What is the best way to start the day? |I have a six-month-old son and I work full-time, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. I listen to a guided meditation when I have the time (which I often don’t), but at the very least I try to take some long, deep breaths when I wake up, which helps.|What is your motto? And what about this motto appeals to you? |Be kind, be calm, do good, be strong. Lately I try to recite this to myself when I feel stressed. I like it because it’s simple and it highlights some of my main values.|What or who motivates you in your recovery? |My family and some of the friends and colleagues who have taught me the most about life, about myself, and about the things that I don’t want to jeopardize because they are most important to me. |What has been the best part of recovery for you? Why? |I work in a substance abuse treatment center, which I find incredibly meaningful. At times, I see a lot of my own old behaviors reflected in some of the clients I work with, and it’s amazing to be able to help others through similar experiences while consistently working on myself.|What would you say is the biggest success (professional or personal) you’ve had since leaving Mountainside?|I love my job, but the greatest part of my life is my son. I’d never have gotten to this place without my recovery. He’s a reminder of why my sobriety is so important, so that I can be the best mother for him as well as the best person for me.|What has been your biggest hurdle in recovery and how did you learn to overcome it?|My own anxiety and mental health issues. Some of it I was born with, and some is related to traumatic events I’ve experienced. I wouldn’t say I’ve really “overcome” my anxiety because I think that would be sugarcoating it. But I’ve made tremendous progress through therapy, meaningful relationships, and self-care.|What was the turning point that led you to get help? |I got to the point where I was going to die if I didn’t stop. As much as I hated the way I felt, I still held on to the little part of me who still had goals and aspirations, and who wanted to live. And as time went on, that part got stronger and continues to grow.|What would you like people who are afraid to receive treatment to know? |Nothing is darker or lonelier than continuing to use, especially if you’re doing it in secret. That’s the scariest place to be. Treatment is scary, too, but I promise you won’t regret the decision. It can feel like the awful feelings will last forever and that you’ll never move past it, but people are incredibly resilient. People also need help along the way, so don’t be afraid to ask for it and accept it.|What is the best advice you have been given?|Honestly, I think the best advice I’ve gotten is to do the next right thing. Also, try not to stress so much about every little thing. You’ll figure it out.|What brings you the most happiness? Or what makes you laugh most? |Spending time with family and good friends. |What’s the one thing people would be pleasantly surprised to know about you? |I was an art major in college, and I paint portraits.
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