Twenty lessons in twenty years of sobriety
Veronica Valli
by Veronica Valli
1y ago
47 years old - 20 years sober. For pictures in my drinking days, scroll down. Picture by Jordan Brewer. On May 2nd, 2020, I celebrate 20 years of continuous sobriety. I worked hard for this, and I made a lot of mistakes along the way. But through these mistakes, I learned some vital lessons that have helped me stay sober and grow into the person I always dreamed of being. Here are the ones that helped me the most.    1. Just when you think you've nailed it…..  More than once I've thought 'I've got this!' 'I know everything there is to know about recovery and addiction', 'I've ..read more
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Mistakes are the juice of life
Veronica Valli
by Veronica Valli
1y ago
Mistakes are the juice of life. When I first got sober I was under the delusion that in order to stay sober, I had to become perfect in all areas. It got worse when I trained to be a therapist. Because I was a therapist I thought I needed to always be serene, wise and know the right thing to say. I needed to exude a calm, reassuring confident manner with everyone, not just my clients. But no matter how hard I tried, I would f**k up. I would say something that inadvertently hurt someone's feelings, or I would forget to do something I said I would or.....well I was plainly very far f ..read more
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The 5 essential components of a successful sober program are:
Veronica Valli
by Veronica Valli
1y ago
Let's be clear. There are many paths to a sober life. Yet this is one of the major disagreements within the recovery community. We all seem to be so deeply entrenched in our own method and utterly convinced that our way is the only possible way to get sober. To the point that if you don't do it my way, we believe you will drink and then you will die. The use of medication is also similarly debated. Some view medically assisted recovery not 'real recovery,' and others consider it life-saving. It's true that in the hands of people with a history of abusing substances, pre ..read more
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The Misinformation about Alcoholics Anonymous and Sobriety by Veronica Valli
Veronica Valli
by Veronica Valli
1y ago
In my almost twenty years of sobriety, I’ve been privy to hundreds — maybe thousands — of debates about the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, otherwise known as AA.  As someone who has found recovery through the program almost twenty years ago because there were simply no other options available, I am both a beneficiary and a proponent to be sure. As a former psychotherapist, I also recognize that there is, of course, no one path to recovery. I know that any body of thought and organization has its flaws, and that AA is is no exception. I have seen people in the program misinterp ..read more
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Other people's drinking
Veronica Valli
by Veronica Valli
1y ago
 I was talking to someone in early recovery and they mentioned they were under a lot of pressure from their drinking friends. They had quit drinking about six months ago and felt fantastic. However, it seemed that none of their friends could accept this change. They were constantly being told that they “couldn’t have an alcohol problem,” that “one won’t hurt,” and that “sober people are boring.” The constant prodding was getting them down and they were beginning to wonder if their friends were right, Maybe they didn’t have an alcohol problem after all? This is a very common situation fo ..read more
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Echos
Veronica Valli
by Veronica Valli
1y ago
   We are all surrounded by echoes from our past. We may not be able to see them, but they are there — in our behavior, our beliefs and our consequences. Echoes are the unresolved issues or trauma that show up in our present. We all have them. And we all have a choice in how we deal with them. They are, for want of a better word our “stuff,” — our work that we have to deal with.   There are only two kinds of people in this world: those who are dealing with their “stuff” and those who are not. You can spot the difference. Our behavior is merely an outward expression of our ..read more
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19 Lessons in 19 years
Veronica Valli
by Veronica Valli
1y ago
19 years sober On May 2nd, 2019, I celebrate 19 years of continuous sobriety. This did not come easy. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I made some big mistakes along the way. But through these mistakes, I learned some vital lessons that have helped me stay sober and become the best version of myself that I'm capable of being. Long-term recovery means you never stop learning and growing. Here are the things that have helped me learn and grow the most.... 1. Just when you think you’ve nailed it….. More than once I’ve thought “I’ve got this!” “I know everything there is to know about ..read more
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Fear and drinking
Veronica Valli
by Veronica Valli
1y ago
There’s something about a drink problem that twists all our emotions and makes the unpleasant ones dominant in us. Especially fear. We seem to take fear to a whole new level, much more than ordinary people do. It’s like I was born frightened and my whole life has been a reaction to the fear. None of my fears were real, they were always imagined — but they seemed real to me and they followed me wherever I went. It was like a cancer of the mind, spreading and destroying everything in its path.  When I was drinking, my fear crippled me. I lived in blind terror every day. Everything was fr ..read more
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The Relationship Fix
Veronica Valli
by Veronica Valli
1y ago
Relationships and drinking  I am almost 19 years sober and have been with my husband for 13 years. I cannot emphasize how astounding it is for me to write those words. While I was drinking, my relationship history was a spectacular disaster. I really wasn’t capable of a healthy relationship until I got sober, and even then it took a bit of work. Relationships don’t come easily to a lot of people, but they’re even harder for people who drink. Add some alcohol abuse to a relationship and stand back and wait for the explosion.   Dating and drinking For me, relationships and alcohol wer ..read more
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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Veronica Valli
by Veronica Valli
1y ago
I’ve just finished the book Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I finished it in about five days flat. It’s beautifully written and will haunt you days after you have finished. The book touches on two big themes — loneliness and trauma. The main character, Eleanor, is alone and isolated because of her childhood trauma. Her loneliness is crushing and she uses alcohol to escape from it. I have come to believe that loneliness is the disease of our times. It kills more people than anything else. Human connection is life-sustaining: we need it like we need the sun and ..read more
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