Did you get a sponsor yet?

That was the $64,000 question I kept hearing when I walked into the rooms.  I didn’t really know what a Sponsor was, but I was so annoyed that everyone kept asking me that it definitely pushed me to get one sooner rather than later.

In my first week of sobriety I went to my first women’s meeting, as it was suggested for me to do, and that’s where I found my first sponsor.  She was a nice lady who said Hi to me in the bathroom.  First Sponsor had a nice outfit on, her smile made me feel at home and she was about the same age as me. Also, she had this confidence and air about her that made me feel relaxed and calm.  Moreover, when I heard her share at the meeting she shared about her anger towards her husband and how he pissed her off so much she fled the house and checked into the most expensive hotel in town – I knew right then and there, I wanted her to be my Sponsor.  I related to that feeling of “F you” and I’ll do whatever I damn well please.  She was exactly what I needed in my first year of recovery. 

However, no one sat me down and told me how to find a sponsor and what to look for.  I didn’t get the crash course in “how to sponsor shop”.  I’m over 11 years sober now and I’ve moved at least four times in sobriety -- so I’ve had a few sponsors.  I wanted to share my cliff notes on what I look for when I’m “sponsor shopping” hoping I’ll be able to help someone else in their quest for a new, or first time sponsor.

1.    You need to want what they have:  I was told this early on in recovery and I didn’t understand what it meant until I did.  I was probably about 45 days sober when I realized that I was surrounded by very good sobriety, specifically the women. They all had double digit sobriety, there were about 7 of them in our Fellowship, and they exuded confidence, grace, wisdom and God in their daily life - I referred to them as the “Spiritual Goddesses” because I wanted what they had.  All those women are still sober today and ladies that I am lucky to call friends.  

2.    Find out if they have a sponsor:  I didn’t know this when I asked my first sponsor.  But it’s important to know that your Sponsor is being sponsored and runs a program as well.  How can they work the steps with you if they too aren’t being active in their own program?  There are many folks in the rooms that don’t work the steps or have a sponsor.  Somehow they can still stay sober, but I usually don’t want what they have.  I want to have a sponsor who is actively working a program and seems to put her program first – that’s the most important thing to me. 

3.    How much sober time do they have?: This is another question I didn’t ask my first sponsor – however, it didn’t matter to me at the time.  However, I think it’s usually important to make sure they have more time in the program than you do.  It’s not a must have, but it makes the sponsor/sponsee relationship more even-keeled.  I started sponsoring my first sponsee when I was eight months sober and she had under 30 days.  It was kind of a fluke, but I took this young gal under my wing and she started calling every day and within a week or so she asked if I’d sponsor her.  It took me by surprise as I didn’t feel qualified to do so, but my sponsor had commented to me that I hmad more time than her and was already mid-way through my steps and that one of the most important pieces of the program was our service to others.  It was such a great experience for me as I learned early on the how to be a good sponsor to someone else.

4.    Find out how they work their program:  Some sponsors like to take you through the Big Book and read it with you and highlight and disucss and do the corresponding step work.  Some like to take you through the 12 x 12 (12 steps and 12 traditions) and some have their own methods using AA or even non AA approved literature.  This is an important question to find out as it may dictate to you whether or not this person would be a good fit for you.  In turn, I would also ask them “What do they expect from you?”  Some sponsors like you to call them daily or weekly and meet each week.  While others may be more easy going – it’s really just a preference as to what “kind” of sponsor you may need at the time. Some of us like discipline and rigidity and thrive in that kind of relationship.  On the other hand, some of us won’t take so easily to that approach and will want a little more softer and gentler approach.  Make sure you find what suits your needs for your recovery.   

5.    Find someone who is a good match with you:  This suggestion may seem a bit off base, but personally, I’ve found it easier to bond with a sponsor who has the same life situation that I may have.  In the beginning, I was single for a while and felt I had a stronger bond with my sponsor that also was single.  Then when I got into a relationship I sought out a sponsor who had been in, or was currently in, a sober relationship so I could go to her with my relationship questions – because let’s face it, getting into a relationship in early sobriety (which for me was a little over a year in) is much more challenging than when we were drinking.  Alternatively, I found too when I was sponsoring that it was easier for me to offer my experiences as a single, or now married, woman in recovery.  Since I’ve never been a Mom and haven’t had any kids, it’s been more challenging for me to sponsor women that have had children, as I wasn’t able to offer any sober life experiences to them. 

Sponsorship is a little like dating.  It’s finding that perfect person who will inspire you and lift you up.  That person that will make you want to be a better human and push you to the limits of your character.  If you have a sponsor who doesn’t want the best for you and who isn’t available to you, I would strongly suggest getting a new one.  There is no right or wrong kind of sponsor to have – just as long as you get one.  And sometimes the timing could be for a few weeks, a couple of months, or years  - it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have one.  I don’t feel bad when I have had to switch sponsors either, as each new sponsor is placing different stepping stones along my recovery path.  I truly believe that God has put specific woman in my life at exactly the right time.

Each new experience with these women strengthens my recovery and makes me feel like I fit in and belong.  And isn’t that what we all strive for? That sense of belonging and completeness?  Pretty sure that’s what makes me keep coming back.  

Writers and Stuff I love !

I started a new job this past week and my life has been so busy I haven't had much time to blog.  I'm working on a piece now about Sponsorship that I'll post by the end of the week, but until then, I wanted to share a blog I posted a few years ago when I discovered Kelly Corrigan, an amazing writer who hails from my home town of Wayne, PA.  You know you are real writer, when discovering a new one gets you so excited! 

I'm one of those people that gets super excited when I discover a new writer. Like you know when you find $10 in your jeans pocket from last week excited? Or when you realize the SEPTA train conductor didn't come and punch your fare ticket excited? Or when you find a $300 handbag for $75 at TJ Maxx excited? Or when you come home from work and your husband has made dinner for you excited? (well, no that rarely happens), but, no, my writer excitement is better than any of that. My writer excitement is like getting a big refund from the IRS excitement (which by the way hasn't happened to me EVER - I'm a horrible money manager!)

Anywho, I'm mid-way through my latest writer discovery book of "The Middle Place" by Kelly Corrigan. Kelly hails from Radnor, PA - even better - a local! Ironically I was turned on to Kelly by my 18 year old niece Katie who sent me a snippet of Kelly from YouTube where she had read her piece Transcending Words on Women and Strength - circa Dec 2008. I started crying when I listened to her share the story she wrote. She stared out speaking about her Mom and her Mom's group of friends called "The Pigeons" and how they'd summer in Avalon, drink their Chardonnay, play bridge and tennis and vowed they were friends for life. It reminded me of my Mom and her "Golden Girls" group of friends. That's what we (my brother, sister and me) called my Mom's friends. A bunch of divorced women who were as tight knit as a Fair Isle sweater. It made me cry so much I had to stop listening to it. Its taken me a week to go back and google Kelly's YouTube snippet again and I finally listened to it from start to finish. I still cried. It made me want to call Kelly, light a cigarette and gab with her about my Mom's group of friends and how amazing they are, and how they too had a shore house every summer in Avalon for 20 years, and how they too played Bridge every other Tuesday evening and tennis on the weekends .... and I wanted to tell her how much I miss my Mom and how much I wish I could have 10 more minutes with her - as I remember her. I'd tell her what an amazing Mom she was to us and how I'm forever in her debt for all she taught me and tell her how I think of her every day and how when I look at pictures of her I realize how beautiful she is.

The past couple of weeks have been challenging with Mom's sharp decline. It happened so quickly and so suddenly that there was no time to tell her, not that she would have understood, but at least she knew who I was 3 weeks ago. Today she is living in slow motion and barely surviving. She needs assistance with all everyday functions; eating, walking, speaking..and yes even smiling. I read an article today on Yahoo that said Dementia is going to triple by 2050, I can only hope that God spares me from the disease, as living through it now with Mom is hard enough, I can't imagine having a repeat performance in the years to come. All I know is I miss my Mom and nothing can take that pain away...not even finding a new and amazing writer, but it sure eases the pain. Thank You Kelly.

This original post was written in May 2011.

Lying to get your dream job

To lie or not to lie? That is the question when looking for a new job while currently employed isn’t it? I mean there is so much chatter in the world about being honest - white lies are just as big as the normal lies, honesty is the best policy, be true to yourself, and on and on.  But when I’m looking for a new job, which I have been (a job not associated with the writing world), I have to lie to my current employer about why I won’t be working that day.  Let me break this down into bullet points so its easier for me to justify the Lying Game to get ahead.

5 myths about Lying in order to get a better job:

Its best to look for another job when you have a job:  Yes this is the age old theory that it is easier to look for another job when you are employed.  However, the fact that you have to lie to your current boss to go interview elsewhere is just as uncomfortable. How many times can you say that your in-laws are in town visiting, or that you are receiving an out-patient procedure for your female issue, or that you are sick – again. 

Inflating your experience on your resume: In having to update my resume to include all the miraculous things I’ve accomplished since my last job, I always seem to add a little bit more than what I feel I’ve actually achieved – however, I do know that the longer I stay in my career, the more I do learn – but I always feel like I should be accomplishing and learning more, like if I was working at Google or Amazon it would glow like a well lit Christmas Tree on my resume and would surely show how great I am.  This is where I need to be as honest as possible, because I don’t want to find myself interviewing for a job that I know I’m not qualified for. That’s just career suicide.

Adding $$ to your current compensation: This one too is tricky, because I’ve had those employers ask, “Can you share your W2 from last year ?” Yikes, then what do you do? So I’ve just learned to inflate my total compensation about 5% because no one wants to stay at the same level when it comes to their compensation package.  If my new employer wants me bad enough to join their company, they’ll pay me for what I’m worth, and that is usually more than what I’m making currently, so I generally don’t sweat this one.  But who doesn’t want to make more money?

Offering a list of your References: This one is always so bogus to me, because who gives a list of references where no one is going to say that you are the best colleague they’ve ever had? And that they learned so much from you that they are naming their first born after you.  Don’t most of our references on our list just love us? The strategy for said employer will always be getting that third-party reference where they reference someone who isn’t on your list.  Someone that worked at XYZ company when you did and that same someone is currently dating your secretary, that is the reference they really want to get insight from.  

When you give your Two Weeks notice:  The last two jobs I’ve resigned from both wanted me to stay on for four weeks, WTH? I think I compromised for one and stayed on for three weeks, but my head is not in the game-at all.   I’m basically doing the bare minimum I can to wrap up my projects while I’m really just wanting to be at my new job.  Or at home catching up on my Bravo reality show and going to Yoga every morning. However, I have had employers tell me to pack up that day and don’t let the door hit me in my ass while I grab my coffee mug from the kitchen. 

I think when you quit, you quit.  Clean break, let me finish out my day and adios to you.  No need to linger on – because my job in the scheme of things is not that important,  I’m not ending world hunger or finding a cure for cancer; those folks should probably give four week's notice.  We need them. 



Rehab Reviews at AfterParty - Thanks for sharing my story!

People get sober in all sorts of ways. Sometimes they just quit on their own. Sometimes they go to rehab. They show up in 12-step rooms, ashrams, churches and their parents’ basements. There is no one right way—something we’ve aimed to show in our collection of How I Got Soberstories. While we initially published these as either first person essays by our contributors or as interviews with anonymous sober folks, we eventually began to realize that there were other stories to tell: yours. This is our reader spotlight and this, more specifically, is Nancy.

When did you get sober?

May 11, 2014

Where did you get sober?

Encinitas, CA (San Diego)

When did you start drinking? 

Age 13

How would you describe your life before you quit drinking?  

Chaotic. Miserable. Self-indulgent. Trivial. Living the double life, hoping no one would find out and trying to fit in.  Numerous geographics, jobs, men—anything to fill the void.

What was your childhood like?

It was fairly happy, I never wanted for anything. I was the middle child of three in a middle class suburban home. However, I grew up CIA: Catholic, Italian and Alcoholic.
Nothing really happened that fueled my desire—I just wanted to drink and grow up quickly. I saw others using alcohol daily, so it was something that seemed normal to me. I couldn’t wait to grow up and see what the fuss was all about. When I had my first drink—Ahhh…I got it. I knew what the pull was. For me it was instant relief, confidence and F everyone else.

Do you remember the first time you thought you might have a problem?

In addition to continual drinking, I also had a bit of a cocaine problem that started at age 19. I knew I had a problem, I just learned how to live with it. I got my first DUI at 32 and my second DUI (that got me sober) at 37.

How did you rationalize your drinking? 

I rationalized it by the people that I surrounded myself with. They were as bad—or worse—than me.  Except for occasions like when I had a childhood friend visit me and she made a comment like, “Gosh, I need a week to detox after visiting you.”

What do you consider your bottom?

Getting my second DUI was the one that really made me re-examine my life and how I ended up where I was. It took me six weeks to get to an AA meeting. I only went because my attorney had suggested it. I wasn’t thinking that I wanted to get sober, I just wanted the heat off. However, going to that meeting made me realize that people actually get and stay sober and that there is another way to live. I realized that everything bad that had ever happened to me was because of my drinking and drugging—it was my moment of clarity and it hit me hard.

Did you go to rehab?

No. I didn’t want anyone to know what was going on in my life, especially my employer.

Did you go to AA? 

Yes and I continue to go.
At first, I needed to be there to get the court card signed, but what I heard at my first meeting was hope. I left there and drank for the next week and that’s when I had my moment of clarity. I decided to go back and give the AA recovery thing a shot. I was all out of options. I still go to AA and I work with a sponsor. I sponsor other women and I’m grateful for the people in AA who have helped me along the way. I’ve moved four times in sobriety and each time I get to meet new people in a fellowship that understands me and wants to help. Where else can you find that?

What do you hate about being an alcoholic? 

The stigma that is attached to it—the feeling that people think we are less than and that we aren’t worthy.

What do you love about being an alcoholic? 

That I finally figured out what was wrong with me. I have a design for living now and if I follow that, I’m pretty sure I’ll stay sober and have a pretty darn good life.

What are the three best tools you have acquired to stay sober and happy? 

Going to meetings, working the steps, prayer and meditation (that’s four, but you get the gist).

Do you have a sobriety mantra? 

“Keep coming back” and “One day at a time.”

What is the most valuable thing that has happened to you in recovery? 

My most valuable things are internal. I’ve regained self-respect. I like myself today—that alone is huge for me. I’m grateful that I am not lying and manipulating to get what I want anymore.

Have you worked the 12 steps? What is your opinion on them? 

I have worked the steps about seven times in my sobriety and I love them. They have helped me in so many areas of my life, not just spiritually, but emotionally and mentally. They’ve shaped me into being a better person. I don’t understand why anyone would join a 12-step program if they aren’t going to work the steps. That’s just my opinion, but I think they are a great tool and guide for anyone in recovery. I’m not an AA Nazi, and I don’t think it’s the only way to get sober, but I just know what worked for me. I’m truly grateful for the steps and for AA.

If you could offer a newcomer or someone thinking about getting sober any advice, what would it be? 

Get honest with yourself and don’t be scared. Being true to yourself and having courage is the first step in getting sober. Get to an AA meeting, call SMART Recovery or go to your local church—wherever you need to go. Just get real and take that first step.

The Fix shared My Story - wanted to share with you.

My Sobriety Story

By Nancy Carr 10/08/15
I don’t need a drink to manage my life. I get to have choices today—healthy choices on who I want to be, not who alcohol and cocaine want me to be.  
Nancy Carr
via author
I got drunk for the first time at age 13 at a teenage drinking party in Avalon, NJ. There was a large punchbowl filled with grain alcohol jungle juice. I was eager to try alcohol, as it was a constant in our household growing up. I wanted to be cool and fit in—to feel a part of something. But it was never the taste that made me chase alcohol; it was the effect—the buzz. The effect that it produced in me is one that I loved and looked forward to.
When I tried cocaine at age 16 for the first time—it was euphoric. And that combination of alcohol and cocaine together, it was like BAM!—I’ve arrived! Within a few years, I was dating the local cocaine dealer and my usage increased. My 20s were a bit of a blur and wild, and by 30 I had become a “recreational” weekend cocaine user and daily drinker. I also had a thriving career, so I was considered a high-functioning alcoholic. I was able to make my weekend drug use and daily drinking work within my lifestyle, as I only hung out with others that drank and used the way I did. I thought I was your typical party girl and by age 32, I had racked up my first DUI. I had also moved over 22 times during these years and would keep jobs for 2-3 years until I knew they’d find me out. I was able to maintain pretty well, but I knew I had a problem, I just didn’t really care.
Alcohol and cocaine were the two things that made me feel normal and happiest. They were my solution. 
In November 2003, I was drunk and typing in my journal about how messed up my life was. I knew I needed help, but I was too scared to ask anyone. A few months later, at age 37, I received my second DUI in San Diego—a town I had been living in for the past few years—and sitting in that jail cell for 11 hours really made me think that I needed to do something different.
In May 2004, urged by my attorney, I walked into an AA meeting. I left that meeting and quicker than you can say alcoholic, I went out and drank for a week. During that week, I had my moment of clarity. My first real "Aha!" moment; I realized that everything bad that had ever happened to me during my life was from drinking and drugging. I figured I had nothing to lose and that maybe I’d want to give the sobriety thing a try. So, that’s what I did. I had heard "Hope" in that first meeting and I clung onto that hope and walked into recovery with complete blind faith. I had no idea what to expect as I knew nothing about sobriety.  
I got sober the AA way; 90 meetings in 90 days. I got a sponsor, I worked the steps and I did what the woman in recovery told me to do. I didn’t want anyone in my family or corporate life to know what I was doing, so treatment wasn’t an option for me. I’m grateful I got sober the way I did and I’m so appreciative of the Fellowship where I got sober. I wouldn’t change a thing. AA doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s just what worked for me. 
I’ve been able to live life today free from the bondage of alcohol and drugs. I don’t hang out in seedy places, I don’t get DUIs, I don’t wake up in stranger’s beds and I don’t have to wonder what happened the night before and who I pissed off. I have been able to get married in recovery and share my journey with someone else who gets me and who is also in recovery. I rescued my constant companion dog, Lucy, and she brings me so much joy. I have been able to maintain and make new friendships—I get to live and participate in my life today. The freedom I have today is just amazing and the fact that I get to live my life today without lying, manipulating, cheating and stealing is all just gravy to me.  
I am just so happy that I don’t have to drink today. I am a strong supporter of AA and helping others and being of service. I am grateful I don’t need a drink to manage my life and that I get to have choices today—healthy choices on who I want to be, not who alcohol and cocaine want me to be.   
As Sir Elton John once said in an interview, “My biggest accomplishment in my life is getting sober, it’s not the Grammys, the money, being Knighted or how many records I’ve sold, it’s my sobriety!”
That drunken journal entry turned into a memoir that I recently launched via Kindle, Last Call, A Memoir. It’s a story of my experience, strength and hope. My hope is that I can help someone—anyone—that may be able to relate to my life as a “social party girl” and realize that they too have a chance at a better life. A life where they will be able to wake up in the morning and have dignity, integrity and self-love—because that’s what living a clean and sober life has given me. I also have a blog where I write weekly about living a life of recovery. 
This blog was originally published in The Sobriety Collective.
Feel free to check out Nancy's website: www.lastcall2015.blogspot.com and you can find her book, Last Call, a Memoir on Amazon Kindle

Transformation is real.com

Check out my post on this very cool site - http://transformation-is-real.com/blog

The Time I almost slipped.

Dan's Note: I reached out to Nancy Carr the minute I read this story. I told her that I HAD to have it on my site. To me, it shows that any of us are as close to the ditch as anyone else along the path of recovery. I'm going on five years now—God willing—but I have to keep in mind that I could fall. I don't want that to happen! So, thank you, Nancy, for your story of how close you really came to losing it all—we all need it to remind us of all we stand to lose if we pick up again.   --   DTSM, Daniel D. Maurer

It was during the economic downturn when I found myself without a job and no steady income. 

A friend in the fellowship came to me about an opportunity—one where I could have free room and board, my own private room, and I would be able to keep Lucy, my wonderful little Boxer rescue pup.


By this point in my life, I was almost five years sober and I ran a good program—I had a sponsor, worked the steps, and I did what I was supposed to. I thought I had my shit together. It was an easy decision to make, and within two weeks I moved into a gorgeous, five bedroom, fully-furnished home. It even had a pool and ocean view! It was like moving into my own private Golden Door Spa home . . . until the sober housemates showed up, the clients I was supposed to manage.
Our first was fresh from the local 28-day rehab. She was as fresh as a nineteen-year-old girl could look: dewy perfect skin; gorgeous, healthy hair—she was an attractive woman, and soft spoken. From my view, she didn’t look like she had ever spent a minute with a needle in her arm. I wouldn't have guessed that she had been a heroin addict.


The management of the sober-living home soon found out that most young, female addicts were just that: heroin-addicted on the inside, but still sparkling-fresh on the outside. None of these young girls resembled skid-row heroin addicts, sent off to treatment and the sober house by their parents, none of them seemed to want what I had. During my ten months as house manager, there were five young women in particular—all attractive, all addicts—who were all very good liars, cheats and manipulators.

(Isn’t that what addicts are? You bet your fake-urine, drug test they are!)

I had had to learn the ropes the hard way. The owner and I soon figured out that they were buying fake pee and that they were in cahoots with their housemates and would trade pee when needed. When we caught on to the fake pee scam, we decided to follow them into the bathroom and watch them go. We learned that you could insert a tube containing the fake stuff into your vagina and pop it with a pin to give you a steady urine stream.
Clever girls.
We also had to dole out their Suboxone® individually and watch them dissolve it in each of their mouths, since they all were swapping pills with each other. One girl came back from a weekend pass saying she had caught the flu from her Mom and that she was really ill. Within a day we realized she was dopesick. We had to kick her out of the house as it was her third strike. She had had a few months clean prior to that relapse. Sad stuff.
“. . . [J]ust when I started to think that I was becoming a friend to some of them — thinking, ‘Nah! She wouldn’t lie to me’ — they spun their addict web of lies. ”
We also had women in the house that were more "traditional." As alcoholics trying to find recovery, they really wanted to get sober. These women were a little older; they had more life experience. However, some would try and hide their drinking. But their relapses weren’t as routine as the H-girls'. 
We also performed random breathalyzer and drug tests—it was a revolving door of wondering who was high and who wasn’t. Since I was the House Manager of the home, I was privy to everyone’s schedule; I was normally driving them around to meetings, (or to job interviews, or to the gym) but I developed friendships with some of them—and just when I started to think that I was becoming a friend to some of them — thinking, 'Nah! She wouldn't lie to me'— they spun their addict web of lies. That job had me feeling like I was an ER Doc: like I was on call 24/7 (even on my days off). Let me tell you—that job provided no rest! Let me give you a sample of what I went through:


  • She didn’t make curfew!
  • She needs a ride to work tomorrow!
  • She needs to visit her Mom!
  • She and so-n-so got into a fight!
  • Lucy ate her stuffed animal. You gotta come home! And on and on it would go.
It got to a point where my own sanity and sobriety were at risk. I couldn’t go to a meeting and share about what was going on with me; nor could I confide in anyone at the house. My sponsor was on speed dial, as were my other sober sisters. I soon heard the alarming statistic that anyone working in the recovery industry (which I was) may have a higher chance of relapse! Eeeek!
I knew I had to kick up my recovery a few notches. I refocused on me and my program more. I went to Boss Lady and confided in her that I needed to really take care of myself and my program. The last thing any of us wanted was a drunken House Manager. I never really wanted to drink, but I had access to the safe where we kept all the medication and some of the pills were addictive. I thought: a little harmless pill would be nice – just to take the edge off. 
That thinking churned around in my head. Luckily, someone else would relapse, and I’d be jarred back to the reality of the disease: 
. . . and it was happening every day right under my nose.

After ten months, my life took a drastic turn: I was summoned by my family to move back east and assist with my ailing mother.
It was January. Packing up my stuff and moving wasn’t something I was longing for. But I’d much rather take care of my own mother, than continue to try to be "Mother" to some who weren’t ready. I have stayed in touch with some of the young women from that home, although many still needed to live out their own journey . . . of addiction and recovery.
I've heard that most of them are now clean and sober. 


Weekend in DC: a Rally, F2F meetings and LOVE

I came to DC this weekend with no idea what to expect and to say that any or all of my expectations were surpassed - would be a huge understatement.  Forget the fact that this Floridian transplant was cold upon arrival and within hours had to flee to H&M for jacket, gloves and socks.  I definitely had some spiritual experiences – to say the least. Arriving earlier than planned on Friday evening, I was anticipating how it all would go down and as usual, God has other plans. No expectations with anything and that proved to serve me well.

Saturday early afternoon, I attended the FedUp Rally at the Washington Monument, where the mission was to create and showcase a voice to call for an end to the epidemic of addiction - attributed to opioids, heroin and other prescription drugs.  I sadly only stayed for only 30 minutes or so, because I’m a wimp and had to vamoose to get some warmer clothes.  However, attending this rally really drove home the fact that Heroin/Opioids is a BIG problem in our society.  Every 3 out of 4 Heroin addicts start out as pill addicts, a figure I find quite astonishing.  The amount of parents that were there with their child’s face on a poster was too many.  And even saying too many isn’t giving the real statistic its due justice.

Saturday at 4 pm brought me to the Argonaut Restaurant in DC, where Jake Parent had a panel to showcase his recently launched book, “Hearts and Scars:  10 Human Stories of Addiction”  http://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Scars-Human-Stories-Addiction-ebook.   Jake had an amazing panel that included fellow contributors,  Chris Aguirre of Klen & Sober, www.sincerightnow.com, Kelly Fitzgerald www.thesobersenorita and  Nicola O’Hanlon, Editor in Chief of www.iloverecovery.com  - who came to this event all the way from Ireland!  The panel gave us additional insight into their stories and then Jake closed down the hour with some audience participation - a one minute rapid fire to share “Your Story” - it was great, smart and hilarious!

An hour or so after the panel, the who’s who of sober bloggers, (penned by Anna David) and then some, ascended upon us while the Argonaut served us some amazingly tasty dishes, friend macaroni and cheese balls seemed to be calling my name.  It was here that I was able to meet - in person-  the amazingly talented group of writers and bloggers; Anna David, Veronica Valli, Holly Whittaker, Laura McKowen, Laura Silverman, Magz Shores, Jo Black Sullivan and Jason Smith (I think that’s everyone?).  The evening continued on with a band and some Karaoke sung by our own Laura Silverman.

Sunday morning brought me to a 7:30 am SoulCycle experience with the hip Holly Whittaker and lovely Laura McKowen that left me breathless and fulfilled.  It was then onto breakfast with some cool sober folks and walking around DuPont Cirlce to do some more shopping, only to be followed by an amazing lunch at some great restaurant (that I can't remember the name of) with some newer notable people and then lastly onward to the Rally.  Upon entering the Rally area, I was able to mill about at the booths and tables that were set up and visit with some of the fabulous folks from the prior evening.  As the excitement started to rise with the start of the concert at 4, I was able to hang with my partner in crime for the day, Anna David, and hunker down in the warm and cozy VIP area - which was an added bonus.  I was star struck with some of the sober celebs, but mainly surprised at how humble they all were.  No fan fare with them.  We are all just a bunch of drunks and addicts who are rallying for the same cause #endthestigma #unitingforaddiciton.  

Being able to jam out and rock on with such notables as, Joe Walsh, Sheryl Crow and the Goo Goo Dolls - I was struck with the realization of how freakin awesome it is to be part of such an amazing movement.  I felt so blessed to be included in this Fellowship and even more grateful that I’m able to participate in my life today and see that recovery does work – as it was shown to me over the weekend.  And it also works for over 23 million Americans - some of which I’m glad decided to converge in DC this weekend.  

The real camaraderie of being there with thousands of others uniting to end the stigma of addiction was historical - as well as momentous.  I’d like to say it was maybe even life changing and clearly I think all who attended the Rally knows just how that feels.

Thanks Ravishly.com for sharing!

I’m lucky because I got sober at my second AA meeting. After my first meeting, I ran home and drank for five days straight. I came back and decided to give the sobriety thing a shot. I’m one of the lucky ones, in that I haven’t had a desire to go back out and test my disease. However, I’ve been around the program of AA for a while and sadly, I’ve seen a lot of relapse and even worse, I’ve seen a lot of suicide and death due to the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction. Through my journey of sobriety I’ve had a pretty good ride, but let's face it, life gets lifey— whether or not I’m in recovery. The most challenging things are the things that have strengthened my recovery. I’ve gone through a couple breakups before meeting my now husband and I thought going through that was the worst thing possible. I had nothing to numb the pain, and what they don’t tell you in early sobriety is that you get to feel every emotion and live through life each day. The icing on the cake, and there is a lot of cake (literally) when you get sober, is that you get to come out the other side a better version of yourself. When I lost my mom a few years ago, that was very challenging — but again, life happens and I did what I needed to do to maintain my sobriety. Time and time again, I fall back on these five things — they have without a doubt sustained my recovery, and I’m so grateful that I just keeping putting one foot in front of the other. 

One of the things that was imperative in me getting and staying sober was getting a sponsor. In early recovery, I often heard “did you get a sponsor yet?” So when I was a couple weeks sober, I got one and she was amazing. She was exactly what I needed at that time. She was there for me, took me through the steps andshe got me I could tell her anything and not feel judged or ridiculed. I’ve switched sponsors a few times, as I’ve moved around a bit, but I’ve always had one and each one of those women have been lifelines for me. I don’t know where I’d be without them. 
I came to my first AA meeting to get my court card signed for my second DUI. I didn’t go there because I wanted to. However, I kept coming back, and very early on in my recovery, I liked going to meetings. They spoke my language and understood me. I found my tribe in AA. My closest friends and confidantes are all from AA. I met my husband at an AA meeting (not sure I would recommend that, but that’s a whole other conversation). In moving around a lot in sobriety, I’ve been able to walk into any meeting in any part of the country and feel “at home,” as we like to say. It’s an integral and sustaining part of my recovery, and I’m forever grateful to the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Phone Therapy
Early on in recovery, a lot of women would give me their phone numbers and tell me to call them. I thought to myself, “Why on earth am I calling you? What is in it for me?” That’s how I thought about most things before I got sober: what do I get out of this? I soon realized picking up that 100-pound phone was the best way to get out and share what was going on with me. It was a mini-meeting. Today I talk to at least two women per day about what’s going on with me and vice versa, and it's been a lifesaver for me. A few years ago I wanted to drink. I was having a very bad time in my life and just said, “F*&K this noise — I wanna drink.” I called my sober bestie and she came right over and picked me up and took me out for coffee. I didn’t drink that day. The colossal problem I had at the time took care of itself, and I didn’t need to drink over it — because I called someone.
Prayer & Meditation
An important part of my daily serenity comes from prayer and meditation. Besides the fact that it’s part of the Twelve Steps, it’s now just a normal part of my daily life and routine. Every morning (or most), I read from a couple spiritual books, pray, and then take about 5-7 minutes to meditate. Each evening I say a quick prayer and thank God for keeping me sober. That’s it. The simpler I keep it, the easier it is for me to maintain.
Have Fun!
I admit getting sober wasn’t that much fun, but the benefits of being sober and living a life with freedom and unlimited possibilities are so amazing it's almost too difficult to put into words. During my first year of sobriety, I was asked to go see one of my favorite bands — however, now I was sober. How was this experience going to be? I was apprehensive and scared, and hoping I’d have as much fun as I’d had pre-sober days. I went and it was amazing — I didn’t have to worry about making sure I had enough to drink, how much money I was going to spend or losing my friends at the show, or worse yet, driving home wasted after the concert. I was able to be present and participate in the concert and enjoy the moment.

Getting sober and staying sober are two different animals. I truly believe sobriety is a gift, because when I’ve had a shitty day, I wanna go drink. I’d be lying if I said I don’t think about drinking, because I do. I don’t know why I haven’t had a relapse. I can’t explain that, but what I can explain is that if I keep doing the daily things listed above, I am pretty sure I will have a decent chance of staying sober that day.