Erin's inside jobOn Today’s Episode of The SHAIR Podcast we have Erin Bahadur joining us on the show today. She is the founder of Erin’s Inside Job, a recovering addict, NASM certified personal trainer, fitness instructor, and blogger. Her goal is to help everyone realize that true wellness comes from within (and sometimes through desserts).

“I started this blog as an outlet to help me get outside of myself.  This statement may sound like a contradiction to the concept of an Inside Job, but it’s not.  I wanted to be able to take the improvements that I was making on myself (the inside) and share them with others (the outside).  I also believe that true wellness comes from working to improve the inside (emotionally, physically, and spiritually).  This will be reflected on the outside.” – Erin

Clean Date: May 20th, 2010

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Here are Erin’s SHAIR Podcast interview highlights:

youtube-button-vectorOmar: So Erin, let’s dive right in.

Erin:  All right.

Omar: Tell us about how your life is today, your hobbies, exercise. Take us into your normal daily routine and then also include your recovery.

Erin: Okay. My routine is kind of all over the place so I don’t have like a typical 9-5 job. I see a number of personal training clients so that’s like a one-on-one kind of thing. Those schedules can change around a bit. I’ll see like one or two during the day. Some come to me. I go to some other ones and depending on the day I will teach some fitness classes. I teach at a place here in Chicago that specializes in like high intensity boot camp classes so I also go do that. Then in the middle of the day, I spend time on the blog so developing content, writing that content, taking pictures, answering a lot of emails. Then I think that’s pretty much it work-wise.

I do also some freelance writing so depending on if I have anything due for that I’ll get that writing done. The schedule works out pretty well because a lot of the times if people want to train are either before or after work so I’ll see people either early in the morning or in the evening and then I’ll have that middle chunk of time there to work on the blog development and things like that. Then I do attend some 12-step meetings still so I do that for my recovery and it’s really only about twice a week right now just because I have those clients in the evening and that’s usually when all the meetings are. That is about it, I think. Yeah, that’s it.

Omar: That sounds very, very full, lots going on there.

Erin: Yeah, yeah.

Omar: Just to touch on, we were just talking about this prior to the interview, is all the tons and tons of pictures that you take of all your amazing food on Instagram too.

Erin: Yes, I’m a little obsessed with it right now. It may be a problem.

Omar: I find that everybody that I talk to that gets into Instagram, they’re like, “You’ve got to get into it. Oh my God, I totally love it. I’m totally addicted,”

Erin: Well, it’s because I develop now; it’s alongside my blog so it’s kind of tied into that brand identity. If I just had it for myself, I’d think I would be like, “Nah, all right,” but I tie in the content on the blog with the pictures and then it’s a whole social media good time thing.

Omar: It is. It is.

Erin: Yeah.

Omar: I’m probably at some point going to have to get in there because Instagram is huge from what I understand.

Erin: Yeah, all the cool kids are doing it.

Omar: Yeah, that’s what I hear. All right, so Erin, tell us a little bit about how you maintain your spiritual condition, that conscious contact with a higher power on a daily basis.

Erin: I can definitely be better about this.

Omar: We all could.

Erin: I’m always, yeah, I’m always running all around. In the past what I would I do is I would have some time when I woke up before I started my day and in the evening before I went to bed where I would just say a prayer, just saying, like you know, either in the morning, it was like, “Help me have a good day and be open minded,” and all that stuff. Then in the evening I would kind of run through my day, kind of like a 10-step kind of thing just so that I could, like you said, maintain that contact because otherwise it’s easy to just forget, you know what I mean?

Omar: Oh, yeah.

Erin: And just go about my day. I was really good about that for like some months and then that kind of slipped. I think the way that it works now is that if I ever start to feel like overwhelmed, or like obsessive, or like things are getting out of control I’ve gotten good at realizing that and identifying that and then it makes me stop and then take a step back. I’ll be like, “Whoa, wait a minute. Let me see what’s going on here,” and then that’s when I remember to do things, you know, like turn it over, or stop trying to control things. I take a step back and think about what I actually have control over, which is not really a lot, and so it’s just kind of like that wake up kind of call. It would be good if I could do those things without having my life get a little unmanageable but right now that’s kind of where we are.

Omar: It kind of comes down to the Serenity Prayer.  There are certain times where I am absolutely militant about getting up, having my quiet time and doing a little journaling, right?

Erin: Yeah.

Omar: Totally on course and then just one little thing, one day where I miss it, right, and all of a sudden I just became too busy for it again.

Erin: Yeah, yeah, exactly. 

Omar: Give yourself a break, remind yourself when you’re starting to feel off that you can always go back any time.

Erin: Yes, great advice.

Omar: Good message here. All right, so Erin tell us how much clean time you have and when is your anniversary date?

Erin: My clean date is May 20th, 2010 so I have almost 6 years.

Omar: Let’s start talking about back in the day when you were drinking. Tell us how old you were the first time you drank or used drugs and more importantly how did they make you feel?

Erin: The first time I drank was, I think probably when I was in high school but it was either a junior or senior in high school. I was pretty much a straight A student. I was on the honor roll and so I wasn’t really involved with anything like that. I think I went to like one or two parties and those were the only times that I drank. It wasn’t until I got to college that things started to get a little out of control.

I first tried marijuana when I went to college because I found out that my boyfriend at the time was smoking it. We actually almost broke up because I was so against any kinds of drugs or anything like that. I had some friends, you know, who had also smoked it while I was there and they were like, “What’s the big deal? Like, it’s just some pot. It’s not anything,” and so I saw that, you know, nobody’s life was falling apart. No one was dying so I was like, “All right, no, you know, I guess I’ll try this,” because I didn’t want to lose the relationship, is what it came down to.

Omar: Yep.

Erin: I was 18 then when I did that and once I did that I realized it made me feel like I didn’t have to worry about anything. I’m very, like, I can be a very type-A person and so I would always put myself under so much stress and then when I drank or when I did drugs then when I was in college I didn’t have to worry about any of that. It was kind of like a release and like a freedom and so I think that’s how I started to get into that cycle was just looking for that feeling.

Questions for the New Comers!

Omar: All right, number 1, what was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?

Erin: I was not ready to stop. I had not hit my bottom so when I was first introduced to those alcohol classes, I was nowhere near ready to stop. I had to keep going.

Omar: Yep, I get it.

Erin: I had to lose everything, yeah.

Omar: Sad but true.

Erin: Yep.

Omar: Number 2, at what point did you have a spiritual awakening, that aha moment in recovery when you accepted that you were powerless over drugs and alcohol but for the first time had developed the hope that you could recover?

Erin: I think it happened for me pretty early because I’m a pretty smart person, rational person and for me, I knew what I was like when I drank or when I did drugs. I knew that obsession and compulsion and so I knew that I couldn’t think my way out of it like I could a lot of other things. I pretty much knew I was powerless because as soon as that thought entered my head I had to do it, like I had not control over it. I think one of the first, like there was a spiritual kind of moment while I was in jail. Actually, while I was in jail, I was asked to leave jail to share my story because they had a forum on prescription drug abuse in my country.

Omar: Whoa!

Erin: They wanted me to come, talk about it and it happened to be on exactly like my 5 month clean date. Well, you may not know because you haven’t been to jail but they give out, like, they’ll have a religious person come around and give out little daily meditation books or something. I would usually read them and I’d be like, “Nah, whatever,” but the one on that day had something about speaking and sharing your message with the people to have other people hear it or something. I was like, “This is just too weird. This is not a coincidence.” That’s the one that sticks out the most in my head but pretty much from the beginning, when I got in recovery I knew I had no control over it.

Omar: Wow, that’s absolutely-

Erin: Yeah, it was really weird.

Omar: Awesome, there are no coincidences.

Erin: I know, right.

Omar: Erin, do you have a favorite book that you would recommend to a newcomer that you read in early recovery?

Erin: I think pretty much like just 12-step literature was really enlightening because it allowed me to identify and you know everything I read I was like, “Oh, that’s me, that’s me, that’s me.” I think that’s really what opened my eyes so any kind of basic texts or anything like that.


NA Basic Texts – Narcotics Anonymous

Omar: What about currently? Do you have any favorite books that you’re currently into these days?

Erin: I’m trying to think. I read a lot of books about codependency and about childhood, things like that. I can’t think of any specifically but I was doing a lot of work on my inner child and learning how to be my own person and express feelings since you know I have a great time with that. I can’t think of one specifically but there were a lot about that.

Omar: Got it. Got it.

Erin: Yeah.

Omar: Absolutely, and number 4, what is the best suggestion you have ever received?

Erin: Let’s see. I can’t think of an exact suggestion but a saying is that, “It’s progress, not perfection,” is something that I continuously have to remind myself because I have been so, so hard on myself for not being perfect, which is absurd because that is completely unattainable but for some reason I thought that I could always get there. Just, if I’m doing a little bit better each day, that that is A-okay.

Omar: Beautiful, beautiful.

Erin: Yeah, thanks.

Omar: If you could give our newcomers only one suggestion, what would that be?

Erin: I think probably to take it a day at a time because when I got out I had lost pretty much everything and all I could do was think about the entire rest of my life. You know, like, “Oh, no, how am I going to do this,” and, “How is this ever going to come together?” Even when I first got into recovery and they were like, “You can’t drink anymore,” and I was like, “what,” because I was like, “But wait, I’m going to have to go to weddings. I’m going to have to go to party and that’s just, I have to drink there.” Thinking about everything in the future is enough to shut somebody down and get them back into using again because it’s so scary because you don’t have control over it. You don’t know what’s going to happen. Just making sure you get through that one day and not super focusing on everything that could happen has been really, really helpful to me.


“…take it a day at a time…”

Omar: Just for today.

Erin: Yes, exactly.

Omar: I love it, great suggestions, Erin. Thank you so much, again, for joining us.

Erin: You are welcome. Thank you so much for having me.


Thanks again for your SHAIR, Erin!

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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.