Embracing the New Normal

Mountainside M Logo By Mountainside

Did I make the right decision? Was it best to leave people, places, and things behind? Was it a good idea to get sober?

I don’t know what the outcome would have been if I didn’t get sober when I did. Here’s the truth: for two decades, my life was consumed by drugs and alcohol. There were countless times my brain was obsessed with questions like, “Do I have enough alcohol to get through the night? How do I dispose of all these bottles without getting caught?” I lived with fear, anxiety, and paranoia. I had good times, I did, but I had experienced multiple toxic relationships with friends, family, and lovers.

Soon after falling to my knees, I had a very clear and explicit thought that I needed to reach out to my yoga instructor for guidance. I needed to see if she knew anyone in recovery. She shared with me the phone number of a woman in sobriety. Julie and I spoke while I was an emotional wreck. I was emotionally battered, soul-sick, and just a broken human at that point.

Julie asked me, “Are you willing to go to any length to get sober?” I can’t recall if I hesitated, but I said “Yes.” Julie shared her suggestions on what I would need to do. I would have to move out of my parent’s house and give up benzos and THC. I cried. I cried a lot, and I stopped eating. Over the following week, I decided that I was willing to give her suggestions a try. I couldn’t keep living the way I was. As I began to detox at home, I started considering hurting myself. Julie suggested Mountainside; she is an alum too.

At Mountainside, I fully detoxed and started to feel happy. I never doubted that I had made the right decision. I loved everything I was learning. Learning that sobriety requires a mind, body, spirit program truly fit my personality and the lifestyle I wanted for myself. Finding a daily meditation practice helped me to become more grounded and open to change. I found that yoga and exercise help my body to burn off pent-up energy while releasing endorphins that just feel good. I also learned how to reconnect to my higher power, and that it speaks to me through people and meditation. The thing that has been the most helpful is how much gratitude I now have; this has given me the ability to be present in the day.

After leaving Mountainside, I remained open to the suggestions others were making. I moved out of my parent’s house and into sober living. I learned how to work a full AA program and went through the steps with a sponsor. Now, I take other women through the steps. I have had many service commitments, including coffee maker, chair, and General Service Representative (GSR). I’ve made connections I didn’t think I was capable of. I even fell in love and got married. I met my husband at an AA meeting, where he offered to put my chair away.

I could not have predicted the level of beauty I’ve experienced over the past four and a half years. There are bad days, but the number of good days far outweighs the bad, which is a reminder that “This too shall pass.”

Getting sober was the best decision I’ve ever made. I had been trying to become happy, joyous, and free by constantly chemically altering myself. What I found was that by eliminating the chemicals and mind-altering substances, I’m naturally happy, joyous, and free. Today, I chase feeling good instead of feeling high. Today, I know that no matter what happens, I’m not willing to find the solution by picking up drugs or alcohol. I stay connected to Mountainside, to my AA community, and to my family. I continuously feel more confident that I was finally able to make good choices for myself.

From Around Campus

Hey there, Mountainside Alumni! It’s Sheree, and I hope everyone is healthy and well! I’m sending you a bit of encouragement here to spend more time in the fresh, clean outdoors – it’s safer right now than pretty much anywhere else! So get out of your house (and your comfort zone perhaps?) and enjoy nature! It’s Spring!

Want to see or share a photo of your favorite spot on campus? Send us an [email](mailto:kendall.svanda@Mountainside.com)!


Mountainside is excited to announce Holistic Wellness & Recovery – an online retreat! This year we will be going virtual and connecting with alumni from all over the globe. Don’t miss this opportunity to participate in a sampler of activities to help connect to your mind, body, and spirit.


If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, Mountainside can help.
Click here or call (888) 833-4676 to speak with one of our addiction treatment experts.