Conversation with Kelly Fitzgerald
This week Liv has a conversation with Kelly Fitzgerald, of The Sober Señorita. Kelly inspires me. Not only is she incredibly passionate about sobriety, but she also demonstrates how fun life is without alcohol. She says this:
“I am one of 23 million Americans in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.
I’m a sober blogger from the Philadelphia area and currently live in Southwest Florida. I recently returned to the U.S. after living 5 years abroad in Cancun, Mexico. I describe myself as a former party girl who has had an addictive personality for as long as I can remember. In May of 2013, I finally realized my body is not meant to ingest alcohol.
Now, I write about my experience as a young woman living sober. I hope that by sharing my story, other 20-something party girls and boys somewhere will gain the courage to quit the booze and have the confidence to live a crazy, fun life without it.”If I did it, you can too.
Kitchen Table Conversation
Liv: Let’s kick off with food. What have you had for breakfast today?
I had a banana, an Oikos triple zero strawberry yogurt, coffee, and a protein shake
Liv: Moving to your story, you said that you had an addictive personality for as long as you can remember. How did that affect your decisions in relation to alcohol?
I think it set me up for failure in terms of being able to drink normally. I think I was wired to drink alcoholically from the beginning. I am an all or nothing type of person.
Liv: What was it that lead to the realisation that your body is not meant to ingest alcohol?
From the very beginning I knew my body reacted differently than others to alcohol. I was always a puker! I remember one of the very first times I drank I ended up in the toilet throwing up after 3 Mike’s Hard lemonades. Then it got progressively worse. I would black out and not remember any of my night. I would have the worst hangovers and be bedridden for days. At the end of my drinking I had been trying to regulate my use for many months. I tried every stupid game in the book: no shots, no dark liquor, only 2 beers, only 3 vodka sodas. It never worked.
Liv: You say that in sharing your journey others will too gain the courage to quit. Tell me about your courage. What did you have to overcome?
I mostly had to overcome my own rules, expectations, and deep-seeded feelings I had about myself. I also listened to what society was always telling me, that alcohol is glamorous and cool and it can take you places, that you need it to celebrate and to have a life worth living. I feared I would be uncool, looked at as a loser, a failure, a drunk and so admitting I had an alcohol problem and taking the steps to fix it were the last thing I wanted to do.
The Sober Señorita
Liv: Let’s move on to your website, The Sober Senorita. First, I love it. I’ve been a big fan for a while. You started the blog in January 2014. What prompted you to write about your experience of sobriety, and how did it help you those early days?
Thank you Liv!! I started my blog after some co-workers of mine encouraged me, citing that my blogs for work were always great. I lived in Cancun, Mexico at the time and knew a few other women who had blogs and wrote about living as an expat in Mexico. I started my blog with this premise, but I was 8 months sober at the time and wanted to incorporate my sobriety into it as well. My sister came up with The Sober Señorita and my blog was born. At first I was too scare to write about sobriety and stuck only to writing about Mexico, living in Cancun, and events and travels I would take. I didn’t write about sobriety until May 2014 when I hit one year sober. My very first post about sobriety was “A Year Without Alcohol” aka the post heard ‘round the world! That post went completely viral, was picked up by the Huffington Post and has been republished by many different websites and translated into 5 languages. It was shared by George Takei. After that craziness happened, I thought to myself, people really want to hear about this and I continued to write about sobriety. And now it’s almost all I write about on my blog. It’s helped me immensely. I wrote because I wanted to know I wasn’t alone and I ended up sending that message to many others with my writing.
Liv: You talked about your mission being to help others see a life beyond alcohol and substance abuse, that there is help available. In fact, you won a Heroes in Recovery award for your achievement of:
- Empowering others to be successful in their recovery.
- Removing barriers that hinder people from seeking treatment.
- Changing the public perception of addiction and/or mental health treatment.
That is amazing, congratulations. Tell me about the power of the words ‘me too’?
Thank you! ‘Me too’ is one of the most powerful phrases in the English language. We humans have this weird way of always thinking and feeling that we are the only ones to ever do a thing, or feel a certain way. We torture ourselves by believing we’re these horrible people and no one could possibly ever understand what we’re going through. When we feel the power of connection and community, it’s always through these words “me too.” By sharing our stories we not only heal ourselves, but we allow and encourage others to heal.
Liv: If you had the opportunity, what would you say to yourself at just a few days sober?
You are making the best decision of your life – KEEP GOING. It will all be worth it. You will heal. You will live a life beyond your wildest dreams. YOU DESERVE LOVE.
Health and Wellness in Recovery
Liv: Moving on to health and wellness in recovery. How your relationship with your body has changed in recovery?
I gained about 10 pounds after getting sober because the way I drank and used I did not eat a lot. I kind of forgot about eating or didn’t eat on purpose so I was very thin my last year of active addiction. I didn’t treat my body very well and I never worried about what was going in it. Today I am healthier, the most active I have been since college, and I think about the things I put in my body. I have a healthier relationship with my body image and I am no longer wishing I had a different body.
Liv: Tell me about Crossfit?
CrossFit has changed my life too! I started it in sobriety. But at first I wasn’t sure if it was for me because I’ve had so many injuries (6 knee surgeries). Then after some time away from it in 2015 and after my 6th knee surgery I tried a local place here in Cape Coral and fell in love with. It has made me stronger and more fit than I have been in years. It’s also about community, just like recovery and it keeps my workouts fresh and different. It’s also so much easier than having to do my own programming at a regular gym. At CrossFit the programming is already done and there is always a coach to help me and tell me what to do. All I have to do is show up!
Liv: How has your nutrition changed?
At the beginning of this year I quit soda! My soda sobriety date is January 6, 2015. I’ve become more educated on what good food choices are and I still have a lot to learn, but the fact that I am finally conscious of these things is a miracle.
Liv: Penultimate question: what is your favourite meal/dish?
Top 5 Recovery Tools
Liv: Last, what are your top 5 recovery tools?
- Writing on my personal blog and for work.
- Staying connected to the universe by meditation/alone time/being in nature.
- Talking with other sober women to know I am not alone on this journey and to bounce ideas/advice off of. This sometimes includes 12 step meetings.
- Learning a.k.a. filling my thirst for knowledge and self-discovery, always being willing to work on me.
Thank you for taking part in Kitchen Table Conversations.