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.

Today we have Jesse Heffernan back on the show for an exclusive live Q&A with SRC Members! Jesse was first with us in the episode, Changing the Way We Talk About Recovery. He has since expanded into recovery coaching, recovery coach training, and recovery support services that help individuals and organizations create the grassroots recovery resources so direly needed in communities right now.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been clean for decades or less than a year. Jesse answers all questions about recovery advocacy and tells us exactly how to get into the recovery movement based on what we like to do and what we’re good at.

Become a volunteer advocate or make a career as a recovery coach. Start your own Recovery Community Organization (RCO). Get ready to explore your exciting place in today’s recovery movement!

“There are as many pathways to involvement in recovery as there are to recovery.”—Jesse Heffernan

Jesse Heffernan

Jesse Heffernan is a Recovery Coach & consultant with long-term substance use and mental health recovery. He lives in WI with his wife and 4 children, enjoying all things in geek culture, disc golf, and coffee. It is his belief that Recovery is a process of moving from surviving to thriving as a whole person.

He has had the privilege as a person in recovery to serve on several coalitions and grassroots nonprofits as an advocate for implementation of a culturally intelligent, recovery-oriented continuum of care.

Helios Recovery

Helios Recovery Support Services is a consultation and training company working to inspire and support leaders in substance use and mental health recovery.

As a creative, imaginative, forward-thinking and committed servant leaders, program directors, and community networkers, the team at Helios Recovery work to create a meaningful and positive change through innovative solutions to complex community needs through training and consultation services.

Jesse’s Links

Helios Recovery

TeleHealth Recovery Network

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Related Episodes

Changing the Way We Talk About Recovery with Jesse Heffernan

Mobilize Recovery with Ryan Hampton

Misery is the Gateway Drug with Claire Rudy Foster