In 2015, my beloved mother’s five-year battle with cancer came to an end. Following her death, I experienced immediate multiple major losses all raining down without lift for several years after. My life went from glamour west coast businesswomen to shattered hopes and dreams. The change was so fast and impactful that it was within months all I had worked years to build was gone. I found myself lying on the floor of my family basement in the Midwest, grief-stricken and suffering beyond a level that even to this day is hard to describe. At age 33, I no longer felt I could live through what I was going through and the one person I held counsel with about anything major in my life was no longer on the planet. Unemployed, broken, living back at home, and with circumstances, I would not wish on a worst enemy, I could not comprehend how I was going to recover. I truly believed that my life was over and in a real sense it absolutely was. That was when the “problem” drinking began.

Fast forward before 2015, alcohol was always in my life. It was there yet never caused any major conflicts or so I thought. There was the occasional hangover or silly “cringe” over something stupid I had done on a weekend party night in my 20’s. I was careful to keep my internal self on a tight leash with substances because growing up as a Catholic kid, let alone a female, being a drunk female is not feminine or becoming, to say the least. That was not going to be me! Additionally, I came from excellent parents who warned my sister and I about the dangers of drugs. A cardinal sin in our family. Funny, how alcohol in my head never felt like it was a part of that category, “drugs.”

I grew up on the international scene so drinking started at a very early age of 15 and lasted until I walked into the rooms of AA. I partied and drank all around the world. I was an ex-pat and socialized with all cultures, breaking bread and cracking bottles with every type of person in the world, literally. Now living back home in my passport country here in the state of Minnesota, it is ironic that we have some of the best rehab facilities and addiction training programs in the nation via my state, go figure. Anyways, I was a female who could have a strong cocktail and had fun in those days! Yet, in my guts, I always knew there was a twisted strange relationship I had to the fleeting high alcohol gave. Privately, it bothered me that it held such an importance in my life, and I knew I’d like to stop one day at the very least because of all the calories it tacked on.

Then, life happened, no, life HIT unlike I ever knew, and what was something that used to be fun and festive called “drinking” turned into a terror on top of complicated grief and loss. Alcohol (ethanol) hijacked my brain and common sense during the years of my mother’s death and ensuing major losses. I knew I had to cut the boozing habit off at the root during such a vulnerable and painful time. I found myself drinking a bottle and a half a wine a night at the heaviest which began causing black outs. When I couldn’t quit drinking on my own it frightened me beyond words.

The day I stumbled across The Shair Recovery Podcast with Omar Pinto, I was looking for solutions, I started listening to some of the podcasts. Before I knew it, in ‘classic addict fashion’, I was binge streaming the podcast stories daily. It was as if each story was depositing light into my soul, a boost of hope and peace. The opposite of addiction is connection. Lifesaving!

The stories helped me see that grief, trauma, PTSD, and addiction go hand in hand. Deeply interrelated. By the grace of God during this time frame, I was floated a phenomenal life coach, stellar sponsor, continued my involvement with our TRR, and entered the rooms of A.A. June 8. 2018 is the day I chose sobriety in the fellowship rooms and I have never looked back. I absolutely love this lifestyle. It is cutting edge living, powerful living. Totally my style and an earnest reflection of who I am.

Fast forward today, I am sober, building the foundation for a life that I can build on and grow with confidence from. In recovery I am learning anything is possible when I get out of my way and surrender to HP, watch out! I think the best part is that my heart is healing, hope is being restored, the light is back in my eyes, and I am not broken rather I have been broken open to the larger possibilities of who I am becoming. I owe this largely in part to those who came before me and dared to share their stories with the world. Now here I am sharing mine. Infectious. Our stories save lives. Thank YOU and my deepest and most heartfelt gratitude.

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