writer

Annie Grace

annie grace (12).png

Name: Annie Grace

Age: 40

Location: Evergreen, Colorado

Sobriety Date: 12/15/14

Creative niche: Writing

If applicable to your story, drug of choice:  Alcohol

Story in a nutshell:

Untitled design (34).png

I was sitting at the train station deep under Heathrow airport in London. I'd been drinking vodka and O.J. before the taxi to the airport to take the edge off my awful hangover which was the result of a week of super late night drinks with colleagues. Returning to my husband and two young boys I realized that while they deserved the best of me I was, by drinking so heavily and staying out so late every work trip, giving them the worst of me. I wanted better and it hit me - that I had to find a way out of the alcohol maze.

I had tried to set rules (no wine until 5pm, or no drinking during the week) just to feel deprived and unhappy. Rules resulted in my obsessing about the next time I could drink, and instead of making alcohol less of an influencer in my life the rules made it more important, more powerful.

I knew I needed a way without rules. And in the tunnel that day I had a realization. That although I currently believed that alcohol was vital for enjoyment, relaxation and everything in between I didn't used to need alcohol to have fun or relax.

I formed this simple theory. That I consciously wanted to drink less (or nothing) the far more powerful subconscious part of my mind, the part subject to a lifetime of conditioning around the benefits of drinking, simply hadn't got the memo.

This launched me into a year's worth of research on how to undo a lifetime of subconscious conditioning around alcohol. I stopped trying to stop drinking and instead focused on learning. I created a list of every reason I drank, what all the 'benefits' were in my mind. I methodically went through every reason, looking for science-based external evidence into the validity of each. Once I'd gone through everything it was as if a fog had lifted. The beliefs that I needed alcohol to have a good time or relax just disappeared. I simply no longer wanted to drink! Talk about freedom.

I like to say that I drink as much as I want whenever I want; the truth is that I just haven’t wanted a drink in more than three years. I don't miss it, I don't think about it and I feel truly joyous and free!


Top 5 Recovery/Wellness Tools

1) Journaling

2) Eating lots of protein (to create essential amino acids!)

3) Exercise

4) Mindfulness

5) Online Communities - especially www.thisnakedmindcommunity.com


nakedmind.png

Connect with Annie and This Naked Mind

website: www.thisnakedmind.com
website: www.thisnakedmindcommunity.com
website: www.alcoholexperiment.com
instagram: @thisnakedmind
twitter: @thisnakedmind
facebook: @thisnakedmind

Re(Pro) #54: Ruby Warrington

Ruby Warrington

Yep, that’s TSC’s Booze-Free badass mug. Just like Ruby, you can get yours   here  .

Yep, that’s TSC’s Booze-Free badass mug. Just like Ruby, you can get yours here.

+++

I was introduced to the world of Ruby Warrington through my dear friend Kimber Falkinburg during our
Pink Cloud Collective retreat for sober women entrepreneurs and changemakers last year in Austin, TX. For those of you who don’t know Ruby, she is a FORCE. Ruby is the founder of The Numinous, a community where “wanted to create a place where “Céline shoes and the Celestine Prophecy” could exist in perfect harmony.” In other words, where a material girl could live in a mystical world.

For those of you who have been following along with Ruby and her journey, you’d know that she’s a big-time rah-rah-er — and I mean that in the purest, most cheerleader form of the word — of what it means to be “sober curious.”

+++

Read on for 1) Ruby’s definition of sober curiosity and 2) how one person can indeed change the world.


xo,
Laura


Name: Ruby Warrington

Age: 42

Location: NYC

Recovery (or quit drinking) date:
I got Sober Curious some time in the fall of 2010 ...

If applicable to your story, drug of choice: Booze

(Recovery) story in a nutshell: I don't identify as being in recovery.
Rather, the past 8 years I've committed to being Sober Curious - which means choosing to question every impulse, invitation, and expectation, to drink. Answering these questions with total integrity has led to longer and longer periods of abstinence during this time, to the point that now I no longer use booze. Period.


Creative niche: I’m a writer

Yep. She’s a writer. Order your copy of this AMAZING book     here     .

Yep. She’s a writer. Order your copy of this AMAZING book here.

Pre-order your copy of Sober Curious (out on NYE 2018)      here     .

Pre-order your copy of Sober Curious (out on NYE 2018) here.

 

Top 5 Recovery/Wellness Tools:

1) Being honest with myself and others
2) Good boundaries
3) Meditation/yoga
4) Creativity
5) Alcohol-free beer


numinous 1.png
Ruby and her CLUB SODA NYC partner Biet Simkin - some of you may remember her from    She Recovers in       LA   !

Ruby and her CLUB SODA NYC partner Biet Simkin - some of you may remember her from She Recovers in LA!

Connect with Ruby + The Numinous

Websites: www.the-numinous.com | www.clubsoda.nyc
Instagram: @thenuminous | Twitter: @the_numinous
Books: Material Girl, Mystical World and Sober Curious

Re(Pro) #44: Tawny Lara

Tawny Lara

Name: Tawny Lara

Age: 32

Location: New York, NY

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 11/29/2015

Creative niche: Writing / Event Coordination

If applicable to your story, drug of choice:
Jack Daniels, but I loved anything that would help me escape reality.

Your story in a nutshell:

My sobriety began as a year-long experiment. The thought of quitting booze forever seemed overwhelming, so I committed to spending my 30th year sober and blogging about the experience. There have been many ups and downs since I quit drinking, but a sober lifestyle is definitely what works for me. I'm now able to explore my creative side with a focused, productive approach. Sobriety has helped me find my voice as writer, created the space for me to try new things, and allowed me to be more present in my existing relationships. I'm now writing a book and hosting sober socializing events in New York City. It's amazing to see what life has given me after I made the decision to stop getting drunk and high.


Top 5 Recovery/Wellness Tools:

1. Writing.
2.Yoga.
3. Meditation.
4. Support Group.
5. Friends/Family


Featured Creative Work - Fixed Up

Fixed up

Connect with Tawny.
 

sobrietea

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) #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) #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) #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) #31: Mark Goodson

Mark Goodson is one of those natural writers. He is a talented poet - whereas yours truly is a talented bad haiku-ist.  Devoted husband and father (OMG his kids are the cutest), you'll hear a lot more from recovery advocate and fellow Club 2007 member Mark as time goes on.  He's the real deal.

Happy early birthday, Mark!

xo,
Laura


Mark Goodson Repro 31

Name: Mark Goodson

Age: (almost) 34

Location: DMV, USA
[Editor's note: hey, neighbor!]

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 10/13/2007

Creative niche: 
I write for most every form out there. Poetry, non-fiction, personal essay, journalism, fiction. I co-write the comic strip for our local paper. If you see me, just know I'd rather be writing.

If applicable, drug of choice:
That which gave me the illusion of control over my emotions. Specifically, the triad of alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana. As for which, I was an equal opportunity addict.

Nutshell

Recovery story in a nutshell:
All I ever really wanted was the bliss of oblivion. I settled for anything that got me close. I kept settling for less and less before waking up to the fact that oblivion is anything but blissful. Oblivion is actually filled with pain and misery. Sobriety has become more than being sober. Recovery has become more than recovering from drugs and alcohol. Recovery is a bridge to a better way of living. It involves peeling away the layers that keep us from living according to our true natures. I find that people in recovery have incredible drive, determination, focus, and ability. It helps when we don't center our living around the next drink or drug. I made my private recovery public when I started blogging in January of 2016. A lot of what I knew recovery to be was challenged. I'm a better man, and a more helpful man in recovery for it. I call the blog "the Miracle of the Mundane" because I've found, after peeling away the layers, that our true nature--our everyday existence is a brilliant piece of art.

Top 5 Recovery Tools:

1) Sponsorship

2) Prayer

3) Fellowship

4) Creativity

5) Books

I had the pleasure of hugging some of my FAVORITE recovery superheroes at the I Am Not Anonymous portrait event last summer.  Left to right: Sasha Tozzi, Cristina Ferri, yours truly, Maggie Shores, and the illustrious Mark Goodson.

I had the pleasure of hugging some of my FAVORITE recovery superheroes at the I Am Not Anonymous portrait event last summer.  Left to right: Sasha Tozzi, Cristina Ferri, yours truly, Maggie Shores, and the illustrious Mark Goodson.


Connect with Mark.

 
MARKGOODSON.COM (1).png
 

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) #25: Veronica Valli


I had the unique pleasure and privilege of meeting (nay, HUGGING!) our latest RePro feature, Ms. Veronica Valli, in October of 2015 at the historic UNITE to Face Addiction rally on the Washington, D.C. downtown mall.  I was so proud of this lady for traveling on her own with her little baby boy, Luke, for this monumental event.  Not only that, but it was such a dream to meet so many amazing women and men in recovery, and especially in the recovering blogging niche.  It was a first time reunion for many of us.  And now?  We'll be reunited again in just a couple of weeks as official members of the She Recovers in NYC blogger team!  Huzzah! 

xoxo,
Laura


Name: Veronica Valli

Age: 44

Location: Long Island, NY

Recovery date (turning point for mental illness or addiction): 5/8/2000

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

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

nutshell.jpg

Recovery story in a nutshell:

Born different, found alcohol at 15, that worked for about 2 years before I hit my rock bottom. Drug induced psychosis. 10 years of looking for help, anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal. Found help, got sober, emotional rock bottom because of relationships. Gift of desperation, worked harder on myself then I've ever worked. RECOVERED. My life is real, amazing, challenging and it totally rocks.

Top 5 Recovery Tools:

1. Inventory
2. Telling on myself
3. Connection with other people in recovery
4. Honesty
5. Working with newcomers


Connect with Veronica.

v.png

Re(Pro) #23: Helaina Hovitz

I get to meet this pretty lady in May (She Recovers in NYC, people--yaaas!) and share the love at her wedding in June.  I'm so, so, SO, stoked.  We've been friends (online) for over a year and a half now, which seems nuts when I think about it.  If you're not familiar with Helaina yet, get ready to dive into the life and works of one of the most accomplished sober twenty-somethings in the world.  Seriously.

xo,
Laura

Name: Helaina Hovitz

Age: 27

Location: New York, NY

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 11/12/2011

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

If applicable, drug of choice (or not of choice...): 
Then: Weed and definitely mostly alcohol. Now: Cookies at 2am when I can't sleep.

Recovery Story in a Nutshell:

Recovery Story in a Nutshell

Oh boy....a nutshell? Let's hope it's a Walnut and not a Peanut, more wiggle room....I was 22, a social drinker with a few years under my belt, high-functioning, and in therapy for PTSD and anxiety when it occurred to me that I was jogging around the finish line when it came to making a full recovery. It was only once I entered 12-step recovery that I was able to start to really become the person I always wanted to be, living a life that felt fulfilling, calm, and full of healthy people and relationships.

 

 

Top 5 Recovery Tools
 

  1. Meditation and mindfulness.
  2. Speaking to and being of service to other women in recovery both in personal relationships and through my writing.
  3. Reading inspiring literature.
  4. Being mindful of HALT/ strong self-care.
  5. Remembering that everything is meant to be as it is at any given moment, even if I don't like it!
 

Connect with Helaina.

 
 

Re(Pro) #21: Kelly Fitzgerald

Kelly is one of *the* OG sober bloggers.  She is a force to be reckoned with and a sweet, lovely, and opinionated woman with a strong voice.  I'm grateful to know her and be a part of her tribe.  

 
Here we are at UNITE to Face Addiction in Washington DC, October 2015. &nbsp;Oh you know, just making history.

Here we are at UNITE to Face Addiction in Washington DC, October 2015.  Oh you know, just making history.

 

Name: Kelly Fitzgerald

Age: 31

Location: Cape Coral, FL

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 5/07/2013

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

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

Recovery Story in a Nutshell:

In May of 2013 the pain became too great and change was my only option. I tried something I had never tried before - quitting drugs and alcohol all together. It worked and I don't plan on ever looking back. Recovery saved my life and continues to do so every day!


Top 5 Recovery Tools

1) Writing
2) Reading
3) 12-step meetings
4) Exercise
5) Meditation


Connect with Kelly.
 

Website: www.sobersenorita.com
Facebook: @thesobersenorita
Twitter: @kellyfitz11
Instagram: @kelfitz11
Pinterest: @kellyfitz11
Snapchat: @kellyfitz11
 

Re(Pro) #18: Claire Rudy Foster

I've got a major girl crush on my fellow July '07 member, Claire. I'm SO SO SO excited to read her new book (details within).  She's a phenomenal writer and expresser of thoughts--and a warm, supportive, lovely friend.  I'm not much of a betting woman but I'd put money on a major legacy this gal will leave, and Claire is quickly making her mark in this space.  Viva la recovery revolucion!

xo,
Laura


Name: Claire Rudy Foster

Age: 32

Location: Portland, OR

Recovery date (turning point for addiction or mental illness): 7/06/2007

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

I’m a writer and a lifelong reader. I fell in love with reading when I was young: I was allowed to read whatever I wanted, even the books and magazines that my parents read, so reading was an early, illicit pleasure. In reading, I explored places and experiences that made me believe that adulthood would be wonderful, bursting with interesting people, gorgeous meals, and excursions to every corner of the map. In recovery, I’ve found those people and places, and they populate my novels and short stories. 

It might sound trite, but sobriety has made my dreams a reality. When I was drinking, and deep into my heroin addiction, I was trying to write and just going in circles. I saw a few stories published, and knew I had potential, but when I was using, it was just that: potential. Nothing more. Inevitably, I couldn’t write because I had to be high all the time and when I was high I could barely form a coherent thought, much less tell a story. Once I got sober, the pieces starting coming together again. Next month, my first book is coming out, and that’s a dream come true for me. 

I never thought I’d have my name on the cover of anything; I thought that I would be one of those tragic, unacknowledged writers who OD’d in her apartment and nothing to show for her life except a trunk of unpublished, not-very-good pages. A few times, that was a real possibility, and I think it’s my pride that kept me plugging along. I’m not gonna fucking die without accomplishing something, I always told myself. And here I am, with a book, and I don’t want to die anymore and I’m not going to overdose or drink myself to death. How’s that for a plot twist?

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

Heroin and alcohol. I stuck with the classics. In a perfect world, I would have been blacked out at all times. I loved blackouts at first, because it was like being in a time machine. You walk in one end and come out the other, and you’re in a totally different spot, with new people and better music and hopefully more of whatever put you in the blackout in the first place. The problem was that the more I drank, the scarier it got. I would come to and I’d be with people I didn’t recognize, in dangerous places, with bad things happening. It really frightened me. Whenever I think I miss getting loaded, I remember those times: the sensation of falling into this dark, dark pit and not knowing who or what was waiting for me at the other end. There’s nothing romantic about it, and as awful as it was, I’m glad I spent so much time at the bottom. Heroin may love me, but I don’t love it back. And I don’t love who I was then, either. I think part of me was addicted to suffering, and getting loaded was a more efficient, dramatic way of getting into that dark place. I’m grateful that I don’t live there anymore.

Recovery Story in a Nutshell:

In a lot of ways, my story is boilerplate. Once I got started, I couldn’t stop. I didn’t want to stop. Like I said, there was this void inside me, a hole that opened up and was impossible to fill. I was a really lonely kid---that’s not a reflection on my parents, or my family, I was just that way. I was a dreamer and I think I figured out really young that there was no place in the world for people like me, and instead of believing that things would get better, I gave up hope. You can only weather so much. And I wasn’t brave then, and I didn’t know who I was, so I was basically like “fuck it” and pulled a vodka blanket over my head and refused to come out. I started drinking and using fairly young, and it felt right to me in a way that was scary. You could say that it was my first love, and I had absolutely no interest in fighting it. I didn’t realize how deep my addiction went until I finally tried to quit on my own. I couldn’t stop. I tried everything, from moving apartments to switching substances, to therapy and yoga and being a vegan and getting married, and I was still an alcoholic and a heroin addict. I could dress it up and say “it’s because I’m a writer” or “it’s because I got raped,” but neither of those things are completely true. “I’m self medicating.”

I ended up getting sober at 23. I think that everyone has a few windows of opportunity, when it comes to addiction---and the longer you wait, the fewer opportunities there are. For whatever reason, I jumped through this one and I haven’t gone back. I got sober on my own, detoxed in a tiny studio apartment I shared with my then-husband, and decided I could just muscle through it. I didn’t know anything about addiction or alcoholism and figured I was just insane. I thought I would have to go on a mood stabilizer or antidepressants---in fact, I was prescribed both of those things by a well-meaning psychiatrist in my first few months, because I described my symptoms and they were concomitant with bipolar disorder. (Of course, I hadn’t told this doctor that I’d quit drinking and getting loaded, so she thought I was having a mental break of some kind.) I stayed sober on my own for close to three years, and my life got smaller and smaller. I lost all my friends and I was so lonely. I rarely left the house, and I was afraid to walk down the wine aisle at the store. Finally, I got a suggestion to go to an AA meeting, and that’s where my recovery really started. 

Top 5 Recovery Tools

1) AA meetings
For me, staying physically sober wasn’t enough. I needed to learn how to grow up, work on myself, and be brave, and I learned all of that in AA. I’ve been sober for almost 10 years now, and in AA for more than 6. The contrast between having a community and trying to go it alone is like night and day for me. I don’t think AA is for everyone, but it can help anyone. It was exactly where I needed to be, and I use what I’ve learned in the rooms every day.

2) Writing
I keep a journal, write letters, and stay creative. Cultivating the playful, imaginative part of my mind is critical for my recovery. I was surprised and pleased to learn that getting sober didn’t turn me into a different person: it’s helped me to live up to my potential. I was a writer when I was drinking, and I’m a writer now: a sober one. A few years into my recovery, I went to graduate school and earned an MFA in Creative Writing. It feels like such a gift to not only be able to finish what I start, but to say “writing matters to me,” and be able to invest in myself.

3) Friends
Where would I be without my people? From AA to the #xa community on Twitter and the awesome friends who have come into my life over the past decade, I feel loved, supported, and seen. When I was drinking, I felt invisible: like I didn’t matter, and that nobody would miss me if I disappeared. Now, I have friends who fill my days and nights with laughter, music, and fun. I have a man in my life who makes me feel like I’m full of stars. I would also say that, in sobriety, I’ve learned how to make new friends without feeling nervous or inhibited. These days, I’m grateful to have quality friends I can count on, and who keep me honest and grounded.

4) Naps
Enough said.

5) Hope
Emily Dickinson said, “Hope is a thing with feathers.” That’s how I live today. I have heard people describe hope as a kind of faith, and I think that’s true, too. For me, recovery is what happens after the initial pain and excitement and drama of early sobriety has passed. Life continues to be life, and I continue to learn. I try to go forward believing that good things are possible, for me and everyone. I write about my hopes, talk about them. I remind myself that my best days are ahead of me, and that if I stay sober and keep going, I’ll get where I need to be. Of all the things I rely on, I’d say that hope is the thing that has truly given me wings. One day, I decided that I had trudged far enough; instead of giving up, I learned how to fly.


Connect with Claire / Win a Copy of Her Debut Book!

i've.jpg

Re(Pro) #4: Daniel Maurer

Dan was one of the first people I met on the #RecoveryFriendlyWeb--and it's people like him who make up this fantastic, eclectic, and inspiring place.  He shared my story not even two weeks after the birth of The Sobriety Collective and I remember feeling OVER THE MOON.  In many ways, I see myself in him; in others, he's totally unique.  Dan is a fantastic writer with a warm soul and I'm so blessed to call him a friend.
xoxo, Laura


Name: Daniel Maurer

Age: 45

Location: St. Paul, MN

Sobriety date: March 1, 2011

Creative niche (art, music, writing, entrepreneurship, etc.):
Oh my! I suppose #1 is writing, since I do that professionally. However, I've recently ventured into managing a couple of other websites for another business. I was surprise to discover how much I enjoy the business aspects of that work. Translate: it's a nice break from constant creativity!

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

Recovery story in a nutshell:
Learning to live into becoming an authentic human being.

Top 5 tools for happy/well-balanced recovery (from addiction, mental illness, etc.):
1) Sleep; 2) Exercise; 3) Reading; 4) Meetings; 5) Family.


Connect with Dan.
Website: www.transformation-is-real.com
Twitter: @danthestoryman
Facebook: /TransformationIsReal
Change.  It's Real.™