- Friends & Family
Julie R. celebrates 13 years in long-term recovery on 7/13/17.
My name is Julie R. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a runner and a flight attendant. I am also in long-term recovery from alcoholism. Everything in my life changed after I got sober.
I grew up in an alcoholic family. I always knew I had a problem with alcohol but it took me many years of destructive behavior before I finally sought help. My marriage was failing, I was losing the respect of my children, I experienced frequent blackouts, I had two DUIs that included jail time– yet I continued to drink. I became a flight attendant at the age of 21 and from that point forward, my life and my layovers revolved around drinking. Sometimes that drink was at a bar in London, a café in Paris, or a pub in Ireland. It all sounds so glamorous, but near the end, most of my drinking was done alone in my room.
As my drinking progressed, more things started to happen. At one point I saw moving as a way out– it seemed to be my only option. I thought that if I could change the scenery, the people, or the location where I worked, then I could start over. The only problem was that everywhere I went, there I was. Unless I was ready and willing to change, my life as I knew it would not change.
The point of recovery came for me when I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. That is when I lost my entire sense of self. My entire life and layovers were consumed by alcohol. I was living a double life and it was taking everything I had to keep up the charade.
I just couldn’t do it anymore. It was through my determination and my will for a better life for me and my children that I chose to seek help. My first step was admitting I was an alcoholic and couldn’t control my drinking.
The toughest thing about sobriety is taking that first step. The step into the un-known, letting go of the thinking, the people, the places and things that hold us hostage. It is important to replace the old stories of who we are with new stories of the people we want to become. It’s all about finding truth and letting ourselves accept that truth. Joseph Campbell said, “The privilege of a lifetime is to be who you are.” We owe it to ourselves.
Recovery is a personal journey. It happens one step at a time and one day at a time. Admitting we are powerless over our addiction, believing in a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity, and making the decision to turn our lives over to the care of the universe as we understand it can lead to a better life. I found the next step was always revealed to me if I just got out of my own way, did the next right thing, and followed my heart.
My life was waiting for me in recovery and I was given another chance to live the life I was destined to have. Part of my daily recovery routine included running. I had always liked running, but when I got sober I realized that it was something I absolutely loved doing. It became my place to reduce stress and it strengthened my connection with myself and my higher power.
It allowed me to create an inner stillness that I had never felt before. I inserted running where I used to drink and slowly each run made me stronger and more resilient to the power that alcohol once had over my life. Today, running is still a big part of my daily ritual of recovery.
I have found a life of happiness that before was unimaginable. I have earned the respect and trust of my two children back and we have a great relationship today. I am married to the love of my life and best friend who is also in recovery. I am grateful for the clarity and sense of calmness I feel today and I am blessed to have the opportunity to travel the world doing what I love: running, yoga, and sharing my experience, strength, and hope with others on their journey of recovery.