the sobriety collective

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) #55: Patrick Holbert

Patrick Holbert

Excited to introduce our next RePro - Mr. Patrick Holbert, Brooklyn-based stand-up comedian extraordinaire. I just love featuring creatives — artists, comedians, sewers, dancers, musicians, filmmakers, athletes, writers, makers, shakers, candlestick makers — who tap into their creativity in recovery (or in sobriety/sober curiosity, substance-free lifestyle, you name it) .
Sending gratitude to all of you <3. Happy Thanksgiving, all.

xo,
Laura


Name: Patrick Holbert

Age: 37

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 8/28/2008

Creative niche: Standup Comedy

If applicable to your story, drug of choice: Alcohol, beer mostly

Recovery story in a nutshell:

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I drank for nine years like a frat boy. Loved partying, doing crazy things, life of the party, only some people thought I had a problem, others just thought I liked to have a good time. I was a "work hard / play hard" alcoholic who was able to show up to school and work and continue to excel and keep up appearances. Only those closest to me (usually girlfriends) knew there was something really horrible happening inside me. I eventually quit after my girlfriend at the time gave me the ultimatum.

First I went to therapy, where my therapist suggested I check out AA. I waited six months to do so and just kept track of my abstinence week by week with him. I didn't develop a whole lot of language or tools around sobriety, so the relationship I was trying to save actually got worse. I resented her so much for forcing me to change my whole identity. Eventually we broke up.

That's when I felt like I had a major choice to make- Would I want to live the single bachelor party-boy lifestyle or would I get more help and stay sober? I decided to check out AA and loved it from the moment I went. I related to the stories people shared, I loved how everyone looked, and I knew I could find a way to stay sober if I kept coming back.

About five years into sobriety I organized an Artists's Way workshop out of my apartment and working through that recovery-adjacent program led me to re-visiting my childhood dream of becoming a comedian. Now I perform every night of the week and get to express myself in all sorts of fun ways.

Top 5 Recovery/Wellness Tools:

1- I'm about to go to the gym right now, where I'm FINALLY feeling what everyone is talking about, how working out can improve your mood. I love it!

2- Meetings. I love AA meetings, they make me feel connected to my community and get me out of my head.

3- Listening to good meditations or motivational talks on podcasts or on Spotify or YouTube... Basically anything super cheesy like Tony Robbins, etc always gets me fired up.

4- Quality time with friends. I have a hard time making time for socializing and relaxing and just having fun, and every time I do I'm reminded that it fills me up with such positivity that I need to do it more.

5- Therapy. I see an art therapist who helps me with issues relating to being a performer (anxiety, rejection, fear, business tactics, etc) and since I began my work with her, my whole career has changed. I also go to couple's therapy with my wife (who I met in recovery) and we love doing that work together.


Connect with Patrick.

Website: www.patrickholbert.com
Podcast: Comic’s Table
Instagram: @theholbertreport
Twitter: @theholberreport

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) #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. &lt;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) #42: Rynda Laurel

Rynda Laurel #42

I'm beyond stoked to bring you our #42 (meaning of the universe) on pi (π) day, Ms. Rynda (rhymes with "Linda") Laurel.

I feel like I've known this amazing woman forever *and* when I think about it, it's only been less than a year. Last July, I saw Rynda's face on Ryan Hampton's Twitter feed, sharing her 25 year sobriety anniversary. So immediately I was like, what skin care products does this gal use and where can I get some because unless she stopped using substances when she was 10, I was NOT believing that she could celebrate a quarter century of recovery. As it turns out, she was 24 when she got sober (same age as me) and in July (also same as me). I come to find out her birthday is May 18th (same as ME!). Then we got to talking about depression; I was struggling terribly after being the victim of an elaborate emotional scam (will write about this soon) and wasn't sure if my feelings were just situational (to be expected, duh) or part of larger feelings of sadness and general blasé. Rynda told me about amino acids and what worked for her own depression and thus began our friendship and professional collaboration/partnership. There's so much more I want to say but you have a lot to read, my friends. So get started and I'll sign off in 3...2...1...

xo,
Laura


Name: Rynda Laurel

Age: 49

Location: Joshua Tree, CA

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 7/10/1992

Creative niche: 
I've been working with musicians, artists and writers as a creative executive in development, management and marketing for most of my life! I'm also a traditional film photographer, sometimes writer, and entrepreneur.

If applicable, drug of choice: 
Depends on the year! Alcohol, stimulants & opiates.

Recovery story in a nutshell:

 My RecoVRY story -- Rynda here, figured it was about time I told my story.

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I was born 9 months after the Summer of Love in San Francisco so I guess I’m lucky my name isn’t Starchild or Moonbeam - Rynda is just fine by me! One of my favorite childhood tales is that my music loving young Mom went to see The Doors at the Fillmore while she was pregnant with me. I always joke that it explains everything as I’ve spent most of my personal and professional life in clubs watching incredible bands with an iconic frontman.

My late teens and early twenties were a whirlwind of great times, booze, drugs and a career in the music business that allowed my addictions to flourish without much repercussion. From Punk Rock Fullerton with Jack, Jim and Crystal (that’s whiskey and crystal-meth-amphetamine) to cocaine laced Hollywood Burning Tree soup on the Sunset Strip to New York downtown on Avenue A copping dope, it was a cornucopia of wild adventures. At first I just wanted to have fun and to drink and snort my courage, because deep down I had feelings of inadequacy and fear, then I didn’t want to feel the shame and heartbreaks, and then I simply just didn’t want to feel - anything. Heroin can do that, make all those pesky feelings go away, for a little while anyway. It also caused me to become an empty shell of a person. Worst of all, at some point it just STOPPED WORKING and by that time I simply could not stop.

I’d make every resolve, try every trick and I WANTED it with every cell in my body and I’d still find myself down in the avenues seeking relief. At 24, I was wondering around in a grey world, stuck between complete darkness and seeking the light. I was miserable and I felt broken and hopeless. I had hit bottom. I had the number of a detox memorized from an advertisement in the subway that said “When You’re Ready, Call Us.” I can’t tell you what made that particular night the night, but I picked up the phone and made the call. I dialed each number with desperate intention. A man picked up the phone: “My name is Albert - how can I help you?” In a moment of clarity, I heard myself say, “I’m Rynda, I need help.” I could almost hear Albert smile on the other end of the line and he simply said, “It’s time for you to surrender, Rynda.” Open the floodgates, years of trying to do it on my own simply didn’t work and at that moment I knew intuitively that there was a ray of hope in the darkness.

The next morning I checked myself into detox. After a few weeks clean, a move back to California facilitated by some insightful gentleman in the music business, some bumps and emotional bruises and a “one more time” with a head full of 12 step, I got high for the last time and finally did surrender. That was July 10, 1992. Instead of running away from people and places I went in full steam ahead and stayed in the music business. I was in clubs and bars nightly for my work during my first 15 years of sobriety - for me I needed do know I could still have fun and have a LIFE. I built a strong support system in my 12 step program and I was lucky enough to find a group of musicians and friends that were on the path of recovery as well - many of them still sober to this day. That was what I was searching for all along, to have great friends and to feel alive.

Even though I was highly functioning in my career, for many years behind the scenes I still struggled with deep periods of depression. Desperate after about 3 years sober, I went on doctor prescribed medication. I share this because it so common to still have mental health issues in recovery that I believe no amount of spiritual work and community support can remedy if your body and brain are not functioning properly. Meds did the trick for a bit (after the laborious process of finding the right one!) but like many drugs they stopped working and I wasn’t willing to up the dose. Also, the more I learned about pharmaceuticals and how many actually stop the brain’s normal function, the more I wanted to get off of them.

I started doing research, A LOT of research, years in fact. I read gazillions of books on nutrition, neuroscience, and biochemistry, took multiple online courses, attended workshops, worked with functional medicine doctors and tried a myriad of healing modalities. I was constantly searching for an answer to feel better. The utter fear of crashing and rebound depression crippled me for a long time, but after all of the work I did I knew I just had to support my entire body and it would be ok. Three years ago I was house sitting at a recording studio in Joshua Tree and I made the decision that it was time. I followed a specific nutrition and supplement plan that I had devised through my research that would replace and support the function of the exact medication I was on. Guess what, IT WORKED. The doctor says “clinical depression in full remission”; I say I’m simply not depressed like that anymore!

Today, I continue to do all the things that kept me clean and sober in the first place - 12-step meetings, community and spiritual connection. I focus on staying mindful with a lot of cognitive self talk to keep me in check and some meditative breath work. Just as important is the addition of light exercise, a fine-tuned nutrition plan and mood balancing supplements that was a game changer for my mental health. It was so life changing in fact - that became the spark for my new company VRYeveryday and its support site Supplement Your Recovery. Now, my entire mission is to help other people struggling with addiction and mental health issues find real relief with natural remedies, because I know they can work. It’s hard to condense 25+ years of recovery into a short story, but let’s just say compared to the grey cold world of addiction, recovery is in vivid Technicolor! Even with bouts of depression and life’s roller-coaster ride it’s worth every single moment.

My name is Rynda, I surrendered. I went from a life of addiction to recovery to Happy, Joyous, and Free - and so can you.

Use code  WeAreSober  at checkout for a special Sobriety Collective discount!

Use code WeAreSober at checkout for a special Sobriety Collective discount!

Top 5 Recovery Tools

1-BUILD A FOUNDATION
I built a solid foundation in 12 step work and circles. It is still my main source and basic staple for recovery. Meetings help with the connection and community necessary for recovery.

2-PHYSICAL SELF CARE
Physical self-care, nutrition and supplements were a game changer for me. If I'm not supporting my body and brain in a healthy manner depression and anxiety creep up and I isolate and that takes me farther away from the path of recovery. Also, newest level up practice is using the Pranayama breath-work ios app by Saagara.

3-CONNECTION
My close circle of friends and sober sisters. I've really worked hard to cultivate deep and lasting friendships, people that I can count on, and can count on me. That has meant letting some people out of my life as well.

4-STAY CREATIVE
Stay creative. It's imperative for me to stay creative, even if I'm working on a project that doesn't seem "creative" I approach it creatively. I also try to go to community events and engage with creativity in all that I do - part of that is spiritual. 

5-READ BOOKS
There are many books that have helped me along the way, I often go back and read chapters out of them when I need to be reminded or need more insight. I have a partial list here.


Connect with Rynda.

 
VRYRynda
 

Re(Pro) #41: Paul Fuhr

Paul Fuhr

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

xo,
Laura


Name: Paul Fuhr

Age: 40

Location: Columbus, OH

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

Creative niche: Writing

Drug of choice, if applicable: Alcohol

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top 5 Recovery Tools:

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

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

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

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

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


Connect with Paul.

Re(Pro) #40: Ali Swan

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You probably don't know that you already know this lady's gorgeous face as Instagram's own, @soberinadrunkworld (read through the end for links to Ali's work). I'm - very unabashedly, I might add - one of her biggest fans. Let's put something into context though - when I first reached out to Ali to ask her to be involved, she was super gung-ho with her YES! but hadn't yet made the decision to share her name publicly. Since then, she's asked me to GO FOR IT and her style continues to progress and advance - she's come up with lots of delicious art that I'll be sharing, naturally. Lastly, I'll just thank this sweet soul for her patience as my editorial schedule is non-existent and really depends on my mood - and because the latter half of 2017 was truly a tumultuous time in my life, I suppose it's apropos that I post this on the first day of a new month in 2018. That being said, on to the goods!

xoxo,
Laura

 

 
PS: Ali even did a portrait of me in her very own style! &lt;3

PS: Ali even did a portrait of me in her very own style! <3

 

Name: Ali Swan

Age: 42

Location: United Kingdom

Recovery date (turning point for addiction and/or mental health): 2/25/2017

Creative niche: Art & design

Drug of choice, if applicable: Alcohol

nutshell

Recovery story in a nutshell

I can't remember when I started to rely on alcohol for confidence and to get me through social stuff - probably pretty young. I drank heavily every weekend through my twenties and thirties but everyone did so it was just normal to me. I always drank more than everyone else though and I was always the instigator of heavy drinking nights. Gradually the weekend drinking spread into the rest of the week. I began to worry about it and felt uncomfortable around people that drank "normally". I knew I needed to address it long before I did anything though but eventually I was just so tired of how it made me feel I couldn't do it any more. I started trying to stop in May of 2016 and had longer and longer periods of sobriety ;then I did Hip Sobriety School with Holly Whitaker in Spring of 2017 and that was absolutely pivotal for me. Almost as soon as I got sober I started drawing, I think I'm trying to make up for all the years spent numbing out my creativity!


Top 5 Recovery Tools

1. Breathing - I use meditation and deep breathing exercises to calm me in times of need!

2. Music - I love music to change my mood in the direction I need to go, sometimes some upbeat pop, sometimes calming classical or maybe some chilled out jazz!

3. Connection with the recovery tribe on line - they bring me back to reality when my mind goes crazy!

4. Lavender oil - love it!

5. I will just pick up a pen and paper and sketch and doodle, I find it the best way to focus my mind I guess its a form of meditation for me.


Connect with Ali.

 
Ali doodles
 

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) #14: Wes Hurt

Name: Wes Hurt

Age: 38

Location: Austin, TX

 Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 7/24/2014

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.): 
Founder of Clean Cause

Click this can to learn how 50% of Clean Cause's profits help support recovery from alcohol &amp; drug addiction.&nbsp;

Click this can to learn how 50% of Clean Cause's profits help support recovery from alcohol & drug addiction. 

 

Drug of choice (or not of choice...):
Opiates

Recovery Story in a Nutshell:
20 years using, 6 rehabs, 1 psych ward, started business with a purpose, restored relationships and marriage, had baby boy, living the dream.
The End

Top 4 Recovery Tools:

1) 12-Steps

2) Friends in recovery

(^ like these two gals, Wes?) 

3) Practice gratitude daily

4) Nurture relationships


Connect with Wes and Clean Cause.
Website: www.cleancause.com
Instagram: @cleancause

Facebook: /cleancausewater