recovery

#66: Marnie Rae

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Name: Marnie Rae

Age: 50

Location: Seattle, WA

Sobriety date: 4/15/2003

Creative niche: Entrepreneurship, mocktails, writing

If applicable to your story, substance of choice:
Alcohol - Grey Goose Martinis (with 3 olives) and Black Russians to be more specific. Although a bottle of wine would do in a pinch.

nutshell

Recovery/sobriety story in a nutshell:

I started drinking as a teenager.

It progressively became the focus of my life, all of my friends drank (although most weren't addicted), every event was an excuse to drink. I thought I was having fun, we even laughed about the time I drank too much and ended up in the hospital. Somehow missed that burning bush :(

Finally, after 20 years of drinking, I had my 'rock bottom' moment. I attended an elementary school fundraising auction that I had been a big part of creating, got drunk with our friends before the event, snuck in alcohol at the event, made a fool of myself trying to converse with my children's teachers, and embarrassed someone I love very much - my husband (makes me cry to write this). I knew when I went to bed that night it was going to be the last time I drank (it was).

I had a friend that didn't drink, although I didn't know why. I walked right up to her the next day in the parking lot at school after dropping our kids off and asked her point blank why she didn't drink. I look back now and I have so much love for that scared young woman that was rude and awkward and desperate.

Thank God my friend had been in recovery for a long time and could see through the awkwardness. She told me she was in recovery, I told her I needed help. She took me to my first AA meeting - I am forever grateful for her and the people in those rooms. I did NOT finish all 12 steps and I'm okay with that. I'm sober, I'm happy, I am a work in progress, I do my best to be a good human, I'm okay with it.


Top 5 Recovery/Wellness Tools:

1) Grace

2) Gratitude

3) Writing

4) Time by myself

5) Fear
Fear isn't really a 'wellness' tool but honestly, the fear of going back to that life is one of the things that keeps me sober.


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Connect with Marnie Rae

website: www.marnierae.com
instagram:
@marnieraec
facebook:
@marnieraec

Re(Pro) #64: Dawn Nickel

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The past seven years have been about peeling back the real layers of my life - and creating the community that both holds me up and allows me to give back.
— Dawn Nickel

Name: Dawn Nickel

Age: 58

Location, Victoria, British Columbia (Canada)

Recovery date*: 5/11/1989
*I have a number of dates - but the one above is truly what I consider to be my recovery date.

Creative niche:
Entrepreneur, recovery coach and advocate, writer

If applicable to your story, drug of choice: 
Not really applicable since the drugs were just what I used to cope but I was addicted to cocaine, pills marijuana and alcohol. That and my addiction to really unhealthy relationships made my young adult years a bit of a gong show.

Recovery story in a nutshell:
Started using all of the substances heavily at 15. Five overdoses by age 20. Pregnant at 20 and started to try to stop using. Went into treatment at aged 27 when my six-year-old daughter told me that I made her sick (I was trying to explain to her how sick I was that day - drug and alcohol hangover - she wasn't impressed). Smoked massive amounts of pot for two years then went back into treatment at 29. Recovery gave me a life - I went to university for 13 years culminating in a PhD in health care policy, a happy marriage to another person on recovery and eventually - a work addiction that brought me back to my knees at the age of 51. The past seven years have been about peeling back the real layers of my life - and creating the community that both holds me up and allows me to give back.


Top 5 Recovery/Wellness Tools

1) Time with family and time alone (tied for top importance)

2) Connection with other people in recovery - mostly women

3) Attempting self-care on a daily basis (sometimes I nail it - most times I don't)

4) Reading everything

5) Meditation when I remember


 
 

Connect with Dawn and She Recovers

Website: www.sherecovers.co
Instagram: @she_recovers | @recoveringdawn
Facebook: @SheRecovers

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) #57: Adriana Marchione

Adriana Marchione

Adriana Marchione is a force of nature. I feel endless gratitude that Mama Dawn (aka Dawn Nickel, co- founder of She Recovers) reconnected me with Adriana. Adriana’s work is that of a creative - an expressive arts therapist, a filmmaker, an artist. And this fiery and fierce woman has over 25 years of long-term recovery under her belt. She’s the perfect fit for The Sobriety Collective.

Adriana’s current project is a film that some of you may have heard of - The Creative High. It’s currently in its final stages of fundraising as the film team works round the clock to finish everything related to post-production (e.g. color correction, sound editing, etc.). The moment all the post-production work is done, the film can be ready to make its film festival debut and touch hundreds and thousands of lives as it tells the stories of working artists/creatives who have faced addiction and are now in recovery.
I believe this film has the potential to change the world. And so does Adriana.
And so do
you.

xo,
Laura

Left: Adriana; right: Laura. Here we are, being our beautiful soulful selves.

Left: Adriana; right: Laura. Here we are, being our beautiful soulful selves.


Name: Adriana Marchione

Age: 50

Location: San Francisco, CA

Recovery date: 3/01/1993

Creative niche: Filmmaker, Interdisciplinary Artist, Expressive Arts Therapist and Educator

If applicable to your story, drug of choice:  Alcohol

(Recovery) story in a nutshell:

[From Adriana’s
In Recovery magazine feature
]

When I got sober in 1993, I found it absolutely necessary to connect with people in recovery who could show me a new way of life. However, the artistic resources and mentorship necessary for me to maintain my creative life and artistic integrity were missing. I have had to find my own way in unearthing artistic expression that has supported my recovery.

I was a “pure alcoholic,” never using drugs except for periodic pot smoking, which I didn’t enjoy because of its anxiety-producing effects. Alcohol was my solace, keeping me up when I needed an emotional charge and quieting my nerves when I was uncomfortable. It was also a useful companion to my artistic life.

I began creating in high school. At college in Ohio, I became a photography/mixed media artist. I was consumed by my artwork. I felt at home in the darkroom, and I worked on creative projects late at night when I could focus and find inspiration. Alcohol accompanied me as I worked and listened to music; it also became my social lubricant at parties, art openings and at the dive bars I frequented.

I drank for seven years. Alcohol was beginning to significantly inhibit and disturb my life; it was also affecting my art. When I would drink while photographing, the quality of my work suffered.


Top 5 Recovery/Wellness Tools

1) Finding time to be quiet and listen.
Often I do this through meditation and prayer, but it also can be when dancing, drawing, writing, walking in the city or in nature.

2) Writing Fears Lists.
When I get overwhelmed, anxious or doubtful, I create a fears list to get my thoughts out on paper. This helps me let go...

3) Gratitude Lists.
One of the gifts of recovery is a changing mindset. When I can have a better perspective on my life challenges I can breathe easier and be a much easier person to be around!

4) Making Art Journals and Collage.
I use art to channel my thoughts and feelings but it also helps me to articulate my dreams and visions. I like to do this with oil pastels and found images from magazines.

5) Dancing.
I was able to find my body in recovery and this has helped me embrace movement as dance as a powerful tool for life and recovery. This might be dancing in my living room, going to an expressive dance class or dancing tango which I studied for 9 years.


 
 

Re(Pro) #56: Jocellyn Harvey

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Maybe you know her as @seltzersobriety on Instagram. That’s how I first met this Vermont-based beauty. Jocellyn is a writer, a truthteller, a connector. She and I share so much in common - about some pretty deep and private things - and I feel such a close sisterhood to her (we haven’t even talked on the phone!). One of the things I love most about Jocellyn and her IG feed is that she’s real and raw and a combo of insights into her personal life with actual Inspo. Since she submitted her profile, she started a new venture on IG: @blackwomensharing, a platform for women of color to come together, share about their lives, and find connection. Love you, J!

xo,
Laura


Name: Jocellyn Harvey

Age: 27

Location: Vermont

Recovery date: 1/10/2016

Creative niche: Writing and connecting with others

If applicable to your story, drug of choice: 
Alcohol, and the times I did drugs I made sure to do them all at once

Recovery story in a nutshell:

I drank occasionally as a teen and bad things generally happened, but I thought I'd outgrow it. Once I got my first post-college job at 22 I started being a "sophisticated" daily drinker, and that really took me to the brink. Right before I got sober I was drinking copious amounts of wine and cocktails every day, starting to develop the shakes, losing my mental capacity, and contemplating suicide. It was sad and ugly.

The day I woke and decided "yup, I cannot do this anymore" was so humbling and amazing. Now I stay sober with the help of 12-Step programs, connecting in-person and online with other sober people (especially sober women), and during the summer of 2018 I started going to therapy, which has been immensely helpful for addressing trauma.

Other things I do are more self-care related. They may seem simple, but they are hugely important: good sleep, good eating, getting a bit of exercise (I struggle with this one the most), reading, and also just relaxing on the couch with a TV show and being okay with that. Balance, right?


Top 5 Recovery/Wellness Tools

1) Twelve Step Programs

2) Therapy

3) Free & Native workshops to help with self-worth and past situations

4) Making sure I get a proper nights sleep & going on walks

5) Connecting with others & not sitting in my "ish"


 
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Connect with Jocellyn

Instagram: @seltzersobriety | @blackwomensharing
The Temper: Joceylln’s portfolio

Re(Pro) #50: Lisa McLaughlin

Lisa McLaughlin

So excited to share part 2 of our WorkitHealth women in entrepreneurship duo, Ms. Lisa McLaughlin! You met Robin McIntosh in part 1; now meet her business parter and friend, Lisa. These women have set out to change the world of digital recovery - and their blog features some of the biggest recovery movers and shakers (Olivia Pennelle, Lara Frazier, and yours truly). Thank you for all you do, Lisa!

xo,
Laura


 

Name: Lisa McLaughlin

Age: 38

Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 4/10/2002

Creative niche:
Entrepreneurship and writing. I am a co-founder at Workit Health and spend most of my time designing the future of recovery through Telehealth with my amazing business partner Robin McIntosh (we met in the room in Oakland in 2009) and out incredible team. At Workit I do a lot of public speaking and recovery advocacy work. I mentor other women entrepreneurs in my spare time. I write daily but don't publish as much as I should.

If applicable to your story, drug of choice:
Cocaine, but really I didn't discriminate. I was a nineties raver so mostly ecstacy, opium, meth, hallucinogens, alcohol, marijuana, and an unfortunate quantity of whip its.

Recovery story in a nutshell:

I started drinking and using drugs when I was 15 and spiraled fairly rapidly. I'm Irish-Italian so the genetic setup was there. My addiction was largely driven by social anxiety that emerged in adolescence as I moved away from a deeply religious upbringing in the Baptist Church to a wider social network of kids from all over the world at a large public high school.

Being numbed out and less anxious was a total win for me in the beginning. I had a rough run from 15 to 22, most of which was spent blacked out in warehouses in Detroit dressed in jnco jeans taking whatever I could acquire with whichever low quality skateboarder boyfriend I had at the time. By 22 I had been hospitalized for alcohol poisoning (turned blue, resuscitated), gone temporarily blind for six hours in a k-hole, had multiple run-ins with the law, and experienced a lot of exposure to violence and trauma.

My bottom occurred when I was high during a mental health crisis my brother had (he has schizophrenia). I wasn't able to be fully there for him during a terrifying turning point in his life when he really needed me to admit him to the hospital. I realized the extent of my spiritual bankruptcy when it seemed like a good idea to leave him and "go back to the club."

I got sober through court-mandated AA, a decade of therapy, and a lot of love from women in recovery. Its been an odyssey. Here's 16 Ways my Recovery has Changed at Year 16: https://www.workithealth.com/blog/16-years-recovery-lisa-mclaughlin


Top 5 Recovery/Wellness Tools: 

1. Meditation / Breathwork
2. Cardio
3. The Workit App
4. Daily Social Outreach
5. Writing


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Connect with Lisa.

Website: www.WorkitHealth.com
Facebook: @Lisa.Mclaughlin | @WorkitHealth
Twitter: @Lmclaug | @WorkitHealth
Instagram: @Lmclaug | @WorkitHealth

Re(Pro) #49: Robin McIntosh

Robin McIntosh

In part 1 of our WorkitHealth women in entrepreneurship duo, we meet Robin McIntosh! You'll meet Lisa McLaughlin, Robin's business partner and friend, in part 2. Robin and Lisa have set out to change the world of digital recovery - and their blog features some of the biggest recovery movers and shakers (Olivia Pennelle, Lara Frazier, and yours truly). Thank you for all you do, Robin! 

xo,
Laura


Name: Robin McIntosh

Age: 33

Location: Oakland, CA

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 12/31/2006

Creative niche:
Design, entrepreneurship, art history, art, literature

If applicable to your story, drug of choice:  Alcohol / food

Recovery story in a nutshell:

Nutshell version: when I was five I tried to use a kitchen knife to cut all the "bad parts" off my my already tiny frame. My eating disorder, needless to say, started before I could stitch together coherent memories. When I found alcohol at thirteen, my first feeling was relief that I could spend a moment outside my form, the "itchy" reality of daily life. A demented combination of alcohol, anorexia, and bulimia led me through multiple school expulsions, eight rehabs, and several detoxes. Finally, when I was 24 I found other women in recovery, therapy, and 12-step meetings. Last year I celebrated a decade clean, abstinent and sober, and I am so very grateful!


Top 3 Recovery/Wellness Tools

1) Workit Health Community
2) Writing
3) Sober Friendships 


Connect with Robin.

Website: www.WorkitHealth.com
Instagram: @robinamcintosh@WorkitHealth
Twitter: @robinamcintosh | @WorkitHealth
Facebook: @robinamcintosh | @WorkitHealth

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


 
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Connect with Chris

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

Re(Pro) #47: Paula Hoss

Paula Hoss

I love Paula. She's amazing, inspirational, gorgeous, and just beacon of light. I've been using her skincare line, CLN&DRTY and ZOMG it's like my own personal spa. Share in the comments what your favorite item of hers is from her line. If you haven't tried it yet, go on an Easter Egg hunt in the post because there are a couple of links to shop with a 15% off coupon.
 So like I said, I love Paula. You will too. Read on.

xoxo, 
Laura


Name: Paula Hoss

Age: 34

Location: Massachusetts

Recovery date (turning point for substance use disorder or mental illness): 1/21/2008

My own bathroom countertop.

My own bathroom countertop.

Creative niche: Skincare Entrepreneur
[Shop CLN&DRTY for 15% off with coupon code SOBER15).

If applicable to your story, drug of choice:
Alcohol & benzos

Your story in a nutshell:


I began suffering from symptoms of bipolar disorder when I was 15 years old and around the same time started to self medicate. I got sober for the first time at 18 and was able to stay sober for 3 years. I was active in the hardcore music scene, so I saw my sobriety more as straight edge rather than recovery.

At 20 I found myself in a highly abusive relationship, 400 miles away from home and isolated from my friends and family. The relationship ended with assault, kidnapping and terroristic threat charges against him, and I was left with severe PTSD and my bipolar disorder was acting out in full force.

Soon after, I picked up drinking again. I remember taking the first drink after those 3 years of sobriety and just feeling the whole world lift off of my shoulders. I felt like all of my fear, my anxiety, all of the trauma was being lifted away.

I was 21 and quickly spiraled into regular blackout drinking and substance abuse within the year. I again isolated myself from friends and family and moved to a city where I could live alone and drink and use without anyone's intervention.

At age 24, I hit rock bottom. [Editor's note: Me too!] There wasn't an arrest or an overdose, but rather a 6 month period where I would wake up every single morning, swearing that this was the last time and then would pick up by the evening.

I woke up on January 21, 2008 and felt more empty than I had ever felt in my life. I felt worthless, numb and depressed beyond belief. I crumbled on the floor and started sobbing and praying. I knew that I would either have to get sober or I would be dead within weeks.

I'm proud to say that I've been sober since that day, for over 10 years. In the early years, I was incredibly active in AA. I did the 12 steps, had a sponsor and sponsored other women. I got active in a young person's community and those people truly saved my life.

Further into my sobriety, I became a wife and a mother. I shifted my understanding of a Higher Power to a relationship with Jesus Christ. I began attending a non-denominational church and since my problem was no longer active drinking, but rather the shame and pain that went along with my lifestyle, I started connecting with and mentoring women of all backgrounds.

Part of my platform as a business owner is telling my story of surviving mental illness and substance abuse. I'm passionate about showing women that no matter where they are, no matter how far down they've gone, they can redeem themselves. That every single awful thing that they've done (because if you're reading this, I know you have that list in your head: the terrible moments that you pass off as party stories but you know in your heart that you are so ashamed of) can totally be wiped clean.


Top 5 Recovery/Wellness Tools:

1) The Big Book of AA
2) The Bible
3) Someone who is further along in sobriety than you
4) Someone is younger in sobriety than you
5) God


 
Click above to shop Paula's CLN&DRTY store and get 15% off your order!

Click above to shop Paula's CLN&DRTY store and get 15% off your order!

 

Connect with Paula.

Website: CLNandDRTY.com
Instagram: @CLNandDRTY
Etsy: @CLNandDRTY

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) #43: Sarah Roberts

Sarah Roberts

Name: Sarah Roberts

Age: 45

Location: Ottawa, Canada

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 7/31/2002

Creative niche: Writing, cooking, entrepreneurship

If applicable to your story, drug of choice: Alcohol

Recovery story in a nutshell:

Nutshell

I drank almost daily for over a decade and at the age of 29, I got a DUI and I felt like my entire life had just crumbled down around me. Everything I'd been holding onto was shattered in that moment, and I knew I had no choice but to completely change my life. I quit my job. I moved across the city. I abandoned relationships that weren't serving me and I grabbed on tighter to ones that were. I enrolled in Business school and I busted my ass to prove to myself and everyone else that I could actually do something with my life. I graduated Summa Cum Laude but when I started looking for jobs, my criminal record got in the way. It was humiliating but it also pushed me towards entrepreneurship.

I kept my addiction and my sobriety a secret. I told almost no one about the truth of my life. I hid it by saying that I was "into health and fitness, so I don't drink" and I went about getting "into health and fitness" through the food I ate, and through exercise and through sleep and meditation and yoga. Yet, I started using sugar in the same way I'd used alcohol---alone, in my room, with a tub of ice cream and a spoon. I knew that if I was going to be able to keep my secret, I'd have to learn strategies to combat my cravings, so I set out to learn as much as I could about the brain and cravings and nutrition and food-as-fuel, not as a numbing agent. I also knew I'd have to get to the root of my pain, as alcohol and sugar were simply the symptoms of the problem.

I held on to my secret for over a decade until I finally launched my blog and shared the truth in my first post called "The Decision." Health and wellness became my recovery pathway. For the first time, I really started to understand the body-mind connection, and I became awed by this amazing vessel that carries me through my life. I share what I've learned with others through my blog and my book and my online course and my coaching programs.

I couldn’t have expected my life to evolve the way it has since sharing it, but it has been nothing short of extraordinary.
— Sarah Roberts

I am now able to share openly about my life with others and I am also thrilled to be co-creating Sobriety Starts HERE, a website filled with video interviews of recovery badasses (like YOU, Laura!**) sharing their stories of redemption. It is a passion project that is quickly taking up more and more of my time as I love having these conversations with REAL people who have been there and can help others struggling. I'd love for you to check it out at SobrietyStartsHERE.com.

Thank you, Laura, for allowing me to share here.
Your work matters and I adore you! xo
[Editor's note: Thank YOU, Sarah. That means the world to me.]

** Here's my interview with Sarah on SobrietyStartsHERE.com <3

Laura Silverman sits down with Sarah Roberts of Sobriety Starts HERE to share about her blog, The Sobriety Collective and more…

Top 5 Recovery Tools

1) Nourishing my body through food
2) Movement
3) Meditation
4) Regenerative sleep
5) Connecting with others in recovery.


Connect with Sarah

SSH

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?

nutshell.jpeg
nutshell.jpeg
nutshell.jpeg

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) #38: Michelle Winder

Michelle Winder

Michelle is a force of nature. Her IG game is ON POINT and always has the most inspirational BICEP flexing going on - it was such an honor and privilege to meet this beautiful mama and her daughter Shelby in New York City at She Recovers in NYC. If you're looking for #soberspo, look no further. This woman is it - ways to reach this girl on fiyah after the jump.

xo,
Laura


Name: Michelle Winder

Age: 47

Recovery date: 10/7/2015

Creative niche: 
I always associate the word creative with art, so I think that I'm not creative. I do however, own my own my own business and humbled to know that I am providing jobs for 23 people everyday in a loving, home like environment.

If applicable, drug of choice: Alcohol

nutshell

Recovery story in a nutshell: 
I began drinking in my early 20's, very casually for a really long time. I never ever saw it as a problem, until it was. That happened in my early 40's. when family members began to say things to me about my drinking, when I began to blackout, when I started planning around and constantly thinking about drinking. I fought giving it up really hard. I never wanted to not drink, so I tried to moderate. That's when things really spiraled out of control. I spent two really long years fighting to keep drinking, with every passing week being worse than the last. I finally gave up that fight 10/7/2015 and began my journey of recovery. I relapsed 4 or 5 times in those early days, but am happy to say that I will never drink again. Sobriety has been the greatest gift that I have ever given myself. I am present and love life like never before.


Top 5 Recovery Tools

1. My sober community is at the top of the list.

 
Editor's note: SOBER COMMUNITY, baby! Heeeere's Laura (aka me) with Michelle at She Recovers in NYC, May 2017.

Editor's note: SOBER COMMUNITY, baby! Heeeere's Laura (aka me) with Michelle at She Recovers in NYC, May 2017.

 

2. Reading... 
...as much as I can, whether it be a book or blogs or a simple social media post.

3. Mantras

4. Meditation

5. Music


Connect with Michelle.

Re(Pro) #36: Jamie Amos

Back in February - yes, February (my life got crazy this summer - I was elaborately catfished [more on that soon] and so my editorial calendar hasn't exactly been reliable), my girl Jamie wrote me this gem:

*~*~*

Dear Major Internet Crush: I am a writer and badass professional living in New Orleans, AKA the drunkest place on earth, where a vibrant and eccentric recovery community costumes regularly and stays sober. I grew up in generational poverty rife with addiction. Over my 20 years of drinking and drug abuse, including a pretty intense intravenous coke habit, I also managed to put myself through college, earn an MFA, and publish fiction in some national magazines before getting sober is 2014. I love your site and the supportive community I see you nurture on Twitter and Instagram. It would be a huge honor to be a re(pro). 

*~*~*

How could I say no to that? Since that time, I've been crushing on *her* and all that she does with her writing partner, Nikki, via The Neutral Ground (link after RePro). She has become a fierce warrior woman in the recovery movement. I'm just embarassed it took me the better part of a year to get this amazing woman's story to you.

Thanks for your well of patience, girl.  

xo,
Laura


Name: Jamie Amos

Age: 37

Location: New Orleans, LA
[Editor's note: Apparently people *can* get sober in NoLa!]

Recovery date: 6/6/2014

Creative niche: Writer, all the way. 

If applicable, drug of choice:
My drugs are assigned to periods of my life.
In my teenage years, I binge drank Budweiser (because Bud Light was for sissies) and smoked pot.
For my early 20s, I shot cocaine and meth and hunted down LSD anytime I could find it.
I switched back to beer in my late 20s, early 30s, because I needed to manage an increasingly unpredictable reaction to my substances. Alcohol was my final undoing, but I don't think I've yet met a drug I didn't instantly love.

nutshell.jpg

Recovery story in a nutshell:
I went hard early in life, diving full in and totally committing to a life I thought was wild and free. I hit what should have been 1,000 bottoms before I turned 25. Instead of pushing me toward recovery early in life, I tried to moderate my drinking and drug use and kept my outside life mostly intact. I put myself through college, kept steady jobs, and maintained a monogamous relationship long term. All of my consequences were internal, and over time my depression, anxiety, and self-hatred became unbearable. In 2014, a man sat next to me at a dinner party and told me about recovery. That began a 2-year long battle with my willful disbelief in my addiction. What has been, for me, more difficult than putting down drugs and alcohol has been sustaining the belief that I need to.




Top 5 Recovery Tools

1. The word no.
I am never closer to relapse than when I've overcommitted myself and said yes to please other people. Beneath those yeses that lead to my exhaustion is always a belief that I have to work for love.

2. Reaching out to my tribe.
I have always kept close girlfriends, but when I got sober and started to be real-talk vulnerable, this huge group of powerful, dangerous, warrior women showed up to walk beside me. I need them constantly to remind me I am enough.

3. Mothering myself.
I got this concept from Holly Whittaker and Laura McKowen of the HOME podcast, but I take it seriously. Soothing baths, naps, early bed times, healthy meals.

4. Daily writing.
I often don't know what I'm feeling until I work through it in my journal. This practice has sustained me through hard times.

5. Respecting quiet.
I'm often plugged into a screen or book, and I forget to carve out quiet space to listen to what's going on inside. Quiet is where the transformation happens for me, but I have to tune in to know it's happening


Connect with Jamie.

Neutral Ground

Website: www.theneutralground.net
Instagram: @jamie_amos
Twitter: @ja_amos1
 

Re(Pro) #35: Montee Ball

It's not every day that I feature a former NFL player on The Sobriety Collective.  I mean, the man has his own Wikipedia page. From the Denver Broncos' second round draft pick in 2013 to proud father, partner, and recovery advocate in present day, I present my (Twitter) friend, Montee, to all of you.

xo,
Laura


Montee Ball

Name: Montee Ball

Age: 26

Location: Denver, Colorado

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 7/31/2016

Creative niche
Classical music, golf, raising awareness about addiction, entrepreneurship

If applicable, drug of choice: Alcohol

nutshell.jpg

Recovery story in a nutshell:
I developed a habit of drinking until I blacked out, during my years in college. That habit then followed me to the NFL, where I found myself to be alone, with "friends" who only partied with me because of what I provided for them. It became extremely difficult for me to talk to anyone because in sport, you're taught not to show any weakness. So I then developed a habit of suppressing my addiction (habit). This overall pattern led to a world of hurt, loneliness, and shame. Which then increased my drinking. Once my son was born, I then found out what my purpose in life is. So I became sober in order to be in my son's life. And I plan on staying this way!

Top 5 Recovery Tools

1. Building a sober support community around me.
2. Swallowing my pride.
3. Honesty.
4. Being proud to be in recovery.
5. Loving myself!


Connect with Montee.

Instagram: @MonteeBall
Twitter: @ballrb28

Re(Pro) #34: Laura Ward

Laura is a dear friend.
If not for the #recoveryfriendlyweb, our friendship (like so many others) wouldn't be possible. I feel privileged to know her, and even more so to be next to her during her first ever experience with yoga, at #SheRecoversNYC in May. This PR maven has two years and some change under her belt and what she's accomplished with her wonderful blog and brand is out of this world. I love having coffee or ice cream in my GIANT quitwining mug. Pic to come soon*. 


#soberlaurasforever,
Laura


Laura Ward

Name: Laura Ward

Age: 45

Location: Connecticut

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 2/4/2015

Creative niche: Writing

If applicable, drug of choice: Alcohol

Nutshell

Recovery story in a nutshell: 
From the very first time I tasted alcohol as a kid, I loved it. By the time I was 42, I didn't believe I could function without it. Alcohol was my very best friend. For a long time. Until it tried to kill me. At first, I believed alcohol was right. Death was the only option. But, somehow, the shriveled, scared, sinking person who'd been slowly drowning inside my heart for years, held her head above the flood long enough to scream for help. I hired a counselor who worked with me to focus on that person, and identify the reasons why I drank and all the tools I could use to replace the staple booze had become in my life. While I have been sober for more than two years, my recovery journey will never be over. I learn more about myself every day. And, I become continually more powerful and less afraid.


Top 5 Recovery Tools

1. Writing
2. Being Honest
3. Holding Space for Myself
4. Supporting Others in Recovery
5. Expressing Gratitude

 

Yep, this sober rockstar has even been on TV!  
Laura Ward and NBC CT's Kerri-Lee Mayland talk summer mocktails.

 

Connect with Laura.

 
Quit Wining

Website: www.quitwining.com
Facebook: @QuitWining
Instagram: @QuitWining
Twitter: @QuitWining

 

Re(Pro) #33: Griff Courtney

I met Griff almost a year ago at my current workplace - he was on his way out and I was on my way in, and he gave me a crash course in the basics of my job. Yet we connected as friends and stayed in touch - and now he's my personal trainer*.  Griff is The Ginger Hulk and he is living, breathing recovery.  

Because it's you vs. the person in the mirror.  

xo,
Laura


Repro 33 Griff Courtney

Name: Griff Courtney

Age: 28

Location: MoCo, MD

Recovery date: 5/1/2014

Creative niche: Bodybuilding, fitness, music

If applicable, drug of choice:
All in mass quantities at the same time

Nutshell

Recovery story in a nutshell: 
From age 16 to 23 I struggled with drug addiction. Growing up I was always very competitive, very smart/crafty and chased adrenaline. I took a hit of weed in high school, fell in love, and had $15,000 six months later. I was the best in sports earning a D-1 football scholarship and I was the best at drugs too, my life was awesome. My life was something like that out of Wolf of Wall Street, all while balancing school and football.

Eventually the fun times ended and I got kicked off the football team for an "antics and attitude problem". I struggled finding my identity as before it had been the athlete that partied. With no sports to keep me semi-busy and semi-focused I started using more and more and revolving my life around it. I was a dumbass and quit school with 112 out of 120 credits and moved to the beach in NC so I could get high, record music all night with my rapping buddy and sound engineer, and be in the sun all day. Again, this was awesome for a little while however the good times ended. I saw a whole lot of overdoses and arrests towards the end of my using career. I ignored every sign of drug addiction until I got arrested again, and then decided rehab MIGHT be worth it. All I wanted to do was stop getting arrested - I wanted to keep doing drugs and keep drinking.

On the way home from rehab I had a beer in the airport cuz drinking wasn't my problem, ya dig? I mean I never got any DUI's and drove my car blind drunk over 1,000 times so that's evidence. What alcohol did lead to was more drugs and after my second drug overdose and the removal of my left thyroid for medical reasons I decided it was a good time to get clean. I got clean for 1.5 years, put all my energy into work, family and fitness and it was a solid 1.5 years. Eventually I got cocky in my recovery and relapsed. I used for 3 days and spent almost $5k.

On the last night I was so fucked up that my bigazz passed out on my arm and luckily got woken up by my mom after only falling asleep for an hour or two. I had destroyed all the nerves in my arm and shoulder and lost function of my right arm. I only had range of motion at the elbow joint, my shoulder was dead. I cried everyday for 3 months, not knowing if I'd ever be able to return to the gym again. The doctors didn't know if I would ever recover or restore functionality of my arm. It was a scary 3 months.

I started physical therapy after 3 months and eventually fully healed and was able to lift again! I almost lost the one thing that brought me the most joy, training. This was God's way of smacking me in the face and saying " Yo GRIFF, COME ON MAN!" I completed my undergrad during my first stint in recovery and since my last relapsed I finished my Masters (MBA), launched my own personal training and online coaching company (Peak or Freak Fitness) and competed in multiple bodybuilding shows (physique and classic physique divisions).

Life is so much better without drugs and alcohol.

*See? &nbsp;Told you so.

*See?  Told you so.


Top 5 Recovery Tools:

1) Jesus

2) Lifting

3) Making Music

4) Laughing

5) Driving Fast


Connect with Griff.

Website: www.peakorfreakfitness.com
Instagram: @peakorfreak

 

Re(Pro) #32: Dana Bowman

I love me some Dana. This woman is hilarious, talented, and a true friend. I feel guilty that it only took me roughly ONE YEAR to post her Re(Pro).  Not sure what happened but suffice it to say, I first heard her on Since Right Now - I believe - and ever since (right then...hehe), I was hooked.  On Dana.  I love you, girl.

xoxo,
Laura


Dana Bowman RePro 32

Name: Dana Bowman

Age: 47

Location: Lindsborg, KS

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

Creative niche: 
Writing. I also have mad fire baton skills.

If applicable, drug of choice:
Wine. The cocktail of mommies. That's kind of sarcastic, but it seems to be the case in my experiences.

Recovery story in a nutshell

Recovery story in a nutshell:
I got married "later in life" at 36 (I know, OLD) and when I had my boys, at 39 and 41 I experienced severe post-partum depression. All of this, paired with some problematic drinking turned into an addiction. I didn't really have a dramatic down turn...just a very slow, sad, aching decline into addiction. My "bottom" was not an arrest or even daily blackouts or sex w/ strangers - I just felt awful and sick and wanted to die. I have a chapter in my book called "I Never Danced on Tables" - which kinda explains how I think a lot of times alcoholics tell themselves, "I am not getting ARRESTED - I am NOT an alcoholic." But, I knew. I could not stop, and I could not keep drinking. So, I finally came clean to my husband and found a meeting and started attending. This was back in 2011. I did relapse, for four days, in 2012, and then got sober on Jan 1, 2013. It's an easy date to remember.

Top 5 Recovery Tools:

1) Meetings

2) Big Book/God/prayer/my HP/daily serenity prayer

3) Honesty - when I don't tell the truth I just wither

4) Humor & Humility (that's two, I know, but how they go together!)

5) Writing


Connect with Dana.

Re(Pro) #30: Megan Lawrence

I love Megan. 

Thanks to Alicia Cook, friend/writer/HuffPost contributor/Instagram poster/recovery ally, I got connected to the lovely Megan. And then I find out she's in recovery and knows my gals Lara and Sasha (and more). And I love the small crazy beautiful perfectly imperfect world we live in. This woman gets it. I'm proud of this mental health/recovery advocate/writer FRIEND of mine, and excited for all the accomplishments she's made and will make in her life.  

xoxo,
Laura


Megan Lawrence

Name: Megan Lawrence

Age: 25

Location: Tampa, FL

Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction): 8/10/2015

Creative niche: Writing

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

Recovery story in a nutshell:
I never knew the extent of my problems until I found myself in a hospital bed trying to explain the suicide attempt I (fortunately) failed in August of 2015. Looking back now, I am able to admit that I have always battled addiction, but was never willing to say out loud that I was ever out of control.

I started doing drugs at the age of 14, and over the next 9 years, I would dabble in a handful of different ones, with Adderall, alcohol, and cocaine, becoming so much more than your occasional usage. I would have to say that college is when my bad habits took a turn for the worse, mainly because I didn't have my parents watching over my shoulder, and college meant that I was finally an adult, able to live however I saw fit. For the first two years of college, I would say that the one thing that kept me somewhat together was college soccer. My partying was considered "typical" college behavior, and I never saw what I was doing as harmful.

I actually took a break from drinking once I got my fake ID taken away from me, and I developed a love for weight training. It wasn't long before that turned into an addiction as well. Sometimes training 2-3 times a day, and still having soccer 6 days a week, I had started overtraining, and I was becoming sicker by the minute. My athletic trainer was worried about me because I had dropped down to 5% body fat, and warned me that I would not be able to play soccer until I gained my weight back. Naturally, my first instinct was to defend myself. I was okay with how my life was going, because to me, working out was a healthy thing. Oh how wrong I was. To please my trainer, coaches, and my now worried friends, I stopped working out as much. For fear of gaining the weight back that I lost, I started tracking my calories (putting my body into starvation mode), and I became addicted to amphetamines (Adderall), which allowed me to never get hungry.

The first time I was ever willing to admit that I had a problem was when I experienced a drug overdose from staying up for a consistent 96 hour period of time on nothing but drugs. My body was shutting down on me, and my drug use had caused me to stop caring about what was important. I failed to show up to soccer practices on time, and eventually I stopped showing up all together. It was then that I was forced to part ways with my collegiate career as a soccer player, and a couple months after that, I found myself in jail for a DUI. It was then that I decided something had to change, and I cut amphetamines out of my life forever.

The ugly drinking years. [editor's note: trust me, I've been there. It's not glamorous.]

The ugly drinking years. [editor's note: trust me, I've been there. It's not glamorous.]

Although strong enough to make me say goodbye to Adderall, my arrest was not the final rock bottom I had waiting for me 2 years, and 4 months down the road. Within that time is where my drinking really started to take a hold of me. My black outs were occurring every other day, and I kept finding myself in compromising positions. Becoming more and more self-destructive, I had lost grip on reality, and who I was as a person. Self-medicating was how I dealt with every day life, and this works, until it doesn't. It is not a means of healing yourself. Self medicating is only temporary, and until you face the root of the evil, you will only put off the rock bottom that will inevitably happen.
And that is what happened to me.

After my fair share of cocaine benders, and cracking my head open in the last month of my drinking, my last drink landed me in the hospital, and at the age of 23, I decided that I would live the rest of my life in recovery. Sobriety was the only option for me, and when I am asked, "So you don't think you will ever drink again?" My only answer for them is no. I found out early what I have a problem with, and I will be forever grateful for that. When I drank, I never knew if I was going to like myself by the end of the night, or where I would wake up the next morning, and now that I am sober, I never have to worry about that. I love who I am all the time, because I am finally in control of myself.

This is what recovery looks like, people!

This is what recovery looks like, people!

There are always going to be days that are hard, but there are always going to be reasons that make my sobriety worth it. It is a powerful thing to be in control of your own actions, and I enjoy being able to remember the things that happen in my life. I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, and I by no means regret anything that has occurred in my past. We are not who we were, we are who we become because of that. I wake up every day and make the choice to remain sober because I have finally shown up for my life, and I no longer numb the parts that are harder to deal with. I just deal with them, and put a smile on, because despite where I have been, I am excited for where I am headed.

Top 5 Recovery Tools:
 

 

1. Writing.

Without it, I would still be struggling to figure out who I am. It helps me silence that 'voice' in my head, and before writing, my thoughts were overwhelming, and loud.

2. Exercise.

I have been involved in athletics my whole life, but the need for it changed once I became sober. Natural endorphins are incredibly powerful, and I enjoy being physically strong just as much as I enjoy being mentally strong.

3. Family & Friends.

Now that I am sober, the relationships in my life have been able to grow into something of deeper value. Speaking my truth, and no longer hiding who I am from those who care about me, has helped me remain sober, and has helped rebuild the damage I have caused in the past.

4. Helping others.

Talking, and connecting with others has provided my life with such purpose. When I am able to inspire others to become the best versions of themselves, it reminds me of why I choose to remain sober, and it provides a type of happiness that alcohol and drugs tried to take away from me.

5. Reading.

 I love finding books that help me understand myself more and more. There is nothing better than finding a book that you relate to. It is proof that you are not alone, and it is small reminder that there are people out there who feel the same way. I find such peace in that.

 

Connect with Megan.

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