A new adventure!
Yesterday I registered for a 6-month intensive training course to become a Certified Recovery Coach through the Annie Grace THIS NAKED MIND INSTITUTE.
Annie’s book This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol was one of the most helpful tools to start my own sobriety journey three years ago. I always recommend it to anyone who has approached me for advice around their own alcohol issues. She is also the mastermind behind “Dry January” and “The 30-day Alcohol Experiment,” two widely popular online programs for the “sober-curious” and people who want to test drive a life without alcohol.
My emerging dream over the past year has been to create a wellness/healing community for women, including (but not limited to) women in recovery from addiction. I could see that my blog was a part of this dream, but it wasn’t clear to me how it would connect.
I am so excited! Judging by the e-stack (I think I made that word up) of initial material they sent me, this is going to be a lot of work! But it is exactly the direction I have felt my life heading.
Writing as therapy
When I started writing this blog one year ago, I didn’t know where it would lead. I just knew I had stories inside me that needed to get out. I had words that needed to reach the surface. They needed to be SEEN and WITNESSED.
Writing has always been a part of my life experience. When I was in high school I wrote poem after poem, the pages of my journal oozing with desperation and teen angst. I wrote about unrequited love and self-loathing; I wrote silly poems and lustful, dirty poems. They were magnificently trite and obvious, but I believed myself to be discovering the newness of these overused phrases and emotions. I read them aloud in front of polite judges at the 4-H county fair; I folded them into pointy shapes and dropped them into the lockers of older boys; I showed them to my parents in hopes I would receive the delicious praise I so craved.
Off and on in my adult years I have kept journals and written more frantic, aching poetry – trying to capture the vanishing emotions of a lover or put names and shapes to my struggling sense of self. These poems are tucked in a dusty folder somewhere or saved on an obsolete “floppy disk” at the bottom of a packing box. It’s probably best that they remain there.
Releasing the stories
About a year ago, I was attending a women’s circle surrounded by a group of soulful amazing women, most of whom I had just met. Our host gave us a prompt – to write about what POWER means to us. The words flowed from my pen – imagery and metaphor – and a light began to flicker inside me. I went home later that afternoon, sat down at the family computer and began to write. My stories came flooding out.
I first showed some of my writings to just a few close friends. I needed someone to read them and KNOW me. It was like having another person’s eyes on my words solidified their existence. My body felt lighter almost immediately. I had been dragging the weight of these untold stories for years, their mass accumulating each day, until there was nothing I could do but set them free.
My friends suggested that I start a blog. Admittedly, my first thought was “No Way! I can’t let these words see the light of day!” They felt too new, too raw, too sensitive. But the more these documents kept piling up on my computer, and the longer they cured in their manifested form, I began to feel compelled to make my writings public.
My first post was my “Origin Story,” (How I became free from alcohol), published on January 30, 2020. I was honest and vulnerable in the telling of it. I felt like there was nothing to be gained by softening the truth. I had to start from a place of realness if my writings were going to mean anything to me or anyone else.
I didn’t know if anyone would read it or if anyone would care. But hitting the “Publish” button on that first blog post was both a visceral relief and a thrilling rush.
The next chapter
So here it is – one year later – and this journey of writing has brought me to the doorstep of my next chapter in life.
For me, this Recovery Coach training will provide the content and skills (as well as identifiable credentials, other than Been There, Done That) of how to support women who want to find their personal power and take control of their lives.
Women carry all sorts of trauma, from major things like abuse and grief to everyday traumas such as low self-esteem, loss of purpose, mom guilt, etc. There is a need for us to have a safe space to explore our emotions, connect and collaborate, and find personal transformation. So many women have reached out to me after I started my blog, seeking guidance or encouragement towards their own recovery or just to relate on an emotional level. And women of all stages in life need circles of connection, support groups, and meaningful friendships that go beyond Happy Hour or Moms Night Out. I want to create a space where women can connect, collaborate and find support for their own recovery journeys – whether from addiction, divorce, trauma, grief, transition, or whatever else life throws at us.
Becoming a Recovery Coach fills in the gaps towards making my dream a reality. It gives me a “verb” (coaching) to activate my list of “nouns” (women’s support groups, wellness and transformation workshops, fabulous retreats in foreign lands) that I want to provide.
Keep reading the blog! I’ll post all about my progress in this new adventure right here. 🦄