I've recently outed myself at my 12 step meetings and shared that I write about my sobriety online. I was tired of having this simple truth weigh on me, so I did what you do in meetings and I shared my truth and released it from the confines of my mind. And, really? No one cared. That's usually how it goes.
Several months ago, I pitched an idea to Chris Aguirre over at The Recovery Revolution about writing a 12-part series on how I'm working each of the 12 steps. I guess I didn't really expect him to take me up on it and when he did I was like - Holy shit! Now I gotta write this column about the vulnerable work I'm doing in my recovery with the 12 Steps. Nothing like complicating things and making them harder, Tammi. Oh, I forgot, that's my specialty. Only now, I'm going to be sober and accountable while doing so and allowing others to read about my experience. Great.
Chris was also nice enough to ask me to submit some recovery artwork and answer a few interview questions. You can find all of this business by clicking through the recovery revelations section of his site or clicking here for a direct link.
On November 30th, I co-hosted the Since Right Now podcast with my creative girl crush, Sondra Primeaux of The Unruffled blog. We had both previously been interviewed by the guys on the Since Right Now podcast and you can listen to Sondra's original interview here and my August 2016 interview here. Once again, I put the idea out there for Sondra and I to takeover an episode on their pod and Chris agreed. He's been super supportive and generous with his digital recovery space. Careful what you wish or ask for my friends, because in sobriety, I'm finding that I'm present and capable and, therefore, can do the stuff I dream up. This is vastly different from when I was still drinking. Sure, I could think up so many good ideas after a few glasses of wine, but I rarely executed them.
Gosh, this is a lot of hey, look at me!, right? Well, I've been keeping it all a bit on the down-low and I'm not sure why. I'm still learning how to balance ego and self-promotion as a creative. Also, trying to find the balance between being anonymous and recovering out loud.
I'm proud of my journey as it relates to sobriety and recovery, but don't want to seem to boastful or egocentric. I've recovered pieces of myself that are bringing a lot of love and self-worth back into my life, so I want to share that so that others who are still suffering might find some hope in my story, but it can feel a little tricky.
Recovery has put me into action-mode. I am creating every single day and I've returned to college after a 25-year hiatus and declared art as my major. I'm writing more often. I'm making art and doing things that scare me (in a good way), like writing my column and sharing my story publicly. I'm showing up for my life personally and professionally and it just feels so fantastic that I want to share it with everyone.
I never thought that when I quit drinking so many doors would open for me. Doors to rooms that are filled with big ideas, creative opportunities and people that get me in a way I didn't even really know I needed, but I'm so glad I discovered. The rooms of AA, the classrooms of my local community college, the room of my own out in the little pink art studio my husband and son helped make possible for me.
Last month, I had the chance to speak on a panel at WAAFTI AA Conference in Austin, Texas with Chris Aguirre from The Recovery Revolution and Joe C. from Rebellion Dogs Publishing. We discussed Cyber Living, a riff on the AA book Sober Living. Mostly, we talked about recovering out loud and online. You can watch the video here. A few of my friends got up and spoke, too, near the end of the video. Those are some brave, beautiful souls, all of whom I met in recovery and because of social media and online connections.
If you find yourself needing a little inspiration or want to hear a bit of my story, click on any of the links in this post and treat yourself to some honest words, a few tears and quite a bit of giggling on the pod.