What excites you the most now when you get up in the morning? |First and foremost, I’m excited every morning that I don’t have a hangover! Also, I have full memory of what I did before, and I don’t have to stress about how to fit in my drinking. I’m also excited that I’m my full self – and the day – is mine to do with it what I want!|What is your motto? And what about this motto appeals to you? |“It’s not always all about me.” This keeps things in perspective and helps me not make assumptions or take things personally.|What has been the best part of recovery for you? Why? |The best part of recovery has been that I’m now present. I am fully able to be here for myself, my family, and my friends. My daughter was taking a flight for a job interview, and the outgoing flight was severely delayed. She called me, and I was able to give her some advice that was helpful to her. If this had happened a year ago, she probably wouldn’t have bothered to call me because I most likely would have been drunk and wouldn’t have had the clarity to help her figure out a solution. She would have also been frustrated when she called and if I had been drinking, and I would have taken it personally, and we would have gotten into an argument.|What would you say is the biggest success (professional or personal) you’ve had since leaving Mountainside?|I think it’s just being able to be honest with myself and others, and re-establish relationships that had been deteriorating due to my drinking. Oh, and keeping up with friendships that I made at Mountainside!|What has been your biggest hurdle in recovery and how did you learn to overcome it? |My major hurdle was getting used to not being able to be in control of everything and of others (not that I ever was really in control!) I was also a world-class worrier. I guess the best way that I’ve overcome this is by affirming to myself, over and over, that “things will work out as they are supposed to work out.”|What was the turning point that led you to get help? |I had been struggling with my drinking for quite a while. I have a cousin who is also an alcoholic and had been talking to her and being 100 percent honest with how bad my drinking had been. She told me, “You need to go to a 30-day rehab.” To which I responded, “There’s no way I can get away from work for 30 days!” But the seed had been planted, and a few weeks later, I was going through one of my mental struggles where the song in my head was “you need to stop drinking, you need to stop drinking…” And then it hit me: I CAN’T stop drinking. And that’s when I realized I needed more than sheer will power to stop. So, I started looking for places to get treatment.|If you could, what would you tell your younger self?|This is a tough one because, of course, I’d tell my younger self to not start drinking, but that isn’t realistic. There was a point where I quit drinking for 6 years, but I started again. I think I would step in then and tell myself to NOT start again!|What would you like people who are afraid to receive treatment know? |It’s not anything like I expected! I was expecting the facility to be gray and ugly and dreary. I was expecting the workers to be mean and judgmental. I was not expecting to have any fun! But it was such a positive experience for me! I needed that time to be away from all the responsibilities and distractions of home life in order to focus on myself and my wellbeing. It was literally the best thing I ever did for myself!|What suggestions do you have for the newcomer? |Make friends! Enjoy the company of the other people who are in the same boat as you. I think one of the happiest surprises for me was that there were so many other people who had such a similar experience as I did. Some of the weird habits I had, like hiding my bottles or drinking first thing in the morning, were habits that other alcoholics also had, and it’s comforting to know that I’m not alone in this disease.|What is the best advice you have been given? |Don’t try to multitask! You just end up doing many things half-assed. I’d rather accomplish fewer tasks but do them to the best of my ability.|What is the one item you can’t do without? |I love my laptop, but I can do without it (I did without it for 36 days after all). There’s not much I can’t do without! Comfy slippers, maybe?|Would you rather be an inventor or a leader? Why? |I’ve always been a bit of an inventor. I am creative and enjoy tinkering with things and trying to find ways to do a task more easily. I also like to invent ways to help make ideas clear: how can I make an abstract idea more concrete?|Who — dead or living — is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party? |I love to laugh, so I’d ask a famous comedian (there’s too many I like to name just one). Or maybe Oprah, just because she’s such a good conversationalist, and she’s wise and inspirational.|What’s the one thing people would be pleasantly surprised to know about you? |I’m related to Abraham Lincoln. He is my first cousin, five generations removed.|What are you currently reading or what song have you enjoyed recently? What do you love about it?|“Try” (I think that’s the title) by Pink. It’s just such an uplifting and inspiring song.
The first step is to know that your questions and feelings are normal. The next step is to talk to someone about those feelings.
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