On this episode of the SHAIR podcast, we interview my good friend Leigh Ann who recently celebrated 2 years of clean time. Leigh Ann takes us through 12 years of active addiction, recovery, and relapse. Up until the age of 15, Leigh Ann was a good student, a shy, introverted, straight “A” student who played clarinet for the high school band. She was your typical girl next door until a viscous rumor derails her and Leigh Ann convinces her father to enroll in the local private school.
At 15 and in her sophomore year, Leigh Ann befriends one of the popular girls from here previous school and her need to be popular pushes her to drink and smoke pot. Hooked from the beginning, Leigh Ann quickly goes from never using to consuming cocaine, ecstasy, alcohol, and pot daily. For 12 years, Leigh Ann goes in and out of rehab 9 times, ends up living on the streets, and attempts suicide… until finally a spiritual awakening in recovery and saves her life. Her journey is nothing short of a miracle… joins us now.
SHAIR – Sharing Helps Addicts in Recovery
Here are Leigh Ann W.’s SHAIR Podcast interview highlights and suggestions for the Newcomer:
Clean Date: 10/8/2012
Tell us about your life today. Your hobbies, what you do for a living. Take us into your normal daily routine including recovery?
Leigh Ann: Well, I work for a flooring company so I’m there most of my day. I work anywhere from 8-10 hours a day. I’m also an exercise fanatic so I’m either running or at the gym usually after work and then I try to hit 3-4 meetings a week.
How old were you the first time you drank or used drugs and more importantly how did it make you feel?
Leigh Ann: I was 15 years old. I remember feeling like I never fit in and like something was wrong with me, so the first time I drank I felt like I fit in and I could do anything in the world and I was just beautiful and awesome and everybody loved me and that’s when I tried weed for the first time and then it was even better. I remember just lying on the floor, staring at the ceiling, spinning and thinking this was what I was missing my entire life.
What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?
Leigh Ann: I guess just the simple fact that first of all I’m stubborn, I have to learn things the hard way and I really didn’t want to give up my control. I’m a control freak and I thought that if I tried a different drug, if I did this drug differently, if I just drank, if I dated this person and not that person. I couldn’t understand that the problem was just me so until that clicked, it didn’t really work for me.
At what point did you have a spiritual awakening, that “aha” moment in recovery when you accepted that you were powerless over drugs and alcohol, but for the first time you developed a hope that you could recover?
Leigh Ann: The night I went for a run after I wrote the amends letter to myself to forgive myself for using while I was pregnant. That was the first night that I finally understood what they were talking about when there’s a spiritual awakening. I really never understood what anybody meant so when that happened, I was like, “this is it!” It’s kind of like a drug, you just keep wanting to get it, I get God bumps a lot and I love it.
What is the best suggestion you have ever received?
Suggestion’s for the Newcomer!
“Do the things you fear the most and the death of fear is certain.”
Leigh Ann: I’m a worry wart. I still struggle. I have anxiety and worry about a lot of things and my dad has always told me “do the things you fear the most and the death of fear is certain.” That has been so true during my recovery. I’m not saying everything I faced in recovery means that I’ve overcome fear. I still have fear of speaking on the podium at my group. I still have fear when they call on me just because I don’t like talking with a bunch of people looking at me, but I still do those things and I’m okay. I live through it.
If you could give a new comer only one suggestion, what would it be?
Leigh Ann: I know this is so cliché, but just keep coming back and don’t pick up. That’s all you’ve got to do.
Of all the meetings you have attended anywhere in the world, which group is your favorite and where is this group located?
Leigh Ann: Well the Vigilance Group in Costa Rica, it is an NA meeting and that is where I first really started getting involved for real.
Then when I moved back to Dallas; for a long time I couldn’t find that group where I felt like I fit in until Addison Group, it’s an AA group and it’s just truly amazing. They’re all my family. I love it. I walk in and I get excited to see people. It’s just like it was at Vigilance.
Thanks again for your SHAIR Leigh Ann!
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Disclaimer – The opinions shared on this show reflect those of the individual speaker and not of any 12 step fellowship as a whole and though we discuss 12 step recovery and the impact it has had in our lives we do not promote or endorse any 12 step anonymous program.