Why I'm going to Unite for Addiction on Sunday, Oct 4 in Washington, D.C.

So for the past few weeks I’ve been posting a lot of information about the Unite to Face Addiction rally on my Facebook wall and my blog, Last Call.  Not sure any of you have noticed that? (Insert sarcasm here).  Either way, this is going to be a massive event in Washington, DC this weekend to highlight Addiction in our country and what an epidemic it truly is.  This is the first time anything this big has ever been done publicly to bring forth the awareness and change that needs to happen. 

Its going to be a party – a sober party! There are going to be musical performers including Steven Tyler, Sheryl Crow, The Fray and Joe Walsh. Additionally, there will be some amazing key- noted speakers and events going on throughout the weekend culminating in the rally at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday afternoon at 4 pm.  This rally is expecting a crowd of over 100,000. 

I’m so excited to be able to participate in this movement as getting sober has allowed me to have a life beyond my wildest dreams – but even more it’s given me a voice – a voice to help other people who are struggling with addiction.  That’s why I started my blog and shared my story as I want to help others and give back what has been so freely given to me.  Earlier this year, when I launched my memoir, “Last Call, A Memoir” I had no idea it would catapult me into an amazing recovery network of bloggers, authors and advocates – friends I hadn’t met yet.  I’ll be able to connect and meet with a lot of these people that have supported me in recent months and I’m forever grateful for their support.  In addition to my sober Fellowship, these new sober advocates that I have befriended are my people, they are my tribe.  They get me.   

So, if you will are going to be in DC this weekend and you’ve read my blog or my book, or just like my posts and want to connect, please feel free to reach out to me directly at nlcarr@outlook.com.  I would love to meet you and thank you for helping me.

Let’s rally together and Unite to End Addiction #endthestigma and #recoveroutloud.  


One of the first people I met in the recovery online community was Veronica Valli who has her own blog, Recovery Rocks.  She interviewed me earlier this year and I wanted to re-post and share it - especially this week as we are gearing up for the UNITE TO FIGHT ADDICTION rally in DC on October 4! Veronica and others have been instrumental in helping me share my story and sharing the message of recovery! 

Recovery Rocks Interview

1)     Describe your ‘rock bottom.’

My bottom came at the perfect time as I knew I had a problem with drinking  and cocaine for years, but I just didn’t care.  I needed a strong jolt as I had resigned myself to the fact that this was my life and I’ll just keep plodding along until the wheels fall off .  By age 18 I had become a cocaine addict, as well as a daily drinker.  Fast forward to March, 2004, the wheels fell off! After drinking for 7 hours - a normal Saturday occurrence -  I was served my 2nd DUI by the State of California.  It was midnight, in front of a liquor store, and I was with someone I had just met at a nightclub.  It was 5 years after my first DUI and I was surprised it actually took that long.  I was 37 years old and had been living my life as if I was still 18.  I was a functioning alcoholic and “recreational” cocaine  addict with  a career and my free-wheeling lifestyle was typical because most everyone drank and used the way I did.   I had lowered my companionship and knew I needed help, but I also didn’t want to give up my best friends – alcohol and cocaine.  I waited 6 weeks before I entered a self-help meeting (encouraged by my DUI attorney).  I just went to get the court card signed and soon after I left that meeting, I went on to drink for the next week. During that week, I kept thinking that if others could do it, maybe I should give it a shot? I heard hope in that meeting and I felt that at this point in my life I had nothing to lose.  It was complete blind faith.  I realized that everything bad that had ever happened to me in my life was due to my drinking and drugging.  I decided to give the sobriety thing a try.  I had no other options at that point.  I remember my last drink like it was yesterday.  It was red wine, and I drank it right out of the bottle.  The next day I went to my 2nd self help meeting and have been sober ever since.

2)     What were your first 30 days of recovery like?

I was in a fog and felt quite robotic.  I was living on auto-pilot and just started going to self-help meetings every day, and listening to what other women told me to do.  Within my first week I started talking to some of the women and most were woman that I could have seen myself drinking with.  I felt like I connected with them.  The difference is they were sober.  Some had weeks of sobriety more than I did, and some had years, either way, I wanted what they had.  I couldn’t sleep much or I slept too much.  I cried a lot.  I felt ashamed about my past and started journaling to get the thoughts out of my head.  I didn’t tell a lot of people (back home) and pretty soon I had 30 days.  I couldn’t believe it.  I just kept doing what the elders at the self-help meetings told me to do. 

3)     What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?

Since I got sober, so much has changed.  The best things for me have been internal.  Dignity, integrity, honesty, helping others – living life by those principles has guided me to be a better person.  I want to help others and give back.  I have choices today.  I have moved four times in sobriety and I get to live life the way I want to – not the way alcohol wants me to.  I have a career where I get to work from home, because I’m a sober person with a good work ethic who is accountable and can be trusted.  I met my husband in recovery and we get to share our journey together.  I have great relationships with my family and friends – they are full and I am a participant.  Physically, I take care of myself now.  I try to stay fit and eat healthier and I wash my face before I go to bed now!  I would have none of this if I wasn’t sober.

4)     If you could go back in time to you when you were drinking/using what would you tell yourself?

Gosh, I’d tell myself to listen to my inner voice.  Listen to that voice that kept telling me “you have a problem, this isn’t normal.”  I was so afraid of admitting that I had a problem and I was scared to let anyone think I did.  I wanted everyone to like me and to be loved.  I would tell myself that its ok to be true to yourself.  That’s the first step in recovery – getting honest about who you truly are.

5)     What have been the most useful things you have learnt about yourself since getting sober/clean?

That it’s ok to be who I am.  I’m not a bad person.  I was just a sick person doing sick things.  Now I’m a healthy person trying to live healthy – emotionally, physically and spiritually.  I’m much more apathetic than I used to be and I try to give others the benefit of the doubt.  Nothing is earth shattering and horrific any more. I don’t have the impending sense of doom that I used to live with every day.  I lived in a very black and white world before.  The fear that used to rule my life is gone.  It’s ok to make mistakes and be human. 

6)     Tell me about something wonderful that happened to you recently that never would have happened if you had been drinking.

The list is so long! Every day I get up without a hangover is still mind boggling to me! But, a few weeks ago, I was able to surprise some friends in San Diego.   I got sober in Encinitas, CA  and that’s where I feel most “at home”.  I got sober with a core group of woman there.  One of them recently got married and she had a party to celebrate her nuptials.  I was able to get on a plane and surprise her (and my other friends) and visit with them for a long weekend.  If I was still drinking, nothing like that would have occurred.  I never went anywhere or did anything when I was drinking.  I didn’t have money to travel, I didn’t get invited to nice parties and I wasn’t thinking of others.  My husband and I are now saving for a trip to go to Italy to celebrate my Dad’s 75t Birthday later this year.  The fact that I’m saving money to spend time with Family – again, never would have happened if I was drinking!

7)     What are your favorite recovery slogans?

I like a lot of them actually, but a few I like to say to myself and use with others:
We will learn to love you before you can love yourself. 
Keep coming back.
It works if you work it.
Let go and let god. 
Don’t leave before the miracle happens. 

8)      And lastly, why does ‘recovery rock?’

FREEDOM! When you live a life of recovery, you have the freedom to do anything you want.  Nothing holds you back.  You have more money, more options, more choices and more dignity and integrity than you’d ever imagine.    

Check it out - this week only its - $1.99 via Kindle!


Its on Kindle Select this week for the low low price of $1.99 - no reason not to download it.  If you don't have the Kindle App, you can download that to your smart phone or tablet - no excuse not to have it.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments! 

Thanks much for checking this out! 

Smoking weed with Bob Weir...prior to getting sober that is!

I know I’m sober and my life is amazing, but I was really lucky years ago when I smoked pot with Bob Weir!  Its literally still one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me; and so I wanted to share how it went down….

            Keep on Trucking.  I had been following the Grateful Dead, as much I could afford to, since 1986.  I wasn’t a true Dead Head since I bathed on a daily basis and didn’t live in a VW bus selling veggie burrito’s to support my marijuana and LSD habit.  I did, however, like to go to their concerts along the East Coast; New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington D.C and anywhere else they played.  It was always a weekend event consisting of tailgating, drinking, tripping on LSD and listening to timeless and amazing music.  Me and my partner in crime had a huge crush on the bass player, Bob Weir.  Bobby would take the microphone to sing and we would scream up to him that we wanted to bear his children.  We had class.
            After Jerry (Garcia) died in 1995, I replaced my Dead shows with concerts of Bob Weir’s band, Ratdog, later called The Other Ones and the Dead.  Howard, an aging, balding and overweight hippie was friends with a former co-worker of mine.  We now had an inside track to the inner circle of Ratdog.  We were going to be able to meet the band before the show.  I could hardly contain my excitement.  I was going to meet my crush Bobby and this was sure to be the highlight of my entire existence (up until this point in my life)
            As we waited patiently outside the decaying concert hall, I felt a little stupid.  There were eight or nine of us waiting for Bobby to show up, and we looked like Pavlov’s dogs awaiting the bell that brought our reward.  Twenty-five minutes later an ominous black Range Rover pulled up to the rear stage door and four people got out.  There was Bobby.  I was nervous as hell and couldn’t stop staring at him.  He looked spaced out, but I wasn’t surprised to see that.  Here was a man who was a member of one of the most influential bands of all time and who participated in Ken Kesey’s infamous acid test.  He was God to a lot of people.  He quickly took Jerry’s place after his passing, and now he was standing dead center in front of me. 
            Meandering out of the car, Bobby looked worn and sleepy, with unruly hair, he wore a stretched out faded blue t-shirt and baggy jeans.  He resembled what an aging rock star should look like – an icon who had spent the past thirty years drinking, drugging and living life in a hurried world pleasing the masses. Bobby inched his way over to us, and Howard introduced us to Bobby.  I gingerly shook Bobby’s hand as I made eye contact with him and told him how great it was to meet him.  He didn’t hold eye contact with me at all and was looking over my shoulder.  I was disappointed.  Didn’t he know I was one of his biggest fans?  Didn’t he want to get to know me better? Ha!  Bobby soon became more attractive to me as a rock star singing on stage than he was as a real person.  He wasn’t present in the moment and seemed more like a mirage of who I thought he should be.  However, he’d obviously met hundreds of thousands of groupies in his time and this tiny connection with me was nothing.  Selfish, as I was, I thought I would at least get a smile out of him. 
            We were supplied with All Access VIP passes, and were able to follow the crew onto the stage and be part of the real inner circle.  I noticed a man carrying instruments and cables across the stage.  During the concert, I was granted access to the roped off soundboard area and could listen to the band directly through the headphones.  I was also granted access to the green room, which had a full bar and a buffet.  After the rollicking concert, I went back to the green room and hung out with the band and the crew.  Drinking a beer and making small talk with the band members, I weaved my way over to Bobby to listen to his conversation and see if he had any words of wisdom to extend to me. 
            I didn’t get a glance my way, so I bee-lined back to the bar and grabbed another beer.  I was feeling antsy and decided to take a seat on the plush green velvet couch.  I plopped down on the couch with a sigh, and within minutes Bobby came over and sat next to me.  Gulp.  I was sitting on a couch next to Bob Weir.  What did I do to get so lucky? A waft of smoke was coming from my left side, as a joint was being passed around the room. 
            Finally!  I was wondering when the drugs would come out.  When the joint passed over to Bobby, I was nervous and had made a conscious decision not to drink too much or smoke a lot of pot that evening.  Bobby took a toke and then haphazardly passed it over to me. 
            Are you fucking kidding me?  Bobby Weir is passing a joint to me?  I was mildly shaking when I grabbed the joint and took a long hard puff on it.  I was sharing Bobby’s saliva.  I was as high as one could be.  Soon after, the inner circle party was transported to Bobby’s suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in Center City.  The festivities continued on in a palatial suite with other roadies and groupies.  The group was smoking pot and bottles of champagne, beer and wine littered the dark mahogany coffee table, strewn everywhere; some half full, others empty.  I drank it all in and was soon drinking what was available to me – anything I wanted.  Let the games begin
            Bobby was conversing with a band member in the next room where four hookers were also in attendance, making small talk, or whatever you’d like to call it, with the other band members.  I was dumfounded that call girls were in attendance, but being na├»ve is a prime characteristic of mine.  It was quite the party and I soon befriend one of the roadies and let’s just say, along with that I was given two tickets and VIP passes to the concert in Atlantic City the next night.  I jetted back home in a taxi the following morning and was dizzy with my prior night’s experience.  I went to Atlantic City that night and took a friend of my brother’s, who is a huge Dead Head and indebted to me still.  Through the years when I attended Ratdog concerts, either in Pennsylvaniaor San Diego, I would seek our my roadie friend and he would remember me.  He normally gave me VIP passes and show tickets for other concerts.  It was nice to make friends with boys in the band. 

Daily 10th Step

Ever since I got sober I have been working the steps, maybe not on a daily basis, but usually with a sponsor and as someone in recovery I’m always trying to better myself.  I’m currently on Step 6&7 with my sponsor and we talk a few times a week.  I’ll see her next week and we’ll probably do some step work. 

Recently, I was invited to participate in a daily 10th step with two sober sisters of mine.  It’s a daily inventory sheet you complete at the end of the day and then you email it to each of them and they vice versa.  It’s an exercise that keeps me accountable to someone else besides me and God and so far its been great.  I’ve been doing it for four days now – come back to me in a week or two!

So, one of the questions on there is “Were we selfish?” and I am finding this to be quite the loaded question. As an Alcoholic I feel I’m quite selfish, about 85% of the time that is.  Selfish in that I normally want what I want – and that usually shows up in online shopping, or eating that cookie or chocolate pudding that I shouldn’t eat or getting an extra 15 minutes of Zzzz’s in the morning when I should be at the gym or at a morning meeting – that kinda selfish.  Recently though I found myself selfish at the Airport and I’m not sure it’s something that I should even share about as I'm not feeling okay about it, but isn't that what a daily inventory is for?  

We were on vacation last week and flew out to California, granted both flights were connections, so we had to change planes where it was 4 flights total. Each leg of the flight my husband and I cheated on our boarding Zones.   We were originally in Zone 4 or 5, but come boarding time for Zone 1 or 2 and we would scoot up in line and board with no issue.  Now, mind you we hadn’t done this before when we have traveled and I now feel responsible for the new shortcut.  Recently I traveled alone and felt justified in boarding earlier because I didn’t have my husband with me to help with my carry on bag.  So, when I got home and told him I cut through the boarding Zones, he kind of laughed it off.  Until last week when he said to me at boarding time, “C’mon lets board now”.  Instead of putting the brakes on it, I just followed him along like a good little wifey.   Like I was entitled to boarding earlier because I’m ME!  Clearly I gave him the idea and what’s worse is that I went right along with it.

It’s this kind of thinking that I feel is borderline for me not living a spiritual &  honest life.  It’s this kind of thinking that could get me in trouble down the road.  This blurred line of what is wrong and what is rightwill fester and grow and soon enough it will have me lying about really important things and then soon enough this dishonest living will have me wanting to pick up a drink.  I need to put the kabosh on this STAT.

Thank goodness I don’t need to fly again for another month – I’ll be sure to board in my Zone this time and I know I’ll feel much better for it.  Thank you to my Daily 10th Step!