What is the best way to start the day?|Running. I run at least three miles every morning before I do anything else because it clears my head in a way that nothing else can. |What is your motto? And what about this motto appeals to you? |”Trust the Process.” I feel like I heard it at least once a day at Mountainside, and I like that memory. It also reminds me to have a little faith in stuff when my addict mind takes over and doesn’t think things will work out.|What or who motivates you in your recovery? |Don’t laugh, but it’s sleep. I spent many years thinking I had some weird sleep disorder. I didn’t, but a lot of my drug and alcohol use was directly because I was incapable of sleeping more than 2-3 hours a night. It might seem trivial, but sleep makes the difference in my self-care, which makes all the difference in my ability to show up for myself and everyone else. |What has been the best part of recovery for you? Why? |The days I call “easy days.” I live in my recovery, which means a lot of service, a lot of meetings, a lot of therapy and on and on. Once in a while, the work seems to really pay me back, and a day will just seem…easy. Those days seem to be getting more frequent, and closer together. I also want to add that being in recovery has given me a real appreciation for the fact that everything in life – good and bad- is temporary. It makes me cherish the good times that much more, and know that the rough spots will turn around, I just have to hold on. I feel like those two ideas go together. |What would you say is the biggest success (professional or personal) you’ve had since leaving Mountainside?|When I checked into Mountainside, there was nothing – no character or personality trait- that I had that I personally felt belonged to a grown, responsible, law-abiding woman. Over the time that I was at Mountainside, I started making a list of all of the new things that I wanted to be able to say about myself, traits I felt DID belong to a grown, responsible, law-abiding woman- and they’ve all come true. I make a daily gratitude list, and, more often than not, what I am grateful for is some aspect of my life that I didn’t have before I got sober.
Because of that, the biggest success is being able to see the extraordinary in the ordinary details of life.|What has been your biggest hurdle in recovery and how did you learn to overcome it? |I don’t know what the biggest hurdle is, really, because everything seems so much easier than living the way I was before I came to Mountainside. I guess I thought more people would be supportive of my recovery, and the decisions I am able to make on my own behalf to maintain my sobriety. But the reality is I’m not the same person I was when I was half dead on the living room floor, and that can be scary to loved ones. I stay in my world now, trust my decisions and keep my sponsor and therapist very close. |What was the turning point that led you to get help? |At some point last summer, and I don’t know what day it was or what time of day it was, I opened my eyes and was aware that I was looking at the carpet of the living room where I was staying. No idea what got me there, but I can say definitively that I didn’t lie down on the floor to go to sleep, so I had fallen and hit my head. In tandem with that, my sister was scared for my life – with good reason. She made some calls on my behalf, put the wheels in motion and asked me if I would please go to this treatment center called Mountainside. I could physically feel that alcohol was moving in for the kill, so I rolled the dice on getting some help. |What would you like people who are afraid to receive treatment to know? |No matter what you have come to believe about yourself, you have a life worth living. Regardless of how old you are or what has happened, remember that life is big, and you are young. |What is the best advice you have been given? |”Just keep coming, even if you’re still drinking.” I heard this many years prior to getting treatment, and it stuck with me. It was said in a casual way and not directly to me, but I never forgot it. It gave me hope that eventually recovery might ‘catch.’|What brings you the most happiness? Or what makes you laugh most? |I have 2 nieces and 2 nephews, none of whom I was allowed near when I was active, because they are all so young, and I was so absurdly unpredictable. I have my brothers and sisters back in my life since I got sober, and with them came these small humans who love me. So being able to make stuffed kittens made of pom-poms with my 5 year old niece, and have her call me “Auntie Dee” is not just something that makes me happy, it’s something that I didn’t even know was a possibility.|What is something you are looking forward to in the next few months? |Kayaking on Lake Ontario. Traveling by myself and being able to trust myself doing that. |Who- dead or living- is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party? |My daughter, who is 21. I can’t do anything about the time that my addiction stole from me as a mother, but I can give our relationship as much time as possible now that I’m clear and here and in the now. She’s also one of the only people who really always believed in me, so she’s seen me at my worst, and now our relationship is really thriving. So I’d pick her. |What would you name the autobiography of your life? And why? |_Hard-Wired_. Both of my grandfathers drank themselves to death, which means this disease is in my genes. But I also look at myself as a pretty tenacious person, and once I’ve made my mind up to be successful at something, I don’t fail- particularly if my life depends on it. So in one respect I was hard-wired for addiction, and now I see myself as hard-wired for recovery. |What song best sums you up? |“Present Tense” by Pearl Jam.
“Are you getting something out of this all-encompassing trip? ” might be my favorite lyric/ question of all time.|What’s the one thing people would be pleasantly surprised to know about you? |Good question. I think that would be up to the person who meets me, but if I had 60 seconds in an elevator I’d probably talk to a stranger about hockey, since I spend so much time involved in the sport. That or my absolute undying love for Jim Henson’s Muppets. If either of those subjects is remotely interesting to the listener, I could go on for, literally, hours.