Conversation with Carly Benson, Miracles Are Brewing!
This week, Liv’s Recovery Kitchen has a Kitchen Table Conversation with Carly Benson. Carly is the impactful author behind the delightfully, budding blog, MiraclesAreBrewing. As an avid traveler, yogi & confessed self-help junkie, Carly writes about her adventures in life & sobriety, offering inspirational concepts for enlightenment, spirituality & embracing epicness. Her work has been featured on Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Addiction Unscripted, The Recovery Village and Orlando Recovery Center.
She works as Certified Life Coach specializing in Sobriety & Faith coaching and has been sober from alcohol and cocaine since August 17, 2008. Her passionate charge with this work is to inspire and breathe hope into the lives of others by coming alongside them to help them find their own unique paths.
“My mission is to teach people to love their weirdness and to bring forth the most epic versions of themselves. To live epic lives that are purpose-driven, passion-fueled, faith-centered and serve others in a way that offers impactful change.”
Carly Benson is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and Coaches. She has also served on the Board of Directors for Fellowship of Christian Athletes and has given talks at churches, Bible Studies, classrooms of middle schools, high schools and colleges as well as at women’s events to name a few. She is working on her 200 YTT, is Level One certified with the Baptiste Institute and plans to expand this knowledge into books, wellness retreats and workshops around the world.
Kitchen Table Conversation
Let’s Talk Breakfast
A Journey to Rock Bottom
Liv: Let’s move on to the tough question, about your rock bottom. In your story you said that, “…every bone in my body, every fiber in my being and most importantly the depths of my soul desperately wanted a change.” Tell me what your soul said to you, and what did change look like?
“My spirit and intuition was speaking to me and I could only faintly hear it at first. Then, it began to get louder and louder. It was telling me that there was a better way to be living.”
Liv: You talked of your journey into recovery, beginning with attempts to never use or drink again but being greeted with another hangover or comedown. But you reached a point where you realised that you had to do something different. You said, “Always remember that no matter how many times you fall into the same hole on the same street, there is always a way around it and a new road waiting to be taken.” Tell me about the process of surrender?
Surrendering is an act of allowing a divine plan to intervene and listening carefully to the voice inside you that is saying maybe there is a better way. I surrendered the day I got sober and I surrender everyday to this day. Surrendering makes the load a lot less heavy to carry once you realize you don’t have to do it alone anymore.
Liv: On 17 August, you achieved 8 years in sobriety, congratulations! What would you say has been the biggest eye-opening lesson during your recovery?
Carly: One of the biggest eye-opening experiences of my recovery has been coming face to face with myself. Realizing how much I was running and escaping from myself, my feelings and things I didn’t want to deal with during my active addictions. It has been such an amazing lesson to learn who I really am, what makes me tick and to understand how to feel all my emotions, even the yucky ones. The lesson I always teach to people is that it is important to feel everything because you can’t know true happiness without experiencing true sadness. Pain is the catalyst for our growth and we heal it by feeling it, not avoiding it. It was realizing that pain is a part of moving us into action. It does not exist to make us suffer.
Relationship with Food in Recovery
“I don’t eat any fast food and try to stay away from processed foods. I’m the girl in the grocery store who reads labels and shops the perimeter. I also drink a ton of water.
Liv: Can you tell me what your relationship with food has been, in recovery?
Carly: I’ve had a pretty healthy relationship with food outside and inside my recovery. I’m definitely a sucker for sugar, but I’ve learned to curtail it. I allow myself to indulge when I feel like it, but I’m mindful of what I put into my body the majority of the time. Just recently, I’ve adopted more of a pescatarian diet, mostly because my stomach has a hard time processing meat nowadays. I don’t eat any fast food and try to stay away from processed foods. I’m the girl in the grocery store who reads labels and shops the perimeter. I also drink a ton of water. I just got a 24 oz. Hydro Flask and it has been a game changer. I drink 3-4 of them a day.
Miracles Are Brewing
Liv: I love your site, Miracles are Brewing. How do you define a miracle? And what was yours?
Carly: To me, a miracle means doing something or having something happen to you that you know would be impossible without some sort of divine intervention. My sobriety was a very holy, sacred and spiritual experience. I literally dropped to my knees that day, begging for a miracle, to be changed. I knew that I couldn’t do it on my own, and while I was not a religious person at the time, something came over me and told me to get on my knees and cry out to God in prayer. As I admitted I needed help and utter the words: “If you are real, I need you to help me because I don’t’ want to live this way anymore,” a wave of calmness I had never felt before came over me almost immediately. I never drank or did cocaine from that day forward. The miracle that had been brewing all along came to fruition in that moment and I know without a doubt I did not get sober, nor stay sober, on my own. It was an act of God: a miracle.
Liv: You define your life mission, “to teach people to love their weirdness and to bring forth the most epic versions of themselves. To live epic lives that are purpose-driven, passion-fuelled, faith-centered and serve others in a way that offers impactful change.” What does epic look like?
Carly: Living in sobriety has helped me to get super clear on who I am as a person. The clarity that is found inside of recovery is priceless. You almost become addicted to learning more about yourself once you get started. Church sermons, self-help books and motivational blogs largely fueled the self-discovery process for me, at first. Then I took it a step further by hiring my own coach and therapist. I wanted to know more about why I was the way I was. I wanted to come to terms with my deep seeded emotions and patterns and to become intimately familiar with myself.
I think one of the most epic things you can do is understand who and what you are at your core because when you do, you step into a life where there are no boundaries and anything becomes possible. It is inside yourself that you find your passions and your purpose, which will inevitably create a space where you can serve and when you do, your desire shifts from just helping yourself to helping others.
By operating from this place we are able to make impacts on the lives of others. When you realize it’s not about you, but about being of service to others from your own vulnerable parts and you step out in bravery to serve from there, that to me is what epic looks like. It will take you to places you never thought were possible.
Not only that, but living in the chains of addiction would have kept me paralyzed and unable to grow or travel. I have seen so much more of this world now that I’m sober. For one, I can afford it after the proceeds from my weekend benders started to accumulate in my savings account. Also because I am able to place so more value on experiences sans the booze.
Finding Your Purpose in Life
“We all have one that is unique to us. Finding your lane is all you have to do. Your genius is there waiting to help you live your best life from there…”
Carly: I’d say the hardest part of achieving this kind of life is finding what you are passionate about. Because when you find what you’re passionate about, your purpose is tucked inside of it.
This is the thing you could talk on for hours and lose track of time. The thing you wouldn’t need a script to talk about to people if we threw you on a stage right now. It’s the thing you do that doesn’t feel like work. It’s the place where your mind wanders when you have free time. It is the space where you become most alive and creative.
That is your zone. We all have one that is unique to us. Finding your lane is all you have to do. Your genius is there waiting to help you live your best life from there.
Liv: Conversely, what are some of the benefits of living a life of purpose?
Carly: Living a life of purpose, to me, means that it isn’t about you anymore. It means you’ve figured out what you were created and put on this earth for and now you get to make an impact using your gifts from there.
A life of purpose means you are living ON purpose, diligently using the talents and abilities that are unique to you. There is no better feeling than knowing what you’re made of and why.
I’ve often been told that when I’m speaking about sobriety or personal development, that I light up and come to life. Living a life of purpose awakens you to yourself and when you are living in this space, you no longer want to escape from it. Instead of wanting to drink or use, you have a burning desire to hustle harder for it.
Liv: You also talk about the importance of service and how it can offer impactful change, what do you mean by that?
Carly: I truly believe that life is less about what you gain for yourself and more about what you do for others. My mom says, “The success of one can impact many.” To that end, I’m a big believer in the domino effect, as such that if I can help one person and they help the next and so on and so forth that maybe, just maybe, we can leave a positive mark on this world.
Liv: Talk to me about how life change can be created and sustained with faith, positivity and spiritual practice?
Carly: These staples have been foundational to my own sobriety. Having faith in something greater than myself, that all things are working out for my greater good and believing in miracles have helped me to surrender and experience massive change by being open to a force greater than I being at the wheel.
Having a positive mindset and focusing my thoughts, surroundings and life around what I have to be thankful for has kept me from slipping into negative thought patterns. I don’t watch the news, scary movies or politics. I also don’t allow negativity in my social feeds or circles. I’m hyper sensitive to what I allow into my energy fields. I’ve written about how your Tribe Affects Your Vibe. By staying in a mostly positive frame of mind, old habits have a hard time resurfacing or surviving there.
The spiritual practice piece is absolutely essential. Finding a way to connect with yourself and your soul on a daily basis will wholeheartedly change you on a molecular level. What ever brings you closer to yourself, spirit and God has a powerful effect on every single aspect of your life. If you want to change your life, you must go inside and tap into your spirit. And when you do you’ll see there is infinite wisdom available to you and it’s always been there.
Liv: What is your spiritual practice?
Carly: My spiritual practice is what helps keep me balanced and grounded. This includes prayer, church, yoga, sweating, running, reading the Bible and self-help books, my therapists and coaches, constantly trying to learn more about myself and up my game, writing, nature, dancing, deep house music, the Miracles Are Brewing community, coaching my clients as when I’m the teacher I’m also the student, getting lots of rest and sleep and giving myself grace when I need it.
Liv: How do you deal with your negative gremlins?
Carly: I’ve come to terms with the fact that I feel everything very intensely. I know this is a part of being sober and also a function of my personality. I talk to a lot of people in sobriety who also tell me they feel emotions to an extreme. I believe this is because by being sober we eliminate our escape mechanisms and thus we feel things that much more. I’m no stranger to feeling angry and sad and down on myself in big ways.
My rule is I allow myself time to feel things. I give myself one to three days and I handle my emotions whether that looks like me not getting out of bed, barely making it to shower or eating an entire pizza. I allow myself to be emotional and I don’t try to run from it. The key is that I also don’t allow myself to get stuck in it. By allotting myself with time to feel, it gives me space to move through it and then move on.
Liv: Penultimate question: what is your favourite meal/dish?
Carly: I’d have to say my favorite dish currently is Huevos Rancheros – sunny side up. I love me some Mexican food. I also fancy brunch any day of the week as well as sushi. And I have a thing for charcuterie boards, or maybe just because I like to say that word. The simple things…
Carly Benson’s Top 5 Tools For Recovery
- Prayer & Writing – I speak to God about what is on my heart, what I need help with, people who may need help in my life, what I feel I need forgiveness for and I ask for guidance to show me how to see with His eyes. Basically nothing is off limits. This relationship and practice has hands down been my #1 tool. Then there is my writing. This is when God speaks to me and messages come through me. It is not only spiritual and therapeutic, but it is also my accountability. There is a whole tribe of peeps now who follow along in my journey and this keeps me dutifully accountable.
- Awareness – Being aware of my thoughts and rather than impulsively reacting, I ask myself why I may be thinking certain things. This is huge for someone just starting out in sobriety. Being aware of the voice in your head that says drinking is a good idea because it’s happy hour, you had a bad day or that you are upset and alcohol seems like the perfect answer – is the key. Most of us are simply on autopilot when it comes to how we deal with life. Becoming more aware of our internal dialogue, especially in recovery, can save you from yourself.
- Reminding myself that I don’t have to do it for forever, just for today. Sometimes forever or NEVER can sound and feel very heavy. Whenever I get too ahead of myself and I question if I can or want to do this forEVER, I always remind myself that I don’t have to do it for forever, Just For Today.
- I ask myself How Will You Feel Tomorrow? Should that pesky little voice in my head try to inform me that drinking or drugging might be an wildly inaccurate good idea, I always bring it back to the question, “but how will you feel in the morning?” I know for sure that the shame of addiction was something I never want to feel again and I’m almost certain that returning to it would be even worse. This keeps me rooted in my commitment to living a sober life. Because I don’t ever want to feel that feeling of waking up not knowing what I did or where I was and then having to live with that level of disappointment in myself.
- Yoga. This is both my work out and my spiritual practice. It has given me the gift of being present because when you’re dripping in sweat inside 95 degree room and holding a pose that you once never thought you could, you don’t have time to think about your to do lists, what someone said to you or what you’re eating for dinner. All you can do is breath and lean into it to find your edge. Emptying myself in this way has been my saving grace so many times. It helps me stay sane, to release all my pent up emotions and to show myself that anything is possible when you push yourself.