The first book I ever read on a Kindle was Nancy Carr's Last Call: A Memoir. I was driving down to Southern California with my family the week after Christmas of 2016. That week was also the two year anniversary (weird word choice, but there it is) of my bottom when it came to my alcoholic drinking. As most people in recovery know, anniversaries can be pretty dicey, emotionally speaking, so I decided to do what I've been taught in the rooms of AA and reach out to another alcoholic.
I knew Nancy recovered using the 12 steps and so I texted her and asked if I could go to a meeting with her while I was in town. This simple request was met with an enthusiastic yes by Nancy and somehow I knew it would be. That's one of the beautiful things about the 12-step program that I love the most - the acceptance. If you are truly working your 12-step program, your life's work in recovery will be to help another alcoholic or person who is still suffering or struggling with their drinking.
There is so much grace and beauty in this simple act.
There is also something so powerful about knowing and connecting with another person in recovery. Small talk is almost non-existent and you get down to the nitty-gritty within minutes. I've found this to be one of the hidden rewards when I socialize with those in recovery. I no longer have to suffer through small talk if I don't want to. I can be authentic and cut to the chase a lot quicker with those who share my common problem with alcohol. It's like nothing I've ever experienced and I love it.
After the meeting, we went out for breakfast after and talked about the digital recovery world, writing as an outlet, mutual friends, family dynamics, marriage and sex. I walked away from our time together feeling emboldened and ready to reach out a little bit more. Vulnerability is a hard emotional muscle for me to flex, but it's getting easier to access and stronger each and every time I text or call another person in recovery and ask for help.
I hope you enjoy Nancy's candid answers to my interview questions below. If you want to read more of her writing, check out her website and click here to find out where you can read more of her work in the digital recovery spaces online.
When was your last drink or your sobriety date? 5/11/04 is my sober date.
Do you count days, months or years connected to your sobriety? Why or why not?
I count years now, I used to count months until about 2 years, but then I just got really comfortable with being sober knowing it would be my lifestyle.
What recovery modality do you use in your recovery from alcohol? (this can be one thing or many, traditional or non-traditional)
I got sober in a 12 step meeting (AA) and that has been my main source of recovery. However, the last two years it’s changed a bit and I use more outside resources to fill my soul.
Do you identify yourself as an alcoholic? If so, please expound on why you do so + how it works for you. This question is geared to help start a conversation about stigma associated with the A-word.
I do, and I say “I’m Nancy and I’m an Alcoholic” when I’m at an AA meeting. However, when I speak or communicate elsewhere, I say “I’m Nancy and I’m a person in long-term recovery.”
What are your top three tools in your sobriety toolbox?
- 12-step meetings
- Communication + working with other women
How did you know or decide that you had to quit drinking?
My second DUI pretty much was the impetus in me getting sober. I had no interest in stopping, but I needed to get a court card signed and I stayed, because I knew I needed to.
Do you feel you are more or less creative since you have stopped drinking?
Great question, I was just telling someone that I feel I was more creative in my writing about six years ago – it seemed crisper, wittier and more personal. I’m trying to change some of my writing now to include more descriptive words. My main focus is to always try and connect with the reader like we are sitting in my living room having coffee.
What has delighted you most since you quit drinking alcohol?
Freedom to make healthy choices. Freedom to do most anything and just having the clarity of being a sober woman.
Can you recommend three books, bloggers or teachers that have helped you on this path to sobriety?
- Drinking, A Love Story by Caroline Knapp
- Dry, A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs
- Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book - by Bill W. and 100 other people
There are so many in the community that I love and read. I have a list of my favorites over on my blog and you can click here to use that as a resource. I do like to read from the magazines AfterParty, The Fix and Addiction Unscripted a lot and most of my sober blogger pals write for them, so that’s super great.
Are you part of a tribe or a recovery community that supports your sobriety? If so, how did you figure out how to find that tribe/community. What was your path to discovering it?
A.A. I went to a meeting and quickly acquired a host of friends. I got sober with 3 other girls, they are still sober today and I have a sober posse I hang with and a lot of other great connections that are sober, so it’s very amazing to have such a strong supportive community.
What are you most proud of now that you live a life without the influence or veil of alcohol?
My writing and where that has taken me. Getting and staying sober. I'm proud of my friendships and sober relationships. Doing the work, the work on myself which is helping me each day to be a better me.
In a funny twist of fate, Nancy just so happened to publish an interview I did for her this week on her website about relationships in recovery. Click here for more of me and Nancy!
Nancy and I also share a love of our dogs, both boxer breeds. Here is a mock-up piece I did of my own boxer, Bodie. This was a test piece I did a few years back when I was just figuring out this series of artwork. I love how relaxed and chill Bodie looks in this image. He teaches me a lot about optimizing my time in the sunshine, unconditional love and radiating beauty.
Thanks for meeting up with me last December, Nancy, and for shining so brightly in your own recovery.