Lauren Yoder started writing poems in grade school and wanted someday to write a book. Unfortunately like so many other teenagers, she got into drugs and alcohol and began writing many depressing, lonely, and sometimes suicidal poems. Ultimately Lauren hits rock bottom with drugs and alcohol and was left with two choices go to a treatment facility or lose everything.
Her family gave her the ultimatum that would change her life forever. In February of 2014 she flew 1900 miles to California to live with a bunch of alcoholics and druggies, staying there for 45 days. She has been sober every day since, one day at a time.
Since that time Lauren has now written two books, From the Weeds: a collection of poems, and 100 Days (Sober) a book based on here first 100 journal entries in sobriety. Joins us now as Lauren takes us into her journey of recovery!
Clean Date: February 10, 2014
This episode was brought to you by Sober Nation
Here are Lauren’s SHAIR Podcast interview highlights:
Omar: Folks, today we have Lauren Yoder, the author of 100 Days (sober), and From the Weeds, joining us on The SHAIR Podcast. Lauren, let’s dive right in here. Tell us about how your life is today, your hobbies, exercise. Take us into your normal daily routine, including recovery.
Lauren: I get up at 5:30 and workout. Then get ready for the day, get my kids up, get them up to school, take them to daycare, and then I go to work from 8am to 4:30pm. Then, on Wednesdays and Sundays, I go to AA meetings, and every other Wednesday I chair meetings. On Sundays I go to church, try to meet with my sponsor and sponsee, when I can. That’s pretty much my day.
Omar: It’s busy, you got a lot going on.
Lauren: Very busy, I’ve got 2 kids so busy, busy.
Omar: What I love about it is that you do have 2 kids, and you’re very busy, and you still spend a tremendous amount of time in recovery. You’re doing lots of meetings, you’re chairing, you’re doing service, so when people say, “Oh men, I can’t, I don’t have time, because I have kids.” They should listen to Lauren’s story. Good for you.
Lauren: I sort of make time.
Omar: Yeah, you have to, absolutely. Tell us, how do you maintain your spiritual condition, that conscious contact with a higher power on a daily basis?
Lauren: I always try to make time to do my meditations. Me and my daughter, I always sit with her at the bus stop and we always pray, so that’s something that we do together. I also try to make my own personal time with God. Before I got sober I used to always dropped them off at church, I would then go to the gas station to get “food” but would actually buy booze instead. Now I always make sure that I take them to church because that was messed up. I try to get more involved in the church with them instead of having my parents do that. I like being more involved with them in church today.
Omar: Beautiful, I love it, that’s great. How much clean time do you have and when is your anniversary date?
Lauren: February 10th, which is tomorrow. I will have 2 years.
Omar: HP baby, I love it. Folks, most of you know that the interviews won’t go live for at least 2 months, so you’re going to hear this way after Lauren’s had 2 years. Today is the 9th, tomorrow is the 10th, and we’ve been working on setting up this interview now for close to 3 months. We were just telling her before the interview that this is absolutely a God moment.
Lauren: That’s right.
Omar: It’s beautiful, I love it. Lauren, tell us about how old you were the first time you drank and used drugs, and more importantly, how did they make you feel?
Lauren: I was 12 the first time I had a sip of alcohol. I went up in a hot air balloon with my grandma and my parents but it didn’t mean anything I was young. The first time I like drank, I loved it, I felt I could do anything. I guess I was hiding a lot of things at that time, I guess I didn’t feel the pain that I had been hiding and I liked that.
Omar: I could totally get it.
Omar: We’re going to back up a little bit. The first time you had a little innocent sip with your grandparents in a hot air balloon.
Lauren: That was nothing. Then years later when I first drank, to get drunk, that’s when I loved it.
Omar: How old were you then?
Lauren: I was probably 15, and that’s what I’m saying, I don’t really remember. I remember my first time I got high, and I liked that.
Omar: Tell us about that.
Lauren: I was with my friend, and we were at her older brothers and sisters’ house. I know a lot of people say the first time you smoke you don’t get high, but with my smoke I got high because I remember, I was high. We were just sitting on the couch, and I just sat there and my head felt like a balloon and I told her, I was like, “My head is a balloon, and it’s just floating off.” It felt crazy and I just wanted to get high again. Her brother and sister were a lot older, and within wee hours we would sneak out both from our parents’ and we would always get pot from her brother or sister. It was downhill from there.
Omar: Absolutely sounds like it. What was keeping you from getting clean or staying clean when you first got introduced to recovery?
Lauren: I didn’t want to go to treatment because I didn’t want to be away from my kids, but the reality was I wasn’t really here to begin with. Does that make sense?
Omar: Yeah, absolutely.
Lauren: Me being gone for 30 days was going to be forever when the reality was forever was forever. Me being out for the 30 days gave me the chance to potentially have the chance to be with them for as long as they let me stay here with them. If you have a chance to go to treatment, go.
Omar: Absolutely. It’s so true, there are so many people that you tell them, 90 day rehab and they’re like, “90 days? 60 days? 30 days? I’ve got so much going on, I can’t be away.” That’s just the disease, just keeping you in denial. You got nothing going on, and you’re constantly putting yourself at risk. It is absolutely reminiscent with so many of us, within our system is so strong.
Lauren: You say that, was my quote today on my blog, addiction is the only disease that will make you think that you don’t have it.
Omar: Yes, that is absolutely, 100% correct, beautiful. Number two, at what point did you have that spiritual awakening, that ‘aha’ moment in recovery when you accepted you were powerless over drugs and alcohol, but for the first time it developed the hope that you could recover?
Lauren: It was pretty much, when I was there for 30 days, and they told me that I needed to stay for 45 days, and I was like, “I don’t want to stay for 45 days.” Then I was like, “You know what, if I want to do this, I’m going to do it right.” I don’t know if I said this in my story, I’d gone to detox twice before, I’d only stayed for 7 days, because I thought that was all I needed. Obviously it didn’t work. When I was here and I was for 30 days I was like, “You know what, I’m going to do this right.” I ended up staying for the 45 days, and I gave my life back up to God. From then on, I took everything else that I could when I was there for those last 15 days, and I just took more notes, and just paid attention more, and just listened to everything they had to say there, and just did everything I could.
Omar: That’s beautiful. That’s a really good point to touch on, because there’s this resistance, resistance, and all of a sudden you get to this point where you just surrender, you let go. You took a suggestion, and the suggestion felt … All it took was for you to take one suggestion to feel what it felt like to just surrender and let go. From that moment on, you just took every suggestion, correct?
Lauren: Right, yeah. I had been paying attention, I knew what I needed but I still don’t think that I really was taking it. I really hadn’t taken it all, you know what I mean?
Omar: Absolutely. There’s still that resistance. You go in and you’re like, “Yeah, okay, I’ll be here for 30 days, and they’ll fix me.” In many cases you’re expecting the recovery, or the treatment, or the rehab to do the work for you. Many times you don’t realize it, you’re going in there and it’s all up to you.
Lauren: I still want that magic pill.
Omar: Yes. It’s amazing how somewhere in your mind you’re just hoping that, “Okay, this is going to be it, I’m going to go in there, and I’m going to come out like a new person and I’m not going to do any work. They’re going to do all the work for me.” It just doesn’t work that way.
Lauren: I agree.
Omar: The reality of it is when you surrender, you’re really not doing any work, it becomes effortless. You just start taking suggestions, you don’t have to think about it. You don’t have to worry about, “Am I making the right decision, should I do this, should I do that?” No, you’re just going with the flow. I think for many people, there is that turning point, that you never know never what’s going to happen, that’s why when you hear people say, “Don’t leave five minutes before the miracle.” That there’s a mind shift, there’s a paradigm shift that happens when you do exactly what you did. When you said when you initially felt the resistance then said, “Okay, I’m doing this.” You went with it and then boom, everything else just started to fall into place.
Listeners, this is how it works. It’s as simple as just letting go, surrender to win. Once you do that, God takes over and you basically just have to follow his lead. That’s just my take on it.
Lauren: You’re right.
Omar: I believe it. Number three, do you have a favorite book other than your two books, that you would recommend to newcomers, that you read on the recovery?
Lauren: I got in the Bible. I don’t know how religious to get on the show, but that’s pretty much what I got back into.
Omar: There’s plenty of people that I interview that got right into the Bible. As soon as they had that wild light moment that you had, they wanted to really connect with God, and they started to really dive feverishly into the Bible.
Omar: Now tell us your webpage, tell us your books. Tell us the best way for our listeners to reach out to you.
Lauren: My blog is one laurenyoder.weebly.com, and my books are From the Weeds: a collection of poems, and 100 days (sober). You can get them on Amazon, or you can get them on my webpage, or the blog page. If you get them on the blog page, I’ll sign them for you, but if you get them on Amazon, I can’t.
Omar: Folks, I will have all that information on the show notes, webpage, the links to the books, everything. You guys make sure you go to the show notes, leave some comments, pick up some books. Number four, what is the best suggestion you have ever received Lauren?
Lauren: You got to give it away to keep it.
Omar: That’s absolutely right, you only keep what you have by giving it away. If you could give our listeners only one suggestion, what would that be?
Lauren: Keep it simple.
SUGGESTIONS FOR THE NEWCOMER!
“Keep it simple.”
Omar: Absolutely. Keep it simple, don’t complicate our lives, we do that sometimes.
Thanks again for your SHAIR, Lauren!
See you then!
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.