In the tapestry of life, each thread symbolizes a challenge, a victory, a moment of despair, or a beacon of hope. Today, we share the journey of resilience and transformation that weaves together the rich, complex fabric of recovery. It's a story not just of battling addiction but of rediscovering oneself, embracing the power of community, and finding peace in acceptance and serenity. This narrative is a testament to the strength found in vulnerability, the courage to face one's fears, and the unyielding belief in the possibility of change.

Can you share a brief overview of your journey and what led you to seek a path of recovery or personal transformation?

I learned from a young age how to be alone and self preserve and when I discovered how drinking made me feel in my early teens i learned it was a way to escape my current reality even for a brief period of time. I never wanted to accept my reality as it was, I was always seeking to feel better or escape in some capacity. Alcohol was my solution to numb out trauma and relax and take it easy. In my 20s I would go on binges where I drank almost everyday for 6-12 months but I used to be able to put the drink down for 6-12 months at a time following that binge after resolving it was time to change. After being sober for a period of time however I would pick it up again when someone suggested something “fun” like going to a winery. Eventually I got to a point where I could not quit. In my late 20’s early 30’s it became a habit I could not break. I was a daily blackout drinker. Even when I wanted to stop I couldn’t on sheer willpower alone anymore. I got to a point in my life where I had used up every ounce of energy I had and inwardly felt like petrified wood. I was running through life like a hamster on a wheel going round and round doing the same thing (drinking) everyday not able to stop. God put several people in my life who were sober, I confided in them that I “struggled with alcohol” eventually the time came where I had enough of my bullshit and inability to stop drinking that I went to a 12 step program meeting with them.

Even at the end of my drinking before entering a 12 step program I was unwilling to admit I was an alcoholic. I knew I had a drinking problem but I didn’t feel like I had the stereotypical outward criteria of an alcoholic. I was accomplishing goals outside of my drinking, I had a great work ethic, I didn’t think I could have those things and be an alcoholic. It was in my second 12 step meeting where I heard other people who were share how once they start drinking they cannot stop and when they wanted to stop they couldn’t that I was able to identify and I knew I was in the right place.

It still took about 6 months of being in a 12 step program to get to a place of acceptance over my alcoholism. I stayed sober for 2 months and drank got sober again for almost 4 months and drank. My last drunk was not a good one. At the end of my drinking no matter how much I drank I wasn’t getting drunk. I had reached a point where I had to make a decision to go onto the bitter end drinking and drugging or to try sobriety for real. To accept that I cannot put any mind altering substances in my body safely. Once I truly accepted that I could no longer drink just one drink a massive wave of peace came over me that I cannot adequately describe. The serenity prayer made sense to me and was not just a cheesy slogan “god grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.”

What role has community played in your journey? How do you connect with others who are walking similar paths?

Coming into a 12 step program allowed me to learn how to accept care and love from other people. I had experienced a lot of trauma and violence in my life and I had built up a huge wall around myself in effort to self preserve. The community I’ve found in my 12 step program has softened me. It’s taken a while but my once rough jagged edges have become to soften over time and I’m learning how to trust people, accept their love, and find true friendship from people who want nothing from me.

Being in a 12 step program and gaining that community has allowed me the opportunity to connect with people who understand addiction and who I don’t have to explain myself to. They get how I couldn’t put the drink down even when I wanted to. I don’t have to try to explain that to them because they understand. To the outside world people don’t get it- how even though I wanted to stop I could not. Many people who aren’t addicts think “if they had the willpower they could stop” like I said before I had a lot of willpower- I was accomplishing great things in my life outside of my addiction- I don’t have to explain that to another addict. They get it because there are many like me in the rooms of 12 step programs.

In moments of doubt or hardship, what practices, beliefs, or mantras help you find strength and continue moving forward?

The serenity prayer is a staple for me. I say it in my mind upon awakening each day. It helps stabilize my mind that has a tendency to move a mile a minute. It allows me a moment to pause and be in the present moment.

I also like to meditate at night before going to sleep this helps to relax my mind and body and shake the tension I built up throughout the day.

When doubt, hardships or thoughts of drinking come in I remind myself what I was like right before I got sober. How I was drained of all life’s luster. I also remind myself that once I start I cannot stop- this especially helps when a thought of a drink pops in my mind as “fun” -

it might be “fun” one night and “fun” for “normies” but what’s not fun is having to continue the hell cycle of drinking everyday because I cannot stop once I start.

How have your experiences shaped your understanding of resilience, and what does being resilient mean to you personally?

Throughout my life many people have told me I am resilient but I never felt that way in my bones. Being sober now I can truly appreciate my resilience for all I have endured throughout my life. I used alcohol as a way of escape and I don’t hate myself for that- I truly appreciate all the younger versions of myself that did what they knew to survive and continue on. A lot could have taken me out, but I pressed onward despite poor coping mechanisms and I am truly so proud of myself for doing that and for being willing to embrace a life that didn’t involve mind altering substances and to get to a place of acceptance over the things I cannot change.

What advice would you give to someone at the beginning of their journey of recovery or self-improvement?

Be gentle with yourself. Willingness to change is all that is needed to start and to continue.

Is there a particular book, quote, or person that has been a significant source of inspiration and support for you?

I read something in a book by David Kessler that really impacted me he wrote something along the lines that part of the healing process when experiencing loss is that your grief needs to be witnessed. I always thought that meant someone else needed to understand my grief/trauma, what I realized in recovery is that the one who needed to witness it and acknowledge it all this time was myself. I had run away from truly ever witnessing my own grief by numbing out with alcohol. In sobriety parts of me that hurt for so long are beginning to heal simply by being witness to what I’ve experienced.

What message of hope or encouragement would you like to share with the ODAAT Apparel community?

If at first you don’t succeed try and try again.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience that might inspire or resonate with others in our community?

When I was in the last years of my drinking the accumulation of traumas I had experienced were no longer being numbed out by alcohol, it became the broth I marinated in every day. I call it my misery soup. I didn’t realize that acceptance over the things I cannot change was the tool I needed to climb out of the misery soup. I came to this realization when I put down the drink. My first year of sobriety was emotional - I used writing as a tool to process all the emotions I had drown out with alcohol for years. Writing helped me a lot. I would recommend anyone trying to get sober who doesn’t know what to do with all the new emotions to try writing out. It may help ground you as you walk this new unmarked path.

The path of recovery and self-improvement is unique for everyone, yet it's strewn with universal truths about the human spirit's indomitable will to overcome. Through the highs and the lows, the moments of doubt, and the milestones of success, it's the journey that molds us, teaching us the true meaning of resilience. To our ODAAT Apparel community, let this story be a reminder that you're not alone in your journey. Your struggles, your triumphs, and your steadfast resolve to try and try again are what make you profoundly resilient. As you don each piece of our apparel, remember it's more than fabric and thread; it's a symbol of your journey, your resilience, and your commitment to living one day at a time, with hope as your guide and transformation as your destination.