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Patty Powers joins us today on The SHAIR Podcast.
Originally from Toronto, Patty began drinking and using drugs recreationally as an adolescent. At eighteen she moved to New York City where chance meetings with other addicts opened doors to careers, romantic relationships, the art world and the music scene. For years, whenever the negative consequences of addiction started taking their toll, survival instincts kicked in and she’d return to Toronto.
It was a hamster wheel existence – getting strung out and cleaning up – and it relied heavily on the resiliency of youth. By 1987, she was living alone in an abandoned building in Los Angeles, having cut all ties to her former life. It was at this low point she was first introduced to recovery. On December 10th 1988, Patty was admitted into a treatment facility located outside of New Orleans for heroin addiction, cocaine, and methamphetamine use. She was discharged with 42 days clean on the first day of Mardi Gras and has remained drug and alcohol free.
Patty did not set out to become a recovery coach. Initially she was asked by friends in the entertainment industry to help provide guidance and companionship to their clients struggling with balancing work commitments with their newfound sobriety.
Through word-of-mouth her practice grew to include referrals from therapists, treatment providers, and other coaches. Leaders in the wellness community, including integrative physicians and psychiatrists, now refer Patty clients struggling not only with substance abuse issues but also those with impulsive destructive behaviors. Psychotherapist and transformation coach Terri Cole coined the phrase Shadow Addiction to open up a dialogue with this specific demographic of successful, health and enlightenment-seeking individuals.
Patty Powers is a certified recovery coach. When she’s not helping clients navigate their sobriety, she’s writing about recovery and putting her personal experiences into book form.
Listen now as Patty takes us through his horrific battle with drug addiction and her amazing and inspirational journey into recovery.
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Questions and Answers for the Newcomer:
Omar: What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?
Patty: Fear. My entire identity was built on … I knew who I was, I knew what I had using. It was my longest relationship, was my relationship to drugs. The idea of complete abstinence was beyond my comprehension.
Omar: At what point did you have a spiritual awakening, that “Ah-ha” moment in recovery when you accepted that you were powerless over drugs and alcohol but for the first time had developed the hope that you could recover?
Patty: Well I feel lucky because, like I told you at the end of my using when I was able to get honest with myself that I needed to be completely willing, that was it. It was when I realized that getting clean was my only hope. If I didn’t give it everything I got that I didn’t think I’d ever get another chance to get clean and that happened before I got clean. And my spiritual awakening in recovery, like the really deep one, because there were millions. I could have been one of those people who had a bumper sticker that said, “I am a miracle” corny enough.
In recovery, like long into recovery, is really realizing one day that I was wasn’t worried about shit anymore. That even when things felt a little scary and uncertain I know beyond a doubt that I’m gonna be okay. That took a while to come, like where I could have said it earlier but where I really believe it, where I really don’t trip out obsessively worrying about shit. That’s like a gift of long term recovery. That was definitely a spiritual awakening.
Omar: Do you have a favorite book that you would recommend to a newcomer that you read in early recovery?
Patty: In early recovery I could not read a page of a book and know what I’d read. So in early recovery my reading skills, my attention, my brain was just fried. I could not … My stress level was too high. I couldn’t even, if I had to read a preamble I’d mess it up.
A book that I think is really unlike all the junky books that I know I’ve read and I know if you’re a junky and you’re getting clean you want to read the Permanent Midnight, but a book that really is amazingly well written with a lot on the recovery side is Lit by Mary Karr.
She is a great writer, she’s been sober a long time. She wrote the Liars Club, her life was crazy. I don’t really identify with her drinking part of her story, but I identify with the feelings she writes about in her book and she’s an amazing writer, but she talks a lot about recovery in it and what that whole experience was and coming to believe.
Omar: What is the best way for our listeners to reach out to you and find you?
Patty: My website PattyPowersNYC.com on Twitter. I do a online event it’s called Sex Talk, it’s the first Sunday of the Month on In The Rooms at nine PM. It’s free, it’s where people in recovery have an open discussion about their relationship to sex in sobriety. We have guest speakers, it’s pretty cool and it’s not X-rated and it’s really helpful.
Website – Patty Powers NYC
Facebook – Patty Powers
Twitter – @sobercoachnyc
Lit: A Memoir – by Mary Karr
Permanent Midnight: A Memoir – by Jerry Stahl
The Liars’ Club: A Memoir – by Mary Karr
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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.
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