Rada A. talks all things recovery – from planning long trips to Thailand, to organizing a dinner party with an eccentric guest list.
Q: What was the turning point that led you to get help?
A: There wasn’t a turning point, per se. After years of heavy drinking and being prescribed pain meds for chronic back pain, I turned to the harder stuff last June. After using for only a couple of months, I was just scared and tired. I tried quitting on my own but couldn’t do it. Around that time, I was also extremely depressed and didn’t see a way to a happy and fulfilling life again. I called Mountainside and checked myself in last September. Best decision I have made in years for my physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
Q: What was the most challenging part of your recovery journey?
A: Being vulnerable with people. At first, it was very difficult for me to let people in and talk about my feelings. I learned through the process that this would be crucial for me to heal and get better. By allowing people in recovery to get to know me on a personal level, I’ve enriched my life in countless ways. I have real friends today that I care about and that care about me. It’s one of the many priceless gifts of this new life.
Q: What is the most important thing that sobriety has given you?
A: Freedom and serenity. Being able to sit still and just be. In the chaos of drinking and using drugs for the past decade, I was rarely able to just sit still and feel at peace with myself and realize that just being was enough. The noise in my head, the nonstop thoughts have calmed down significantly. That’s not to say that I’m zen all day every day, but overall, I feel so much calmer and more relaxed.
Q: Who or what has had the biggest impact on your recovery?
A: I would say my sponsor, Doreen, and the amazing women I’ve met on this journey. I’ve developed some very special friendships, and the women that came before me in the program of A.A. have taught me how to become a woman of honor and dignity.
Q: What advice would you give to someone struggling with addiction?
A: That you don’t have to suffer anymore. It’s uncomfortable at first getting sober, but after a pretty short while, your whole life starts to change. But nobody can do it for you, unfortunately. You have to want to live more than you want to die. That’s the brutal and honest truth. Addiction ultimately takes lives. You have to choose to not waste this gift of life.
Q: What do others say is your best quality?
A: People say I have a unique sense of humor. I’m okay with that.
Q: What is your motto? What about this motto appeals to you?
I don’t really have a motto, but I guess it would be, “Work hard, nap hard.” I just like naps.
Q: What are some small things that make your day better?
A few months ago, I started running, and it’s really changing the way I prioritize my days now. I feel physically and mentally much better after a 20-30 minute run than on days I miss the opportunity to. I also enjoy my morning coffee; playing with my cats, Kali and Iggy; listening to music; reading something recovery or spirituality-related when I start my day; talking to friends; going to meetings; and chocolate.
Q: Who inspires you to be better?
A: I’m always striving consciously, or subconsciously, to make my mom proud.
Q: What book impacted you the most?
A: I would say the first 164 pages of the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book have impacted my life more than any book I’ve ever read.
That book knows me at my core better than I know myself. Every time I read from it – even if it’s the same pages over and over – I get a new perspective.
Q: If you could have any talent or skill, what would it be? Why?
A: I’ve always fantasized about being musically gifted. In another life, maybe I have an all-girl band and we play shoegaze stuff in dingy venues across the country.
Realistically though, I’m tone deaf and I can barely make what passes for sounds on my electric bass.
Q: What is a fun fact about you?
A: I’ve traveled through 35 states and now live in the 11th state I visited. I’ve also been to 12 countries.
Q: Who – dead or alive – is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party?
A: This one’s a little somber. I would have my late father over, and I guess if it was a dinner party and there’s no rules to this question, I would also invite some interesting historical figures, like Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Rurik the Viking, and Napoleon (my dad was obsessed with Napoleon). My dad loved history and was always very entertaining at large gatherings.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
A: I’m dying to travel to Southeast Asia. I would love to spend some time in Thailand. I would need to be there at least a few weeks or even a month. I’m less of a tourist and more of an explorer.
Q: What’s the title of the current chapter of your life?
A: “How Did We Get to Massachusetts?”