I like to say that I got my education from the School of 'Hard Knocks.'
I'm a survivor of child-hood sexual assault, religious trauma, and parental addiction. I picked up my first drink at the age of 19 after moving out of a toxic family home and marrying my first husband.
I found my 'cure to everything' when I took that first sip of alcohol and I wouldn't put it down again (minus a few exceptions where I was usually trying to prove to someone else that I didn't have a problem, was pregnant, or having one of many mental health crisis' along the way..) for 16+ years.
Today I'm a Mom to two healthy, happy, insanely amazing girls. Wife to Aaron (the buffest and the bestest, and my very own 'reliable rock.')
The owner of 'Get Glowing Sunless' a mobile spray tanning company and eventual course for others to have their very own business!
Certified and trained recovery coach and mentor to those who are seeking support. And lifelong learner who finally understands that the more I learn, the less I know.
If interested you can read my FULL story at the bottom of this page (*Disclaimer for trigger topics)
"Since I've been through it, I now believe it's my job to help others who are also going through it. "
I do most of my sharing about everything from my days in addiction, to the tools I used to climb out, to the lessons I've learned during sobriety in the form of memes & reels on Instagram. Be sure to check the captions though (because that's where the real golden nuggets usually show-up. lol)
But... we all know it's MORE than that.
You can't just want it. You can't just share silly or serious memes on social media.
You have to actually do it.
And whatever that looks like for you, whatever that path might be, it is not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing.
I simply put MY truth and lived experience out there in the hopes that someone else can benefit from knowing that they aren't alone in theirs. I share my story so that someone might relate to something that they hear/read and feel a spark of hope that they too can climb out of the addiction hole.
I have also been fortunate enough to be on some really awesome podcasts about addiction and recovery and I get to share different parts of my story on those platforms. I want to thank all of the hosts who have graciously invited me into their space and allowed me to share. You can see a list and listen to these different podcasts here!
Let's start with kindness and stop with judgement.
I want others to see that there is a (great) life without alcohol & that if they could break that chain and see the actual lie that alcohol supplies, they too can succeed and even thrive in sobriety.
When we learn to practice an attitude of gratitude instead of sitting in our shame, guilt, self-pity, and resentments our outlook on everything in life becomes brighter, broader, and better.
What we believe about ourselves creates our stories. Change your belief, change your story.
You already have the answers to everything about your life. I'm just here to ask the questions to help you get to the answers that you already hold.
If you want to work together I'm launching my 1:1 program in the next several weeks and I'd love to get you on the waitlist.
TW: sexual assault and suicidal talk
I grew up in a conservative, religious household, I was taught not to drink but watched my parents drink against religious rules. They taught to "Do as I say, not as I do."
I thought that was bogus and couldn't wait to drink.
I've always been a rebel at heart but couldn't get the rebels to accept me through my school age years.. go figure.
I endured some childhood trauma in the form of sexual assault by an adult neighbor. I brought that with me through my life & also carried survivors guilt because he went to jail and had young children.
As the oldest of 4 it was necessary for me to grow up quickly in order to help parent my younger siblings so that my mother could care for my drug addicted yet somewhat functional father.
I got married young in an effort to escape what had become a toxic environment with my Dad's continued drug use and my Moms co-dependancy with him. I was 19 and a late-bloomer to the world of alcohol some might say. (I think waiting till I was that age saved my life. But who could ever know..?)
Regardless, I would spend the two years of that marriage falling in love with alcohol for allowing me to be outgoing, and also to numb out. I used it to self-medicate and "cope" with my past traumas but soon I would be reliving my history and acting out in crazy ways during drunken, booze filled nights, not realizing that I was suffering with major PTSD. And so, that young marriage did not last.
After my divorce my drinking amplified. I drank from shame. I drank from guilt, and from not feeling like I was ever good enough.
I met and married my second husband and hid my actual alcohol intake from him for a long time.
After a few years, I got a note from my little sister explaining that she was worried about me and my drinking ( I guess I wasn't hiding it that well after all) - I went to an impatient rehab for 90 days, graduated, and stayed sober for nearly 2 years. During that time I had my oldest daughter.
I went back to drinking, because I thought I had been "cured." I figured I'd gone though rehab, therapy, and successfully stayed sober for almost two years so surely I would be able to drink like a "normal" person now.
What I found was that the obsession was back almost immediately. If I wasn't drinking, I was waiting till the next time I could have a drink "without looking like I had a problem."
If someone (usually family) would bring it up, I would quit for a while. You know, to prove to them I was fine.
This went on for years.. and every time I went back to drinking after a period of sobriety (usually 1-4 months) the consequences would come faster and be bigger.
After I had my second daughter in 2015 my drinking really began to spiral, so did my mental health. I was suffering from Post Partum Depression and had no idea. After a couple of years, it got so bad that I was dealing with suicidal ideations and having thoughts of throwing myself in front of a car almost daily. My behavior and thoughts landed me in the Behavioral Health Unit for 72 hours, and they began medicating me. I would only stay sober for 4 months after that experience before I would "yet again" believe that I could successfully get it under control and drink better this time, so I relapsed on New Years Eve 2019/2020.
In a matter of just 2 or 3 months I would end up in the ER two times due to massive hangovers and not being able to keep liquids down and extreme dehydration.
This was during the height of COVID. I had become so fearful that the liquor stores would close that we stocked up on booze for the lockdown.
I don't really remember much of the lockdown because I was blacked-out the whole time, and I justified this because everyone else was day-drinking too! This was a pandemic, it was different! But after a 3-day bender the beginning of May 2020, I woke up on the morning of May 6th and had a "realization" what I can best describe as a "click." I was so so sick again, and I was honestly shocked that I was back at this place. AGAIN. And so quickly! So I knew I had to be "real" and "honest" with myself like for REAL, and I finally was. I knew that I could NOT control my drinking. That I would 'never' be able to moderate or drink like a normal person. And so I decided to take my proverbial big-toe out of the drinking pool, and start building a life that I could enjoy alcohol free.
I knew that sobriety would never work for me if I did't create a life of fun, excitement, adventure, and happiness. So I set out to build a strong foundation for this new way of life.
I began an IOP (intensive outpatient program) where I attended group via zoom 3 hours a night, 3 nights a week, for 4 months. This helped me in so many ways from connecting with other alcoholics, to having assignments that helped provide insight into my disease.
I also got a therapist that specializes in substance abuse and began seeing her weekly. She helped me through a lot of the trauma that I had been self-medicating to survive for so many years. I still see her monthly!
I found a Psychiatrist and got on the right prescriptions for depression, and anxiety and I also got on a once a month craving-blocker shot. (Not having cravings for alcohol was HUGE for my early recovery.) I was also on medicine for sleep and anger. (Today I am completely med free, but having these as I navigated early sobriety was very useful for me.)
I read a lot of quit lit (quitting literature) you can find a list on the resources page. These books really helped me to see the great parts of being sober, and that I would still be able to enjoy my life without alcohol.
Finally, I started a sober Instagram & Facebook page @shaysober to keep me accountable and as a daily reprieve in my pocket. I share there every day and love connecting with my sober instagram community.