Erin took her last drink May 31, 2019. With 488 days away from alcohol, (at the time of recording) this is her story of living alcohol free (AF).
Odette’s weekly installment of: Finding the Better You…..
Most long-term decisions have to be rooted in a place of love and not of fear. This applies to recovery and leads to the question, “What has recovery made possible for you?” This question helps to build the bridge from fear to love. Hearing stories of hope from others send out waves of survival. As you share your story, you don’t know who’s listening and how that might change the trajectory of their life. Odette chooses to live in the solution and show others, specifically her family, what’s possible.
[6:23] Odette introduces Erin.
Erin and her family split time between New Hampshire and Sedona, AZ. She is married with 2 children, ages 1 & 3, she is a stay at home mom. For fun she does yoga, plays with her children, exercises and is getting to know her body.
[9:35] Can you give listeners some background on your drinking?
Erin said she first took a drink when she was 14. While that drink wasn’t a problem, she began to experiment. The family setting was one where there was drinking and so it was part of what she knew growing up. Her parents separated when she was 17 and she rebelled from there. At 18, she went to the University of New Hampshire, which is a large party school. Drinking was part of the culture and it was just what everyone was doing. Erin can look back now and see how toxic it was, especially for her.
[12:03] Can you expand on your college years?
Her sophomore year, she tried sobriety. She took some time off college and did a “major health cleanse”. However, when she returned, the habits also returned. She convinced herself she could moderate.
[13:14] Did you transition after college into a lifestyle that allowed you to maintain a frequency of binge drinking?
Erin said she has lived all over the place and those geographic moves are part of her story with alcohol. With periods of binge drinking and sadness coupled with periods of living with a healthy focus. Looking back, she can see she was running from her feelings and not being able to be with herself.
[15:33] What was your style of drinking and did anyone ever approach you about it while you were drinking?
Erin said she did surround herself with heavy drinkers so she could ignore the reality, there were also consequences to her drinking. She married her first husband in 2010 and they were divorced in 2012. He would speak to her about her drinking. When they separated, she took herself to her first AA meeting. However, a relapse of Lyme disease and the toll the separation was taking on her, she continued to drink daily.
Erin moved with her mother to Sedona, AZ and jumped into the AA community. She would wake up, go to a meeting, go to work at a health center and then come home and get drunk. This was when she saw that alcohol was turning her into 2 completely separate people.
[21:00] Tell me about your pregnancy and the last few years.
Erin said she got pregnant in 2016 and was able to stay sober through her pregnancy. She felt the highs and lows of pregnancy very severely and not having alcohol to help her numb was part of that. When her daughter was around 3 or 4 months, she convinced herself again she could moderate. She got pregnant with her son and again stayed sober throughout, but the pattern started again in the 4th trimester. In May 2019, she woke up violently ill and that was it.
[27:08] Tell me what you do now when you have one of these tough emotions.
Erin said she is getting to know herself again as a highly sensitive person (HSP). She taps into a lot of the digital community and is exploring the psychologic makeup of being an empath. She’s learning to lean in and explore the power of breath.
[29:40] Did you go back to AA?
Erin said she hasn’t gone back to AA yet (busy raising the future!) but has found there are so many options out there for her online.
[32:02] How has the response been from people?
Erin said overall the response has been supportive. Those closest to her knew she had a problem. Her husband has also stopped drinking in support of her.
[37:21] Has your creativity started to spark?
Erin said absolutely. She’s now made the choice to “join the human race” and to love herself. She makes talking about recovery part of her everyday life and puts herself out there without shame.
[40:28] Rapid Fire Round
- If you could talk to younger Erin what would you say?
You’re enough and take care of yourself.
- What is a lightbulb moment you’ve had on this journey?
I’m ok in this moment and there is a purpose for why I am here.
- What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Chocolate ice cream
- What are some of your favorite resources in recovery?
Podcasts, yoga and meditation, the miracle morning idea and enjoying not being hung over. Getting outside with her kids.
- What parting piece of guidance can you give listeners who are thinking about ditching the booze?
Just do it. Just try it. Give yourself enough time to give it a shot.
You may have to say adios to booze…
If you don’t recognize yourself anymore.
Odette’s challenge this week:
Give yourself a few minutes to look back on your journey. Ask yourself “What was recovery made possible?” Write it down, read it often. You are worthy of everything.
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