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How I Got Sober & Stay Sober Guest Blog By Tanya MacIntyre

How I Got Sober & Stay Sober

As much as I dislike the term "high-bottom drunk," that's what I was called by some 12-steppers. I was addicted to alcohol and other drugs, but I still managed to hold onto my journalism career. I also had a nice car in the driveway, I owned my home, and I had a bit of money in the bank for a rainy day. I wasn't destitute, but I was desperate. I was dragging my ass through life.

What helped me spiral downward very quickly was a move to Mallorca, Spain - a place where wine and brandy were cheaper than water! I was mired in bureaucracy for the first 2 years, and that was a perfect excuse for me to drink myself nearly unconscious every day.

One morning, in 2009, I woke up with another hellish hangover, poured myself a vodka and orange juice to kickstart my day, and picked up my ringing phone hoping for good news about my immigration status. "Hello, Tanya speaking," I said softly, so as not to rattle my already rattled brain. A man answered, "Hi Tanya, it's Anthony from Serenity House." I was speechless, as I tried to piece together who this guy could be. I don't remember meeting anyone called Anthony, and I'd never heard of a place called Serenity House.

"Was it another conversation that I can't remember?" I thought.

Anthony was silent for a minute and then, realizing I didn't remember, he reminded me that I had sent him an email the night before asking for help.

Thousands of dollars later, I arranged to fly to Seville to check myself into Serenity House for a 30-day rehab experience. On the way there, I got drunk on the plane.

After a "spin-dry month" of 12-step indoctrination, my husband picked me up and we stayed in a quaint village for a few days to get re-acquainted. He had only recently realized that I had been drunk and stoned for much of our then 18-year marriage.

For the next 8 years, I attended 12-step meetings every week and relapsed every year. Thankfully, my husband stayed with me because he knew I was trying my best to stay substance-free.

Over those 8 years, I was also going to a lot of funerals, because a lot of my peers in AA and NA weren't returning from their relapses. I knew it would just be a matter of time before I didn't return from one of my relapses, so I went searching for an alternative program.

I often say, "AA saved my life, and SMART gave me my life back!" SMART (Self Management And Recovery Training) taught me how to use cognitive therapies to learn coping skills - and those coping skills taught me how to remain free from addictions.

I've developed a Recovery Recipe that I call my “Triple A Formula" to remain free from addictions.

The first ingredient is AWARENESS.

Awareness is the first step to progress. Once I became aware of every negative thought and habit that was driving me to drink and drug, I was better equipped to "Catch it, Check it, and Change it."

The second ingredient is AVOIDANCE.

Avoiding people, places, and things that triggered my cravings was a process that took patience, practice, and persistence... and a lot of discipline. Peer support, from SMART and various other groups, was a key element to help me build the foundation I needed to develop habits to strengthen my resolve and resilience.

The third ingredient is ACCEPTANCE.

Not just acceptance, but UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE for myself, for others, and for life! It also helped to stop watching, reading, and listening to news.

The job of advertising & mainstream media is to perpetuate the FUD Factor (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). I know this to be true, because I was a broadcast journalist for 22 years, so my job was to create sensational headlines and embellished facts (and I use the word 'facts' very lightly).

You may have heard the media adage, "If it bleeds, it leads." That sentiment chipped away at my soul during the latter part of my career, until I decided to get of the treadmill of trauma, stop slowing killing myself, and finally make my health and well-being a priority.

I feel so passionate about this concept of UNCONIDITONAL ACCEPTANCE that I made a playlist to share with people so they can watch and listen to them often.


It's also good to remember that we become the company we keep and the thoughts we absorb. Be the gatekeeper of your mind. Treat your mind like a garden. When a garden is neglected, weeds take over and leave no room for the beautiful things that should be growing there. When you nourish your garden (your mind) with loving care, planting lots of positive thoughts and habits, you create a positive and nurturing environment for growth.

May the force be with you, and remember -

YOU are the force!

About the Author: Tanya MacIntyre is a former broadcast journalist who packed up negative news for positive media. In 2018, she decided to start speaking and writing publicly about her challenges to overcome drug & alcohol addictions. Tanya is unabashedly optimistic about the human capacity to heal – our ability to tap into the wellspring of compassion that is self-love and self-energy. Tanya's professional focus is healing trauma and addictions. As a CBT Consultant, she devotes herself to training, writing, and mentoring. Tanya lives on the West Coast of Ontario, Canada (near Lake Huron) with her husband of 30+ years, where they run an addiction-recovery business. In her leisure, she likes spending time in nature and volunteering with mental-health groups.

To learn more about Tanya and her work, visit Red Roof Recovery's platforms:

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DISCLAIMER: This content is not intended to constitute, or be a substitute for, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have watched, read, or heard from us.

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