I started using alcohol at age 15 and it felt like the perfect solution to my childhood trauma and dysfunctional home life. My values changed almost immediately, and I went from having LDS background to the other end of the spectrum. I got a DUI when I was 16 and many underage alcohol misdemeanors. I was kicked out of high school and was ashamed that I had a GED and not a high school diploma. I was pregnant at age 18 and was able to stop drinking but started again shortly after my daughter was born. I didn’t have any more legal consequences after that first DUI, mostly because of luck. My biggest consequence from drinking was that it stunted my growth as a human being.
My recovery from alcohol has really been about recovering from the reasons why I drank, which I can address now that I am not drinking. My threshold for being unhappy was fairly low, in comparison to others’ stories. This is not to undermine or deny what I went through. I had withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, shitty relationships, and no sense of self. When people in AA say, “If I drink, I will die,” I don’t entirely relate. If I drink, I may die eventually and my disease will continue to progress, but more likely, I will be miserable in my existence. I won’t achieve my purpose, be connected to a higher power, or have fulfilling relationships. I have learned that my addiction to alcohol is a symptom of trauma, and drinking was merely a coping skill. Alcohol worked very well to numb my pain and it helped me disassociate. I didn’t even know I was disassociating until I started my recovery journey. It becomes more and more apparent that I didn’t know how to cope with my feelings or know how to be comfortable in my skin.
My personal work and successes have been on self-forgiveness and love, forgiving others, learning healthy boundaries, and being the best mother possible. I am in recovery from alcohol and co-dependency. I am learning how to feel my feelings, cope with life, and stand up for myself and my worth. I live in Idaho, and I am a single mom to 3 amazing, beautiful daughters. I am so proud of myself for breaking the intergenerational patterns in my family.
My curiosity about sobriety started about 3 years ago. I started listening to podcasts in the beginning of my recovery and found The SHAIR Podcast with Omar Pinto. I loved his voice and his energy. I have found his interviews to have a profound impact on my ability to see my addiction as an opportunity and not a dirty secret. I eventually became a member of his FB group and then joined the SRC where I have connected with so many amazing people in recovery. I feel the SRC group has kept me sober.
I can access meetings via Zoom which has been crucial to me since I am at home with my kids and haven’t found an AA group in my community where I feel connected. The connection with others in the group has saved me from loneliness and isolation. I have found a sponsor in one of these groups who was willing to complete the 12 steps with me which has been transformational! I am almost 5 months in my recovery from alcohol and 95% of the time, I don’t even think about drinking. I am so grateful for the SRC, the SHAIR podcast, my sponsor, the step work, and online recovery.
Joy Siegel is the creator of Senior Solutions Inc. She is a successful professional and entrepreneur who hosted Good Work Radio, which gave her the opportunity to interview celebrities and every president since George H. W. Bush.
Rewind to 12 years ago, Joy was a single working parent who would wake up at 5 a.m. to pick up her drugs before getting her kids ready for the morning carpool. She was also the caregiver for her aging parents and managing a busy career.
At first, prescription opioids made Joy feel powerful and helped her to handle her demanding life. But as time went on, the pills stopped working for her and started working against her.
Joy lied to herself until the truth was impossible to deny. Today she’s here to bravely tell us the story of how she lost herself in addiction, confronted the past, and found herself in recovery.
I was hopeless before I ever put a drug in my body.
Addiction, Recovery, and the Lies We Tell Ourselves
Joy new nothing about drugs or addiction until she was thirty-eight years old. Her friend was getting rid of things after her father’s death and asked Joy if she wanted a leftover bottle of 500 opioid painkillers. Joy took the bottle home with her. That was the beginning of a five-year addiction to pills.
Once Joy did realize she had a problem and wanted to stop, she decided to get clean on her own. She planned to quit cold turkey over the weekend and go back to work the next week.
Luckily, her therapist was also in recovery and told her that she needed to go to 90 meetings in 90 days. Joy went to 3 meetings a day all the way till the end of the year.
Sometimes my head is a big fat liar. My first thought is fucked up.
Joy stuck to her meetings for a decade before she realized all the lies she had been telling herself. Growing up with a cleft palate, she’d felt defective and less than her whole life. Only when she truly believed that she was worth something was she able to step into the new exciting life she deserved. Now that she’s found herself, she is ready to find love.
You’re worth having a good day today.
MicDrop: Joy Siegel – About Face
Joy was born with a birth “defect” that required her to have a surgery at 2 weeks old. She was born with a cleft lip. Of course, she doesn’t remember any of it, but what she does remember are the stories she was told about that time. Watch Joy as she steps into the spotlight, proudly shows her face and explains why this moment is so huge for her. It’s not only about the many summers as a child that she spent preparing for and recovering from one of her 30+ surgeries. It’s about the stories she was told and the language used to describe her and her condition. Joy implores the audience to be much more careful about the language we use and the stories we tell – and in this talk, she leads by example. Sharing a story with a powerful message that she hopes you never forget. WATCH JOY’S MICDROP VIDEO.
Joy Siegel and Senior Solutions
Joy Siegel, EdD, MBA, created Joy Siegel Senior Solutions, Inc. to provide solution-oriented services to seniors and their families by assessing and addressing social determinants of health. Direct services are designed to improve quality of life and address such issues as crisis intervention, aging in place, identifying financial resources, home health, housing, and social services.
Joy’s unique approach is based on a combination of her own experience as a caregiver for her mother who had Parkinson’s Disease, her academic background and professional work. Her insight, compassion, business acumen, and connectedness in the community provide Joy with the ability to clearly address the overwhelming issues that may arise in the life of an elderly person. Her belief is that with acceptance comes solutions.