trauma abuse

The Trauma of Spousal Abuse

I have my standing therapist’s appointment every Tuesday afternoon, and today I don’t want to go. It’s rare that I don’t enjoy heading to her office, but something inside of me is yearning for a break. I’ve been doing some amazing work, have gained some valuable tools and I’ve grown in ways I never would have expected, but today I quite simply don’t want to be there. I’m not looking for a long-term break, just a day off. However, I’m questioning my motives slightly because she gave me homework last week that I haven’t touched.

We’ve been visiting the traumas experienced with my ex-husband and she gave me a writing exercise, of all things, that I should have spent time on without any trouble. But, I haven’t done it. You see, last week I brought a list into her office of about 15 awful incidents with my ex that I wanted to read out loud. I put the list together almost a year ago during a moment where the thoughts were pouring into me. The first time I brought it to her, she stopped me at the very first one to focus in on that. I was frustrated and wanted to get through the rest, but I didn’t know how to vocalize it back then. The list was put away after that visit and was generally forgotten, until just recently. During last week’s appointment, I was clear to her that I intended to read it in its entirety, that it was important for me to get through it all, so she allowed the space for that. To be able to speak them all out loud together in a room with someone else listening was a relief and even a little empowering. After making it through the page, we talked a bit further about some of the events and about his behavior patterns, in general. She then asked me to pick just one from that list, one that I felt spoke to me more than any of the others. Her intention was for me to perform a writing exercise around my selection. This was not meant to be an exercise where I write about the image of the event, but would instead dig in more on the trauma surrounding it. The work is meant to help release it from my body. But, when I shared with her the first one that came to me, her reaction seemed a bit surprised. She then pressed me, asking if there were any other events that came to mind that I hadn’t written about on that list. In particular, she gently questioned if he had ever forced himself on me, given his rape fantasies that I had previously shared with her. She further confirmed that whichever event from the list was what I had the most feeling about is the one I should go with, but based on her reaction, I was already doubting my choice.

I told her that now I felt awkward about the one I selected, that maybe I should have picked the time he shoved me to the ground or the incident when he lifted up my dress against my will to show my underwear to one of his friends. I explained that while the event that stood out to me most may not seem so terrible when compared with some of those others, as there was no physical involvement, it was without a doubt a memory that has stuck with me so clearly that every time it pops up it’s as though I’m seeing it like a film being replayed. Even though I have no feelings at all for the man I used to be married to, the hurt experienced on that day is like an imprint on my skin that no amount of scrubbing will remove. Before leaving her office, my therapist tried to reassure me again that I should go with whichever one spoke to me the most, but it may have been too late at that point.

The seed of doubt has flourished this past week and I’ve wanted to brush the incident and the entire list aside instead of honing in on it. I even revisited the list to see if there was anything else there that I wanted to use the homework for, but I don’t feel compelled to do the work with any of it. I know that it may be important to embrace this exercise if I want to move forward, but then again, perhaps not. Maybe it was just enough for me to get that entire list out with her. Given the discussions we’ve been having over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that the fear that I’ve been holding onto of the man formerly known as my husband has diminished greatly. But what I wonder is if it will stay that way, or is the cloud lifting only temporary?

This brings me back to my decision about today’s visit. I realize that when there is something that I’m fighting against, in many cases it probably means that I should do it. However, I continue to feel strongly that I need a break today, and if my therapist has taught me anything, it’s to listen to my body and put my self-care above all else. I recognize that I have more to get out when it comes to this former phase of my life and it will all come, just not in her office on this particular day.


she recovers la

Why I’m Attending She Recovers – LA

When I first heard of She Recovers, it was after reading Elizabeth Vargas’ book Between Breaths – A Memoir of Panic and Addiction. There was something that I always admired about Elizabeth over the years, I followed her journalism early on when Good Morning America used to accompany my morning routine and then followed her after she moved on to some of the evening news shows.  Last year, when I was reading everything I could get my hands on about women with alcohol problems, while still in denial of my own, I was surprised to see Elizabeth’s face on the cover of a book in that category. With my trusty glass of wine right next to me, I settled in and tore through her book in a few evenings. By this point I had read countless other stories, but something about this one made a connection for me. This was someone I had watched over the years and would have thought had a seemingly idyllic life, who was instead struggling with a tremendous battle with anxiety and alcohol. I suspected that others may have looked at me like one of those women who had it all together, too. Not on an Elizabeth Vargas national news anchor scale, mind you, but in my own, smaller circles. Maybe that is why her book resonated so deeply.

I sent Elizabeth a short note on Twitter after reading the book, letting her know how much I enjoyed it, to which she graciously responded. I then came across a reference on her account to an event where she had been a guest speaker, an event called She Recovers. I dug in a bit more and discovered that the conference took place in NYC in early 2017 and was geared towards women in recovery. Not just alcohol recovery, but recovery from any number of things. The speaker line-up was impressive. Besides Elizabeth Vargas, there was Gabby Bernstein, Marianne Williamson, and Glennon Doyle-Melton, just to name a few. There was yoga, workshops and other events put on over this weekend, and all attended by 500 women in recovery. Even in my state of denial, I was inspired just by knowing that something like this even existed. She Recovers was stuck in my head from that point on.

Fast forward to February of this year, the month when I finally came to terms with my own issues with alcohol and made the decision to enter full-fledged sobriety. Just one week after drawing that hard line, I was staring at the She Recovers website where the 2018 event in LA was announced. One week of being alcohol free and I signed up to attend in September. You might think this is a bit fast for someone so new in the recovery scene, but I had been exploring the world of recovery for well over a year at this point. Let’s also not forget that I was working through anxiety and all the issues stemming from being an adult child of an alcoholic for quite some time, it just so happens that my own alcohol use was the cherry on top of my recovery sundae.

It didn’t matter how new I was to this scene, I had a deep knowing that I needed to attend She Recovers LA. It has been giving me something to work towards and setting that commitment even saved me from drinking a time or two in these early stages of sobriety. When struck with moments of weakness (and there have been many), I remind myself of how it’s going to feel to sit among over 500 women who are either in my shoes or who have worn something similar. Since the day I registered, I’ve known that I had to stay true to the sobriety commitment that I made on February 20th not just out of respect for myself, but with respect for the women that I will meet in September.

As the speaker line up is slowly announced, I’m giddy over knowing that I’ll see one of my favorite authors, Cheryl Strayed, speak, not to mention an appearance by the fabulous and hilarious Amy Dresner. (Check out her book, My Fair Junkie, if you haven’t done so already.)  Of course, it’s scary to head off to a conference like this where I don’t know anyone, but it’s also pretty empowering for this introvert. I’m looking forward to just being in the same space as these lovely women for three days, to hear their stories and to share in their dreams. I can only imagine how divine it will feel to wear my sobriety proudly, to let loose and just be me with other women who get it. It comes down to connection and inspiration, both of which I have no doubt will be available in abundance on this weekend with She Recovers in LA in September.


alcoholism recovery urge

Sunday Blues

Yesterday was an odd Sunday for me. I woke up quite early already carrying the gloom of having to go to work on Monday, which is my least favorite way to start any day out. I haven’t had that feeling in quite some time and have had much success managing the stress at work, but for some reason the weight of it decided to hit hard this weekend. It was a such a beautiful day and the time spent with my husband was very nice, as always, but I could not shake the overwhelming dread of what was to come. Despite all of the tools at my disposal, the heaviness on my chest was determined to stick around. That heaviness turned into a strong, and I mean very strong desire to drink.

I was resting comfortably on the sofa with golf on TV late in the afternoon when my struggle to fight off the worries over work turned into a battle to get thoughts of alcohol out of my head. I fiercely tried to change my thoughts around by reminding myself about how badly I would feel afterward, but I still wanted to have that one glass of chardonnay or shot of whiskey. It didn’t matter what it was, I just needed to feel the warmth of it running down my throat. I reminded myself of all the work that I’ve been doing and how I want to change not only my future but want to help others with theirs, and how could I possibly do that if I had a drink? But that voice inside was persistent that it didn’t give a fuck about any of that. It didn’t care that I would have to take my 75 days of sobriety back down to 0 or about how anyone else might think of me. It didn’t want to consider any of the ramifications, it just wanted to lift a drink to my lips. My feelings were so overwhelming that I was nearly overcome with the desire for the old tool that I used to keep them at bay.

My husband could tell something was not right and asked if I was doing okay. I tried, but I couldn’t quite put what I was feeling into words, but I did end up confessing that I really wanted a drink in that moment. After a bit of talking through it, but still feeling the temptation, I decided to take myself out to the back yard to water my flowers and plant my bare feet in our cool grass. It was only for a few minutes, but that sensation has always been one of my favorites. Standing there in the grass, in the beauty of our yard at the home that I love made me feel grounded again. My anxiety didn’t totally disappear, but it relented enough that I was able to carry on with the rest of the evening without feeling like I was going to make a mad dash for a bottle.

I’m not new to this, I’ve talked about random urges to drink here before, but that doesn’t mean that these events don’t still surprise me, especially when the desire is so insatiable. I’m pretty self-aware these days and already have my suspicions about where all of this came from. It may have been part anxiety, part hormones, and part what I like to call the Sunday blues. No matter what the reasons, I am most importantly reminded of how precious my sobriety really is to me.  Even when things seem like they have been flowing much steadier and I can loosen my grip, I can still come up against a vicious tide that tries to sweep my feet out from under me. I do know that it won’t always be that way, but for now I will fight to keep myself grounded because it is so much better here in the calm.

76 days and counting…

sobriety alcohol question

I Couldn’t Possibly Have a Drinking Problem

This past Saturday was filled with activities with our usual group of friends. We had brunch and a movie planned with one couple, followed by dinner with six friends at one of their homes. We’ve had a handful of events with these friends since I quit drinking, but I’ve kept it limited while I was finding my way through early sobriety. Being just 10 weeks in, I’m still awfully new at this, but I looked at my husband on the way to the theater Saturday morning and told him it was the first time I didn’t feel a stitch of anxiety over the day ahead. I wasn’t concerned that I might want to order a mimosa at brunch or have a beer at the movie because I truly didn’t want either of those things. It also dawned on me that I had no reservations about feeling awkward around everyone and I was actually looking forward to getting out. This was a very nice change of pace.

I won’t bore you with every detail, but this feeling stuck with me all day. Even when cocktails were passed around and wine was poured, at no moment did I feel like I was missing anything or have any cravings. I had my trusty club soda and felt just fine. My biggest challenge that night was trying to follow interesting conversations around as the attention span of some started to drop off the more the evening went on. Drinking will tend to do that. There was something different that happened on this particular night, questions came my way about sobriety. This was the first time with these friends since I came out in my 30-day post to everyone about why I chose sobriety and we were also joined by a friend who I haven’t seen at all during this phase. She is probably the most blunt and direct person I know, and I totally appreciated that on Saturday. Finally, someone wasn’t afraid to talk about it and because I was instantly receptive, I think others realized it was okay for them to join the discussion. I even made a point to tell them that it was much easier on me to have the conversations than to have everyone tip-toe around me. If someone wanted to know something, I welcomed the questions.

A question or maybe more of a statement that I continue to hear from people is that they never viewed me as someone with a drinking problem. I keep coming up against that and I always confirm that everyone is different and they couldn’t see my patterns the way that I did. On this particular night, that issue kept coming up. Two of the women pressed me about how I never drank as much as they did and questioned how I could think I have a problem. I did not take offense at all, I can understand why this might bother someone and so I opened up about some of the details that I hadn’t shared in the post that they all read. They are well aware that I’ve been in therapy and I tried to touch on the fact that I finally figured out that I was using alcohol to numb, but that didn’t seem to quite reach them. I then told them about my failed attempts at moderation and that I was developing a pattern of sneaking alcohol in my own home when my husband wasn’t looking. But, it was when I shared that I had put rum in my tea on my way to work a handful of mornings that they seemed to get it. That particular detail had them both staring at me with open mouths and saying “Oh! I would never do that.” I had to brush off the guilt that tried to find its way in after that reaction and instead recognized their responses were perhaps a sense of relief of their own drinking habits.

The evening would continue with multiple drunken interruptions claiming again that I couldn’t possibly have a drinking problem. This was always followed with their recall of the ‘tea thing’ and then the cycle would start all over. It really didn’t bother me so much and while they may not retain full memory of what I had to say, at least the conversations happened. Eventually, however, the repetition grew exhausting and I was ready to leave. When you are the one sober person in the room watching others lose their faculties, at some point the fun wears off and you hit a wall. Even when I wasn’t sober, I usually found that wall before anyone else.

What would be really nice is to have these conversations with my friends when they are not under the influence of alcohol. But I’m not so sure that is going to happen because alcohol is the one constant in this group – at least until now with my sobriety.


The Depth of Us

I am pleased to say that my apprehension with the work trip last week turned out to be somewhat unnecessary for a number of reasons. First, my husband ended up home for the week and opted to make the trip down to Charleston with me. While he couldn’t accompany me to my work events, it made it nice knowing that he was there waiting for me afterwards. His presence significantly altered the dynamic of some of the more stressful situations. I also need to thank a certain blogger who texted me to check in on Wednesday night – you know who you are!

The first night’s dinner was in an intimate courtyard at Leon’s Oyster Shop, complete with brick pavers and string lights. There was gorgeous whole fish being prepared on the wood fired grill in one corner and a massive open bar in the other. The one other sober person amid over 55 people there that night joined me at the bar for a club soda, and with that drink in my hand it wasn’t long before I realized that in this environment no one even noticed. I knew in relatively quick fashion that this evening would be a breeze. A few minutes later, our friendly but socially awkward I.T. manager sidled up next to me to mention that he had read my blog post about choosing sobriety. Now, as stalker-ish as this might initially seem, he called me nearly a year ago after I wrote a series of Linked-In articles where I referenced my other (more public) blog to tell me that he was following along. I am fully aware that there are one or two coworkers that read that blog, but I had forgotten that he was one of them. He nervously explained to me that he thought I was brave to put so much of myself out there for anyone to see and that he was prepared to go without a drink at these events if it would be of any help. Without making eye contact, he next quietly told me that he was also sorry about what I had to endure growing up. It feels a little odd to have someone tell me they are sorry, but I thanked him and promptly reassured him that I am in the best place I’ve ever been in my life. Now, I.T. guy is sadly someone that most people in our company avoid, and I’m sure that I’ve been one of those people at times, but the way he reached out to me that night made me see something else in him. I had the distinct sense that there is much more going on with I.T. guy and somehow the telling of my story was a way of connecting with him. It reminded me that we never really know what people are going through and we only ever see what’s on the surface with most of our interactions. It is easy to overlook that there is a depth and a life full of experiences, both good and bad, in every one of us. This would not be the only time this reminder would strike me on this short trip.

After dinner, I decided to stick to my original plan and call it an early night while others coordinated to hit the bar scene. As I prepared to head back to the hotel, I was surprised by the 10 or so people who immediately followed my lead. The bulk of the partying was expected to take place the following final night, usually with me included. As I got ready for dinner that next Thursday evening, I found my trepidation had mellowed. I knew wholeheartedly that I wouldn’t drink and given how the prior night went, I didn’t think the social aspect would be so bad, either. Instead, I found myself looking forward to dinner, but with the thought that I would still have to find a way to exit in advance of the big bar hopping. It seemed that fate had plans for an even earlier exit for me, however, when I stepped into a small pothole about a block from the restaurant. My fall was not a graceful one and judging by the reaction of the four people with me, I knew it was bad. I tried to brush it off and ignore the pain, proclaiming that I could just clean up a bit when we reached the restaurant and I would be fine. One of my coworkers even told me I’d feel better after getting a drink in me, to which I had to laugh. Then we all saw the goose egg on my knee and the blood pouring down my leg. After obtaining a pile of napkins and an Uber, I would spend the rest of that evening with my husband, a first aid kit and room service. I hear there are better ways to avoid drinking, though.

Earlier that day, we had several hours of free time to spend how we chose. Some folks played golf and drank, others went deep sea fishing and drank, and many spent the afternoon bouncing between bars and shopping, which is what I would have done in the past. Instead, I couldn’t wait to walk through the historic neighborhoods of the city and the best part was being able to take my husband along. It was during this beautiful walk on the perfectly sunny afternoon where we would receive word that a friend of ours had passed away. As my husband read the message to me on the sidewalk, I felt breathless. While the friend was not a regular part of our immediate circle of friends, he was someone we had known for close to 10 years and he was very much a part of the broader circle. It was just a few weeks ago that we spent time with him and now he was gone. You could say that we were both stunned by the news and while we had no idea what happened, I couldn’t keep from saying that this felt too close to home. We continued our walk, discussing how little we really know about some people and what may be going on in their lives or even with their health, both physical and mental. Something about the whole situation seemed off, not that it could ever feel right when something like this happens, but neither of us could shake the bad feeling.

It would be early Saturday morning when we would learn that our friend committed suicide. He was just 48 years old and had a wife and 7-year old son. There was obviously something so painful within him, something going on that no one knew about that made him feel that this was his only choice. We may not have been incredibly close with him, but his loss and the tragedy of it is painful. I feel heartbreak for his family and I feel heartbreak that many of us never really saw his struggles.

I have no perfect words for this loss, as I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. I lost my father to a situation that speaks to taking his own life, and my step brother committed suicide after multiple tours in Afghanistan followed by a battle with heroin addiction. During my exposure to the recovery community, I continue to hear stories from others that have contemplated taking their lives at some point or still struggle with this even today. While I don’t know personally what it feels like to be faced with that affliction, I do believe that no matter what our story is, if we are comfortable sharing it then it should be told. Our stories connect us, and that connection can be incredibly powerful, maybe even life altering. If we aren’t sharing our stories with one another, then at the very least we should always remember that the stories are there within each of us. We are so much more than what we appear on the surface.

I celebrated two months of sobriety on Friday, 2/20, but it was Saturday that I felt some of the strongest cravings I’ve had in weeks. I struggled, I was irritable and I had an incredible urge to isolate and drink all day long, but I didn’t. It’s the feelings that are still difficult to face without alcohol and this will be my work for the foreseeable future, but it will also be the work that I continue to talk about because I know that I’m not alone in this.


Preparing for Another Sober First

Tomorrow is a day that I’m both dreading and looking forward to. In the morning, I will head to Charleston, SC. A beautiful city that I love, and I will get to see people that I typically only have the pleasure of being around once a year. This is the time of year when my annual company meeting rolls around and it’s always been couple of fun days. The problem is that the fun over the past seven years has been laced with alcohol. Two days of meetings intertwined with social activities, nice dinners, and free flowing booze. I mentioned last week that my company thrives on the drinking culture, it’s the environment we’ve fostered, like many others. We have high stress positions with long hours and relentless deadlines, so how do we let loose? We drink. We party. We stay up late and bar hop until we can’t remember what time we got back or how we got to the hotel. I am no longer a part of that “we”.

The locations are always carefully selected, we’ve done NYC, Miami, Chicago, Orlando, and the most recent event was in Nashville. I spent the first couple of years calling most evenings early, not hanging out with the crowd getting wasted because I still felt too new to fully partake. Then NYC hit and I was out with a group exploring the city bars and the whiskey scene well into the early hours of the morning. I wasn’t inappropriate at all, but I had a massive hangover through 8 hours of meetings the next day, which was utterly miserable. Then came Miami. Just after landing at the airport, I met up with a coworker for an afternoon drink on the beach where we polished off two bottles of wine and headed to dinner with the entire group. That night would be filled with pre-dinner cocktails, wine with dinner, post-dinner cocktails, champagne by the pool and then a couple of hours at a South Beach nightclub with table service and an entire bottle of scotch split between three people. I am fortunate to have been with people I trusted because I have vague memories of getting into a cab to head back to the hotel in the pre-dawn hours, but nothing after that. Somehow during my blackout I apparently had enough sense to set my 6:30 a.m. alarm in order to make it to the early morning meetings. I remember wobbling into the shower and still feeling so drunk that I could barely distinguish the shampoo from the conditioner, and the tiles on the wall looked like they might be moving. I next leaned over the well-stocked mini-bar in my room seriously contemplating cracking open one of the little bottles to take the edge off and get me through. I opted against it because I didn’t want anyone to smell it on me, but the amount of alcohol that had to already be oozing out of my pores would have remedied that.

I could barely see straight as I walked into the meeting room when my boss came up beside me and whispered that he was still drunk. I remember feeling relief that I wasn’t the only one. I spent the next several hours chugging Sprite and water and picking away at crackers, trying my best to keep from vomiting. It was complete misery. I remember repeatedly saying “I’m too old for this” as my hangover continued through the airport that evening. The moment I boarded the plane for home, I powered through two glasses of red wine. It was the only thing that was going to help, because there isn’t much that’s more miserable than being on a plane in that condition.

Everyone still makes jokes about that night and how awful we felt but how much fun we had. That won’t be the kind of fun I’m partaking in this time. While there were some good times, much of it is so fuzzy that it almost doesn’t seem like a real experience. It’s as though I have someone else’s memories. There is also no amount of fun that is worth that kind of hangover. It took me the better part of two days to recover, talk about lost time.

I look forward to staying sober on this trip, but I am walking into this with some trepidation. I am not ultimately worried about taking a drink, while I expect a craving to hit from time to time, I am too committed to staying sober at this point. What concerns me is the feeling that I went through at the small work dinner last week, only this time there is a much larger scale to deal with. That night made me realize that there are still unknowns that lie ahead of me and those can be scary. All I can do is be as prepared as possible. With that, I’ll share some of the tools and thoughts I plan to focus on to help get me through:

  1. Leave both dinners early, no matter what. The one sober person I planned to stick to will be headed out on Thursday and that will be the biggest boozing night of all. I may be compelled to stick it out, but I know that the longer I stay the more opportunity arises for struggles, so this time I’ll keep it short.
  2. I plan to take early morning walks around the city, starting the day with a little exercise and meditation to keep my thoughts on track.
  3. My phone is loaded up and ready with sobriety-based podcasts for those walks and the times spent getting ready in my hotel.
  4. Books and writing. When I come back early from those dinners, I’m well prepared for writing or reading something inspirational.
  5. I picked up a little pocket amethyst stone while in Arizona. Yes, I know it’s a little woo-woo and not something I would typically buy into, but amethyst supposedly has qualities to help people in recovery. If anything, when I hold the stone in my hands it reminds me of why I’ve chosen sobriety and sometimes that is all it takes.
  6. The Universe Has Your Back cards, from Gabrielle Bernstein. Sure, maybe another woo-woo item, but this fun little deck is a great tool for instant inspiration each day. It’s something new in my little bag of tricks and I spend time each morning reflecting on an affirmation for the day ahead followed by selecting a card that I’ll carry with me that day. For instance, today’s random card says “Surrender to a power greater than you.” That sounds like a pretty good idea to me.
  7. Just breathe. When things start to feel tough, I’ll take deep breaths and with every one I’ll consider how great it feels to have a clear head and no hangover. I’ll remember how proud I am of the hard work I’ve accomplished and of how so much greatness still lies ahead of me. I’ll think of everyone who has supported me and know that I won’t let myself or any of them down.

I already ordered a celebratory coffee mug as a reward for making it through this trip. With any luck, it will be here waiting for me when I return. Not to mention, Friday will be my two months of sobriety. When I get through the next couple of days I have something pretty big to look forward to, and that makes me smile.


Top Five Podcasts for Recovery

Since coming out with my sobriety a few weeks ago to my entire social circle, some very gracious people have commended me for my willpower and strength, while others have commented that I make quitting drinking look easy. I sincerely appreciate all of the kind words and I’m fully embracing the world of sobriety, but it isn’t always all pretty Instagram photos and rainbows. Everyone’s experience is different, but one thing that remains consistent amongst us problem drinkers is that quitting is hard.

I’m now 53 days sober and while it has slowly grown easier, it remains the most difficult task I’ve ever taken on. There is an obsession that happens when you stop drinking, a relentless one. For me, early on it was every day, sometimes every single moment, that I was thinking about wanting a drink. Thinking about the taste, the feel of it in my mouth, the warmth of it in my belly. Fighting desperately to not walk across the room and pour myself a glass of wine or whiskey. Plain and simple obsessing. Then, there is the obsessing about ‘not’ drinking. Every conversation I have, every place I go, everything I do whether out or at home, I am thinking about avoiding alcohol. Not to mention the monumental amount of time spent reading sobriety books, blogs, articles and twitter feeds. While these obsessions seem to finally be relaxing their grips, most days I am still caught somewhere in between them.

I’ve learned that the mind can be a cruel trickster and can very easily convince someone to go back to making poor choices. The amount of justifying ‘just one taste’ that goes on in my head sometimes is almost laughable, but it’s also quite nauseating. This is the voice of addiction talking and to quiet this voice, support has been essential. Many people ask if I’m going to AA. While the answer is currently no, it also isn’t something that I’ve completely taken off the table and I’ll share more on my thoughts about that another time. Besides the incredible support of my husband, you know that obsessing I mentioned above? The time spent on recovery blogs and social media has led me to a number of resources and a rather impressive connection with folks also in the midst of recovery. We touch base daily, whether things are going well or in moments of temptation. The amount of support available online is remarkable and I am grateful to live in a time where the access to this is literally right at my fingertips.

There has been another important avenue that has proven to be a brilliant source of support for me that I’ve touched on in the blog before, and that is the world of podcasts. I’ve shared some of my favorites in a post here before, but none of it came close to what I’m about to share today. Below, I’ve listed my top five that have been my go-to, not just after I decided to get sober, but even when I was only trying to moderate. The strength and honesty behind the people sharing their stories here is powerful and there is no question that every one of these voices has played a key part in my recovery. While meetings and steps may work best for some, for the time being, this is a big part of what is working for me.

My Top Five Recovery Podcasts

The Bubble HourHosted by Jean M, a sober woman dedicated to breaking down the walls of stigma and denial surrounding the disease of alcoholism. This is the granddaddy of them all – Jean is someone I have great admiration and respect for. Her guests and interviews are powerful and relevant, and the sound of her voice makes you feel like you are long-time friends.

Your Kick Ass Life – Recovery Series: Andrea Owen is a life coach, who also happens to be in recovery. When I first stumbled across her, she was a guest on The Bubble Hour (above), and I knew this woman was someone I wanted to hear more from. In fact, her story is what inspired me to draw the line in the sand that sparked my sobriety. Her podcasts covers a wide range of topics, but she has offered this Recovery series over the past two years where she shares real stories from people with very different rock bottoms.

The Unruffled Podcast: A weekly show hosted by Sondra Primeaux and Tammi Salas that explores all topics related to creativity in recovery. When an addiction is removed, there is a void that is left and this show digs into all of the ways to fill that void.

ODAAT Chat: Inspiring stories of overcoming addiction – recovery and fellowship, one day at a time.

HOME Podcast: Although this one recently came to an end, episodes are still available. Laura McKowen and Holly Whitaker take up the big questions of life through the lens of addiction recovery.


Hello, I’m Tracie

I’ve posted previously about remaining mostly anonymous on the blog and social media and my struggle with that decision. I’ve also been open that my name used on these resources, Anne, is not the name I go by, it is my middle name. Not to confuse everyone about my identity, but I need to start going by my first name, which is Tracie. I still don’t plan on sharing this space with my circle of friends and family (other than my husband), but I also know that if someone stumbles across this or my other social media accounts, they may figure out who I am. I’m in a better place about owning my story these days and while it may be difficult if that should ever happen, I’m more prepared to handle it.

With that, I apologize for any confusion if you are reading any of my posts and see a sign-off by Anne, that is still very much me. However, from this point forward you will see me as I really am – Tracie. Thank you for following along, despite the confusion!