, we talk about ‘drains and radiators’. ‘Drains’ are people who sap your energy, remind you of your limits and generally bring negative and low-frequency vibes. ‘Radiators’ do the opposite - they lift you up, help you to feel expansive and bring light and warmth. Socially, I try to surround myself with radiators as much as I possibly can, particularly when life feels fragile.

 4) Remaining open and teachable

A lot has shifted for me over the past few years, particularly my attitude towards spirituality. I was a complete atheist until a few years back. I’ve become more open-minded, and as a result, have encountered some pretty unbelievable (in a good way) things. I try my best to remain open to new experiences and ideas, as I know this is just the beginning and that I’ll continue to grow if I’m open to it.

 5) Prayer & meditation

I read this quote by Yoga Bhajan recently: “Prayer is when you talk to God; meditation is when God talks to you.” Prayer comes quite easily to me these days (that wasn’t always the case, but I’ve found my feet with it and now, there’s no stopping me.) Meditation I find harder, because my mind can get so busy and I struggle to sit in stillness for extended periods of time. I 100% see the value in it, and I hope to continue to develop in this area! On days when my mind is in overdrive, I find running or journaling really helpful. The rhythmic nature of running gets me into a trance-like state - I get such release and many epiphanies from a good old run!

 


Connect with Joey & Addictive Daughter.

Book (just released!): The Inner Fix!)
Website: www.addictivedaughter.com
Instagram: @joey_bradford
Twitter: @Joey_Bradford_

Re(Pro) #15: Cristina Ferri

Yay!  Here we are!  We look like we could be sisters!  Or cousins :)

Yay!  Here we are!  We look like we could be sisters!  Or cousins :)

Cristina Ferri is a beautiful, gorgeously fierce, fighter of a soul--who is sassy to boot.  I mean, come on--ALL THE UNICORNS!  I had the ultimate pleasure of hugging my sister in sobriety a couple months ago at the I Am Not Anonymous portrait shoot in Washington, D.C. and we wore our matching #SOBER necklaces (designed by love, lori michelle for yours truly).  Let's throw some unicorn confetti in the air and welcome none other than Ms. Sober Unicorn


Name: Cristina Ferri

Age: 39 -- EEK!

Location: Plainville, MA

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 4/24/15

Creative niche: Photography & Singing

If applicable, drug of choices (or not of choice): Alcohol

Recovery story in a nutshell:

My recovery journey started a few months before my actual sobriety date. I started working with my therapist on the difficult internal issues and mental health problems I had been self-medicating myself with and casting aside for years. Soon, I began really seeing that a lot of my issues were burning hotter by my alcohol use. But when I made the decision to stop drinking, there was really no turning back. I realized really quickly that I needed a support line, other than my therapist, and I tried to find local AA meetings. Even though I always brought something home with me from the meetings I attended, I didn't feel as welcomed as I felt with the online recovery tribe I was also starting to build. These people rapidly became friends to collaborate with, vent to, laugh with and lean on. Staying sober is really only one part of my recovery journey. I am also currently working on my co-dependency, self-esteem, anxiety, depression and CPTSD, eating habits and relationship with food, body image, spirituality and relationship with my higher power as well as learning to just be human.

Every morning, I start my day with gratitude and try to journal my thoughts, which allows me to share a positive and healthy attitude towards everyone I interact with throughout the day. I worked with a health coach who truly helped me lay a foundation for success in creating a safe, nourishing place for my recovery. I also started a blog to share my story, and I'm currently having growth and interest in it to the point where I'm in the works of creating a new outreach program, revolving around recovery and art, that I hope to be announcing by the end of the year. I began volunteering with Girls On the Run & recently joined a church where I have been invited to be a part of their praise team! My recovery has truly changed my life. But it's something that I literally have to keep choosing every day, and every minute if necessary.

 

Top 5 Recovery Tools:

1) My Blog

2) Prayer & Meditation

3) Church & my relationship with my higher power

4) My Online Tribe

5) Booooooooooooooooooks


Connect with Cristina.

Re(Pro) #14: Wes Hurt

Name: Wes Hurt

Age: 38

Location: Austin, TX

 Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 7/24/2014

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.): 
Founder of Clean Cause

Click this can to learn how 50% of Clean Cause's profits help support recovery from alcohol & drug addiction. 

Click this can to learn how 50% of Clean Cause's profits help support recovery from alcohol & drug addiction. 

 

Drug of choice (or not of choice...):
Opiates

Recovery Story in a Nutshell:
20 years using, 6 rehabs, 1 psych ward, started business with a purpose, restored relationships and marriage, had baby boy, living the dream.
The End

Top 4 Recovery Tools:

1) 12-Steps

2) Friends in recovery

(^ like these two gals, Wes?) 

3) Practice gratitude daily

4) Nurture relationships


Connect with Wes and Clean Cause.
Website: www.cleancause.com
Instagram: @cleancause

Facebook: /cleancausewater

Re(Pro) #13: Vero Higareda

Re(Pro) template vero.png

If you look closely at the clouds, you might see a familiar face, wearing the #OCD spark bracelet.  

If you look closely at the clouds, you might see a familiar face, wearing the #OCD spark bracelet.  


Super excited to bring you our latest RePro by none other than Ms. Vero Higareda of Spark Bracelets.  This young lady (editor's note: wow, I feel old) is changing hearts and minds and challenging us all to #sparkaconversation about mental health through her beautifully designed bracelets.  10% of every sale goes to her Spark Fund--read more about that drop of golden philanthropy here.  Thank you, Vero, for showing us that mental illness is not a life sentence--in many ways, it's a gift.  

xoxo,
Laura


Name: Vero Higareda

Age: 22

Location: U.S./Mexico, here and there    

 Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction): 6/9/20111

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.): 
I design bracelets that represent different mental health issues in order to raise awareness and Spark conversations about mental illness. I also like to paint (although, being honest with you, I am very bad at it.)

Drug of choice (or not of choice...): 
Alcohol

Recovery Story in a Nutshell:
It's actually a looong story but I'll try to do it in a nutshell! When I was fifteen I realized that there was "something" wrong going on in my head. This 'something', this very painful, agonizing 'something' led me to try and attempt suicide. Fortunately, I survived and it has allowed me to be here to share my story. I didn't know what this something was until after tons of reading and research and help from my mom. This something is OCD, and in between I've dealt with depression as well. OCD manifests itself in many ways not restricted to cleaning and meticulous organizing. One of those manifestations is having obsessive, self-harming, thoughts, which lead to mental torment and physical compulsions. In my case, the stress caused by these obsessions and compulsions wore me down even physically. It really is something beyond your control and it can become a living hell. I tried around 6 therapists before I found a good match. I found someone who truly cared about my mental wellness and who understood that Citalopram and Rivotril were not going to help me unless I also helped myself. After 7 years of being in therapy I still have OCD but I am now able to live a fulfilling life – despite it. Now this is not to say that it has been easy. I dare to say that recovery from addiction or mental illness is never easy. But it can be done. It takes time, it takes effort, it's a process. I am glad I didn't give up, I hope that if you're reading this you don't give up either. In the words of The Sobriety Collective "sobriety and recovery are everywhere." <

Top 5 Recovery Tools:

1) READING!
 cannot tell you how reading saved my life so many times. At times when I felt that there was noo hope for me, I would find online forums and spaces (just like this one!) and would read other people's stories. It would give me sooo much encouragement because I thought, hey! there is someone out there, right now, who feels just like me. I am not alone. And if they have been able to recover and live well, then so can I! I also started reading a lot of textbooks that talked about OCD, mental illness, addiction, etcetera. I feel that reading and learning more about these subjects helps you give it meaning, and understand that there are things beyond your control but then there are also things which you can do to help yourself. It's also a good distraction, and you learn while you’re at it!

2) SELF-LOVE
 I think this is one of the hardest things to do but once you start getting the hang of it a lil bit, it only gets easier from there. It's hard to love oneself, we are always criticizing ourselves, what we do, what we think, we compare ourselves to others... but once we start shutting off these voices, things start to change internally. When we hear inside our heads "you're ugly" or "you're dumb" and we respond NO, I AM NOT. I think this is where we start self-love. We need to constantly remind ourselves that we are beautiful, that we are loved, that we are meaningful. And if we learn to love ourselves, things start getting brighter and better.

3) RUNNING
To be completely honest, I have NEVER been a fan of exercising. But somehow running clears my mind off. Although, when I get my relapses of OCD, there is never really a time where I have a clear mind, running helps me distract myself even if it's just for seconds. It's also good for your physical health, so there we go, right!?

4) THERAPY
Ahhhhh, if there has been something that has helped me it has been therapy. There is a looot of stigma involving therapy; if you tell someone that you are seeing a psychiatrist you immediately get this, are you crazy? look. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH GOING TO THERAPY. Honestly, I think everyone should do it. I know therapy can be expensive, there have been moments in my life where I haven't been able to afford it. If you can't afford it then please talk to someone you love and that you know that will actually listen to you, and not judge you. Talking always helps.

5) JOURNAL
Keeping a journal has helped me keep track of my thoughts and my emotions. How they have changed, how much progress (or lack of) there has been. It increases your self-awareness and it is nice to have your thoughts laid out, and in a journal you can express how you feel without fear of being judged. You’re also able to track your personal patterns of behavior that help you achieve goals and respond effectively to challenges.


spark.png

Connect with Vero & Spark Bracelets.
Website: www.sparkbracelets.com
Facebook: /SparkAConversation
Instagram: @bracelets_spark
Twitter: @verohigaredaaa
Email: sparkbracelets@gmail.com

Re(Pro) #12: Brandon Damm

I discovered Brandon through Instagram (I think?) and he's a breath of fresh air.  Creative, passionate, and a family man--Brandon shows us that it's OK to challenge our old notions of what recovery means.  I'm so happy we're in the same #tribe.

xo, Laura


Name: Brandon Damm

Age: 29

Location: Springfield, IL    

 Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction): 2.22.16

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.): Writer, Speaker, Artist

Drug of choice (or not of choice...): 
Used to be a fan of craft beer…now Sobriety is my drug of choice.

Recovery Story in a Nutshell:
I never was the daily drinker. Just the occasional jackass drinker. The kind that would drink too much, say things I shouldn’t say, post things I shouldn’t post, text people I shouldn’t text. I would be dry for a month or two then think, “I’ve got this. I can do the moderation thing.” I could do the couple of drinks limit a time or two. Then I’d go out with buddies to watch a ball game or be at a party or cookout and eventually I’d cross the line. This pattern occurred too many times between my teen years and late twenties. In fear of eventually losing my relationships, friends, or driver’s license…I finally decided to call it quits for good in early 2016. One is too much and one more is never enough. It just isn’t worth it.

Top 5 Recovery Tools:

  1. When removing something negative from your life, always replace it with something positive.
     
  2. Self-care is not selfish. It’s hard to be beneficial to others when you are running on empty. Fill yourself up!
     
  3. Recovery is not just a doctrine or program. It’s holistic. Mind, body, and spirit. Take care of your mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical health.
     
  4. Reward yourself for accomplishments. (with good things obviously). Go on a walk. Listen to your favorite song. Buy a new yoga mat. Make a healthy smoothie. (a small piece of chocolate won’t break the bank every once in awhile either.)
     
  5. Surround yourself with people that give off good vibes. Negative complainers and partiers will only tempt you to pick up the bottle or take that drug. Create your own good vibe tribe. Be patient in your transition to a new crowd.

 
 

Connect with Brandon.
Website: www.brandondoeslife.com
Instagram: @brandondoeslife
Email: brandon.damm@yahoo.com
Tumblr: brandondoeslife
 

Re(Pro) #11: Liz Russo

This one goes to 11--#11 on the Re(Pro) list, that is ;)  Ms. Liz Russo, comedienne, sassy vixen of standup clubs, and in recovery, natch.  One day I'll catch her live show,  but until then, I'm happy to be social media BFFs.


Name: Liz Russo

Age: 38

Location: Easton, PA

Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction): 1/16/2011

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.):
Standup comedy

If applicable, drug of choice (or not choice…): 
Booze and Donuts

An upper-middle class, white, college-educated girl with a loving family background becomes an alcoholic in her adulthood. It surprises many.

Unfortunately, the stigma attached to addicts hinders those who suffer from addiction to get help.

I was guilty of this, too. I said, “That’s not me. I don’t have a problem. I don’t need help.” Until I realized it was me, I do have a problem, and I definitely needed help. With support and treatment, I was able to stop drinking and reclaim my life.

This is my journey:

I was a goody-goody and didn’t drink in high school, was top of my class in academics, was the school musical lead, president of choir and captain of debate, and I was even an active member of Students Against Destructive Decisions, which would later prove ironic. I was a good kid, but the disease lurked. No matter how prudish I was most of my life, alcohol would render me powerless and my life unmanageable. It’s not that I wasn’t a good person anymore, it’s that I was a sick person and needed help. How did this happen? To ME?

Donuts were my gateway drug. Sounds silly, but in retrospect I realized that I used food much the same way I used alcohol. I went to a weight-loss summer camp for much of my childhood—or as I call it, donut rehab. I was always on a diet to lose weight and struggled with no long-term success. I decided to get gastric bypass. Afterward, I could no longer use food the same way. A year after surgery, I started to drink.

This is common with bypass patients. When the initial addiction is never addressed, and there remains an unresolved addiction component in the brain, a new addiction develops, replacing the old one. Professionals call this “addiction transference.”

I self-medicated with food and alcohol. What started as a temporary solution to anesthetize myself from the discomfort of coping with life became the problem itself. You can’t be arrested for overindulging on junk food, but alcohol proved more dangerous.

I was an overweight non-drinker and after losing more than 100 pounds, I morphed into a skinny social weekend drinker. As my drinking escalated, so did my weight gain. Within a year, I was arrested for two DUIs. The judge ordered a five-year sentence, serving one year in Northampton County Prison. I celebrated my 30th birthday in jail. Shocking, scary, and devastating, but not enough to keep me sober.

I don’t recommend the jail diet, but I reclaimed my weight loss and got sober during my stay. When released, my sobriety was short-lived, despite potential consequences. I started drinking and gained the weight back (again!). My addiction had progressed far beyond where I had left it years before. Soon enough, I added a public drunkenness charge to my arrests while on parole.

Authorities gave me a choice of penalty: rehab or jail. They couldn’t incarcerate the addiction out of me, so I picked the option I hadn’t tried yet. I drove myself drunk to the Livengrin Foundation for Addiction Recovery in Bensalem, Pa. with a six pack in my trunk, just in case it didn’t work out. Addiction is insanity.

I hit bottom when I decided to just stop digging. I surrendered my shovel January 16, 2011 during my time at Livengrin. Through continued recovery, I remain healthy and sober. I also gave up donuts and all gluten, dairy, soy and eggs, and have changed my relationship with food using the tools I learned in recovery from alcoholism. I now eat healthy, exercise, nourish my body, mind and soul — and have lost more than 100 pounds. The lessons learned in recovery can benefit everyone, not just an addict.

There are many pathways, but the journey starts with hope. Someone gave me that gift. I want to give hope to those suffering from addiction by sharing my story. We are not that different. You are not alone. More than 23 million Americans are in recovery from addiction. I am one. 

Top 5 Recovery Tools:

 #1  Working a Program of Recovery
#2 Self-awareness/Honesty
#3 Remaining Teachable/Humility
#4 Exercise/Nutrition 
#5
Practicing Mindfulness in All Things 


Connect with Liz.
Website: www.thelizrusso.com
Twitter: @thelizrusso
Instagram: @thelizrusso
Facebook: @ilovelizrusso
Email: liz@thelizrusso.com

Re(Pro) #10: Owen Bowness

Totally embarrassed that I forgot to write Owen an intro.  Suffice it to say, he needs no introduction.  Muay thai boxer, podcaster, and dapper (#SOBER) man about town.  I give you, Owen Bowness.


Name: Owen Bowness

Age: 34

Location: Jersey City, NJ

Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction): 9/27/2007

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.):
I am a comedian (since 2002); I am a podcaster; I am a Thai Boxer and  jiu jitsu player.

If applicable, drug of choice (or not choice…):
Alcohol and cocaine were the most problematic but I tried a long list of drugs from psychedelics (which were fun) and Oxy’s (which were not). 

Recovery story in a nutshell

Drinking and drugs became a problem while in college. I managed to limp through school and “earn” a degree and my drinking and drug use skyrocketed between 2004-2007. I was fired several times, lost quite a few friends, limited family interaction, couldn’t pay bills and basically could not take care of myself. Sobered up in 2007 after outpatient rehab and joining Alcoholics Anonymous. I was an enthusiastic member of the fellowship completing the steps, participating in a home group and taking service commitments including sponsorship. I have since moved on from AA as I no longer find the meetings helpful and I disagree with many tenets of the program. I maintain my spiritual condition through healthy, active lifestyle, creative and physical outlets, and a consistent meditation practice.  

Top 5 Recovery Tools:

Martial arts (#1 muay thai and #2 jiu jitsu), #3 meditation, creative pursuits (#4 stand up comedy and #5 podcasting). These activities keep my life full and enjoyable. I overcame the obsession to drink and drug while participating in Alcoholics Anonymous. 


 
 

Connect with Owen.
Website: www.obcomedy.net
Twitter: @obcomedy
Instagram: @owie_b
Facebook: /obcomedy
Podcast #1: Life Beyond Our Mildest Dreams
Podcast #2: Muay Thai Radio