I walked into Mountainside knowing I had to get sober. I was willing, I was coachable, and I was honest. I told secrets that I had kept hidden for almost two decades. However, I was skeptical when the incredible staff and teachers said that my life would change for the better – beyond what I could ever imagine.
I could not comprehend how that would be possible after my partner of 18 years left me. I had no apartment to return to in NYC, no job as a group fitness instructor. I knew that after riding on a pink cloud at Mountainside, I would have to return to Michigan and live in my old bedroom at my mom’s house. This was when I had to have faith and use the tools Mountainside provided me.
However, in Michigan, I went through 2-3 months of anhedonia. A person suffering from anhedonia might not experience the level of pleasure, or any pleasure at all, from things they used to enjoy. The only thing I looked forward to was sleep. I’d wake up early, go for a run, walk my dog, only to be disappointed it was only noon. I’d think, “great, eight more hours to feel the pain I can no longer numb, tears that won’t stop pouring down my face, and the fear of never getting back to NYC – my true home.” The only comfort was that staying sober was so easy for me. It was easy because imbibing ruined my life. I associated so much pain with a toxic, clear liquid, and it was no longer appealing to me whatsoever!
I am a very motivated woman – I knew if I want to get back to NYC, I would make it happen, and that I did! The Mountainside support groups, Thuan’s meditation sessions, and Angela Pugh’s supportive community were imperative to my healing. Like magic, amazing people came into my life, along with incredible opportunities, and new friendships changed my life for the better. I thought, “well, man oh man, Mountainside was right!”
What also changed my life was becoming an avid reader and audiobook listener. Reading, listening, and learning helped the most in my recovery. Yes, the community was incredibly important. However, learning was truly the biggest gift in recovery. I read books about how drugs affect your brain chemistry. I studied human behavior. I became an archeologist and uncovered how, and why, I hit rock bottom.
The message I want to leave you with is: read or listen to as many books as possible, take what you have learned from them, and share those lessons with others. Knowledge is Power. Yet, it is not power until you implement it into your life and share it with others! Like Bruce says, we become better people with sobriety.
I believe in you all – now go out and believe in your power and strength!
In love and light,