What Happened When I Stopped Dreaming About My Ideal Life

It’s not truly broken until you look at all the shattered pieces and have no idea how to put them back together again. Right?

That’s what I used to think. It’s how I used to live my life, even after I stopped drinking. I was content to let my health and finances suffer … as long as they weren’t completely broken. Despite marking two years of continuous sobriety back in February of this year, I wasn’t enjoying my life. I wasn’t truly living. Things were broken, and the situation was just short of dire.

You see, after I got sober, my newfound clarity honed in on what I wanted – a thin and perfect body, money to take care of the things we needed, more energy, time to breathe, peace. However, instead of focusing on having all of this, the same old thoughts of not having what I wanted took over. It was familiar and predictable. Self-loathing inserted itself back into the conversation. I didn’t deserve my ideal life of good health, happiness, and success. The same old questions – Why can’t I be thin? Why can’t I earn enough money? Why won’t they just leave me alone? Why can’t anything good ever happen? Why can’t I just get out from under this [fill in the blank]? – ran on a constant loop through my mind every day.

Last year at this time, I was sober. But, I was not thriving. I was sick. Working with doctors on a diagnosis. Going through more tests. I was completely stressed out about money and continuing to try to rebuild my business after devastating losses six months prior. I ate my way through the holidays, constantly reminding myself that I would get my shit together in January.

I was caught in the throes of self-sabotage. Again. This time it wasn’t alcohol. I was in an addictive relationship with sugar, and I didn’t know how to stop.

“At least I’m not drinking,” I said to myself to excuse my behavior. “I just need one more pint of ice cream and I’ll stop.” There were nights I ate two pints after spending the day over-caffeinating with coffee and Diet Pepsi. I had replaced beer with coffee and soda and wine with ice cream. In almost the exact same quantities.

It blows my mind to look back now and see just how sick I still was despite successfully maintaining my sobriety.

I needed to be more than sober, but I didn’t know how to get there.

So, I did what I always did. I ate my way through the holidays and resolved to stop on New Year’s Day.

I used sugar to soothe myself when I might otherwise be triggered to drink by the stresses of the holidays – social gatherings, expectations, family dynamics, money, comparing, judgement.

Why? Because I didn’t know there was an easier, better, healthier way. I didn’t realize I didn’t need to suffer. As always, my little New Year’s Resolution was a bust.

The Turning Point

Despite how energizing and empowering and just plain amazing the She Recovers in NYC event was in May, I was so very lost and, upon my return home, I sunk deeper into the rut that had been trying to bury me for nearly a year. I felt almost as hopeless as I did before I stopped drinking the first time. Even though I was more than two years sober, I was as broken as I could be. And, I don’t even want to think about what might have happened had I not decided to accept help.

In June, I took the next step in my recovery and enrolled in Ellen Palmer’s Ideal Life Foundations class. To say the experience was a game changer would be an understatement.

What I’ve learned since is that what’s ideal doesn’t just fall out of the sky when we least expect it. It doesn’t show up because we’re good people. Or because we are sober. There’s no light switch to flip or magic wand to wave. It takes a change in mindset. A change in the daily habits of what we give (or don’t give) our energy to. A commitment to fuel our bodies and minds with nourishing foods, thoughts, experiences, and decisions. And, gratitude for it all.

More than anything, what I learned is there is no single perfect day on which to commit to loving yourself. I didn’t need to be as broken as I was to start picking up the pieces. I didn’t need to hit another rock bottom.

“We don’t get extra points for suffering. There is an easier way.” ~Ellen Palmer

Today, I have been sober for more than 1,000 days. I have revamped the way I eat (and lost 50 pounds in the process!). I have learned the true meaning of self-care and self-love. I have a huge box of incredible tools that empower me even on my very worst days (because the same triggery shit is always going to be there and sometimes flares up in huge ways). I am present for myself and my family and my clients. I have learned how to energize only what serves me and look at lack in a completely different way. I spent years looking for a way out of life. Today, I want to live. I’m at peace. I breathe easily and mindfully. I’ve learned how to forgive. I willingly embrace new opportunities. I am free.

I share all this with you because I truly cannot believe how much different my life is today compared with one year ago. I know others can benefit from the very same lessons I have been able to learn. We all deserve to become the best possible versions of ourselves and live our most ideal lives. When we do, everyone wins.

Ellen has new sessions starting on December 5, and I can’t help but share her with all of you as she has so powerfully impacted my life. Now is the most perfect time to jump right in, escape the holiday stress and focus on yourself, undo the harm, find out who you really are, and discover the ideal life you believe only exists in your dreams. Your ideal life is real – it’s for you, every day.

To help you gain clarity on what your version of your ideal life looks like, Ellen has opened her schedule for a complimentary discovery call. You can book time with her by clicking HERE. To see highlights of the Ideal Life Foundations class I participated in, click HERE.

Looking ahead to a New Year’s Resolution as a magical start date is just an excuse to not live in the present. It’s a way to justify a current behavior we don’t want to give up, but know we should. It’s a promise that we are ready for things to be different yet unwilling to energize the things that will fuel and empower change. New Year’s Resolutions continue our suffering and delay our joy. Your ideal is for you now – you just need to learn how to find and embrace it.

Things didn’t miraculously fall into place just because I got sober. I had to do more than simply abstain from alcohol. To recover from the thoughts and emotions that drove me to the deepest depths of addiction, I had to do more. And, I am so grateful that I have learned how to live a healthy, happy, and successful sober life.


  1. You nailed it! I too, hit a wall with all the “work” it takes to maintain a sober life. Over the past year, I’ve worked hard on recovering from codependency, sobriety, and compulsive eating and expected to feel more “WooooHoooo” about the whole thing. Yes, I like not having hangovers, and not eating 3# bags of M&M’s, and being able to say NO, and going to yoga, but I can’t seem to throw myself a bone for all the effort. It seems like the infrastructure of codependency is still intact and I’m seeking reward, validation, and merit outside instead of within. Having trouble feeling the value of nurturing, tenderness, and kindness to myself. Does this ever turn around? I don’t feel like derailing, but I sure feel stuck.

    1. Thank you, Liz. You are doing amazing. It is definitely work, but we can get to a place where it feels easier and there’s less struggle. You nailed it, too, when you said you don’t feel like derailing, but you feel stuck. That’s exactly where I was for months before I took the next step with Ellen’s Ideal Life Foundations class. I just couldn’t get where I needed to be om my own. Please throw yourself the bone and schedule a free, no obligation discovery call with her (click here to see Ellen’s schedule and book your session: http://www.ellenpalmerwellness.com/schedule). You deserve it! And, it does turn around. I am living proof.

  2. For a while when I stopped drinking, I thought that sobriety was the answer to my problems. For a while it felt like it, I could end each day basking in the sense of accomplishment I felt at getting to the end of another sober day. Then I started to realise that if all I was going to do for the rest of my life was be sober, I wasn’t going to achieve a great deal. Getting sober is great, but i have to do more work on healing myself from the reasons I drank in the first place, and I have to ensure I am living a full and fulfilling life, or eventually I could easily end up with the same low self esteem and stress that got me drunk all those times. It comes as a jolt when you realise that while sobriety is great, it isn’t an end in itself, it merely gives you a better chance at success! I am taking decisive action now to ensure that I achieve all the things I know I am capable of in 2018! I wrote this blog post today about some of the steps I am taking to get there! http://balanceandbreathe.co.uk/connect-create-vision-life-want/

    Here’s to a better future for us both Laura <3

    Much love to you

    Esther xx

    1. Oh my gosh, Esther … YES! It’s such a huge breakthrough to get to this place, isn’t it? Sobriety is the fuel we need to take out lives to the next level. We’ve got this and 2018 is going to be an incredible year. So glad I got to know you better this year and so excited to continue our friendship. Love you! Heading over to read your post now …

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