12 steps

Re(Pro) #63: Tricia Lewis

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I chose to recover as hard as I drank and I haven’t looked back since.
— Tricia Lewis

Name: Tricia Lewis

Age: 37

Location: Dallas, TX

Recovery date: 11/14/2016
*turning point for substance use and/or mental health challenges

Creative niche:
Entrepreneurship has been in my blood my entire life. I'm a 6 year + business owner but my ultimate creative outlet is event planning, most recently in the form of Sober by Southwest in Austin TX.

If applicable to your story, drug of choice: Alcohol

Recovery story in a nutshell:

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I was a high- functioning, over-achieving, co-dependent alcoholic who had grown up around a very low functioning addict. Seeing what addiction "looked" like in that way made it so hard to diagnose if I had a real problem because I didn't realize how common high functioning alcoholism is or what that even resembled. I just thought I was anxious and needed to blow off steam... every night.

I worked successfully in the restaurant industry, worked incredibly hard, and partied even harder. I was a black-out drinker from the beginning and it progressively got worse into my mid 30's as I compartmentalized a double life: drinking every single night and spending my days making it look like I was totally fine. I had also become so angry, anxious, unsettled and generally unhappy and was waking up each morning pissed off that I had drank so much the night before when it was always supposed to be just 1 or 2.

After my 12 week swan song of a socially acceptable drinking binge (Read: I still went to work most days despite my daily drinking, never got a DWI, always kept up appearances, didn't take shots/ only drank expensive wine and liquor and made sure I didn't "look like an alcoholic") I experienced my first physical withdrawals that lasted 3 days. This is when I knew I couldn't negotiate my drinking with my body anymore. I listened to some recovery podcasts and heard a story I related to very deeply that convinced me to go ahead and try this sobriety thing. I dove in head first and tried AA, online sober groups, books, therapy, the 12 steps, a sponsor, you name it. I chose to recover as hard as I drank and I haven't looked back since.


Top 5 Recovery/Wellness Tools 

1) Community
(sober Facebook groups, 12 step meetings, other sober people I've met through social media)

2) Prayer/meditation

3) Podcasts

4) Actively working the 12 Steps

5) Keeping my mind open


 
 

Connect with Tricia

Recovery Happy Hour
Website: www.recoveryhappyhour.com
Instagram: @recoveryhappyhour
Twitter: @recoveryhappyhour
Facebook: @recoveryhappyhour

Sober by Southwest
Website: www.soberbysouthwest.com
Instagram: @soberbysouthwest
Facebook: @soberbysouthwest

Re(Pro) #61: Courtney Andersen

Courtney Andersen
Helping others fuels my soul and I’m a firm believer of “women supporting women.”
— Courtney Andersen

Name: Courtney Andersen

Age: 36

Location: Detroit, Michigan

Recovery date*: 8/18/2012
[* turning point for substance use and/or mental health challenges]

Creative niche:
Writing, Blogging, Entrepreneur, Online Coaching, Helping others

If applicable to your story, drug of choice:
Alcohol and LOTS of it. I also enjoyed cocaine for about 3 years in my active addiction with alcohol.

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Recovery story in a nutshell:
I LOVED alcohol like it was my bestie for over a decade.  

My vicious cycle of addiction was spent for over ten years feeling ashamed, embarrassed, lonely, isolated and scared but I kept staying in this world. For so many years I didn't feel like I deserved any good.  Most days depending on my work schedule were spent thinking about drinking, drinking or dry heaving, laying in bed all day until I ordered pizza at 8pm when I finally stopped throwing up all the alcohol from the night before. I mean this cycle happened weekly; alcohol poisoning for sure! Of course I would say to myself every time I would dry heave that [this would] "be the last time I did shots or drank like that"...LIES!

I often found when I woke up the night before I had no clue how I got home or what happened. About ninety percent of the time my drinking would end up with me upsetting one of my friends, boyfriends or family members. I often would yell at them, pick fights and get violent like a real pig. So many missed opportunities and relationships down the drain because of my addiction. So much TIME WASTED and moments I will never get back in my life. Funny thing is since I was about 24, I knew I would have to stop drinking one day. In the pit of my soul I believe that all addicts know they have a problem of some sort, it's just a matter of "are you going to address the problem" or just “carrying on because you don't want to feel or face reality?!!”

courtney before after

When I was 29 years old, I woke up the next morning from a complete shit show of an evening. I was told I lost my cat (who was not an outside cat at all) for the second time as I left my screen door wide open because I went outside to smoke in a blackout. I was also told by my then boyfriend that he was over the drinking as well; at that point we had been together for a year and a half. He had seen plenty in such a short amount of time because I will say the last couple of years of my drinking my episodes were getting worse and worse. So that day I made a pact to myself and the universe that if Fiona (my cat) was found I would give up drinking and give life a go sober as I knew I had to do since I was in my early twenties. For two days I laid around from the worst hangover in my life, like straight up death! I’m surprised I didn't need medical attention. So every few hours I would go outside shaking Fiona's treats and calling her name; finally FURPANTS came walking out slowly from under my neighbor’s deck looking terrified and leaves all over her fur and in her whiskers. I dropped to my knees like a scene from a movie and scooped her up and instantly starting crying. I felt in my whole being and on another level that sobriety was my answer; this was 1 million percent my rock bottom. I probably hit RB about 40 times previous to this but this time it was the last bottom I would face.

My life began on  August 18th, 2012! That boyfriend who said ‘enough was enough’ is now my husband. He even gave up drinking with me; he never had a problem but just got to a point in his life he could do without. Sober Life has not been easy, a lot of emotions a lot of ups and downs but it’s all worth it. I honestly wouldn't change a thing of how my life has become. My world is just better with friends, family, husband, myself and everything else. I even have my own health and fitness business and currently working on starting my own non profit/charity for women in recovery called Sober Vibes! Helping others fuels my soul and I'm a firm believer of "women supporting women." My business, Sober Vibes, the happiness and gratitude I experience now in life would never have happened if I continued to drink, I’d probably be dead if I would have kept in my active addiction and I know that in my heart and soul!  

WE DO RECOVER.


Courtney Andersen & Lori Massicot recently had me on RAW!

Top 5 Recovery/Wellness Tools:

1) Writing

2) Exercise

3) Meditation

4) Therapy/AA

5) Laughter


Re(Pro) #58: Tammi Salas

Tammi Salas

In my humble opinion, this woman needs no introduction. She (and The Unruffled Podcast partner Sondra Primeaux) are changing the face of what it means to be a sober creative — and that art and recovery are not mutually exclusive, much like Adriana Marchione, our last RePro. I had the pleasure of meeting Tammi at She Recovers in NYC and then again at She Recovers in LA, when I got to take her gratitude art workshop (along with beautiful soul Shelley Richanbach, who led us in a full body gratitude scan). I am inspired by Tammi on a daily basis and my hope is twofold: 1) that I will get to spend some true, quality time with her one day and soak up her art and gratitude and beauty in person, and 2) that you, dear reader, find something in Tammi that resonates with you. It’s my true honor to present Tammi Salas to The Sobriety Collective.

xo,
Laura


Name: Tammi Salas

Age: 48

Location: Valley Ford, CA (NorCal)

Recovery date: 2/03/2015

Creative niche:
Art, writing, podcasting, late bloomer + college student majoring in art at my age!

If applicable to your story, drug of choice: 
Alcohol

Recovery story in a nutshell:


On February 3, 2015, I had my yearly physical scheduled with my general practitioner. January had been filled with a lot of contemplation about how miserable I was in my life. I had a physical bottom with booze the week after Christmas in 2014, so I spent a lot of time examining why I felt the way I did. When I was sitting in my doctor’s waiting room, filling out the general medical intake form, I paused at the question How many alcoholic drinks do you have in a week? I thought about lying, like I usually did on the form, but something inside of me wanted to tell the truth, the whole truth. I put 21 down on the intake form and handed it back to the receptionist before I could change my mind.

My doctor seemed surprised by this new information provided, but asked good questions about what I drank (bourbon) and looked up what bourbon was made of (corn) and told me all of that corn was turning to sugar and most likely contributing to a lot of my health issues (cystic acne, weight gain, etc.). She nonchalantly asked me if I would consider going on an elimination diet and removing alcohol first. Now, I love a challenge, so I immediately said yes. She reiterated that I would need to eliminate alcohol for 8 weeks and was I sure that I could do that. The bait was taken and I was all in to eliminate alcohol, gluten, sugar and dairy.

unruffled pod

The funny thing is that even though I thought I was telling the truth on that medical intake form, it wasn’t the whole truth. In actuality and with hindsight, I was really drinking 42 drinks a week because I drank three double manhattans every single night towards the end of my drinking. I feel like it’s important to tell you this because when I was drinking the truth was fluid and bendable. Once I got sober, I realized I had a long way to go in the truth-telling department. This would be my first start.

In sobriety, I started sharing my creative work on Instagram. I was approached to create illustrations for Holly of Hip Sobriety and we collaborated on The Mantra Project: 40 Days of Sobriety email course. I pitched myself to write a column for the Recovery Revolution about how I navigated the 12 steps of AA and it’s called Crossing The Room. I got a little braver with each project.

Last year I launched The Unruffled Podcast with my co-host, Sondra Primeaux, and we talk about where art and creativity intersect with our sobriety and recovery from alcohol. I also released a softcover book called My Daily Gratitude Practice: How I Got Started + Found My Visual Voice. I also sell original paintings from my 2018 gallery show called The Geographic. Those can be found in my shop on my website.


I no longer sell and serve wine, I sell art and serve up my perspective on recovery.
— Tammi Salas


Top 5 Recovery/Wellness Tools 

1) A solid morning routine:
Prayer, meditation, tarot, journaling + hot tea

2) Daily gratitude list
+ being part of an online gratitude circle

3) 8 hours of sleep:
No matter what.

4) 12-step meetings:
Working with a sponsor + sponsoring women

5) My phone:
To text + talk with women in recovery + listen to podcasts


 
Tammi
 

Connect with Tammi.

website: www.tammisalas.com
instagram: @tammisalas | @theunruffledpodcast
email: tammisalas@mac.com

Re(Pro) #48: Chris Marshall

Chris Marshall

Meet Chris Marshall, founder of The Sans Bar, Austin, TX's first sober bar. Stay social, stay sober with that #mocktailLife!

xoxo,
Laura


Name: Chris Marshall

Age: 35

Location: Austin, TX

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 2/16/2007
[Editor's note: Club 2007 in the house!]

Creative niche: Entrepreneurship

If applicable to your story, drug of choice: Alcohol

Your story in a nutshell: 

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Started drinking at 16. First beer was with friends in an empty field. I drank to feel connected to my friends mostly because I feared being different. I got my first DUI a month later and continued to drink. Joined a fraternity and found myself drinking in the morning my freshman year.

Several stints in jail and ruined relationships didn't stop me from pursing a connection with people via drinking. I drank so hard intentionally, I thought I couldn't be fun or cool if I didn't drink. Eventually I found myself medicating depression and anxiety with alcohol. Self mutilation became part of my story.

I eventually went to treatment and found a group of people who told me I belonged to them even if I didn't want to. The 12 Steps were exceedingly helpful in establishing my recovery. After a year of deeply connecting to this group of men and women who taught me how to have fun, work and create without alcohol; I moved to Austin and went back to college to become a licensed chemical dependency counselor. I never forgot the lessons from that first year, and encouraged clients to find a tribe that could offer gentle accountability.

With over 8 years of professional clinical work experience, I began to feel as if treatment was ineffective. As an industry, we have become skilled in getting people to recovery, but we suck at keeping them there. The truth is we don't teach people to socialize in America beyond Kindergarten. If you have no clue how to dance or date or make friends without drugs and alcohol, you have to learn an entire new way of social functioning.

In 2015, on a trip to Seattle I came up with the idea of creating a sober bar that could be a classroom for sober socialization. The rest is still unwritten.


Top 5 Recovery/Wellness Tools

1) Vigorous compassion

2) Connection to humans

3) Connection to the Universe

4) Creating anything (music, art, etc.)

5) Living a life without secrets


 
IMG_6671 - Chris Marshall.jpg
 

Connect with Chris

Website: www.thesansbar.com
Instagram@sansbar.austin
Twitter: @sans_bar

Re(Pro) #29: Tommy Rosen

Tommy Rosen RePro

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


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


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*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) #7: Nancy Carr

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Get jeally, people!  Because here we are, in the flesh, back in February '16.  Nancy and Laura, hangin' in the sunshine.  I'm also proud to say Nancy's story was one of the first I ever featured on The Sobriety Collective.  I'm super stoked to have her join  us, once again, with her Recovery Profile aka Re(Pro).  Good luck on your move, Nancy, and I'm so #grateful and #blessed to have you as a friend!

xoxo,
Laura


Name
Nancy Carr

Age
Ugh, 49!!!

Location:
Naples, FLA, soon to be Carlsbad, CA in a month!

Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction): 
May 11, 2004

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

I started writing in my 20’s as an outlet for my angst – I kept journals here and there, but a year before I got sober (2003) I started a journal on my laptop and that’s when my writing really started becoming an extension of myself.  After I got sober, I kept on writing and I had so much more to write about, life was more interesting and it wasn’t about whining and complaining.  I kept on writing through my first year of sobriety (in addition to hand writing step work) and soon I realized I had put together a manuscript – which then became my Memoir.  My book sat on a bookshelf, literally, for 9 years, until I self-published it through Kindle last year.  It’s been a great experience and journey and I’ve been so fortunate that I’ve been help to other women in their quest to get sober.  I also started a blog in 2009 and would write occasionally about sober life, family and essays, and then by 2015, I started giving my blog all my attention and started writing more, mainly about recovery and sobriety.  Being connected with my blog and my memoir has and continues to be such a huge part of my recovery.  One of the greatest gifts has been joining and participating in the amazing online sober community.  It’s helped me in so many ways and I’m truly grateful for all the amazing connections and friends I’ve made.   

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

Recovery story in a nutshell:

Started drinking at age 13, by 16 I started doing cocaine and by 19 I was drinking and doing cocaine weekly and I was off running in my disease.  I drank and did blow regularly for over 20 years.  My 2nd DUI is the one that saved me. I was 37 years old and this DUI is when I said to myself, “I have been living my life the same way since I was 19, I need to get my shit together”. 

I didn’t want to quit drinking or drugging, as I didn’t know that living sober was really an option for someone like me.  I was able to hold a job, I could pay my really important bills and I passed for your typical fun party gal that liked Happy Hours and drinking Mimosa’s all weekend.  However, I knew I had a problem and I knew deep down I was a total and complete mess.  But I was in too much fear to tell anyone, let alone ask for help.  My DUI attorney urged me to get a court card signed at an AA meeting.  I went to a meeting and ran outta there and drank for a week before making the decision that I should give the sober AA life a try.  I was all out of options and my snooze button wasn’t working anymore.

I started going to AA regularly and did what was suggested; 90 meetings in 90 days, got a sponsor, worked the steps and I kept coming back.  I didn’t know what else to do.  My life got amazingly better very quickly and my desire to drink was lifted.  Life was in session and I was able to participate for once! Twelve years later, I’m still doing the AA thing, but not every day is rainbows and butterflies, but today I know how to handle situations that used to baffle me and I can take care of myself and know that I’m in recovery from a fatal disease that wants me dead, so yeah, I’ll keep going back.

Top 5 Recovery Tools:

AA Fellowship, Steps & Meetings (I guess that’s 3):
This is what my intro to sobriety was and as long as I stay connected and continue to share and work the steps in my daily life – I have a pretty good shot at staying sober.

Having a sponsor and my bitch buddies: 
Having a sponsor has saved me so many times, because I usually don’t know what’s best for me.  But if I hash it out with someone who has more time than me and who has gone through what I have gone through – I’m going to get through it – sober! I also have my bitch buddies; girlfriends that I call any time that let me vent and allow me to express how I’m feeling and what’s going on.  These women are an amazing support system and I don’t know what I’d do without them.

Doing the next indicated thing and releasing the outcome. 
This action has helped me so many times during my sobriety and it’s never let me down.  It may not always turn out the way I want it to; but it turns out the way its intended to.

Prayer and Meditation: 
Prayer has been a big part of my sobriety very early on and it’s a constant in my life.  Twice a day, every day.  Some days, the prayers are short and sweet and other days they are longer – either way I need to keep my spiritual maintenance in check.  I’ve been practicing Meditation off and on for about 10 years; most recently I took a Transcendental Meditation course.  It was intense and I’ve been trying to incorporate that into my daily life.  20 minutes twice a day, some days I fall short, but I know how to do it and it’s so powerful and soothing – it takes me to a completely different realm and I get to experience another level of soul searching.

Taking Care of Myself: 
This is hugely important to me and what this looks like changes every day.  Some days it’s just eating healthy, hitting a meeting and going to work.  Other days, it’s walking Lucy (my rescue pup), working out, taking a bath and making dinner.  It could also be taking myself on a trip or going shopping and treating myself to ice cream.  This manifests itself in so many ways and as long as I have a balance of life and recovery then I know I’m doing the best I can with what I have. 


Connect with Nancy.
Blog: www.lastcallblog.me
Twitter: @NLCarrC
Facebook: Last Call
Amazon.com: Last Call
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