Name: Laura Silverman
Location: Washington, DC metro area
Recovery Date: July 14, 2007
Recovering From: Alcohol abuse, OCD/anxiety/panic disorder, people pleasing
About Laura: Spent 14 out of 18 years of my upbringing overseas. Went to college; majored in Sociology, Spanish, and binge drinking. Got sober at 24. Started The Sobriety Collective at 32. More than any accomplishment, I am a compassionate, loving human. I’m a proud daughter/sister/friend/auntie/cousin/niece. I love #thesoberlife.
Website: The Sobriety Collective
Q. Before you entered recovery, what did you think the “thing” you were addicted to gave you, did for you, etc.?
A. Courage – to be more of who I thought I was supposed to be. Drinking blurred away anxiety in the moment but always created more wreckage the next day and for days after.
Q. Now that you are in recovery, what have you learned about that “thing?”
A. I don’t need a substance to be ME. I’m my best self as a sober woman – and I can work through problems with the help of professionals, friends, family, and self-reliance. But no drinking (or drugging) is ever needed to give me courage.
Q. How are you recovering (e.g., 12-step program, rehab, counseling, on your own, etc.)?
A. 10 + years ago I attended a 5 week intensive outpatient program to give me the tools to start this thing called recovery. Now, I have a hybrid holistic recovery approach: books, online and IRL tribe, on-and-off therapy, blogs/podcasts/websites, nature, yoga, family, exercise, nutrition, and soon, amino acid therapy.
Q. In recovery, how do you give yourself what you thought that “thing” provided?
A. I now nourish my whole self – body/mind/soul so that I can be empowered. I can be the one to give myself courage, strength, and hope.
A. I woke up in a hospital bed in NYC the night after a massive binge and scared the crap out of myself knowing what happened, what could have happened, and the harm I did to myself and my family. This was just one of many, many drunken/awful times – I had loads of second and third and fourth chances I never took but this time something clicked. And it led me, very gradually, down the path that would allow me to find recover.
Q. What has been the hardest part of recovery so far?
A. The social lubrication drinking provided, while surface-y, was a godsend for all those awkward wedding/work function/dates that “required” some loosening up. But of course with time and wisdom, both from age and from long-term sobriety/recovery, I don’t need any of that to have fun socializing. I think the hardest part, really, is just dealing with life and the shit that comes up. As the 12 step world calls it, “life on life’s terms.”
Q. What about recovery has been easier than you had anticipated?
A. I don’t think about drinking anymore. It just feels second nature at this point to be sober 24/7/365. Which is crazy when I think about it…
Q. What has helped you the most in recovery?
A. Having a support system – family/friends and my online tribe that has expanded into an IRL sober tribe.
Q. Who has helped you the most in recovery?
A. My parents – and myself. Everyone else that I count as part of my story has been amazing amazing amazing – but my parents will always come first, along with ME.
Q. What has been the biggest surprise about recovery?
A. Finding my voice and realizing how powerful it is – that I can be a role model for a new generation of people in recovery.
Q. What role has family played in your recovery?
A. See above. My mama and papa are very private people – yet I need them to know that their unconditional love, support, and assistance over the years has meant everything to me.
Q. Knowing what you do now, what would you tell your pre-recovery self about recovery?
A. While I wouldn’t trade my experiences in for anything because they led me to where I am today, I would tell pre-recovery self (aka someone like me) two things: 1) don’t knock it ’til you try it. And 2) you don’t need to hit a low bottom to seek help.
Q. What would you say to someone who is thinking about recovery?
A. (See above).
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Such an honor to be featured as a selected “Conversation in Recovery,” Laura! And to think we practiced yoga together (you for the first time!) at She Recovers in NYC – among 500 other women! Sending you so much love.
It is an honor to share your story, Laura! Thank you for being part of this important project and for being such an incredible voice in the recovery space. So much love for you!! #SoberLaurasForever XOXO