HP Baby!Sarah, 35 years old and 11 years clean and sober, shares with us her 10 year success story of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.  From the age of 14 Sarah developed an unhealthy love affair with weed and boys so throughout high school Sarah’s addiction revolved around her need to get attention from guys and smoking pot.

When Sarah discovers alcohol she completely bypasses being a social drinker and moves right into black out drinking.  She hated the taste of alcohol so her only motivation for drinking was to get completely wasted.  In college Sarah move’s to Oregon and starts dabbling in psychedelic drugs and ecstasy, as well as selling weed.

Her addiction kicks into full gear when she starts traveling abroad and cannot find her drug of choice.  At this point her alcohol abuse unravels as she unsuccessfully tries to substitute marijuana for alcohol.  As she travels through Central America the black out drinking takes Sarah to dangerously dark places.  She finally finds her way to Costa Rica and cocaine abuse ultimately brings Sarah to her bottom and into recovery.  It’s an amazing heartfelt journey of drug addiction and recovery join us now!

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Here are Sarah’s SHAIR Podcast interview highlights and suggestions for the Newcomer:

Clean Date: July 31st, 2003

Tell us about how your life is today. Your hobbies, what you do for a living. Take us into your normal daily routine, including recovery.

Sarah: Okay, well my life today is very, very full and full of a lot of children. I’m a teacher so I teach 4th grade. I’m married and I have a son who is 7 and a step-daughter who is 14, almost 15, and right now we have two nephews living with us, so we have a very full house. Things that I really enjoy doing and I do when I get a chance is to make jewelry and play music and I like to work out. I like to run, I like to do yoga, and I also teach yoga to kids after school. That’s really fun and I’m pretty much like a normal grown up human being which is totally crazy.

What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?

Sarah: Denial. Definitely denial. I did not have the ability to see the truth.  I truly believed that when I got that moment of clarity, all of a sudden denial broke.  I think for me the biggest thing standing in the way of getting sober was looking at the differences between me and other alcoholics. Looking at how I wasn’t like them, I didn’t wake up in the morning with the shakes or sat on the street with a paper bag getting drunk… so clearly I wasn’t an alcoholic.

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 had developed the hope that you could recover?

Sarah: Well I talked a little about that moment… that day after I’d hung up on my boyfriend and picked up the big book, it just hit me like a ton of bricks. I blacked out wherever I went and I really was an alcoholic. Probably that was the moment I actually thought there was hope for me to recover.

I’m not exactly sure when that happened, but there were definitely God shots along the way, and one of those was when I went to see Don Harper. I had three weeks sober and I was totally worried because I knew everybody was going to get stoned. As he starts to sing he stopped himself and asks: “how many pot smokers are in the audience” and a bunch of people cheered and he’s like “how many not pot smokers are in the audience” and a lot of people cheered and he said “I’m getting older. I just want to say that if you’re looking around your life and you’re not where you want to be, it’s time to put the bong down. Put the bong down” and I was like “Oh my God! He’s talking to me! I think that was probably one of my first moments of hope.

Do you have a favorite book you would recommend to a new comer that you read in early recovery?

Sarah: Yeah. So aside from all the twelve step literature, there is a book that I read that was recommended to me called “Drinking: A Love Story” by Caroline Knapp and that was a very good book, especially for women in recovery.


Drinking: A Love Story Caroline Knapp

What is the best suggestion you have ever received?

“try to take a nap and not get high that day”

Sarah: I don’t know. Let me think. Probably to just try to take a nap and not get high that day. I think a prayer that was suggested to me was to ask to see things from a different perspective. The alcoholic mind is warped and often the way we see things is not accurate or at least the way we see it is not good and so just a prayer of ‘God, just help me to see this from a different perspective’ has been really helpful.

If you could give a new comer only one suggestion, what would that be?


“Look for the similarities, not the differences and if you don’t hear anything you relate to, go to another meeting and keep going until you relate to something. ”

Of all the meetings you have attended anywhere in the world, which group is your favorite and where is that group located?

Sarah: Okay, well Kihei Morning Serenity in Kihei, Maui meets at 7am Monday through Saturday. That meeting’s awesome. Every time I go to Hawaii I wish that that was my home group. My home group here in Portland is Eastside Sunrise, which happens Monday through, every day of the week at 6am and then again at 7am and so that meeting is pretty awesome too, but having tons of meetings all over.


1. Kihei Morning Serenity Kihei, Maui (meets at 7am Monday through Saturday)
2. Eastside Sunrise Portland, Oregon (Monday through, every day of the week at 6am and then again at 7am )

Thanks again for your SHAIR Sarah!


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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.