Conversation in Recovery: Kim

Name: Kim
Age: 47
Location: Providence
Recovery Date: May 13, 2014
Recovering From: Alcohol Dependence
About Kim: I am an urban hippie and lover of nature, soap making, gardening, kitties, music, baseball and craft. I am happily married, living in the coolest little state in the country, close to the city and close to the beach.
Blog: No Alcoholica

Q. Before you entered recovery, what did you think the “thing” you were addicted to gave you, did for you, etc.?

A. It disconnected me from the stress of my day.

Q. Now that you are in recovery, what have you learned about that “thing?”

A. It was a lie. I have always had the ability to relax naturally, I just didn’t know that because I never tried. It didn’t happen overnight, but I stopped feeling that panicky urge to drink to provide artificial release from stress. And if I am feeling stressed, I recognize and and work through it without alcohol. Life isn’t perfect, but that’s kind of the point. You can’t learn to overcome your challenges by disengaging from them.

Q. How are you recovering (e.g., 12-step program, rehab, counseling, on your own, etc.)?

A. I attended SMART recovery meetings for 3 years. I no longer feel the need to go, but I keep close tabs on my meeting schedules in case.

Q. In recovery, how do you give yourself what you thought that “thing” provided?

A. I am a tea lover. I love the ritual of drinking a delicious cup of tea. I love inhaling the delicious steam from a cup of tea. One inhale and I am relaxed. I also go for long walks in nature. I am lucky to have a gorgeous park down the street from my house. That park was a HUGE part of my recovery. It has been there to help soothe me during many challenging times.

Q. What was your “rock bottom” or “breaking point” when you realized you needed to change?

A. A bottle to a bottle and a half of wine every night. This happened for 12 years. I grew more and more disgusted with myself and my seeming inability to stop. I realized that I could no longer avoid recognizing what was happening to me. I had a moment of clarity, a gift from the universe, that gave me the courage to try abstinence. I now have almost 5 years of sobriety.

Q. What has been the hardest part of recovery so far?

A. Celebrations. Thanksgiving. Christmas. I thought it would be funerals. Nope.

Q. What about recovery has been easier than you had anticipated? 

A. Mornings. I love getting up and facing the day without a pounding hangover.

Q. What has helped you the most in recovery?

A. My SMART community.

Q. Who has helped you the most in recovery?

A. I can’t give one person credit. I am fortunate to be surrounded by very supportive people.

Q. What has been the biggest surprise about recovery?

A. That I can go to parties and social gatherings without the anxiety of not having “liquid lubricant.” I NEVER thought I could do that. My first sober wedding was terrible. I almost left. But things got better as I got used to sobriety. And now I can chat anyone in a room up without booze.

Q. What role has family played in your recovery?

A. My husband never drank and has no desire to. This has been critical.

Q. Knowing what you do now, what would you tell your pre-recovery self about recovery?

A. It gets better. It gets easier. You’ve got this. Alcoholism isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s an unfortunate thing that happened to you. But you rose to the challenge and you have a lot to be proud of.

Q. What would you say to someone who is thinking about recovery?

A. There are a lot of people who are waiting to help you. There is no shame in this. Alcoholism does not discriminate, it impacts people from every walk of life. Take the first step. Go to a meeting. You will be astonished at the level of support that is there for you. Try different programs, read blogs. Craft your own unique brand of recovery. It’s not a one size fits all type thing.

If there is anything else you want to add, please do …

Thank you for being you and doing what you do.

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