What’s the biggest misconception about alcoholics you’d like to make known?
That we are broken as people.
What hurts you the most being an alcoholic in society today, if at all?
The pre-judgement and misconceived idea that one might assume about an alcoholic.
What’s the worst thing that happened to you when intoxicated?
My friend being murdered over a drug deal gone wrong.
Do you feel there is one way to get sober?
Not at all.
Are drugs a part of your story?
What was your drink of choice?
What age were you when you realized you were an alcoholic, if ever?
I realized my senior year in high school that I had the compulsion to drink and didn't want to stop. I didn't realize then that was alcoholism.
Why and how do you believe looking back you were able to get sober?
I was tired of being the victim and wanted to be the victor.
Is relapse apart of your story? If so, what did you do to get back to sobriety?
I got clean off of drugs before quitting alcohol. I had relapsed on drugs but hadn't stopped drinking. I have not relapsed on alcohol since my sobriety date of June 14th 2017.
What has the transformation been like for you?
I have made leaps and bounds in my life, in all aspects of my life. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
What has surprised you the most in sobriety?
That I can have fun in sobriety. Actually MORE fun in sobriety than when I was drinking and using.
What are the benefits to being sober?
Countless. Being free to go wherever, whenever I want to. Being able to be productive and move forward in life.
Define 'fun' now compared to what you believed 'fun' to mean when you were drinking?
I thought I was having fun because alcohol and drugs allowed me to take the mask off and be "myself". However, I was really just wearing a different mask. I used alcohol and drugs as an excuse to behave poorly. I'm finally discovering who I am truly and each day becoming more and more comfortable in the skin I'm in.
What age do you think we need to start conversations with kids about alcoholism?
Do you believe more preventive work needs to be done as a community with our youth? Absolutely. It was exposed to me at an early age and it helped me navigate better decisions at a point in my life.
Do you believe there is an unfair stigma around addiction?
Yes and no. I think people who have been hurt by people using become jaded from their hearts being broken. However, I do believe people do think it's something people can just stop doing. If it was that easy, I would have stopped a long time ago.
Do you believe anonymity hurts or helps?
I think if you feel comfortable telling your story, then tell it. I think it is important to respect that other people may not feel comfortable and that we should respect their anonymity at all costs.
Any advice for judges and sentencing?
It is a case by case basis.
Do you think you ‘became’ an alcoholic or were you born one, and why?
I was born one. Before I was old enough to abuse alcohol and drugs, I was abusing food.
What lasting impression stands out the most about your alcoholism?
It's something I have to work on each and everyday. I have to be proactive with my mental health just as much as I have to be with my spirituality and physical health. It's something I have to work on for the rest of my life.
What helped you the most early in recovery when you were still having cravings?
Exercise. Nature. Working a program of recovery.
Do you miss anything about alcohol and why?
I wish I could be social and have a glass of wine with friends, but the obsession is too strong for me to have just one of any alcoholic beverage.
When you stopped drinking did you pick up another addiction? If so, what was it and are you dealing with it still?
Sugar. I'm constantly battle my sweets/food addiction.
Do you hang out with others that still drink? If so, how does that make you feel?
Yes. I can't do it for long. I know when it's time for me to leave. Luckily, I have friends that don't drink. I try to have sober companions when I do go out.
Do your family members drink? If so, how does that make you feel?
There are members of my family that are alcoholics. I have to practice tools that I am learning in program of recovery. I pray for them, but I know I cannot help someone who doesn't want to be helped.
Do you believe it is important to involve family in recovery? If so, why?
Absolutely. Luckily, my family is extremely supportive in my recovery. They respect my boundaries (for the most part) and are extremely encouraging.
Do you believe your environment at home plays a part in your sobriety and how?
I think it absolutely does. I think the less temptation around you, the better. Especially in early sobriety.
Do you partake in fun non-alcoholic drinks in fun glassware?
Absolutely! I love sparkling water in a wine glass.
Would you partake in a cool sober bar venue with food/beverages and music if it were available (a Sober Venue)?
What words of advice would you like to give someone who is still suffering with alcoholism?
One moment at a time. Say yes to healthy things that make you uncomfortable. Get help professionally if you can. Find a program of recovery and give it a valiant effort.
What’s the best way to help an alcoholic who doesn’t want help?
Let them know that when they are ready you are there. Let them know that they are loved.
What was your occupation during your addiction? How did that change with sobriety?
I was in radio. On-air personality, sound engineer, and manager of two stations. I had to get out of that business in order to find sobriety. My job was extremely toxic.
"I believe helping others is the only way to build a positive self-esteem. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone reach a goal that they thought they would never achieve."
Samantha gave consent to share her first name. She chose to share her story by questionnaire and directed her portrait image.
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