Kari T. talks about how she freed herself from the shackles of alcoholism, turned her life around, and won back the trust of her beloved family.
Q: What was the turning point that led you to get help?
A: Being powerless over alcohol and my life becoming unmanageable. For me, that was my morning ritual of waking up at 4 AM and trying to keep down a shot of vodka to face the day. This was my wake-up call and my “hitting rock bottom.” Drinking had consumed my life so much that I had to drink every hour, of every waking day, just to make it through.
I was terrified to go into a 28-day program. Who would take care of my kids? What would I tell my family and friends? Am I really this bad? Should I just try one more time on my own? Had I known this would have been one of the best decisions of my life, I would have made it years ago.
Q: What is the most important thing you learned in treatment?
A: Mountainside saved my life and put me on the right track. I knew this would be my last chance to get my life back and I had to take advantage of every moment to make that happen. I attended every class and workshop. I signed up for every outdoor adventure – even in two feet of snow. I took advantage of every opportunity to meet with therapists, counselors, even the minister – and I am not religious. Most importantly, I listened and did whatever I was told to do. My ‘best thinking’ had me drinking vodka at 4 AM every morning. Those in recovery must have better knowledge, better advice…better answers. I made the most of my time at Mountainside and saw it as an opportunity for learning and growth.
Flash forward to today and coming up on one year of sobriety. I have my family back, my health, and my sanity. However, it was not an easy ride. I struggled with significant anxiety that I had to overcome through therapy and strength. I had to win back the trust of my family and daughters through not just saying “I’m sorry,” but by “walking the talk.” I had to maintain my sobriety through AA meetings and by asking people for help.
Q: If you had to describe your recovery journey in 3 words, what would they be?
A: Perseverance, Patience and Serenity!
Q: If you could give your younger self advice, what would it be?
A: Everything will turn out OK. And, don’t worry about the small stuff…somehow, things always work out.
Q: What is your favorite part about being in recovery?
A: The great friends I have made through Mountainside as well as the AA program. I also sign up for as many of the alumni events I can. They are great opportunities to have fun in a sober environment.
Q: What is your greatest strength?
A: My ability to make friends and always laugh in any situation. Both get me through any difficult situation I may encounter.
Q: What is the last thing you learned?
A: A six-year-old taught me how to alter my picture through Snapchat. It’s amazing the fun images you can create.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you are having a rough day?
A: Get moving – walk, run, or do yoga. If I stay inactive, all I do is dwell on my situation and become even more sad and distressed.
Q: What is something you are trying to get better at?
A: Reading. I tend to purchase many books but never get motivated to actually read them.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: I have 2 ½ years until my younger daughter is off to college. At that point, I plan to get back into consulting, which would allow me the flexibility to travel and live anywhere I choose.
Q: If you could only have one meal for the rest your life, what would it be?
A: Definitely pizza and a cheeseburger with fries.
Q: What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?
A: With my daughters and/or friends. Anywhere near water would be my ideal location.
Q: What song cheers you up?
A: “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi.
Q: If you could spend an entire day with anyone, who would it be?
A: My grandmother who passed 13 years ago. She had such amazing strength and enjoyed life to its fullest.
Q: What is the best gift you have ever received?
A: My recovery at Mountainside. Can I come back just for a weekend?