If you know my story, you'll know Dispatch plays a big part. [If you don't know, read more here.]
Suffice it to say, the last night I ever drank (and of course, I drank to the point of blacking out) was in New York City at Madison Square Garden, the night of July 13, 2007. Dispatch hit the stage and the crowd went wild. At least, I think they did. I know I did.
**Hours of crying, screaming, drunk babbling, running and wandering aimlessly about the lobby of Madison Square Garden, breaking down, being scooped up by paramedics who whisked away to a hospital**
Seven hours later I came to in a hospital bed wearing hospital socks and feeling what I can only describe as a witch's brew of fear, terror, shame, guilt, bewilderment, and shock. This was the last time, I promised myself, and somehow I meant it.
**Fast forward 10 years, 11 months, and 13 days**
I never thought I'd have the opportunity to see Dispatch live again, mostly because I heard rumors they split up, did their own thing. That was that. Or so I thought.
This year not only have they reunited, but they've partnered with Propeller LA to have fans volunteer at shows across the country. Through a volunteer application, I shared my story of why it was so important for my experience to come full circle. To go from seeing them last in a drunken stupor to this year's show date 11 years later really does feel like a crazy miracle. I'll get to show up and help the community, in cause and action.
And I'll get to experience a band I love so much completely sober, paying homage to who I once was and I've since become.
These shoes are made for walking (a 5K)
...and that's just what we'll do
For the third year in a row, I'm proud to join forces with Shatterproof, a national nonprofit dedicated to fighting addiction and the stigma that surrounds it through grassroots fundraising efforts. In 2015, I was the 2nd top donor in Washington DC for the Shatterproof Rappelling Challenge and I had the most individual donors out of all participants. In 2016, I saw the other side of the event via volunteering. And now, in 2017, I'm excited to walk with my close friend Amy and her mother as well as thousands of other recovery advocates - people in long term recovery, people who have sadly lost loved ones, people who are changing the world through sharing their stories through a unified voice that recovery is possible.
Our live TV debut where Amy and I talk all things Shatterproof, addiction, and of course, #recovery.
Q: Where do donations go?
A: Toward stigma reduction, ambassador training, community outreach, advocating for change, evidence-based resources, and lifesaving legislation.
What: Shatterproof's Rise up Against Addiction 5K Run/Walk
Where: The Catholic University of America
Why: Because 1 in 10 Americans with addiction actually receive treatment. Because 1 in 3 families in the USA are touched by addiction. Because shame and stigma can kill - and we can stop that cycle by sharing our stories loudly! Because we can't keep losing our brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, children. Because I celebrated 10 years of long term recovery and continuous sobriety on July 14, 2017.
Because We Are Shatterproof:
Stronger Than Addiction!
Event day details - from volunteer/participant/supporter logistics to info on memorial gallery, celebration of recovery, community village - and all the FAQs you could possibly need can be found HERE.
If you made it this far, thank you so much!
Once again, you can donate to our team efforts by clicking the button below.
Click below to tweet.
Something pretty magnificent took place on July 14, 2017.
I celebrated 10 years aka ONE DECADE (!) of continuous sobriety/long-term recovery.
Truly hard to believe. My life has gone in many directions since that fateful New York City hospitalization late the night of July 13, 2007. In some ways, I wouldn't wish my experience on anyone else - because I was in pain and hiding behind shame and not to mention the fact that I was destroying my insides and outsides with binge drinking. Even though it was over the moon fun at times - a wild roller-coaster of parties and life whooshing like a metaphorical convertible with the top down on a wide open highway - it was getting dark and fast. They say it's a progressive disease - alcoholism and all its relatives: at risk drinking, binge drinking, etc. If I hadn't chosen the path of sobriety when I did, who knows how bad it could have gotten.
I, for one, am glad I didn't have to find out.
Sometimes I wish the whole world had a program of recovery - whatever that program may be - because it gives them a moral code for living and improving their own and others' lives. It allows for service to others; it makes us grow as individuals. Besides the fact that it's HEALTHY to not poison our bodies and minds and souls and spirits with toxins.
Every year I go to a candlelight 12-step meeting to celebrate my anniversary - the men and women in the room never judge me for only showing up once a year (editor's note: I'm the one who judges myself most harshly. Wait. I don't need an editor's note. I'm the writer *and* the editor. Giggle) Because remember - the only requirement for membership to Alcoholics Anonymous is a desire to stop drinking. You can be a member of however many or few programs as you want - you are the boss of your own recovery and there's power in owning your own path. Please believe me - and know that it's taken me years (ten, to be exact) to get to where I am today.
^ Here I am with one my closest friends in recovery, Amy. She and I met one year ago at Tom Coderre's [this guy is kind of a big deal in the recovery policy/advocacy world] summer recovery BBQ and she's become my SOUL SISTER since. In May, we traveled to New York together for She Recovers in NYC and met up with two of our other sober sisters, Nona and Robin. (See below images: left image L to R: Robin, Nona, Amy, me; right image L to R: Amy, me, Robin, Nona).
If not for being in recovery and wanting to give back to others and improve my own journey and connect with other creative spirits - I wouldn't have started The Sobriety Collective in April of 2015. This collective? It's for you. And for me. But it's about YOU, about US. I want your suggestions and feedback -- what would you like to see this coming year? There are plenty of exciting updates coming your way soon but for now, my greatest joy is to share others' journeys with you in the sporadicly updated RePro section. Writers, artists, entrepreneurs, musicians, athletes, advocates, filmmakers and photographers - these are the people whose recovery (from addiction and mental illness) I'll be sharing with you.
Lastly, I want to give my thanks to all of you who contributed to my GoFundMe campaign when I was at a recent financial low. Money sobriety is something I'm still struggling with - and I didn't realize the cost of this undertaking until it bit me squarely in the rear. With your help, I was able to sock a bit away and pay for a full year of web-hosting. If you still want to donate, I'm not going to say no. But I just wanted to extend my most sincere gratitude to all of you.
Thank you so, so much.