Episode 346 – There is no manual
Today we have Kathryn. She us 58, from North Dakota, and took her last drink on February 19, 2002.
Highlights from Odette
There is no manual for recovery. We have tools, guidance, but no guaranteed formula for success. Learning to manage that uncertainty can be challenging, but it’s normal. Be gentle with yourself and others.
Exact Nature exactnature.com Code: RE20
[07:18] Kris welcomes Kathryn Burgum, the First Lady of North Dakota. Kathryn has over 19 years of sobriety.
Kathryn’s first drink was at age 8. There was lots of alcohol in her household and her parents were regular drinkers. In high school, Kathryn struggled with anxiety and depression; drinking was her nirvana because it gave her some relief. She had her first blackout in high school, and they continued for twenty years.
Kathryn experienced many consequences due to her drinking; the loss of self-respect was at the top of her list. Getting a DUI pushed her to begin recovery.
Kathryn made several deals with herself about regulating her drinking. She never kept those promises, because if she thought about drinking, she did. The only choice she had was to start drinking …. In the end, she lost the choice about drinking.
As Kathryn’s drinking progressed, she was hung over every day. She was unable to control her drinking. When asked if she should be driving, she would respond that she was fine, because she didn’t want people to think she had a problem with alcohol.
Kathryn worked in HR and drug tested employees. When she got a DUI, it was published in the local newspaper. Someone blew it up and posted it at work. The shame kept her from admitting her problem. She didn’t want to ask for help because she was concerned about what others would think.
Kathryn recognized she was suicidal almost every time she drank; she had undiagnosed depression.
As a result of her DUI, she had to undergo a mandatory evaluation and went to outpatient treatment that was unsuccessful. She went to Mayo Clinic for ten days and stayed sober for two years. Over a period of 8 years, she quit and relapsed several times.
Kathryn’s turning point came when she was walking and asked, “Is there anybody out there? If there is, I need help.” She has been sober ever since. Slowly recovery became her life. She found a community, began feeling better, and engaged a recovery coach. She credits recovery with saving her life.
Kathryn now takes medication for her depression, reads meditations daily and connects with her God.
When her husband, Gov. Doug Burgum, announced that he wanted to run for governor, she had some concerns. They had candid conversations about boundaries during the campaign.
Kathryn made a conscious decision to talk about her recovery because of the opioid crisis and it became a platform she and her husband share. Recovery Reinvented is an annual free conference.
Every week Kathryn has an opportunity to help someone who is struggling with addiction. Helping others helps her stay sober. After 8 years of relapse, she was losing hope. Through faith she knows there is always hope for sobriety and recovery.
Recovery Reinvented 2021 is on 10/25/21. Register to attend in person or online. www.recovery reinvented.com.
What could your voice do? We don’t know the impact that comes with sharing our experience. I’m over the stigma; I am here to grow.
First Lady Kathryn Burgum can be found: Facebook (@FirstLadyND & @RecoveryND), Twitter (@FirstLadyND & @Recovery_ND), and Instagram (@firstladynd). Prior Recovery Reinvented speakers, award recipients, and segments can be found at www.youtube.com/recoveryreinvented.
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