"I didn't realize I had a problem until I tried to stop."
Schrank has now been sober for more than 20 years and recently founded High Sobriety, an alcohol rehabilitation facility in Los Angeles. To beat his addiction, Schrank turned to exercise and local Alcoholic Awareness meetings. "Overcoming alcoholism is like weeding, you have to stay on top of it or you'll have a yard full of weeds in a second," he says. "Working out is key for me; in spite of my dad bod, I do love the gym. The team approach of AA has also been critical. The men in the program offer consistent and reliable support, and that really helps." Above all, he says his two sons are his greatest motivator. "As a kid, I loathed my father's drinking and self-destructive behaviors. Neither of my boys have seen me drink, and I want to keep that streak going." Find out what safe drinking looks like.
"Recovery is not a life problem I could fix by just working harder."
Over the years, he's learned to take a holistic approach to repairing his life and important relationships. "I needed a complete staff of physicians, counselors, therapists, plus an exercise regimen and a strong plan to get through the difficult days," he shared. "I never could have envisioned what a lifetime of sobriety would look and feel like, until I got there."
"I wish I'd been taught to embrace my imperfections, and to understand the importance of self-care."
Then came a morning in March 2014, when Ward was so sick from not drinking that she couldn't stand upright in the shower; she grabbed a beer to steady her hand, and that was the moment she made the choice to stop. By working with a wellness coach, Ward was able to eventually break her addiction. "She helped me identify bad habits and replace them with healthy ones. I learned to love, value, and respect myself." Ward also realized there is no shame in admitting you need help. "Alcoholics are not broken or flawed: We're ill. And when we're sick, we need to take care of ourselves. There are so many different ways to recover. It doesn't matter what path you choose as long as you find a way to become and remain sober," she said.
"I could never have imagined that a life of sobriety would be so rich."
Clubb not only discovered confidence, but she found a career path. "When I got sober, I worked at a treatment center as a housekeeper and on a horse farm. I assumed this or something similar is what I would do for the rest of my life but I took a leap of faith and applied at Bluff Plantation, a rehabilitation center in Augusta, Georgia. After receiving several promotions, I am now Program Manager." Equally important for Clubb is the change in her personal life. "The relationships I have now are genuine. I thought that many of my relationships would be ruined forever because to my alcoholism, but my family just wanted their wife, mother, and daughter back. What they have received in return, is a better version of myself."
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"Ignore the little voice that says, 'I don't want to recover' and do it anyway."
"Life carries the possibility of spiritual awakening. Addiction is a barrier."
As he tamed his addiction to booze, he had to recognize and overcome other obsessions, such as gambling, porn, caffeine, and sugar—to name a few.
"As I dropped the alcohol and then shed each addiction—one by one—I began practicing mindfulness which allowed me to live in the moment. I learned to live with a quiet mind; my fear, guilt, shame, anger, and sadness fell away. Today, I walk around in awe of the simple wonderment of life. I find joy in the simplest things: a tree, a child laughing, clouds rolling across the sky, an intimate conversation with a loved one," he says. "I didn't know back then that true peace and freedom are contained in the one place I was constantly refusing to look—the here and now."
Recently, Kiloby opened the first rehab facility in the country focused on mindfulness: the Kiloby Center for Recovery.
"You cannot do this alone."
By attending AA meetings, having a sponsor, and being a sponsor, Garwood was able to move forward. She also prays and meditates daily to help her get out of her own head and stay in the present moment.
"You never can tell when the use of alcohol or drugs might become a disease."
"Everyone is played Russian roulette when they try alcohol or drugs," he says. "Unfortunately for me, I was one of a small percentage of people who are addicted right from the start. The key message is that you never can tell when the use of alcohol or drugs might progress to a disease. Once that happens, you lose the ability to make a decision to stop. My weakness led me to a 24-year addiction; I'm incredibly lucky to be alive." If you're looking to cut back on alcohol, follow these 17 tips.
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