service

Re(Pro) #28: Lara Frazier

In April of 2016, Lara and I became friends.

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

And then?

We finally met!* 

xoxo,

Laura


LaraFrazier

Name: Lara Frazier

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

Location: Dallas, TX | Spring Hill, FL

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

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

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

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

nushell.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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


*WE FINALLY MET!

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


Top 5 Recovery Tools

1) Service

2) Prayer

3) Connection

4) Self-Awareness

5) Constant Growth/Self-Improvement


Connect with Lara.

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


Re(Pro) #27: Melissa Johnson

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

xo,
Laura


Melissa Johnson RePro 27

Name: Melissa Johnson

Age: 37

Location: Norman, OK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 5 Recovery Tools

1) Blogging!

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

2) Yoga!

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

3) Running!

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

4) My life coach!

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

5) 12 step meetings!

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


Connect with Melissa.

Clean Life Melissa

Re(Pro) #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) #9: Tim Rabolt

It's such an honor to introduce you to Mr. Tim Rabolt.  I keep forgetting this guy is 10 years my junior (editor's note: OMG, I'm old) because he's so accomplished.  He didn't even include this in his profile, but Tim is the founder of George Washington University's Students for Recovery.  He founded it in his first year at GWU and is now a graduate student there, continuing his involvement with GW SFR.  Tim recently joined the staff of Altarum Institute, the group that is spearheading the #WeAreRecovery movement on social media.  Collegiate recovery--and youth recovery, in general--is getting BIG and it's Tim's generation that is carrying the message!  As Greg Williams might put it, Generation Found.  Without further ado, Tim.

xoxo,
Laura


Name: Tim Rabolt

Age: 23

Location: Alexandria, VA

Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction):
April 10, 2011 

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

Social media and the occasional blog*.
*For The Huffington Post, no less.  This man is clearly humble.

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

Recovery story in a nutshell:
My recovery process started in high school at the age of 18. I was just done, no better way of putting it. Had amazing support from family and school administrators; mainly sought help through outpatient treatment. Moved down to DC for college, fought like hell to make it through freshman year but have met a lot of incredible people that made the process easier each of the past 5 years. Wouldn't have done it any other way.

Top 5 Recovery Tools:

1) Being of service to others
2) Family
3) Laughing, mostly from Reddit
4) Sports
5) The collegiate recovery movement