Ekka: So, let’s start with a ritual question! What is your morning routine like?
Laura: Pressing the snooze button. And again. And possibly again 😉 Once I’m up, I pee, brush my teeth, shower, get dressed, pack breakfast and lunch, and head out the door. I’m a sleeper. I’ve tried to get up earlier to practice yoga or get a bit of cardio in or make my coffee, but during the week, sleep wins. You can ask anyone in my family and I’ve been this way my whole life. That being said, on a Saturday, for instance, I’ll wake up when my body wakes me, splash some water on my face, brew some coffee, make breakfast, and work on the Washington Post crossword puzzle.
Ekka: Moving on to your story. In your about section, you tell us about the pivotal moment in NYC when you were found by a police officer, with one sandal on speaking gibberish and got taken to the hospital. Can you tell me what pulled you to sobriety after that experience and what did you have to face to get there?
Laura: Oh gosh, it’s so strange to think about. I had just turned 24 and I really couldn’t imagine life without drinking, but at that exact moment, I couldn’t imagine life with drinking either. I was screwed (or so I thought; really, the universe had given me a mulligan and I could thank it later). The best and most concise way I can explain what pulled me to sobriety is that on so many occasions prior I had gasped, “NEVER AGAIN!” but on this occasion, when I said, “I’m never drinking again,” something in me clicked. I meant it. Truly. And when I got home to DC with all my belongings intact, rattled as I was I knew I needed help. I called my treatment provider the next morning. And thus, my journey in recovery began.
Ekka: You are the founder of the “Sobriety Collective” and it’s your 10-year sober birthday this year (congratulations!). Tell us a little about this space, what it stands for and how you hope people will use it?
Laura: Thank you, gals! It’s so exciting and so hard to believe – a DECADE of not only recovery but continuous sobriety.
When I envisioned The Sobriety Collective, I imagined a sort of digital directory of creatives in recovery. Two years ago, it started as a blog without much else but within a couple of months, I transformed it into a fledgling hub of resource and stories. It’s grown exponentially since – recovery profiles, a space to include where my work has been featured, my very sporadic and dormant podcast, a store, and more.
What’s most important out of all of this and the reason why I started and continue to pour blood/sweat/tears into it is to connect with someone who is looking for help. And that person may not resonate with the 12 steps. We are at a point now where holistic recovery is celebrated and that is my wish for newcomers and long-term recovery-ers alike.
Where to go from here? Coaching, wellness brand relationships and collaborations (like ours!), retreats, conferences, etc. Maybe a book…?
Ekka: You’ve spoken about anxiety, OCD and panic attacks as having contributed to your drinking in the past. Do you still suffer from them and how do you manage them?
Laura: Yes. When you strip away the substances you used to numb yourself with, you’re left with the root of your issues and pain. Over the course of (almost) ten years, I’ve worked with many therapists, experimented with the right dose and prescription of SSRI, read many books, etc.
I’ve found what works best for my anxiety is the right antidepressant, having a support network, utilizing deep breathing and centering techniques my therapist taught me, and a balance of facing fears and respecting my limitations.
The OCD is an entirely different story and that’s where I apply “one day at a time” the most. I still struggle with this and am not ashamed to say I need help. I’m on an active search for an OCD specialist or coach who can work with me so that it doesn’t take over. Self-care isn’t just outside goodies like mani-pedis and massages (although I endorse and take part in both) bit it’s as taking care of your insides. And the brain is definitely an inside matter!
Ekka: What importance (if any) has ritual and the formation of new habits played in your recovery?
Laura: Ritual is totally important. There’s no right or wrong way to be in recovery – that being said, I feel my best when I’m taking care of my mind, body, and spirit. And out of 10 years of continuous sobriety/recovery, the past couple of years have been revelatory in terms of finding new and healthy habits. I’m getting more into yoga and meditation (which isn’t easy for an anxious mind with OCD but it’s a PRACTICE after all)…but a few years ago I was in the best shape of my life and now I’m not. I now have a goal to get 30 minutes of exercise daily. So there are definitely ups and downs in finding what works. And for the newbies – remember to sleep!
Ekka: Dream self-care date with yourself! What do you do?!
Laura: Since it’s a dream, I’ll have a full day Saturday self-care date with myself. Sleep in, brew some dark roast coffee with almond milk creamer, make breakfast (eggs or oatmeal, etc), work on the Washington Post crossword. Later I’ll go to the pool to get some Vitamin D and bring a book or magazine. After, I’ll go for a walk around the pond behind my building and listen to some tunes (probably The Beatles). Or I might just listen to the birds chirping and the sound of the water. If there’s time, I’ll get a gel mani and pedi. I’ll take a yoga class and have a smoothie. Time to go home and shower, get in jammies, watch Netflix and treat myself to some dark chocolate or ice cream. Sleep. Yay!
Connect with Laura at The Sobriety Collective and don’t miss the chance to get our awesome collaboration the July “Summer Self Care Party” in box, box! Available while supplies last… Click here to get $5.00 off!