I’ve been speaking out, telling my story of addiction to alcohol and my journey to recover since the moment I took my last sip of wine more than two and a half years ago. And, in honor of National Recovery Month this September, I have invited people in recovery to share their stories on my blog. There are six posted already with more to come before the month is over. It’s so important that we talk about this. There are so many people in recovery. Yet, those who are struggling with addiction feel alone. They don’t know about the incredible community ready and waiting to embrace and support them in their desire to get well.
Some of my strongest supports are online – in a cyber sober space filled with amazing people. We call ourselves a tribe. Sober sisters. And the way we’re all there for each other is incredible. We tend to think of social media as a place to only show the best sides of ourselves, to project a perfect life for others to see, the flaunt our sunshine and roses. The beautiful thing about the recovery space is that it is so different from what we’ve come to expect from social media in general. It’s authentic. And raw. And real. We share the good, the bad, and the ugly – so we can celebrate victories together and help each other through the rough stuff. Because of all these people recovering out loud, without filters, we will smash the stigma associated with addiction.
We have to keep talking. Because addiction is not going away. And recovery is possible. But more than that, people need to acknowledge how dangerous alcohol is and understand it’s OK to eliminate alcohol from their lives even if they don’t meet fit the standard profile of an alcoholic. Disordered drinking looks different on everyone. And, it’s OK to just put it down.
I talk because when I first got sober I didn’t know anyone like me. I will never stop talking because of how many people have reached out to tell me my story has helped them. I don’t like being on stage or in the spotlight. I’d rather prepare someone else for the role – in fact, that’s what I do for a living. This isn’t comfortable for me, but sometimes doing what’s uncomfortable is the most empowering thing we can do, for ourselves and others.
Here’s my conversation with NBC Connecticut’s Kerri-Lee Mayland earlier today:
More than 16 million adults in the United States have an alcohol use disorder. That’s about one in every 15 adults. And alcohol is responsible for nearly 90,000 deaths every year. It is the second deadliest legal drug in America.
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence has the “Am I An Alcoholic Self Test”
IF YOU NEED HELP
SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
It is SO important that we keep talking isn’t it? I lived in such shame for years because of my addiction, if I had known that there were so many people out there like me, so much support available, and that I was not a terrible person because of my addiction, my life could have been very different. I keep thinking I want to stop talking about it and talk about something less raw and personal, but I ALWAYS get pulled back to it….I accept it now, this is my calling as much as it is yours…we have to support one another and the many others out there who need us to keep talking!
Thank you for another gorgeous post Laura
Esther! Thank you for your wonderful comment. For some reason I didn’t receive a notification that you posted and I am so sorry for my delayed reply. I guess the thing of it is that we really don’t find the people like us until we start looking and we don’t start looking until we’re ready to get well. That said, the more we can talk about addiction and recovery in the main stream vs. recovery-focused media, the more people we are going to reach, the more people who might have that aha moment and realize a change could be good for them, the more people who will understand how addiction impacts so very many people, people just like them. I am so glad we were brought together by our calling to tell the truth and not stop talking. XOXO