Conversation with Sober Julie


 This week, I have a Kitchen Table Conversation with Sober Julie! Her website is a source for humour, information, inspiration and at times innovation! The site focuses on the topics of Food, Travel, Family, Health and inspiration! Julie is a wife and mother, and a person in long term recovery from alcoholism. She began the popular blog, Sober Julie, in 2010, after facing her alcoholism and soon after being in a serious car accident. She lives in Ontario with her fantastic husband, two daughters and beloved dogs. She says this:
 “One day in February of 2010 something inside me changed, I finally had the courage to reach out for help and begin the journey to recovery from alcoholism. Little did I know how beautiful life really could be! This is what SoberJulie.com is all about, finding the joys in life while living straight up! This is a place for all people, not just those in recovery because really we’re all facing challenges and seeking a healthy, meaningful journey.”


Kitchen Table Conversation


 
Liv: Let’s kick off with food…What have you had for breakfast today?

Julie:  I wish I could tell you something glamorous but I had coffee…just strong, dark coffee to start my mind up this morning. 
 

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Sober Julie on Rock Bottom

 “I think I finally hit the point in my life when my fear of facing life sober was less frightening than what I may do…or where I may end up if I kept drinking. After a night of black-out drinking, I woke to find a suicide note that I’d meticulously written in my drunken state. I knew I had hit the point of no return where I had to either seek help or commit to the fact that I was deciding to give up on life.”

Liv: Moving to your story, you said in your post  that in February 2010, something inside you changed which gave you the courage to reach out and ask for help with your alcoholism. What was it that changed and how did you ask for help?

Julie: I think I finally hit the point in my life when my fear of facing life sober was less frightening than what I may do…or where I may end up if I kept drinking. After a night of black-out drinking, I woke to find a suicide note that I’d meticulously written in my drunken state. I knew I had hit the point of no return where I had to either seek help or commit to the fact that I was deciding to give up on life.

Liv: How did  the car accident affect that decision to seek help?

Julie: Actually the car accident happened 20 days after I’d decided to get sober. Each and everyday I’m thankful for that. I had 20 days to get my feet wet in this new life I’d chosen. I wrote deeply about it here in this article but ultimately without those 20 days and my tweleve step group friends, I don’t know if I would have gotten through the dark days after my accident.

When I couldn’t sit drive or upright for more than an hour, my friends came and picked me up for meetings and the support they provided gave me hope. Hope that this accident didn’t steal the rest of me…the me that had begun to grow in my young sobriety. 

 

 

About Sober Julie


Liv: You said that Sober Julie is about ‘finding the joys in life while living straight up.’ How were you not living straight up in alcoholism?
 
Julie: Alcoholism has a way of stealing a life. I was so busy running from my feelings into a bottle that I often didn’t see the joy in each day. I had secret and often lived on the fringes of what I personally saw as unacceptable behaviours. I lived my life in different boxes; being a different person with different values dependant on where I was and whom I was with.

This is a very selfish way to live and oh-so empty. These days my life has no shadows and living it straight up keeps things simple.

Liv: The purpose of your site is to demonstrate that a life of sobriety is far from dull and uninteresting; what have been some of your joyful discoveries in recovery?

Julie: I’m learning that I can’t define myself because as life goes on, through experiences…I’m ever-changing. After the car accident I wrote an article where I wished to climb a mountain one day. I wrote this from a place where I don’t think I believed I would…but just a few years later I actually did!

I’m re-discovering my love of travel, food, people and even feelings. Good, bad and ugly I’m grateful to feel them fully.

 

 

Recovery Is A Gift


 Liv: In your post, Recovery Isn’t a Situation… It’s a Gift, you helpfully distinguish between sobriety and recovery, stating: “One can be living sober, never taking a drink and yet still repeat unhealthy behaviours. This is sometimes referred to as a “dry drunk” because the person hasn’t dealt with the myriad of crap in their experience that is holding them back from recovery and living life fully, unhindered by demons and secrets.” What were some of your unhealthy behaviours and how has that changed in recovery?
 
Julie: One thing I had to work on in recovery was taking a long, hard look at my motivation. It seems that I was programmed to be motivated for self-gain, no matter what the situation. Somehow, it was always to benefit myself. In recovery I stared that reality in the face, accepted it and have become very mindful. These days I ask myself if I’m making a decision for self-gain only…and quickly modify my choices. I’m not just here for myself anymore and being aware of that makes it easier to reflect it in my life.

Liv: How is recovery a gift?

Julie: Recovery is life. Without it I would have been dead by now. There’s no question of that in my mind…just over 6 years ago I had everything on the surface but had a deep, black hole inside me. Recovery has allowed me to heal and truly appreciate the gifts God has given me.

 

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Holistic Approach to Alcoholism Recovery


 
Liv: Moving on to the Mind, Body and Spirit… can you describe how looking at the whole self affects one’s recovery?

Julie: My recovery began with my spirit, if I didn’t begin with my faith healing then I wouldn’t have continued with my mind and body. My mind began to heal as the fog lifted within the first year and my body…well that recovery became a long road after the accident. 6 years ago I couldn’t sit up for more than a short period and these days I’m travelling, going to the gym and being active with my tweens. Slowly but surely I’ve been healing, one day at a time.
 

Liv: I loved your post, Love Your Bikini Worthy Body Dammit, in which you seek to challenge negative and warped thinking we have toward our body image. How has your perception of your physical self changed in recovery?

Julie: In recovery I’ve learned to be more kind to myself. To accept that which I can’t change and see the positives past my own damaged self-image. We lie to ourselves…telling ourselves we aren’t good enough when in reality we always have been. This body has been abused and with my spirit for all of the ups and downs in my life; I’m grateful for it.

Liv: What has been your relationship with food in recovery?

Julie: Food is often an issue for me; I find that I turn to it for comfort. This is something I’m working on…and am mindful of. Have I mentioned how much I adore food…

Liv: Penultimate question: what is your favourite meal/dish?

Julie: Cheese! Any day of the week


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Top Recovery Tools


Liv: Last, what are your top five recovery tools?

Julie: Tough question! My tools aren’t found in a store…they’re personal and valuable.

  1. My faith
  2. My 12 step meetings and friends
  3. My family
  4. Humility
  5. Willingness
 

 Thank you for taking part in Kitchen Table Conversations.