addiction and tragedy

How to find recovery when addiction and tragedy collide!

Today we have Lori Kinney on The SHAIR Podcast. We’re very excited to have her on the show. She is one of our private Facebook group members and has one of the most astonishing and hopeful stories you will ever hear. This is a powerful episode you don’t want to miss.

CLEAN DATE: Nov. 2nd, 2008

Listen to Lori’s story now!

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Here are a few highlights from our interview. To get the full story please join us on the podcast now!

Daily Routine

Lori’s daily routine is all about recovery. Without it, she’d be a hot mess like she was ten years ago. Usually she wakes up ten minutes before her alarm goes off and goes over a gratitude list that she created in her phone. She tries to add to this list every day.

Lori is a full-time college student and works part time. She spends the rest of her time doing homework and hitting meetings. Lori is studying psychology. She says that:

Nobody else has been able to figure out what’s wrong with my brain, so I’m going to figure it out myself.

Spiritual Condition

Lori goes to church regularly. She enjoys church, but the most spiritual thing she says she does is journaling or floating on a river in a canoe.

The First Time

The first time Lori drank was when she was twelve or thirteen and stole three cans of Budweiser out of the fridge. She climbed into the hayloft of the barn, drank the beer, and got giggly and silly. Then she passed out and forgot about anything that was bothering her at that time in her life.

I had made a new best friend, and my new best friend was Budweiser.

 Lori’s Story

Lori grew up in central Missouri with five brothers. She was the only girl. Her dad was an engineer and was out of town for weeks or months. He was an absent parent. When he was home, he had very specific ideas about what girls could and could not do. Lori remembers frequently hearing, “You can’t do that, you’re a girl.”

There was trauma throughout her childhood. Lori’s oldest brother was dangerous and abusive to her. She remembers always being afraid. Always. But he told her if she ever told anyone, he would kill her and she believed him. Lori had to pretend she was “the clumsy child” in order to explain the bruises and marks left behind by her brother. He finally had to be removed from the home when he tried to kill their mom. Her biggest fear was that one day he would come back.

Lori was used to being treated like a second-class citizen by men. She had a bad experience with a boyfriend. When he found out she tested positive for pregnancy, he vanished. She never saw him again. She felt rejected and unprotected. For many years alcohol was her best friend. She didn’t care what it was. She would drink it.

Mostly it was about me. It was about me drinking and saying I feel better. I’m prettier, smarter, and funnier … more talkative and not a wall flower. Not a beat down girl. 

Soon, Lori got married into a drugs and rock n’ roll relationship. She and her new husband were complete strangers and opposites, but they had a great time partying together. He was abusive, but Lori toughed it out for 13 years. She has a son that came from the marriage, so she can never regret it, but she finally did divorce him. She only regrets not having done it sooner.

Most of us in recovery have a whole long history of poor life choices.

Lori’s son went to live with his father because “dad had less rules.” She was single again and she went crazy. She convinced herself she wasn’t an alcoholic because she held down good jobs. Even when she got arrested for DWI, she told herself it was just bad luck. Whenever any problem resulted from her drinking, she kept making justifications over and over.

I kept telling myself it was no big deal. I’m not hurting anyone but myself.

Fast-forward to June of 2008. Picture a beautiful summer morning. Lori had the day off of work. She was going to spend the afternoon on the river bank reading a book. She put five cans a beer in the cooler with some food and water and went to a resort owned by her friends. She started drinking beer and reading. She thought, five beers, that’s nothing.

Several hours passed and she was ready to leave to meet her boyfriend at her place. She noticed she felt a little tipsy getting into her truck, so she stopped at the local bar and grill for a burger, fries, and … more beer.

Walking to her truck was the last thing Lori would remember for the next 18 hours.

Lori woke up in the hospital. Her boyfriend was there and told her that she was in a wreck. Her legs were broken and her left arm was broken. She was in critical care, but she would be okay. But she wasn’t the only one involved.

Lori found out she hit a motorcycle head on. The man was dead on the scene. His female passenger was airlifted to the hospital and died ten minutes later in the same hospital Lori was in. The woman was a mother to a little boy who was now orphaned.

No longer can I tell myself that I was only hurting myself.

When Lori got out of the hospital, she kept drinking. It was the only way she knew how to deal with the pain. She also came back with a bunch of pain medication. A week after her birthday her father passed away. A girlfriend told Lori to spend the night after the funeral services so she wouldn’t be alone. They stopped at a bar first. Everyone found out her father died and everyone wanted to buy her a drink.

Lori woke up the next morning on the couch without her crutches and no wheelchair in sight. She had no idea how they got there. Her friend didn’t know how they got home either. The truck was outside twelve inches from the porch.

One of them drove home that night.

To this day they don’t know who it was, but Lori knows she could’ve killed someone else that night and would’ve never known it.

That was when she called a young man who had offered her help before. She asked him to take her to a meeting and he did.

She has not had a drink since then.

What kept Lori from getting clean?

Fear, fear of being laughed at and told I was too bad.

Spiritual Awakening

Hope came along early for Lori in her 3rd of 4th month of sobriety when a young woman was given an amazing life-changing job offer. The woman said, “If I had been drinking, this would never happen!” Lori thought, she’s right and that can happen for me too. This gave Lori hope.

Favorite Book

Lori recommends As Bill Sees It because it isn’t a big long story, just one-page narratives that get the point across.

Best suggestion

If you don’t find what you really need in a meeting go to a different meeting.

Suggestion for Newcomer

Learn to socialize with people in your meetings. Make friends with them. Go out with them for a meal and a cup of coffee. That way when you need to call someone, they’re not a stranger.



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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.