What has surprised you the most about sober living?
I was surprised that I can genuinely love myself and live a life where I don’t make decisions for myself based on the approval of others. I remember at one point in very early pre-recovery when I was seeing a drug and alcohol counselor. The counselor wanted me to look at myself in a mirror and tell myself I loved myself, I couldn’t do it without hesitation and tons of tears. Today, I can look in that mirror and clearly like myself and everything that I’ve become.
What is your greatest joy today?
I truly love to make other people laugh and to give them hope. It’s that moment after an unexpected laugh that some people take in a real breath, one that helps wash away some of the stress and anxiety that they were carrying.
What new hobbies have you explored in Recovery?
I remember when I first got sober, I was at rehab and they had coed softball and we would play the guys from Milestone Foundation every other week. I decided that although I had hated team sports all of my life that I was going to enjoy this and change my attitude. I had a BLAST!!!
And although I could barely walk for days after, I realized that being open-minded to things I had such an attitude about was going to change my world, and it did. I even took up running (which I thought I hated but had never really done) and used a couch-to-5K app on my phone and even ran and completed the Family Restored 5K!! Another hobby that I started but haven’t done a bunch of is painting.
If you could plan a perfect day for yourself, what would it involve?
I’ve tried to answer this question and have so many options that I can’t choose just one. A day that involved my family and friends but also some alone time with God seems like it would be perfect.
This actually sums up about 95 percent of my days. The most important thing about any perfect day is being present to all that is going on around me and going with the flow!
What tool(s) do you rely on when you’re having a bad day?
I have a really big toolbox with many options to use for bad days. I have found that the best way to get out of my bad day is to focus on helping someone else. My troubles end up seeming so small when I try to be of service to someone with more going on than I have. It helps me to feel less alone and also gives me something I can do. Bad days happen, and when I am gentle with myself and others, I find that they pass much more quickly. Name one of your goals for the future. One of my goals for the future is to travel to Greece. I have had a lifelong desire to explore the country and it started way back when I was 12 years old. I had two different pen pals from Greece. I find the culture and scenery fascinating but mostly I have sentimental attachment to the idea of such a magical place that was so different than where I grew up.
What’s one piece of advice you have for someone just starting their journey in Recovery?
Dear You, yes YOU!!! You might come up against things in early recovery that seem entirely impossible. But there is a group of us on the other side of the line that thought the same thing and we are SOOOO eager for you to join us. Be gentle on yourself, and you don’t have to do this perfectly. Many many hugs!!!