My Recovery Journey
My recovery journey began over 9 years ago now. It’s hard to believe!
My story is documented in lots of places and each sharing reveals different stories and facets.
I shared it in an inspirational speaking competition and that ultimately got picked up by Ashton Kutcher’s A+ Good Stories Media Outlet. I think that it one of my favourite versions because that was tough to do. Tough to write, tough to rehearse and tough to actually share with a live audience. I had to say everything I wanted to in 6 minutes. I thought to myself, if I only have one shot, what would I really want people to know? The result is this talk which I’m really proud of. I called it What Addiction Taught Me About Joy and A+ renamed it Overcoming Addiction.
I also shared the full story on 2 recovery podcasts that I deeply respect: (1) with Jean McCarthy on The Bubble Hour Podcast (2) and also with Tricia Lewis on The Recovery Happy Hour Podcast. We even talked about sober dating! In turn, I’ve also had both of these amazing women on The Intention Sessions Podcast where we discuss their journeys and recovery in general.
And – I also describe it in the first section of my book, Intentional Days.
A Perfect Storm
In a nutshell, I believe that my incredible downfall was a perfect storm of genetics, the prevalence of alcohol in every aspect of my life, a complete disconnection from myself, a complete inability to deal with my feelings, a strong desire to numb out my life and absolutely no self-compassion nor healthy coping mechanisms.
In my darkest moments, I wondered how things had sunk so low. My body was physically revolting in the form of vomiting and extreme panic attacks. I was consumed with shame. And, I wondered how all of the ‘normal’ people were hacking life.
On the doorstep of the rehab facility, I did feel on a monumental threshold – terrified of the journey ahead but, I guess, more terrified of things staying the same. In that place, I could finally let my guard down and be honest because people ‘got’ me and not feeling alone was a huge relief.
Then, I Chose Joy
In the early days, back in the real world, I felt fragile, vulnerable and inspired. Then, I took very small steps cobbling together a support fabric that felt authentic to me. I have told this story often and will share it again here because of its significance. There was a woman who I believed could support me in this journey. In talking to her on the phone one day, I described that I was feeling good – even, I dare say, happy. I was enjoying small moments with my kids and finding peace in simple moments.
Based on what I was sharing, this woman told me I wasn’t serious about my recovery and that she didn’t believe it when people said they were happy. In that moment, something deep and powerful in me erupted. I hung up on her and bounded my hands against the steering wheel of my car and cried violently. In that moment, I chose joy. If I was going to all of the trouble to turn my life around, I wanted to know deep joy. I wanted to find ease, peace and happiness in this journey.
From that moment forward, I cobbled together support and resources that aligned with this. That doesn’t mean I was happy all the time. I had to do a lot of soul searching and excavate all of the pain and trauma that made me feel like I needed to numb out life. But, in going into the shallows and clearing out my life, I was tethering myself to a joy that was real and, more importantly, sustainable.
Daily Intentional Living
It’s this journey that inspires my daily living. Each day, I ask myself how I want to show up, what choices I want to make and how I can create joy and meaning. I really do believe that joy is a choice. It’s right here for all of us but, we need to open to the possibility of it. And, intentional living means choosing. It means being an active participant in our lives. For me, it meant no more autopilot and no more numbing.
Dealing with the real world (without numbing) is not for the feint of heart! But, I’ve also found it to be incredibly worthwhile. Every experience is richer. I feel clearer. And – I know I can navigate in the right direction.
Creating Joy in Recovery
That’s why I create everything I create. I love the card products because I think they are beautiful simple tools. Who doesn’t want an infusion of joy and inspiration every day? That’s also why I love the membership and events I have the opportunity to speak at. Community is very powerful and when we share, there’s incredible joy and healing in that. And – it’s also why I created The Intention Sessions podcast. I love hearing people’s raw, authentic journeys. We see ourselves – our hopes, fears and wisdom. We become inspired and know we’re not alone.
It’s impossible to capture everything in a blog post. I guess that’s while I’ll keep sharing this in a million different ways. Moreover, I know is that recovery has been my greatest gift and I’m very grateful for its many lessons. If you are struggling (big or small), I want you to choose yourself, find support and know that creating a new, better way is possible. Simple. Consistent. With a healthy dose of humour and self-compassion. You’ve got this.