She started her using carrier early with alcohol and was a black out drinker from the start. To increase her tolerance to alcohol she was introduced to the same speed that truckers take in order to stay awake for long trips. As a result of the massive amounts of drugs and alcohol she was consuming at an early age she starts developing severe paranoid delusions and begins contemplating suicide.
She attempts suicide by gorging herself on food and when that fails she turns to bulimia. She finally hits bottom when she gets married and her husband turns her on to crystal meth. Today Gloria is a pillar in her community and helping others battle this horrible disease by combining Yoga with Recovery, join us now!
Clean Date: November 19, 1987
Here are Gloria’s SHAIR Podcast interview highlights and suggestions for the Newcomer:
Gloria: Yeah, well I live a pretty full life. I usually start out my day with a little prayer and meditation and I always ask God to keep me abstinent and sober for the day. It’s been my prayer for many, many years. So I like to start out that way and then I usually do some physical exercise in the morning, usually the gym or yoga practice or a combination of the two and then I do video editing work for the school district here in Austin. I’m a free lancer so I’ll do that. I work. I teach a few yoga classes every week. I have kind of an eclectic lifestyle as far as work and meetings, I still keep up with meetings.
I usually do the online things just because of my time schedule and the traffic situation here in Austin can be a little challenging to get to places so this is kind of what I do. I like to eat healthy and try to help people as much as I can. I feel like I help people a lot through my yoga teaching. It’s not really recovery work per se, but a lot of people are struggling with a lot of different things in their life and I feel that the yoga is a big way or a huge way to help them deal with some of the challenges they have in their life. I’ve also recently started a Y12SR meeting here in Austin, which is Nikki Meyer’s baby that she trains people to lead these Y12SR meetings that combine yoga with 12 step recovery so it’s kind of half meeting and then half yoga class so I’m excited about that.
O: Yes, that’s how we met. I had already interviewed Nikki and her share has inspired you to come on our show, which is great. My wife is a yoga instructor and it’s made such a huge impact in her life and she had some challenging situations that wasn’t drug or alcohol related, but the yoga was the spiritual connection that she needed to get back on tract and to clear a lot of the negative energy in her life.
Gloria: Yeah, when I went through treatment, that was one of the things that they tried to teach us, now you have to take out all the negative things in your life you were doing and replace it with something positive. It’s not that you just sit around and don’t do anything. You’ve got to recreate your life.
So tell us a little bit about the first time you drank or used drugs. How old were you and more importantly, how did they make you feel?
Gloria: I remember my parents, my dad was a farmer so we worked out in the fields when I was a kid and he would always have a beer at lunch time, which seems weird to me now, but at the time he would always let us have like the very end of the bottle. So it wasn’t like alcohol was prohibited in our family, but I guess when I was 13 was when I started drinking with my friends behind my parents’ back and getting drunk and smoking cigarettes and experimenting with pot mostly.
It just kind of progressed from there, but I felt like I was more at ease and I felt like I was accepted in my group of friends and it was the cool thing to do. I was a farm kid and I grew up in a small town, but the farm kids were kind of looked down on. I wasn’t a city kid and so it made me feel like I was accepted and I was cool. I don’t know, that’s the only thing I can say about it.
What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?
Gloria: I would have to say that if I started relying on other people’s opinions of me, codependency I guess. I get too enmeshed in other people’s opinions or people that aren’t healthy for me or something like this. I think that would be the biggest challenge. I think you need to surround yourself with people that support you in recovery and are looking out for your best interest, your best self.
O: So social acceptability was what was keeping you from possibly getting clean in the beginning.
Gloria: Yeah, I think because my self esteem was so low that I’d try to find that through other people and I’d have other people validate me. So I think that’s a big thing.
At what point did you have a spiritual awakening, that ‘aha’ moment in recovery when you accepted you were powerless over drugs and alcohol, but for the first time developed a hope that you could recover?
Gloria: You know, I thought about that question and I guess the very first moment was when I went to the treatment center and was talking to Jana who was the director there and I feel at that moment, even though I didn’t really know about the 12 steps yet, I was at a place of surrender where I was willing to trust that whatever they had for me there in the treatment center was going to work for me. After I was introduced to the steps, we did a lot of journaling about our powerlessness over the addiction and I feel like when I first started journaling about it, which would have been in those six weeks I was in the treatment center, where I actually wrote down how I was powerless, that’s when it came to the realization like “wow I am really powerless”.
I just really didn’t think about it. I was on such a train going in one direction. I didn’t really think about where it was headed so I feel like that was probably the ‘aha’ moment where I actually wrote it down and could see it on a piece of paper, kind of like looking in the mirror at yourself. I wrote every day. Like I said, I still have the journals in a box and I do write now. Not every day because I have a really busy schedule, but I do still write, especially if something is really bothering me. I’ll just write it out because it just helps you process and kind of look at what’s going on because a lot of times you can be on the surface of the emotion and not really know what’s going on deep down inside.
Do you have a favorite book you would recommend that you read in early recovery to a newcomer?
Gloria: Definitely the 12 and 12 and the Big Book. I always liked those books, but there is also these little affirmation books that I used to read from Mt. Hazelton and Each Day a New Beginning. It’s a Hazelton meditation series. I like to read them when I first get up in the morning. Just put your mind in a positive mindset you know to set your day after your prayers. I really like those, but definitely the 12 and 12. There was a codependent no more book that I always liked and I’m not sure who the author is. I want to say Melody Beadie, but I’m not sure if that’s correct. One more that I am currently reading. Tommy Rosen does this Recovery 2.0 conference every year. It’s a free online thing and he had this speaker on there named Robert Holden who is, I guess he’s a psychiatrist or psychologist and he wrote this book called Shift Happens. It’s a really good book. It’s short chapters, but it’s very profound reading.
What is the best suggestion you have ever received?
SUGGESTION’S FOR THE NEWCOMER!
“Absolutely nothing and no one stands in my way of recovering”
Gloria: Well they used to tell me in the meetings put as much energy into your recovery as you did into your addiction. That always stuck with me because you know I’m a pretty driven person as far as type A personality I guess. I did my addiction probably to the extreme there. That phrase always stuck with me to always channel that energy in a different direction and use as much energy as you did to get your substance of choice and turn that around. Then I also had an affirmation when I was in treatment that I really liked. It was absolutely nothing and no one stands in my way of recovering and I used to say that to myself all the time, especially when I was like doubting or feeling hopeless or you can’t do this anymore or something’s frustrating me or I want to use or whatever. Besides from calling people and using the steps and all of that, just that little affirmation really helped me a lot.
O: I’m going to change my question here. I’m going to start asking what is the best suggestion or affirmation you’ve ever received. I love that affirmation. Wonderful, wonderful.
If you could give our listeners only one suggestion, what would it be?
Gloria: I would just say never give up because you’re worth it and just reach out and just take it a step at a time, but mostly that you’re worth it and you have a divine purpose here on earth in this life that you’ve been given and don’t give up.
O: I love it! That’s beautiful! That’s what we’ve got to do here. Alright, now I also wanted to ask you about your Y12SR class that you give on Saturdays. Tell us about that one, where it’s located, the time.
Gloria: It’s at the Unity Church in South Austin. I believe the address is 5501 West Highway 290 and it starts at 9:30 on the last Saturday of every month. It was this weekend for the month of August. It goes from 9:30-10:45 and basically we start out with a meeting and sharing and it’s a 12 step based meeting, so it’s half meeting and then half yoga class and usually I have a theme picked out, like it might be surrender or forgiveness. I have a theme but if something comes up in the sharing that we can work through with the yoga practice, then I can weave that in as well so that’s how it’s kind of structured.
Thanks again for your SHAIR Gloria!
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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.