recovery alcoholism women

Just One Drink

I announced my move to the new site, The Truth Of Being Us, a couple of weeks ago. However, given how many of you still follow me in this space, I will overlap a few posts between the sites for a period of time. Last week, I shared the experience below. Please also remember, I would love to share any of your experiences on the new site. It can be something you’ve already written or something completely new. The important thing is that it can be raw, imperfect and anything recovery related that you want it to be. Our stories connect us and support others, I would love for you to be a part of that.


Just One Drink – From The Truth of Being Us – 9/8/18

Sitting in the back of an Uber watching the Boston skyline pass me by, I’m considering how easy it would be to have just one drink once I made it to the airport. A cool glass of white wine would take the edge off the discomfort I’ve been feeling for two days. It would ease the pain I’m carrying after a stress-induced muscle spasm set up residence in my back and neck. That one drink would open the door to relaxation and allow me to stop caring about the heavy work load and lack of sleep I’m up against.

It would be so simple. I’ll slide into an airport bar in a city where no one knows me. Move in quickly, finish my one glass and move on without anyone being any wiser. I don’t have to tell a soul. It could be my little secret. What harm would just one drink do anyway? It will make me feel better long enough to get through the flight and back to the comfort of home. Sleep on my own pillow and a soak in my bathtub are a few hours away. If one glass of wine can bridge the gap to that place, then it might be worth it.

Stepping onto the curb and making my way through the airport check-in, I can see that glass touching my lips. The one drink that will make everything more bearable. I am going to go for it. Yes. I’ll have that one drink. It’s only going to be the one. I’m attending She Recovers in a week. Do I feel guilty? A little – but forget about that. It’s not like there is some law that requires an announcement that I cheated. Do we call it cheating? No, I think we call it relapse. Oh, come on. Is it a relapse if it’s only one? For crying out loud, it’s only one drink, I can live with that. Will I have to change my sobriety date? I don’t want to start over. Not if I keep my mouth shut. That probably isn’t a very good thought to have, but I can’t even lift my bag to my shoulder. One drink will fix that.

Collecting my bag at the end of the security line, I can see it. A bar to my left and an open stool in between those people laughing and sipping on their cocktails. I can be one of them, anonymous and happy at the airport bar. Yes, that is was I need right now. It’s been so long that just one drink will probably kick in fast and maybe even a little hard, if I’m lucky. I remember the feel of that buzz in my body, but there must be another bar closer to the gate.

There it is. The bar at the end of the corridor and my gate right behind it. This is it. This is the one. I’ll venture in and back out so fast that I might not have to even consider what I’ve done. I’ll have my drink and perch myself in a chair to enjoy the ride until boarding. This is my chance. I can be like everyone else and have a drink at an airport bar. I know this will be temporary, but that’s all I need right now. Just a moment to make me feel better. Am I going to regret this afterwards? I can pretend like it never happened, can’t I? Just one drink. A quick fix until I make it home. It’ll be like taking an aspirin. Won’t it?

Stopping first into the store next to the bar makes the most sense. I need water for the flight and don’t want to run out of time. Water first, then my one drink. That giant bag of Sour Patch Kids looks awfully enticing. I’ll take those, too. I’ll take those all the way to my seat at the gate. Legs, please keep walking.

This was me on Wednesday and all the ridiculous chatter that was going on in my head over the span of about 20 minutes. This is the kind of internal dialogue that people in recovery battle. Yes, I am nearly 7 months sober and here I was, wanting a drink in such a strong way that I considered going against everything I believed in to get it. I wanted to be like everyone else and have my one drink because it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. The reality is, it happens to be a very big deal for me. It likely wouldn’t have been just one drink. I know where this path leads and it isn’t one that I want to ever find myself on again. Fortunately, this scenario doesn’t happen often at this stage in my sobriety, but it does still happen. It may continue to happen for the rest of my life, but if I’m lucky, I’ll continue to choose sugar when it does.

Thank you to the makers of Sour Patch Kids for supporting my recovery


The Truth of Being Us

It feels like a lot has happened since my last post just a few short weeks ago. Besides remaining active on Instagram – my favorite social media outlet these days – I was a little low key in other areas. To say I have some catching up to do on blog reading and writing is a bit of an understatement. During this brief stepping back period, I’ve made a handful of big life decisions and announcements, in addition to putting a lot of work into a project I’ve been toying with for months. In the event you have any interest, a quick recap is below – and possibly the biggest update is the last one.

8/18: I made a powerful decision about my job. I need to dig down and find some strength and any remaining patience that might exist, but to have come to terms with the situation and a decision on how to handle things has already made me feel like a different person.

8/19: I announced that I’m now officially a certified professional coach and I’m currently undergoing training for certification as a recovery coach. I’ve been slowly working through this for a few months and haven’t talked much about it. While it hasn’t exactly been a secret, I wasn’t inclined to put it out into the world until now. This training is just the beginning of much work still to come, but I’m proud to be making small steps towards something that I feel called to do. I’ve had the desire to coach in some capacity since long before getting sober, but it is with sobriety that I can see the path much more clearly now. It is in sobriety that I am finally making things happen.

8/20: I celebrated my 6-month sobriety anniversary – wahoo! This half-year milestone felt huge to me. It seemed to arrive quickly while being painfully slow at the same time. I can’t explain how that is even possible, but if you’ve been through it, you can probably relate. Maybe that’s what happens when time is full of struggles and joy all at once. The best part these days is that the joy has begun to far outweigh the struggle.

8/23: Another celebration ensued – my 44th year on this planet. A year that I’m defining as the year of change. I can feel it. 44 is going to mean work, but it’s going to be magical.

8/29: I mentioned above that I’ve been working on a project for a while. It was the stories of other’s addictions and recovery that not only reinforced my decision to quit drinking but that continue to keep me grounded well into my sobriety. I knew some time ago that I wanted to give back and part of that has been through the undeniable power of the written word. With that, I was inspired to create a website called The Truth of Being Us. Makes sense, right? It’s a place where I plan to move most of my writing but above all else, it is designated for sharing stories of other women in recovery, considering recovery, or touched by someone’s addiction or recovery. Sharing our stories builds connections and for anyone in any type of recovery, you know how important connection is.

I may occasionally still write in this space, but more than likely most of what I’ll be sharing will be in my new home. If you follow me here, I would appreciate you giving it a look to see what I’m up to. I would also be more than grateful if you were inclined to share a story in the new place. What you have to say could make a tremendous difference for someone else – wouldn’t that be incredible? Please visit The Truth of Being Us for all of the details and don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions at all.

I look forward to seeing where this leads and how we can grow this space and support one another – together.sobriety

sobriety universe hope haven

A Gift of Service

Friday was my 5-month sobriety anniversary. It was also the day that my company held their first annual day of service as a gesture in giving back to the community. For those of you who don’t know, I work in an industry that plays a large part in providing affordable housing developments for low-income families and seniors across the country. The organization we selected to assist may not have immediately seemed to have a connection to our industry, nor did it need to, but it turns out that the affordable housing conversation was very relevant to the people we were about to serve. It also turns out that the people we would interact with were very relevant to my own personal journey.

Leading up to Friday, I hadn’t fully let the organization we chose to work with sink in. Hope Haven is a foundation of recovery. They provide life skills for chemically dependent adults and families, helping them through healthy recovery and rebuilding their lives. Our job that day was going to be serving lunch, but until I arrived, I had no idea that the biggest part of that job meant that we were going to interact with the residents. In fact, we were encouraged to talk to them, ask about their stories, break bread with them and share a part of ourselves. As I sat in the conference room listening to the overview of their program and how we were going to spend our next hours, I was struck by the power of how I would get to spend my 5-month anniversary. Call it what you want, but in that moment, it felt like the universe was delivering me a gift.

As the men and women started to line up for their lunch trays, I decided to dive right in by saying hello and asking their names. There was some awkwardness between us here and there as they tried to figure out who I was while I tried to find my footing, but it wasn’t long before it came together. One of the first women I spoke to, Mary, had a pretty purple t-shirt on and she initially didn’t seem too pleased to see me. She scowled a bit when I introduced myself, but as soon as I told her how much I loved the color of her shirt, she lit right up. Through an excited smile she told me about the talent show that was held the night before and how she was wild about Prince and sang his song, Kiss. Mary would ask me if I knew the song and I told her I knew it so well that I could sing it for her, but I promised she wouldn’t want to hear this voice of mine destroy it. She laughed and patted me on the shoulder, telling me that she had so much fun the night before that she had to keep honoring Prince by wearing that purple shirt. A sense of ease came over me and I knew I could do this. I spent time approaching people across the room, offering to bring them drinks, clean up their trays, and sometimes sat down to talk with them.

Most of the people I spoke with were anywhere from one week to 3 months into recovery. For a number of them, this wasn’t their first time trying to quit alcohol or their drug of choice, but it was their first time in a program like this one. I saw eyes filled with love, fear, trepidation and hope. When I shared my sobriety with some, it was received with so much love and encouragement. They accepted me as someone who wasn’t just here to do service, but who also understood some of the struggles with addiction. They talked to me about time spent living on the streets, the loss of their families and the struggle to find a job. We spoke of the difficulties in finding an affordable place to live and their fears of being able to make ends meet. I heard how some had what might be considered a perfectly normal life early on, but then they lost it all to alcohol or drugs. They hugged me, they invited me to their AA meetings and they encouraged me to keep going just as I was encouraging them.

I saw my father in that room and I even saw myself. While I’m in no way comparing my personal journey to the severity of what many of them have experienced in their lives, there is also no reason why it couldn’t have happened to me. It happened to them, didn’t it? There is a common bond in recovery that we all share. No matter who you are or where you’ve come from, addiction can impact anyone. Addiction can change your life forever. I saw my father, a smart and highly capable man, lose his job and his ability to find a new one. I watched him teeter on the edge of homelessness and slowly destroy himself and everything around him. Addiction is fierce and it can escalate quickly and take us to levels that we never thought were possible. Just ask any of the men and women who were in that room with me on Friday.

I wish everyone that I met strength and sobriety as they work so hard to rebuild their lives. They are fortunate to have support and the foundation that Hope Haven is giving them, but they will continue to have a long battle ahead. This will be the journey of their lives and with this opportunity it is possible for them to survive. Those hours spent with them made a difference in my life and I know I won’t be the only one.

Mary, may you keep wearing purple and that beautiful smile for years to come.



Let The Mocktail Quest Begin

I posted a picture of a beautiful mocktail on my Instagram account a few days ago and for a moment I thought that people seeing this would think that I’d fallen off the wagon. At a glance, it might appear that I was up to my old habits, leaning against a cool marble bar top at one of the area’s hottest speakeasy-style cocktail spots, snapping pictures of the gorgeous drink that sat before me. This isn’t a typical night out for me these days. It’s been months since I’ve set foot in a bar, since February to be exact. Hitting a cocktail spot isn’t exactly encouraged when you are getting sober and I can’t say that I would encourage it at any stage in sobriety as we all have different needs, but I had a motive.

This particular spot was a place that my husband had been wanting to check out for quite some time, but he was very patient about it while I found my sober feet. At no time did he ask me to go with him, as he knew I may never be able to. However, once I started mentioning that I was feeling ambitious about exploring places that might have mocktail offerings, he made the effort to get in touch with them. While they didn’t have mocktails on the menu, he was told that they would gladly mix something up upon request. During a particularly good day, I felt quite ready for an evening out and wanted to see what they might have in store.

As expected, the space was very nice, with stunning touches of art deco throughout. I’ll refrain from painting an overly detailed picture, as I’m not trying to glorify the cocktail bar experience for any sober people, but take my word for it that it was a lovely place. There was no question that this was meant for a legit classic cocktail experience, which I used to adore in my former life, but I found that I can still appreciate the atmosphere even now. The bartender approached with a glass of water in a pretty cut crystal glass while I fiddled nervously over the drink menu sitting in front of me, pretending to read it. When she asked the necessary question of what I’d like to drink, I timidly asked if a mocktail would be possible. I braced myself, believing they were going to look at me like I was being completely ridiculous for coming to a place like this and then requesting something without booze. I was ready for the eye rolls, the huffs, the you have got to be kidding me attitude, but none of that came. Instead, she was very gracious in accommodating my request without a single remark other than to ask about my flavor preferences. I watched her work her magic and was presented with a lovely glass of citrus and herbal goodness topped off with a sprig of rosemary, sans alcohol. This was leaps above my usual club soda and lime.

I was both relieved and surprised. There was an ease that took over and I was able to settle in and feel comfortable in a space that might otherwise have induced a great deal of anxiety. I’m well aware that I owe that, in part, to my nearly five months of recovery; however, those bartenders deserve credit for making this painless. No one wants to deal with alcohol snobbery, not even drinkers, and that didn’t exist here. My second mocktail order was much easier to work through and I found that all the bartenders were nothing short of happy to discuss alcohol-free options. I learned this wasn’t an altogether unusual request for them, which is what I was hoping for. I wanted to see how easy it might be to show up at this type of establishment and discover something that could work for a non-drinker. Something that would make us feel like we belong if we found ourselves at such a spot for any number of reasons. While I don’t envision myself bar-hopping all over the city on a given night and I particularly recognize that being in a cocktail bar might not work for everyone, I am pleased that there may be some solid options for non-drinkers around town. You also don’t have to be a card-carrying member of the sobriety club to get in on this. Someone mentioned to me recently that so many people worship at the altar of alcohol these days that it would be nice so show them that they can still be a part of the experience without the fuzzy head and hangovers. That is exactly what I intend to do.


mid life sober women

Four Months In The Light

As I just hit four months of sobriety, I realized that I haven’t done a check-in lately on what life without alcohol is currently like. Over the span of four months, I’ve had a vacation, outings with drinking friends, entertaining in my home, I attended a wedding and experienced my annual company meeting/party, all while remaining alcohol-free. Moments have sometimes been overwhelming, enlightening, freeing, stressful or a combination of all of those, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Here’s a little look at where things are today.

The days and hours have grown so much easier than they were in the early weeks of sobriety, easier than even just one month ago. The obsession over alcohol that I never thought I would escape has visibly loosened its grip. I no longer come home after a long day of work and worry about how I’m going to avoid drinking. It’s not even a thought in my head, which catches me by surprise when I stop to consider this while in the midst of more productive tasks. The relief of no longer having the immediate inclination to reach for the bottle is as soothing as aloe on a fresh sunburn. Then there is the physical piece, which has me feeling so much better. While replacing the wine with sugar is still playing a small role, I’m finally trying to take that down a notch (disregard the half-gallon of mint chocolate chip I just put in the freezer). In general, I pay more attention to what I’m putting into my body now. Morning smoothies and long walks have become my new obsession.

I was constantly living in a state of threat level orange.

Besides my diminishing drive for the drink, the number of times I notice people talking about alcohol has also lessened. While I wouldn’t say the amount has actually changed, it seems that the way that I process hearing about it has altered. Every excruciating moment that the topic would come up during the first couple of months left me cringing. Even though I much preferred having a discussion about my sobriety as opposed to dancing around it, it was my awareness of the subject that was on high alert, particularly before I came out in the open with my new lifestyle choice. Until that day, I was constantly living in a state of threat level orange. Now when the topic comes up I don’t pay it much attention; if the discussion carries, if warranted, I simply say “I don’t drink.” The surprised looks and stammering at that response haven’t changed much. People don’t usually ask about the reason, but sometimes they do and I’m happy to tell them. The awkwardness of that conversation has toned down as I’ve grown more comfortable with my story.

Now that the obsession has calmed, I’ve never been busier. I’m not talking about day-job busy, although there will always be that piece to balance, this is about all things related to creativity, sobriety and self-care. My head is clearer and with that, time seems to have expanded exponentially, as have my interests. Well, many of the interests were always there, I just didn’t have the drive to follow through with them. I blame that on the alcohol numb-out. It’s the gift that keeps on giving until you shut it down. These days, I’ve developed a bit of what I refer to as shiny object syndrome. It’s as though my brain has expanded and is absorbing all the things that alcohol didn’t allow the capacity for previously. With that, it can be a challenge to maintain focus, but at least it’s no longer a result of being in a booze-laden fog. What I have learned very recently is that I must slow down and set small goals for myself at the beginning of each week. If I don’t do this, I would have my hands in a thousand things without making much progress and with very little sleep. Both are essential for working towards what I consider my greater purpose.

It’s time to stop living like I’m always just standing on the edge looking in at what my life could be.

The bottom line is that what stopping drinking has opened for me is like an awakening. It’s part of a tremendous transition in my life. I had a major shift and completely changed my life when I was 30, and here in my early (almost mid) 40s I’ve been experiencing what Brené Brown refers to as the mid-life unraveling. It’s powerful. My creativity is coming alive, I’m exploring spirituality, expanding my knowledge at every turn, building a tribe and I’m slowly taking off the armor that I’ve been wrapped in for my entire life. It eventually grows tiring to live life the way you think others expect of you. For me, I didn’t recognize that this was what I’d been doing until these recent months. There are parts of me that have always existed but that I was afraid to explore or let shine because of what I thought others might think. It’s hard to be vulnerable, but it’s time to stop living like I’m always just standing on the edge looking in at what my life could be. My husband tells me I’ve gone crunchy granola, I say I’ve gone a little woo-woo, but I love every minute of it.

This light has always existed inside of me, but it never had the chance to shine until I took away the one thing that was dimming it. On the day that I quit, I told myself that alcohol was doing me a disservice, I had no idea at the time just how accurate that was.


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.


child gun alcohol

Shiny Silver Boxes

I recall a day, back when I was ten years old, that my father came home holding a beautiful silver box in his hands. He sprung through the front door with a big smile on his face and told me to get my mother because he had something to show us. I thought for sure that this pretty box must be filled with something special, so I wasted no time running to call for mom in the backyard. When she came inside, dad positioned us both strategically in front of him in the kitchen while he held out the box and built the excitement up. “Are you ready to see what I have?” he said. My tiny voice let loose and proclaimed “yes!”, but my mother seemed skeptical. I was disappointed in her melancholy, for once dad was doing something nice for us. He moved his hand over the lid, slowly raising it to give us just a peek. I only saw a bit of blue velvet inside before he slammed the box shut and laughed. Mom was growing more irritated and I was growing more fascinated. If there was velvet then it must be something really good. Finally, he wrapped his fingers around the lid and pulled it all the way open. My excitement melted into a pile on the floor. There, nestled in the center of a blue velvet cushion sat something that I had never seen up close. This was the stuff of movies or TV, only bad guys and police were supposed to have this. Why on earth would dad think I would be happy to see a gun?

Mom started to cry and I stood stunned. He pulled it out of the box, waving it around to show it off, telling us about the great deal he just got. I somehow doubt he actually bought the thing, it was more likely part of a weird drug deal, but he couldn’t stop talking about it. My mother was upset and repeatedly asked him why he needed a gun in the house, which turned into a yelling match between the two. Needless to say, she didn’t win that argument. The gun stayed and that silver box went somewhere in dad’s den. Den is just a fancy term for the spare bedroom in the house that was off limits to anyone but him. It was his domain where he played music, did drugs, looked at pornographic magazines and did god knows what else. Now he had a gun to play with, too.

Even at age ten, I knew this was a terrible idea. When he wasn’t at work, dad was drunk and usually volatile, and these were the days when it was growing evident that he was doing something else, too. I remember a few times that he was obviously hallucinating. One night, he called me into the living room where I found him sitting up on the couch with his feet off the floor and in a panic. He was trying to fight off the giant rodents he saw crawling across the floor. He kept pointing and shouting “Did you see that? Oh my god! Did you see that?” When I kept denying it, he grew angry and wouldn’t let me leave the room until I “stopped lying” to him. I was frightened and thoroughly confused, but I finally gave in and admitted to seeing something. I even made a little game out of it by jumping around like I was running from the massive rodents that were in his head. So yeah, this man being in possession of a gun didn’t seem like such a brilliant idea. (For the record, every time I see The Princess Bride, I think of this moment. Good ol’ rodents of unusual size.)

One evening after the gun came into the home, dad thought he heard the doorbell being rang repeatedly and he was sure it was a neighborhood kid playing a prank. There was no doorbell, there was no sound at all, but he ran to the door over and over and grew more agitated each time. I remember my mom trying to calm him down and assure him that he must be hearing something else, but he wasn’t having it. A few minutes later he came barreling out of his den with that gun in his hands, running to the door screaming about that “goddamn kid” and “I’ll show him” while my mother chased behind him. He ran out the front door and stood shouting and waving it around in our driveway at no one, then mom locked him out. When he heard the door shut, he ran right back to it beating on it and yelling for her to let him back in. She called through the door that she was going to phone the police and with that, his tune changed completely. He quieted down and started apologizing and pleading with her to let him back in, which she didn’t waste much time doing. I don’t think either of them wanted the embarrassment of the police showing up.

Sometime after this event, it was a Saturday night and the madness escalated. The weekends were always the worst. Dad would come home from work on a Friday already half loaded from the beer he picked up on the drive home and would carry on until late Sunday night. Saturdays were when he hit his peak, as he definitely did on this night. He was in his den when something fired him up. I could hear him yelling and throwing things around in that tiny room, followed by a loud and unfamiliar clicking sound happening over and over again. Mom and I stood in the kitchen and through her frightened eyes she told me that the sound was him cocking the gun. I didn’t really know what that meant, but it terrified me. It was relentless, the sound seemed never ending until I heard the door to his room open. I looked to mom to do something, but she was frozen as he turned the corner with the gun in his hands and a wild look on his red and sweaty face. I don’t even recall what it was about, or if it made any sense at all, but he started yelling at mom and I was so afraid that he was going to shoot her. While he screamed and she cried, I felt responsibility to handle the situation and had to find a way to make it stop. In my ten-year old brain, I guess I thought I needed a weapon to do so and I grabbed the first thing I saw on the counter next to me. It was a large, metal garlic press. That’s right folks, I was going to stop the big man with a gun with a garlic press. I jumped in front of mom wielding my new weapon and screamed as loudly as I could for him to stop and to leave her alone. Things grew silent for a moment while dad looked confused, I thought he might even start laughing at this ridiculous scene in front of him, but no such luck. Instead he proceed to yell at both of us. Mom tried to silence me but I kept shouting right back at him, raising that garlic press high in my hand because I was ready to fight, if necessary. Then he lifted the gun and pointed it right at my head. I can still clearly see the weapon staring me in the face, I can hear my mothers screams, I can feel my heart race and then everything goes blank. I can’t remember a single thing after that.

I have no idea what the outcome of this was and like many other events, I’ve never talked about it with my mom. I’m quite certain it was never brought up by anyone after that night. But I do know this, that gun never made another appearance that I’m aware of. My assumption, or what I like to believe, is that dad was so frightened by his drug induced behavior and that he could have killed his wife and child that he got rid of his prized toy kept in the shiny silver box.


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.