You can easily get lost in an addiction, but you can also find the way back to yourself. For Carly, getting sober set off a series of events that led her back to a healthy and happy life.
One of the best things that happened after I got sober is that I got back in tune with my real self — the person I was before I started drinking. When I was drinking and using cocaine and other drugs, I had no real sense of self. I was constantly chasing the buzz or the high, which kept me from having any sort of relationship with who I was as a person, at my core.
Addiction was a gradual process for me, set off by a series of chain reactions. What I mean by that is once I started drinking a lot, I started going out to parties all the time. Once I started getting into the party scene, I started meeting people who started introducing me to other substances like ecstasy and cocaine. Once I started using cocaine and party drugs, I fell into the party lifestyle very quickly and began spiraling out of control.
From there, the alcohol and drugs started giving me anxiety and panic attacks. My anxiety, coupled with low self-esteem and low self-worth, just made me want to use to numb myself and escape even more. Then, one day in 2008, I suddenly realized that I had finally had enough of the domino effects and the vicious loop of addiction I was stuck in.
Even in the midst of my addiction, there was a small, still and constant voice that I began to hear that was telling me there had to be another way — something better. On August 17th, 2008, I finally listened to it as I prayed to God for a miracle. I never drank or used cocaine from that day forward.
Once I began my new path, I noticed that much like my addictions, my sobriety created its own series of chain reactions. However, this time, they led me down a very positive and empowering path.
Once I got sober, I started going to church a lot. I started reading the Bible and self-help books. I was getting better sleep and started building my confidence back up, one day at a time. I started to make better choices for myself and I started feeling better about myself.
I started working out and being conscious of how I was treating my body. I started doing yoga here and there. I could feel myself changing for the better and my friends started to notice the differences in my demeanor and even in my appearance.
From there, I eventually took a writing class and found hobbies I liked to fill my newfound spare time with. I took a liking to writing because it was an outlet and a way for me to process everything I was learning about myself through my sobriety. I applied my interest in writing and started a blog called “Miracles Are Brewing,” using my marketing knowledge, background and skills. I showed my work to a few people and I was met with an immediate, positive response that my words could really help others who might be struggling with addiction or substance use issues.
I finally mustered up the courage to share the blog publicly on my Facebook profile, which was met with an overwhelmingly encouraging response. I went on to create a page on Facebook so that I could share inspirational quotes that were helping me through the day. The next thing I knew, this passion project/hobby of mine, grew arms and legs. People started reaching out to me for advice about how to quit drinking. So, I started offering advice based on what I knew and what worked for me.
The inquiries for this coaching style of a relationship were an indication to me that this is something people really need help with. It was clear to me that the next step was to get proper training. I went on to get certified as a life coach with a Christian-based university and, from there, I went on to specialize in Sobriety Coaching.
As I took on more clients, I realized there was a link between anxiety and addiction and I wanted to learn more. I sought out training in Cognitive Behavior Therapy from the Beck Institute in order to help people work through their anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive behaviors and thoughts.
All the while, I was ramping up my yoga practice and was finding that yoga was such a necessary part of my recovery that I also wanted to share with others. I went on to train at the Baptiste Institute and received my 200 RYT certification with them so that I could teach yoga to others. Now, I’m teaching yoga and creating workshops that incorporate yoga into recovery practices.
Sobriety has also had a domino effect on my life — in a totally different way. Throughout my recovery, I have been led to my calling which is to help others find their own paths. I now teach yoga, write and coach people for a living. If I had not said “yes” to that voice telling me to choose something else and to become willing to do things differently, there is no doubt in my mind that I never would have found my purpose. I feel very fortunate to be able to wake up each day without feeling a hangover again. I get to work on things I love and that make me feel alive. I’m inspired all the time to create and to listen to my intuition.
My next big project is to create alcohol-free events to show people how to truly get high on their own supply. Om Vibes Only curates events that integrate yoga, electronic music, juices, dancing and conscious conversation. This new endeavor and mission came from that same willingness to get sober. Now, it’s willingness, and what often feels like an obligation or a call, to show other people that it can be done.
You can live without substances. You can find your purpose. You can change your life.
Chain reactions happen all the time. They can be a series of unfortunate events OR a series of tiny miracles. You do have a choice in what direction they go and I’m rooting for you to choose miracles.
Recovery at Home: Online AA & NA
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