Episode 322 – the hardest part is relaxing into this idea that you can have the most incredibly beautiful moment followed by an incredibly dark moment and that’s just the path of life.
Marcella took her last drink on September 6, 2018. She lives in San Diego. Marcella lives in the arena and she shares her journey with the world on sobriety, parenting, and authentic Mexican food. She leads from the front in a transparent way that is very inspiring. This is her journey of living alcohol free (AF).
Finding Your Better You – Odette’s weekly message.
Odette reflected on her recent comments about judgement. When we feel judgement creeping up, we need to remind ourselves that person we are judging is a flawed human trying their best … just like me. When we bring
judgment into recovery space because someone is doing it differently than we are we invite shame. If we want to help others recover, we need to detach from our shame. We need to manage our own path. Odette referenced an Instagram post from Lara Fraser saying, “nobody gets to define your recovery but you. You don’t get to have an opinion on someone else’s recovery – that’s control. Control brings us closer to our ego and further from our soul’s expansion.
Odette referenced Demi Lovato who is being criticized for her actions in her path to recovery. The reality is we are meant to stumble, to fall and to have a messy path. When you are in the spotlight – everyone is watching your falls and judging them. Let’s give ourselves and each other permission to have our own messy journey and don’t explain ourselves to others or worry about judgment.
Odette referenced a concept from Brene Brown’s book, Dare to Lead. Brene says, the biggest barrier to a safe container is shame. Everybody needs a small, safe place to act and talk about doing hard work. A place where you don’t have to be awesome or cool. You need to be un-cool, awkward, and goofy. We should strive to create safe containers where people can ask questions and be heard. Leading by fear and perfectionist cultures does not allow us to create safe containers. Perfection has no room in a safe container.
At Recovery Elevator, our goal is to provide a safe container for you. You matter, and we are here for you.
[7:33] Odette introduces Marcella
This episode was recorded in March which is Women’s Month and Odette is excited to have a fellow Mexicana share who is standing in her truth and unapologetically owning her power.
Marcella said she is flawed like others and recognizes age helps you realize you only get one shot at this life and you need to live it authentically because if you don’t and you continue pleasing others hiding your truth, you get sick and you die. Everything is on the table.
Marcella made it clear she is sharing from her own path, perspective and journey. She knows some of her views are unpopular. She comes from a long line of alcoholics and her personal journey to healing is forgetting about labels and boxes while relaxing into the idea that she can forge her own path to what it means to be happy and addiction free. She is living a happy and fulfilled life. She reminds us we are always working on the path of life – often avoiding pain, causes more pain.
[12:41] Do you remember the last time you took a drink?
Marcella had to look up an event to remember when she took her last drink. A family member she had never seen drunk was inebriated and Marcella had an incredibly negative reaction. She recognized the only way she could control this for herself was to eliminate the external element. Alcohol became an enemy. She didn’t tell anyone for weeks or months, not even her husband.
Her last drink was on September 6, 2018. She didn’t count days until she went back to look at the date which was a family party. She doesn’t have any cravings. She was a heavy drinker starting at age fourteen and once she stopped, that was it; the craving was gone. It became easy because not drinking eliminated the anxiety, drama, micro aggressions, and major aggressions from her life.
[20:21] What does your day-to-day life look like?
Marcella said she doesn’t have time to bullsh!t anymore; it takes away time from her goals. She tried AA, but it didn’t work for her. She had so many things she wanted to focus on, so alcohol had no place in her life. She was able to identify what made her want to take the edge off with alcohol. It was an association with power and coolness. Facing the darkness, she tried to diminish with alcohol gave her power: the ultimate control of her body and her emotions. It takes a lot of courage to face what is making you want to take that drink. She stopped promoting alcohol in her cooking classes because she didn’t want to be part of the marketing machine that tells people they need alcohol to survive. She doesn’t want to be a woman selling alcohol to other women.
Marcella spoke about being and Adult Child(ren) of an Alcoholic and is proud she has conquered alcohol. The horrible addiction that has been in her family forever stops with her. The massive trophy has taught her to be kind and compassionate with herself.
[30:29] How did you shift to finding a soft entry point to yourself?
Marcella said it has been a journey. In moments when she has hated herself, or she is obsessing, Carina (Marcella’s sister) reminds her of who she is and that gift she is to others. They are truly soulmates.
[32:18] Did you find the root of your addiction?
Marcella reads lots of Gabor Mate and the question he poses is: don’t ask why the addiction, ask why the pain? She identified childhood abuse, abandonment and living with alcoholism on both sides of her family. Another reason AA didn’t work for her is because she equated anonymity with shame. She has spoken “the sh!t” out of her problems very publicly. The gems, gifts and knowledge that have come from her openness have been immeasurable. Marcella believes that none of us escape trauma. It’s a broad umbrella and part of the human experience. We all experience some form (along the spectrum) of trauma. It is impossible to escape. Marcella needed to face the loneliness that comes with shame. She no longer feels like an alien. She finds healing in acknowledging her common trauma without shame and then her soul rested.
Marcella said the fear of appearing ungrateful or disloyal to our parents (particularly for Latinas) often inhibits us from sharing the trauma that came with our upbringing. You can love, be grateful and loyal to your parents and still heal. They can coexist in a space of love.
Marcella’s children are the center of her universe and her biggest teachers. When you research childhood development the magnitude of your responsibility becomes clear. One of her biggest flaws is feeling like she is a bad mother. Her children are her greatest gift. The anxiety that comes with motherhood and her thoughts and expectations of herself can be overwhelming. The role of mother is her biggest anxiety. Conquering alcohol is helpful to managing that anxiety. Marcella doesn’t believe that the more you suffer, the better a matriarch you are. La familia doesn’t require you sacrifice yourself and your authenticity. Latina women don’t need to diminish their lives to become matriarchs. The journey is so important and diminishing yourself is not a good message for your kids.
Marcella said, you must do the work to put yourself in the company of people who can support you. It took so much work for Marcella to separate herself from certain relationships and put herself in the relationship she is in now. It took A LOT of courage, humility, re-programming and breaking down her walls to be in an authentic partnership. She emphasized, you have to do the work to attract the people who have the strength, courage, and values to support you. The universe will continue to throw the same problems at you until you figure it out.
[51:34] What does work mean to you? What tools have helped you?
Marcella did therapy early in her life, but it was cyclical and did not help. She is studious and finds a lot of her solutions in books. The philosophy of Yoga has been a massive support to her, and she has taken courses in Yoga that have aided her healing.
Marcella’s relationship with her sister is very significant and her sister often acts as her therapist. In the past ten years they dove deep into their childhood issues and verbalizing them has helped her to heal.
Marcella reminds herself of the rewards that have come because of her sobriety and she says them out loud as a reminder. Her ability to teach cooking classes and be herself are a reward of being sober.
She said if AA (or another modality) doesn’t work for you it doesn’t make you a failure. AA has served hundreds of millions of people, and some people are resistant to AA, it’s simply not their path. There are multiple other paths – just don’t give up. Recovery isn’t black and white. Be a scholar of your F’ups. Have the courage to review them and you will become what you are meant to become.
[1:04] Rapid Fire Round
- What would you say to your younger self?
Everything is going to be all right
- What is an unexpected perk of sobriety?
You get your health back.
- What advice would you give to listeners who are thinking about ditching the booze?
There is more than one path, and it might take you a minute to get there. Just be patient and kind to yourself.
Odette reminds us we are doing a great job. Be empowered to take the steps you need to stay on this path, but also to seek out and create your safe container. You deserve it.
You are not alone, together is always better! Stay weird, stay goofy, stay you.
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