How are you doing lately?
I just reached one year of sobriety so I am feeling great. Very proud of myself.
How does it feel to be back on social media and in the public eye now?
Terrifying, lol! It’s scary for sure. I mostly worried about what people from my profession would think. Being a teacher, I was worried that my colleagues and previous students’ parents would judge me or be disappointed in me. Fortunately though, I have had the opposite reaction and everyone has been very supportive. My goal with starting the account was to help women feel like they were not alone. The messages I have received assure me that I am doing the right thing, so it makes any of the discomfort I felt in sharing totally worth it. The truth is that alcohol and its ugly truth de sot discriminate. Teachers, moms, nurses, and professionals all over the world are struggling with this.
How did your addiction start and how did you get sober?
I began drinking at 16 years old. I liked the way it helped me escape my insecurities. My alcohol use definitely ramped up as hard things occurred in my life. Whether it was a breakup, the loss of a friend or family member, or disappointing news in general I always went to alcohol. Covid was certainly a turning point for me where I had already been questioning my relationship with alcohol and then with less responsibility each day my drinking just got to a place that was concerning to me. Looking back though, my relationship with alcohol was never “normal” and it was always making me unhealthy physically and mentally. When I was younger, everyone around me was in the same boat so it never occurred to me the damage I was doing, and that I deserved better.
What was your rock bottom that made you turn your life around ?
My rock bottom was not one definitive moment or time that I drank. It was the accumulation of many things that led me to my decision to quit. The last time I drank did not look much different from all the other times. Ultimately, my fear of not reaching my full potential is what led me to quit.
I could not continue this way knowing everything I knew about alcohol and the harm it causes, and not set a better example for my kids. They were too important and I had come too far in life to let alcohol ruin all of that for me.
After years of feeling out of alignment with myself and the cycle of promising myself all day I wouldn’t drink, just to cave during the witching hour, I was tired of my own shit. I had finally reached my limit and I felt something shift and release in me. I knew this time it was different.
What mental health obstacle do you think we need to collectively work through together?
Wow, this is a great question. I think there is such a need for conversations around the mental load of motherhood and how that connects back to our habits for dealing with stress and anxiety. I found myself in such a weird place after having my own kids, that I was not prepared for. Becoming a mother has you reflecting on your own childhood in a way that can sometimes be painful. As hard as it is, alcohol is not required to deal with any of this. I think we need to normalize sobriety, community, sisterhood, and bring women out of isolation and into community with one another. When we suffer alone and think we are the only ones experiencing something, ultimately our kids suffer. Beautiful things can happen when women come together to support each other.
What’s something that you’re most proud of in your sobriety health journey?
I am most proud that I kept going even despite what the people around me thought. Because my drinking didn’t look on the outside problematic, I had many people who love me tell me that it wasn’t a big deal or that I didn’t have a problem. My intuition and inner knowing told me something different. I was miserable inside for a long time and removing alcohol is the only thing that set me free. I’m proud of myself for trusting what I knew was right even when I didn’t feel strong enough to.
Do you believe in going to AA or NA meetings ?
AA works for a lot of people and I’m glad that so many people find recovery there. For me personally the thought of it actually kept me stuck longer in my drinking. I was too afraid to reach out to even my closest people, forget walking into a church basement with strangers and declaring myself powerless to alcohol. No way! That was not the approach that worked for me. I had to learn and find my power in living alcohol free. Nothing has that much power over me. I am stronger than that.
Any recovery tips to help stay sober?
Tips for recovery…
- Learn more of the truth about alcohol. Read Annie Grace’s book, “This Naked Mind”
- Reach out to someone you trust. Saying how you are feeling out loud can be just the thing you need to get you going on the right track.
- Ask yourself what benefit you think alcohol is providing and then take a close look at that. Is it actually providing a benefit?
When someone doesn’t believe in a Higher Power /God how do you think it affects sobriety?
I’m not sure how to answer this question. I’m not a religious person myself. I am spiritual and do believe that there is something greater than myself. My overall principals and morals are just aligned with being a good human, and treating others with kindness and empathy. I think you can stay sober even without believing in a higher power. It’s just a matter of how you want to spend your time on this earth and the impact you want to make.
What do you think is the best way to deal with temptation to drink to prevent relapse?
Best way to handle temptation is to see alcohol for what it really is. When I find myself tempted I always remember the hangover, depression, anxiety, and self hate that it leads me to. This makes that drink less appealing to me. When I no longer find any value in drinking it makes it easier to avoid any temptation, because there is none.
What are some of your goals for the future?
In the future I hope to help as many women as possible to reevaluate their relationship with alcohol and help them reach their goals in moderating or removing alcohol from their life. I am a teacher and often feel helpless when my students are facing troubles at home or trauma from their families. I believe that if I can reach women and help them change their lives, the benefits will trickle down into their children and this feels so rewarding to me. I’m starting some sober support groups so find me @alcoholfreeme to join a program.