Let’s talk recovery!
Brandy Jouikov is one of the prominent members in the SHAIR private Facebook group. She is a young mom, an active member of the online recovery community, and the host of the Sober as $#@! Podcast.
Brandy has a story of severe alcoholism and bulimia that led her to the brink of suicide several times. Even though she was a mom, she could not find a way to stop drinking.
Listen to what finally kept her sober and how she manages recovery and motherhood.
CLEAN DATE: December 11th 2015
Listen to Brandy’s story now!
Here are a few highlights from our interview. To get the full story please join us on the podcast now!
Brandy is a mom to a 9-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl. She is a real estate agent by trade, but motherhood is her main focus these days. She says her days consists mostly of going crazy looking after her kids. Her hobbies include reading and going to exercise classes once a week.
Brandy attends meetings at least once a week and makes sure to meet with her sponsor. She also produces her podcast and posts throughout the day in multiple recovery groups. At the end of the day, Brandy says that as long as she put her recovery first, feeds her kids, and keeps her house somewhat clean, she’s happy.
Anytime Brandy has a free moment, she prays, meditates, and sits in silence to appreciate the moment for whatever it is. By starting and ending her day with a clear conscious and a feeling of relief, she can relax and approach life as it is.
The First Time
The first time Brandy took a drink, she was about sixteen and going through a rebellious stage. She grew up with abuse and trauma in her family that was left unacknowledged. She never went to therapy, so she bottled up her feelings and pretended it didn’t happen. Then she first tasted vodka and it was a wonderful feeling.
Where has this been and why didn’t I start using it sooner?
Alcohol changed the way she felt and reacted. She felt sexy and free. Brandy decided that if she tweaked this new sensation a little more, it would make the feeling that much better. She had struggles with her weight and started vomiting up her food. As a bulimic, she went from being overweight to underweight. From then on, she stuck to throwing up and drinking non-stop.
At the age of eighteen, Brandy moved in with her boyfriend. At this point, she only drank on weekends. Then she found out she was pregnant when she was nineteen and had to get married shotgun style.
Life happens and it is what it is.
Brandy didn’t drink during her pregnancy, but after she gave birth to her son she decided that she didn’t want to be a mom. She wanted to party, so she’d drop her son off at her parents’ house and go out. Brandy started to leave him there more and more as her drinking progressed.
I was basically playing visitation with my own son, sad but true.
In Jan of 2012, her dad died. Brandy says that part of her died with him and she wanted to drink morning, noon, and night. She got to an average of drinking 30 beers a day. It got worse and worse and she attempted suicide by taking a bunch of pills. She survived and the hospital released her, but she continued her destructive path.
After periods of sobriety, like during the pregnancy of her second child, Brandy always relapsed and fell back into her 30 beers a day habit. Finally, her husband told her he wanted a divorce.
She was in a state of emotional bankruptcy. She remembers looking at her kids and how hurt and sad they seemed. She thought she couldn’t always stay sober for herself, but she could try to get help for them.
A part of me kept fighting to stay sober because that’s what I really wanted and needed.
What kept Brandy from getting sober?
Brandy was unwilling to admit she was an alcoholic, and she avoided everything she tried to drown out with the alcohol.
Myself, my unwillingness to learn how to be sober.
The Spiritual Awakening
Brandy’s first, was the night of her bottom when she knew she let down her husband and kids and reached the point of emotional bankruptcy. Her second spiritual awakening was recently when she finally apologized to herself for self-inflicted horrors.
Brandy recommends This Naked Mind by Annie Grace. At one point, Brandy felt like maybe she had been cured of her alcoholism. This book reminded her that she was not.
Brandy’s best suggestion is simply, one day at a time. She even had it tattooed on her arm to remind her that today is all she has.
Suggestion for women
Don’t be afraid to include your kids in recovery.
Many moms think they have to keep recovery a secret to her kids, but Brandy’s kids know that Monday night mommy’s going to her meeting. She has explained to her older son that alcohol is poison for her. She keeps the conversation open for him. He saw her at some pretty crappy moments and she doesn’t want him to worry that she is going to drink again.
See you then!
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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.