Tabitha S. shares some insight into what life in recovery looks like for her, whether she’s sharing intimate moments with her ‘sober sisters,’ or completing her longtime goal of earning a college degree in Marketing.
Q: What was the turning point that led you to get help?
A: By 2016, alcohol had fully taken over my life. Throughout that year the consequences of my drinking had begun to build as I had experienced car accidents, job losses, relationship disasters, and legal troubles — in hindsight, these were all warning signs that the end was near. Help came that October, when I had eventually drank myself all the way to the ICU with a BAC higher than some state’s sales tax. This incident drew the attention of my family, employer, and friend who insisted I seek treatment, and with their help I was admitted to detox at Mountainside on October 26, 2016.
Q: What is the most important thing you learned in treatment?
A: Mountainside was my first introduction to a routine lifestyle. Mountainside taught me the importance and satisfaction of a structured day, which helped me so much with mental clarity and the understanding of concepts like ‘doing the next right thing.’ It takes a village, and bonding with so many other people in the community made me feel safe, got me out of bed in the morning, and ensured I never felt alone. It’s that same bond that I share with other recovered alcoholics today that drives my recovery and fuels my passion to live a full and meaningful life.
Q: If you had to describe your recovery journey in 3 words, what would they be?
A: Possibility, hope, and purpose.
Q: If you could give your younger self advice, what would it be?
A: Everything that you need is already within you. Everything that you are is already enough. And everything that you need will come in time.
Q: What is your favorite part about being in recovery?
A: Life as a sober woman today exceeds my wildest dreams. Each morning is a gift and each evening I drift off to sleep holding close the memories of another unique day. I am also fortunate to know that behind me, the universe and the fellowship of the sober community have my back. When I need them, they are there to lift me up, guide me, fill me with joy, or even celebrate a victory or occasion. I truly have the opportunity to learn something new every day, grow as an individual in ways I never knew possible, and help others as they begin or progress in their journey…one day at a time.
Q: What is your greatest strength?
A: My strength is borrowed from my higher power and from the support of others around me. My greatest strength is knowing when to ask for help.
Q: What is the last thing you learned?
A: I recently learned a peaceful lesson from Nobel Prize winning poet Wislawa Szymborska, who writes that there is no such thing as an ordinary life. She says, “Nothing is usual or normal. Not a single stone and not a single cloud above it. Not a single day and not a single night after it. And above all, not a single existence, not anyone’s existence in this world.”
Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you are having a rough day?
A: Today if I am having a rough day, I call other sober women and we work through it together. We get coffee or french fries and talk, laugh, cry, and somehow always get through. I also always remember to make time for myself in the morning and evening to practice self-care, mediate, or talk with my higher power.
Q: What is something you are trying to get better at?
A: Gratitude, possibility, and hope are limitless, so I work daily to welcome more of each of those things into my life. I also actively work on clearing any thoughts of judgment or negative irrational theory out of my perception of reality.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: In five years, I hope to be speaking about sobriety, positivity, and motivation on a national or even global scale. I plan to have a career at a nonprofit organization that serves a great community. I dream of being surrounded by a network of sober women so big and full of life that you can feel the energy just by walking past them. My true mission is to live each day knowing that I can in some way serve a purpose that is much bigger than myself, and with this second chance at life, have a great and meaningful impact on the world that I once took so much from.
Q: If you could only have one meal for the rest your life, what would it be?
A: Freshii – anything from Freshii!
Q: What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?
A: Doing anything that leaves me relaxed, recharged, and reinvigorated, and allows me to show up as a better version of myself on Monday. Sometimes a weekend seminar capped with some peaceful time outdoors and a lot of rest and relaxation makes for the perfect 2-day retreat.
Q: What song cheers you up?
A: Rise Up by Andra Day.
Q: If you could spend an entire day with anyone, who would it be?
A: I would spend an entire day with my sober sisters — a group of about 9 of the most perfectly imperfect women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Each one of their personalities brings something spectacular to the group and together we are mighty, brave, bold, beautiful, and can accomplish anything.
Q: What is the best gift you have ever received?
A: The best gift I have ever received is a second chance at completing my college education. At just about five months sober I was given the opportunity to return to the university I had left, over eleven years prior, to complete my undergraduate education in Marketing. Every day that I am on campus or completing work, I am overwhelmed with gratitude because I am working toward a goal that I had been so certain, for so long, I would never achieve. Today I am motivated by the vision of an amazing future and astounded by the richness that each lesson adds to the depth of my mind and wealth of my spirit.