12 step

Re(Pro) #46: Jeff Stevens

Jeff Stevens

Name: Jeff Stevens

Age: 50

Location: St. Louis, MO

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 3/14/1992

Creative niche: Officially an entrepreneur w/some writing potential.

If applicable to your story, drug of choice
Cheap Beer and Cheaper Tequila. Then Mad Dog 20/20.

Your story in a nutshell:

I pretty much drank alcoholically from the very start. I come from a long line of people with this disease. By the time I was 24 I had a DUI, been to jail numerous times and pretty much was a liar and cheater and a thief to everyone I knew. I hit my bottom in FLA and while I had been going to meetings I was still drinking. But on March 14th 1992 the pain got so bad that I did something I hadn't done up until that moment. I asked God for help. I got on my hands and knees in a veil of tears and surrendered. God removed my compulsion to drink right then and I'm grateful all the time it's never returned. I came to learn that this was a spiritual experience right out the Big Book.

That time the SRN boys met up with the HOME gals (aka Holly and Laura) and me. <3.

That time the SRN boys met up with the HOME gals (aka Holly and Laura) and me. <3.

Since then I've lived and experienced recovery in Florida, Chicago, London, St. Louis and traveled all over. I married up. Have two great kids. I built a career in advertising and found so much freedom that I worked on a ton of beer and spirits brands and never had the desire to pick up. I go to meetings, have a sponsor and sponsees and do a weekly recovery podcast at sincerightnow.com.

In 2016 I put together two of short list of skills (beer marketing and not drinking alcohol) into a business called wellbeingbrewing.com. We make NA craft beer. [Editor's note: You can invest in WellBeing! Jeff and his team exceeded their goal of $125-200K - but there's still room for you. Click here for more details.]

Some truths I've found to be true: The more I'm around, the less I know and the 12 steps are probably the simplest and most rewarding spiritual path you will find.

 

Top 5 Recovery / Wellness Tools:

1) Meetings
2) Yoga
3) Weekly Podcast w/The Boys
4) NA Craft Beer
5) My 3rd step minute mantra: "Take this God, I don't want it."


Connect with Jeff.

Re(Pro) #41: Paul Fuhr

Paul Fuhr

Paul is a writer. A true writer. You are in for a treat. He's also a down-to-earth, good man who I'm blessed to call a friend. Whenever he checks in with me, it's always way beyond the surface. This guy is going places and if you aren't already familiar with his work (side-gig writer for The Fix and After Party Magazine and podcast host), it's time to brush up on all things Paul Fuhr.
Fuhriously, er, seriously!

xo,
Laura


Name: Paul Fuhr

Age: 40

Location: Columbus, OH

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 1/11/2014

Creative niche: Writing

Drug of choice, if applicable: Alcohol

Recovery story in a nutshell: Well, how big is this nutshell?

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Um, where to start? I should've started my recovery story about four or five times throughout my active drinking days. That much I know. I knew there were times that I was a full-blown alcoholic and should've called it quits, but didn't. I actually convinced myself I'd disappoint people at an upcoming party if I wasn't there chugging back beer. I was hiding empty gin bottles I'd stolen from my parents' liquor cabinet in my clothes drawers. I was not showing up for appointments. I'd consider a lunch date as a suggestion, not an obligation to actually show up. I'd text last-second "traffic jams" or "grocery store heists" (both true examples of lies I used) to my "friends" at the time.

Back to your question. I drank, and I drank with gusto. I was the Goodtime Charlie. My first drink was a stolen Zima in a closet, because my aunt told me it was better than sex. Sex was years off for me (I was a huge "Star Trek" fan, so maybe even years further than I hoped for), so I settled for Zima. When I got to college, Goodnight Nurse. I was off to the races. I loved the way that some beers made me feel softer around the edges and thoughtful, while others made me consider that I could knock out someone twice my size that I didn't really have a problem with.

IPAs made me feel like I licked a shag-carpet and disappointed the nearest beer nerd in the room. Wines made me sleepy. Vodka made me horny. Jager shots made do stupid shit and spout "X-Files" trivia. Irish car bombs were exercises in trying to not chip my teeth. No matter what, I was never the guy passed out first. I was challenging everyone to keep the party going, which meant I wasn't up with all the fun people at 2:30 a.m. No, all the fun people at a party were off fucking in their bedrooms or passed out like good college students. Me, I was adrift with the island of misfit toys in a college living room: friends of friends who were too drunk to be sleeping. We played Jenga or watched late-night TV. We had nothing in common so it'd be a series of those half-awake, half-aware, no-consequence conversations carried into the morning.

My drinking simply got worse. Transplant all the "fun" drinking from college and move it to home. No bumper wheels. No keg stands. The carnivality of college drinking was gone. I was living at home again. I immediately got a DUI. Even that wasn't a wake-up call for me. I just made more drinking buddies. I had a stay at a hotel with two other DUI offenders and all they focused on was trying to get booze into our hotel room. I remember thinking THOSE PEOPLE are alcoholics. Not me. Well, I was, but not like those idiots. I just wasn't ready to consider that about myself. Even court-ordered therapists were staring sessions between the two of us. I had plans to go drinking that night, and my arms-crossed attitude told him that.

In fact, let's do this: let's wrap all of my drinking up quickly. Let's call it a wash of hilarious, sexy, awkward, adrenaline-pumping, forbidden, sorrowful, sad, empty, poor, lonely, shameful scenes of me drinking and trying to get by. Let's say it's a real three or four years I can't remember. Three kids are in there, too. A pissed-off, hollowed-out wife, too. Put them in there. That certainly wasn't the real version of me out there. That was an alien powered on draft beer and pint bottles rolling around my seats. Now, let's say it's all behind us. 100%. So, how did I get recovery?

I got sober my listening to other people. First, I listened to those first people who hurt me so deeply: "Maybe you're an alcoholic." That thought caused me to recoil, retreating like back from a flame. But when I forgot to pick my oldest up from school, having passed out from a relapse after treatment, I knew I was an alcoholic. So I accepted that I was. I started listening. I also started listening to the delicate nature of conversations around me: in meetings, between my family, my friends. Even if they were inane things about the weather or how much Oliver, my second-oldest, hates the smell of cereal, I listened. I hadn't heard it before. I sopped it all up. I wasn't listening for years. I was checked out. So, listening was the real trick for my recovery. I wasn't listening to my internal clock telling me when all the liquor stores around me were starting to close. (Do you know what that desperation feels like, knowing it's after-hours everywhere?)

I also started downloading podcasts and reading every single addiction narrative I could find at the library. I couldn't identify with everything -- not completely -- but I tried. I scraped a line here; a page here; a chapter there. Nothing was MY story (not that mine is amazingly unique) but I didn't expect to see myself mirrored in anyone's pages. Eventually, I just found myself to be a listener. In my drinking days, I was a talker. I waited for others to draw in a breath so I could inject my bullshit, be it a James Bond fact or something I simply made up. I hated silence (maybe because it reminded me that I clearly could hear the drunken buzz thrumming through my bones as an electric current or something). Now I was a listener. It helped everywhere. I listened to podcasts; I listened at work to people talking at their desks; I listened in performance reviews I was suddenly giving in a job I suddenly had; I listened when my sponsor told me to check my motives. I simply listened. That's what got my sober. Listening to the stories in my 12-step meetings don't make me feel like I've found my people or that I'm not alone -- they remind me that I continue to walk through this world alone, but can carry what they share with me through with me.

(I also listened to the people I made amends to. That was the feedback I needed to hear most. They were there for the real holy-shit damage, too. That's as much an opportunity as it is a life-changing chance to make a difference and demonstrate how far you're come. If someone is willing to accept your apology at the same time they'll call you out for being a monster, that's a gift.)

Time heals everything that it should. Everything else wasn't worth it in the first place, in my opinion.

Top 5 Recovery Tools:

1. Spotify.
I would pay at least $200 a month for this. I can't explain how important this is to my recovery. As fast as my broken-brain's moods will shift from one second to another, Spotify is always there for me. I create specific mood playlists, playlists for friends going through similar, playlists for my podcast episodes, anything and everything.

2. Writing.
I don't journal, really. With all my professional writing obligations, I don't have time for that. But writing is a huge recovery tool because I'm airing out my past and current recovery in articles, podcasts, appearances, and books.

3. Family & Friends.
There's not too much to say here, other than this list grows and swells and shrinks at a moment's time. And I don't pay much attention to it. I know who will be there for me, sure, but I'm more worried who **I** can be for someone when they need **me**. That's not something I've ever considered before.

4. 12-step work.
I host two podcasts, writing countless paid articles, speak at 12-step meetings, answer FB messages from strangers, and work with others on a regular basis. I think this is as fulfilling as it is rewarding as it gets. When someone reaches out to me to say they got something out of an article, it makes everything worth it.

5. Sleep.
I never slept before. Not for real, anyway. This is where I should put "exercise." but I think if I get control over "sleep," everything else will follow. Sleep, though. That's my white whale. I have teeth-gnashing, vivid, talk-aloud nights, and then I have the kind where I feel like I didn't sleep at all. I just want to wake up and go, "All right. With a cup of coffee, this won't be so bad." I swear, four years later, my brain is still expecting a brutal hangover and a zillion excuses.


Connect with Paul.

Re(Pro) #39: Amy Dresner

Amy Dresner RePro

It's this beauty's 5 year anniversary today so can we get a FUCK YEAH!? Long ago and far away (sometime last spring), Amy gave me her own "eff yes" when I asked her to be one of the next Re(Pro)s. We were going to time my clicking "publish" around her own book launch date in September 2017 for My Fair Junkie: A Memoir of Getting Dirty and Staying Clean. But, life happened. I got catfished (and had to report the whole debacle to the FBI - I'll be writing about it soon, now that the dust has settled). And so my life was upside down and then I admittedly forgot to post Amy's profile, especially since I hadn't had a chance to read her magnificent memoir. I'm still working on it (honesty! progress, not perfection!) but I couldn't let her 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY go down in history without this little gift.
So this is from me to you, Amy.  Happy 5 years*!

xoxo,
Laura


Name: Amy Dresner

Age: 47

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): *1/02/2013

Creative niche: 
Writing. I've been a contributing editor to addiction/recovery mag TheFix.com since 2012 and I just had my first book published by Hachette, an addiction memoir called "My Fair Junkie: A Memoir of Getting Dirty and Staying Clean".

If applicable, drug of choice: 
Crystal meth and IV cocaine although I was an equal opportunity abuser: pot, booze, mushrooms, Ativan, Oxycontin. At the end I really enjoyed Four Loko cuz I’m classy like that.

Nutshell

Recovery story in a nutshell: 
I was a late bloomer and a chronic relapser. I didn’t drink till I was 19. Smoked pot at 21. I tried meth at 24 and it immediately opened up some terrifying voracious vortex in me. Thus began the cycle of rehabs, psych wards, suicide attempts. Twenty years in and out of the rooms. I’d have periods of sobriety and then just eat sand again. It was awful. I tried to stay away from booze because it made me violent and naked which I enjoyed but others…not so much. Things culminated when I was arrested high as a kite on Oxy for felony domestic violence and went to jail. I lost everything: my marriage, my sanity, my financial security. After a few more relapses and yet another suicide attempt and stay in treatment, I ended up spending two and half years in a women’s sober living, doing 240 hours of court-ordered community labor. That’s what it took for me to finally take full responsibility for my life and the consequences of my addiction. I did a major attitude overhaul thanks to the steps, my newfound poverty and my humbling penal labor and finally grew up in my 40’s. Been sober ever since.


Top 5 Recovery Tools:

1. Writing (what a surprise!)
2. Humor
3. Running my idiotic ideas by my sponsor
4. Service (in and out of the rooms)
5. Sleep (When I feel totally nuts, I unplug and take a nap.)


Connect with Amy.

My Fair Junkie

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) #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.

marv.jpg

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. &nbsp;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