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.

What’s keeping you from fulfillment, success, and happiness? What are you holding on to that is holding you back?

For those of you who haven’t listened to my live speech called The Power of Letting Go that I did at MicDrop Studios in Miami on May 5th, 2019, here is the live audio version.

This is my personal account of how I became the hero of my own story. It’s about letting go in sobriety so you can move on to a new life of love and healing.

Letting Go In Sobriety

I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. As a life coach I hear this all the time. I can’t stop drinking. I can’t stop doing drugs. I can’t get out of this dysfunctional marriage. I can’t quit this job that I hate. But it’s not really about I can’t. It’s about holding on to negative things in your life that you’re afraid to let go of.

I was afraid to let go, and what I was holding onto almost killed me. If you’re listening or reading this today and are unwilling to let go, then my story is for you.

It all started when I was eight years old. My father told me it was my responsibility to protect my sisters. When the opportunity came for me to come to stand up for my sister, I got punched in the stomach. I was terrified and couldn’t breathe. All I could think to do was run away.

That day, the hero died, and the victim emerged.

I’ve been running away ever since. I stopped standing up for myself. I felt weak, scared, and small, I tried to become invisible. Because I was so insecure, I became a target for bullies.

Then when I got older, I discovered alcohol. I finally realized what was missing was liquid courage. Alcohol removed my insecurities immediately. I felt happy, free, and confident. I also added drugs to the mix, and I had a fantastic time until the consequences started to catch up with me.

At some point, I lost control. I couldn’t stop for my first marriage. I couldn’t stop for my business. I couldn’t stop for my own survival. Only when I thought I was going to die of a heart attack did I come to my knees and pray to God.

Take me out of this world or help me get clean.

My prayers were answered with a moment of clarity that guided me to sobriety.

Fast forward sixteen years later, my life is beyond my wildest dreams. I met my current wife. A year after marrying her, I launched The SHAIR Podcast (now The Recovery Revolution) with 1.6 million downloads. I impact and inspire people all over the world. I am a speaker at AA and NA conventions. I have a Facebook group with over 5.5 K members, a recovery membership community, and a coaching platform. I work from my home in Costa Rica. It’s hard to believe that 16 years ago I prayed for death.

What was I holding onto?

I thought it was the drugs and alcohol I was unwilling to let go of. I thought it was the lifestyle and the identity I had built around using. I thought it was because life would be boring without drugs and alcohol.

But the truth is what I was holding onto was the anger, bitterness, resentment from all the childhood bullying. I wanted justice. I wanted someone to pay, even if the one who paid for it was me.

But justice was never going to heal me. Only love did. I discovered that the road out of addiction and the path to wholeness and healing is through unconditional love. The love of God, the love for my family, and for the people in recovery. Because of love, the victim died, and the hero emerged.

I am the hero of my own story. What is the legacy that you want to leave behind?

If you’re listening or reading this, I urge you to do these 3 things:

  1. Let go. Release everyone and everything that does not serve you.
  2. Go searching for love. Find it in friends, family, coworkers, support groups, or even a coach.
  3. Ask for help. Be open, honest and vulnerable. Humble yourself and reach out.