recovery changes

The brain does weird things when you deprive it of food.

And I don’t mean just calorically. Even if you’re eating 2000, 3000 calories a day in recovery, if they’re all safe, you’re still going to be obsessed with food and what you “can’t” have.

(AKA a friendly reminder to challenge yourself today.)

url change

iricious >> captainodonoghue

I always assumed that when I was finally happy I’d be skinny. Even when I stopped thinking being skinny would make me happy. I just assumed a correlation.

So I guess it’s a little strange to realize I am happy, and to look back on how far I’ve come.

I am happy. Not despite of my size, not because of my size. I just am happy, and my size has nothing to do with it one way or another.


I wasn’t always the type of mom who took the time to braid my daughters hair, or read her books at bedtime, or painted her fingernails. I wasn’t always the type of mom who let her daughter crawl into bed with her when she had a nightmare, or had a bandaid in my purse just in case she got hurt, or made sure she brushed her teeth before bed.

For a long time, my disease turned me into a visitor in my daughters life. I was always pre-occupied with a substance, and everyone else around me had to jump in to play mom while I slowly deteriorated.

I remember those days so vividly, and it’s heartbreaking. I often think about the time lost. The times when I held my baby in the middle of the night and was emotionless. How I wish I could go back to those days and look into my daughters eyes, take in that new baby smell and hold her little fingers while I rocked her to sleep. To just be present in that moment.

I could torture myself if I allowed my thoughts to go there every day, but from time to time I find that it is good to remind myself how lost I once was. Not to punish myself, I try not to do that anymore. But to remind myself how far I have come, because some days it is very easy to forget.

Let me tell you about the mom I am today:

I am the mom who barely recognizes that mom 4 years ago. I am the mom who reads to her daughter at night, changing her voice with each character. I am the mom who French braids her daughter’s hair for concerts, teaches her daughter how to match clothes and listens intently to her daughters fears and frustrations.

I am there for her when she wakes up in the middle of the night, when she skins her knee and when she simply needs a hug. I am present when she shares her school work, shows me a new game she learned or wants to sing me a song.

I am the mom who volunteers to coach her daughters soccer team, makes lunches for school and plants vegetables with her daughter in the backyard.

I am the mom who puts recovery first, so that my daughter never has to say goodbye to me again. I sometimes have to choose meetings and service work over movie nights and kisses before bed so that I can stay healthy enough to never let my daughter see me fall apart again.

I am a mom who made mistakes and feels regret and sadness. But more important than that…I am the mom who had the courage to change when she didn’t really believe she could, the courage to share her story in hopes that others don’t make the same mistakes she did and the courage to get back up and fight when she wanted to die.

I thank God every day for this second chance at life. I know so many who were not as lucky, and I fight every day to make sure I don’t let God, myself, my daughter or the people who love me ever worry whether it is the last time they will see me ever again.

It is work, but it is worth it. For every tear I have cried, I have gained another 24 hours to build more memories. Those memories will someday replace the bad x100! If only I stay!

So I do! I just stay…❤️

Vanessa Day

Sleep in for an extra hour if you can.
Have a big brunch and invite your friends.
Go check out that new thrift store in your neighborhood. Try on silly hats and gowns.
Take a picture of yourself. Make that picture your wallpaper for a week.
Meet new people. Make them laugh. Laugh until your ribs hurt and you feel a six pack coming on.
Jump rope with the little girls on your block. Play hand games and sing silly songs.
Hug someone you love. Hold on for a full 10 seconds.
Draw doodles on your grocery list.
Make post its and put them all around your room, in your bathroom, around the mirror. Inspire yourself.
Today, I want you to be a Warrior.

I feel so lucky to be working with two people who treat me as an individual, not a diagnosis or a collection of possible diagnoses.

Those words aren’t the be all and end all, what really matters is the effect on my life. Therefore the most important thing to think about is how I can gradually change my life into what I would like it to be rather than what it has been stuck as.

They are helping me to achieve that change and I’m infinitely grateful.

Spread Love Wherever You Go

With all of the animosity towards police officers in our society/media, I thought it was important that I share a POSITIVE experience that I had with one officer in particular. I would encourage all of my friends to do the same. The media can report on all of the bad seeds, but let’s start our own movement where WE report on all of the good!

My Story:

I’ve shared this story many times, and there were many people who lived it along with me. It is the story of when I went missing at the end of my active addiction. I had come to the conclusion, as many active addicts do, that I was unworthy of the life I was living; that everyone would be better off without me. I had no intention of ever returning. My plan, and I admit it was a terrible plan, was to drink myself to death. I thought, “At lease I won’t know what’s happening when I go.” I turned off my phone, took cash out of an ATM and walked away from my life.

I was considered a missing person for 5 days. For 5 long days my family didn’t know if I was dead or alive, this included my 4 year old daughter. Sadly, I hadn’t even thought about what my disappearance would do to the people in my life; the people who still saw something in me that I just couldn’t see in myself. All I knew was that I was miserable and I didn’t believe I would ever get better. I was finished hurting the people who loved me.

I remember the night the police officer found me. I could barely walk, I hadn’t eaten in almost a week and I was in the same clothes I was wearing when I left. I remember being furious with the officer when he found me on that 5th day…still alive. This man foiled my plan. I remember thinking, “I can’t even kill myself right!” I was not a lady that night, and I am sure I did nothing to deserve that officer’s respect. As I was escorted to the crisis center, and then lawfully committed to the mental health facility, I was unrecognizable.

I wasn’t mad at that officer. I was mad at myself. I understood he was doing his job, he was trying to keep me safe and, quite frankly, that was where I needed to be. By doing that, he helped save my life.

Something I appreciate about my recovery is that it has taught me to offer my hand to others who are struggling with addiction. When I was almost 1 year sober, I returned to that same crisis center I had been taken to after I was located; only this time I wasn’t there for me, I was there to help a friend who had found herself in the same hopeless situation I was once in. When I arrived, I calmly talked to my friend and agreed to get her home safely. There was an officer there who asked to take down my information. I remember he gave me a curious look while he was taking the information off of my driver’s license. I thought maybe he had noticed that I had been there before. I thought maybe he was taking pity on me, questioning how one addict could possibly help another stay clean and sober. He proceeded to hand my information back to me, told me good luck and my friend and I were on our way.

The next morning, my parents received a knock on their door at about 7:30am. It was the same officer that I had seen the day before. I’m sure, although my mother probably won’t admit it, my parents were thinking, “Oh Lord, here we go again!” What I hadn’t realized the day before, was that this particular officer was the same officer who found me when my mother reported me missing a year earlier. I hadn’t even recognized him, and I am not surprised he had trouble recognizing me.

What happened when my mother opened the door is just a testament to what recovery was starting to do for my life. He told her not to worry, I wasn’t in any trouble. He said that I had been at the crisis center the day before, in an attempt to help my friend. He wanted to tell her how proud he was of me, that I was willing to go back to where I had been on that fateful night in order to extend a caring hand to a friend. He said that he rarely gets to see what happens after people leave and go about their lives. Sadly, he usually only sees them again if they find themselves in trouble. He said it was pretty amazing to see someone who was once so lost, turn their life around the way that I had.

Wow! I still get tears in my eyes when I reflect on this. That officer DID NOT have to take time out of his day to go speak with my parents, but he did. I am forever grateful to him for doing this. Because of his kind gesture, I started to realize that I had changed. It made me want to continue working even harder to be a better person.

To this day, I do not remember that officer’s name, but I remember how he made me feel. If I ever get the chance to see him again I will be sure to do two things:

1. Apologize for being so disrespectful to him when he found me. He was simply trying to protect me from myself.

2. Thank him for seeing me as a sick person, not a bad person, and for recognizing the positive changes
I had made to improve my life.

I have grown so much since that day. The gifts of recovery are some of the most beautiful gifts I have ever received. Today, I can honestly say that I feel my Higher Power working in my life every single day. I have continued to change daily since I started this journey. Some change is uncomfortable, and along with it comes countless tears, and some change is so overwhelmingly beautiful that I cannot believe that it is happening to this once hopeless addict.

When I came into recovery I was an absent mother, my husband had filed for divorce and I was up to my eyeballs in consequences. Today, my life has been restored. I am a loving mother who participates daily in her daughter’s life. By the grace of God I am still a wife who has a new appreciation for her husband. I am a socially acceptable, productive and law abiding citizen who accepted the consequences of her actions with humility and grace. And most importantly, I am ALIVE. And I don’t just mean alive in just a general sense of the word- that my heart is beating and I am breathing oxygen. I mean really ALIVE. I enjoy life, I laugh, I play and I set goals.

I have hope. Change is possible my friends.

One officers kind gesture, helped motivate this recovering addict to be an even better person.

Be the change!

Vanessa Day

A month ago I would never post a picture in which you could see my stomach but weigh in today says I’m down 15 pounds in 3 weeks and I’m hella fucking proud of myself. The first half of this year I spent more time caring for others and I put my body through a lot of shit (re: binge drinking, alcohol poisoning, caffeine dependency, unmedicated manics) but I’m now taking care of my body the way it deserves. 3 weeks sober, on top of it! ✨ #motivation #change #determination #workout #health #recovery

Made with Instagram

You cannot let someone bring you down. You cannot let someone hurt you in such a way that you want to hurt yourself. You cannot, cannot, CANNOT give anyone power over your life.

Do not be that person who makes someone feel negatively about themselves-especially when they’re already trying improve. Do not be a bully. Do not use your personality as an excuse to be bluntly disrespectful. Of course not everything we have to say isn’t necessarily “nice”, for some people need hear some things- but understand the difference.

“You need to stop eating so unhealthily. It’s not good for you” instead of, “Stop eating!”

“I don’t like that shirt, how about you try on this one?” Instead of, “You do not look good in that”
(Either way, they can wear what they like, but distributing your opinion doesn’t have to be hurtful)

Some people preach, “Sticks and stones” and that’s a good mantra, keep using it if it helps you. Others don’t feel the same way about hurtful words. It’s not that they’re being “too sensitive” or a “pussy”, it’s just that they don’t like being disrespected. Being nice won’t hurt anyone if your intentions are free of malice.

Changes and Sober Living

I miss wild summers. I miss random summer boyfriends, and cold drinks on hot sand. Cool relief after plunging into the water and drunken conversations about uncertain futures.

As much as I miss those summers I am learning to embrace the new quiet, peaceful summer that has been placed before me. I don’t miss the heartache of breaking off unrealistic relationships. I don’t miss the hangovers and shakes from weekend long benders. I don’t have regrets that I wish I could take back.

Instead I have sobriety. It’s showing me how much purpose I have. Things are changing for me! My real personality is really starting to show. I smile a lot, I’m thoughtful and I have great concern for other people in my life. My talents and gifts are beginning to show again!

In the next 6 months to year I am planning to change my last name! I have always hated my last name. My birth mom gave me her dead husbands (who was not my father) last name. The name has meant nothing to me all my life. I have considered changing it to my foster parent’s last name but that just doesn’t really seem right. My kokum has always talked about changing my last name. I think now as I am discovering myself it’s the perfect time to make the change.

I am still waiting for a surgery date for my health issue. This problem is taking its toll on my body. Just the other day my doctor called and doubled my iron meds. My blown vein is still bruised and sore but it’s finally fading away. I can’t wait until this problem is taken care of.

My cousin asked me to stand for her at her wedding. I feel so honored that she asked me! I really hope that seeing my family won’t shake my sobriety. The majority of them struggle with substance abuse and see sobriety as lame or boring. They are so deep in addiction and they see it as the only way to cope with problems. It’s really sad and it breaks my heart. I can only live as a sober person and hope that they see what sobriety can bring.

Yours in honesty

9 months and 12 days sober