Sobriety as a Career Path

Sobriety as a Career Path

I think the inherent desire to help others has always been inside me. It’s probably why promoting alcohol and Monster energy drink, selling shoes and vacation packages, and being an administrative assistant were such unsatisfying jobs for me. They didn’t fill me up. I was always discontent with those jobs because I felt like something was missing. I felt like I was meant for more, but I never knew what. It’s true that I didn’t consider myself a writer until I got my first online writing gig for a website called Medical News Today, and even then, I was skeptical. I’m not really a writer. I just got hired to do a job and I’m doing it. That’s what I would say to myself. It wasn’t until I got sober that I was thrust into the arena of helping others, and at times I’ve still felt the struggle to find my career path in life.

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Punta Cana, We Meet Again

Punta Cana, We Meet Again

Thinking, writing, and talking about my last time drinking has been something that I’ve done quite a bit. But there’s nothing quite like being back in the exact place where it happened. A few weeks ago I traveled back to the place where I consumed alcohol for the very last time, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I went for one of my best friend’s weddings. When I stepped off the airplane and was hit with the hot, humid air of the caribbean, it all came back to me.

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How I Shed My Party Girl Identity

How I Shed My Party Girl Identity

Drinking for me was always associated with going out, with partying. Since I attended my first party, I knew being at a party was when I was most in my element. These started out as small house parties in high school at empty houses with loud music and alcohol, given to us by older friends or stolen from parents. After I went off to college and found a fake ID, parties got even more exciting. I quickly learned you could even have a party preference! My preference was going to places that had cheap shots and good music to dance to, plus a crowd of strangers to flirt with. My nights would start with raiding my closet for the perfect outfit.

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6 Years Sober

6 Years Sober

At this time last year I was announcing something pretty cool on this day. It was my book deal. A dream that I had, realized, and then as you all know, it was quickly dropped from my reach months later. This experience has overshadowed the last year of my life. First, it made the last year seem exciting, fulfilling and diligent, and then after the deal was lost, I felt a great sadness and grief, followed by a feeling of being stuck.

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Sobriety is an Act of Women's Empowerment

Sobriety is an Act of Women's Empowerment

Women are drinking more and are feeling the effects of their drinking sooner. We are also targeted more than men. The mommy wine culture and glamorization of alcohol in the media are proof of that. Everywhere we turn there are tampon-shaped flasks to sneak alcohol into public places, shower wine glass holders, and faux-feminist booze like Jane Walker. Spare me. When I was still drinking Natty Light and good old Vladimir vodka in the plastic handle container were good enough for me. Old me probably would have loved that Big Alcohol is now playing to my feminist agenda.

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Strong Woman?

Strong Woman?

A week ago today was International Women’s Day and just like many women across the world I made a social media post about feeling grateful and empowered to be surrounded by so many strong women in my life. And it’s true I am grateful. I would not be the woman I am today if it weren’t for the constant inspiration and support of so many women. Most of the time I also feel strong. Normally I feel like one of those strong women who is inspiring and empowering others, but lately, I haven’t.

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Giving Back: Your Holiday Guide to Recovery Charities

Giving Back: Your Holiday Guide to Recovery Charities

Last year I provided a holiday gift guide for the people in your life who are sober. This year I wanted to get a list together of organizations who need your help and your money. When we reach the end of year it’s a good time to think about what organizations’ missions mean a lot to us and how we can give back to their causes. There’s nothing simpler than sending a $5 or $10 donation that takes no longer than 30 seconds. Here is a short list of organizations that are doing great things. If you’re looking to send a holiday gift, consider a donation to these groups.

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A Mother's Love

A Mother's Love

A mother’s love. They say there’s nothing like it and they’re right. A mother has a unique role when it comes to having a child with a substance use disorder. For my mother it was something she was used to dealing with, but not with a child. My mother has always been a caretaker. Of her siblings, her husband, her father, then her mom, and of course my sister and I. When I was in high school my mother and I fought a lot. We butted heads about pretty much everything. She didn’t like that I wanted to stay out late, drive my car around past 11:30pm (the curfew for underage drivers in Pennsylvania), fraternize with new groups of boys every other week, and be a generally rebellious teen.

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Just like in Addiction, in Sobriety Nothing Goes as Planned

Just like in Addiction, in Sobriety Nothing Goes as Planned

In a phone call on Friday I was asked to, “Please provide an example of a time in your life when things did not go as planned and how you handled it.” I laughed and said, “Well that’s my entire life. Nothing in my life has ever gone as planned.” And it’s true. My life has always been that way. It has been incredibly hard not to think of the way my life has gone as a series of bad luck. I can’t tell you how many situations I’ve been, things I’ve been through, or setbacks I’ve experienced that have led me to think, am I even on the right path?

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Coming Home to Myself

Coming Home to Myself

As soon as I think I’ve got it all figured out, the universe assures me that I in fact, do not. Year 32 has been a gut punch, a year of highs that come with anxiety, and inexplicable lows that seemingly came out of nowhere. A year where I felt away from myself and close to myself at the same time. This morning on my 33rd birthday, I woke up at 6:20am and watched the sun rise. There is something about the peace and stillness of the morning that only belongs to me, that I love, even though waking up early is difficult for me. I wanted to see the sun rise because I wanted physical proof. I wanted proof that I am here, that I am alive, that this life I’m living is real. Without fail when I see the sun rise, the trees sway in the wind, or the ocean beat against the shore I feel like everything is going to be ok, that I am supported by the universe.

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A Real Writer

A Real Writer

Do you ever spend your life thinking of yourself as one way, only to find out you’re actually the opposite? I feel like we have these revelations often in sobriety. For example, I spent years of my life truly believing my man-picker was broken. All of my romantic relationships were toxic, starting from the young age of 16. Each one was filled with vitriol, yelling, arguments, and explosive break-ups and incredible make-up sex. It wasn’t until my first go-round through the 12 steps that I came to the stark realization that I, in fact, was the toxic one.

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My Favorite Books From 2017

My Favorite Books From 2017

This year I’m writing “got done,” lists in addition to the regular “to-do,” lists and on those lists, I’m writing down stuff I get done every day. It’s been a powerful reminder that I am getting a lot done and I’m getting a lot more done than I thought I was. Additionally, my memory can be crappy when I try and remember what and when I’ve done stuff so I love having these lists to look back on. I also want to keep track of how many books I read this year and which ones. This led me to create a list of my favorite books from 2017. I didn’t make a list last year of everything I read, but I do remember a selection of books that were my favorites. I wanted to share these with you and I plan on a much more comprehensive list for 2018

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Living Outside the Sober Bubble

Living Outside the Sober Bubble

When I got sober I lived in a foreign country where being sober was basically unheard of. I didn’t know what any of this crap meant - “pink cloud,” “90 in 90,” “sponsor,” “people, places, things.” I was truly on my own from the get-go with my sobriety. I paved my own way and I never considered that some people get sober and stay in a sober bubble, sometimes forever. I was thrown into the fire in the first week of my sobriety. I attended a birthday dinner for my mother-in-law and there were bottles of wine. My family indulged while I could not. It felt horrible. I felt sad, angry, and annoyed. I felt like the odd man out. Shortly after that experience, I attended another birthday party for a friend which took place on a boat in the Caribbean Sea. On this trip, I was accompanied by a pregnant friend who also was not drinking, but I still felt like I was crawling out of my skin. I felt uncomfortable and I felt like a liar for telling people I wasn’t drinking because I was running a 5K in the morning (true, but not all the way true).

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Cultivate Your Full Bloom

Cultivate Your Full Bloom

On May 7, 2013 I was on a plane flying back to Cancun where I lived at the time, from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Minutes before I had made a heartbreaking decision for myself. I decided that I would not be drinking again, until further notice. My mom had listened to me crying in the Punta Cana airport, full of distress and questioning my worth as a person. What the fuck was wrong with me? I was so sick of not being able to control my drinking. I was so sick of feeling like crap afterward. I was sick of feeling paranoid that everyone was mad at me for something I did or said while wasted. I was sick of ruining relationship after relationship. I wanted these feelings to leave me and I knew in order to do that I had to cut alcohol out of my life.

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Holiday Gift Guide For the Sober Person in Your Life

Holiday Gift Guide For the Sober Person in Your Life

During the holidays alcohol is often given as a gift without a second thought. It can be hurtful and disappointing for those of us in recovery. I curated a short list of gifts I know I would personally love to receive as a woman in recovery, and I’m sure others in recovery would as well.

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4.5 Years Ago Wasn’t Different, It Was More of the Same

4.5 Years Ago Wasn’t Different, It Was More of the Same

The last night I drank I was on a girls trip at a beautiful all-inclusive resort in sunny Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. It was my first time in the country and what a memorable time it would be. Now it’s officially the place I had my last sip of alcohol. That weekend in May of 2013 is something I’ve gone over in my head about a million and one times now.

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When You're the Only Sober Person at the Party

When You're the Only Sober Person at the Party

A few weeks ago during one of our Bloom Club classes we discussed sobriety as a lifestyle. For me, I believe this component is essential for successful sobriety. Sobriety isn’t something you can take on and off like a jacket. It’s not something you can keep hidden away as a secret that you only take out in church basements to discuss amongst like-minded people. It must be something that you believe in with your whole heart. It must be something that you’re proud of and that you put first. Otherwise it won’t work. Or it might work, but you may eventually feel like you are leading a double life, that sobriety is a chore, or something to be ashamed of.

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Surviving Hurricane Irma Sober

Surviving Hurricane Irma Sober

In sobriety, there are many seasons of survival. It’s funny how that word has evolved over time. For many years I was just surviving. Going to sleep at night and waking up to see another day during active addiction was like playing Russian roulette. During early sobriety, I thought, “finally, I am not only surviving, but I am truly living.” I put intention into my days and my actions. I felt grateful for the first time in my life and coping with daily life seemed doable.

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Why We Should Give a F*ck About Overdose Awareness Day

Why We Should Give a F*ck About Overdose Awareness Day

I vaguely remember picking out my outfit and hopping in a cab with my roomies. We got a table outside in the back overlooking the bay and that’s when the lights in my head faded to black. That was basically all I remembered of my 23rd birthday, save a few spotty details from the next morning, and other things my friends told me when I attempted to piece my night together.

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