We continue our story this week with Kirsten, one of my very best friends in the world. If you missed our last episode about her and her dad, check that one out first!
Now, as we learned last week, Kirsten got a lot of her magic and her empathy from her dad, Norm. But there’s another thing she inherited from Norm that is less fun. Spoiler alert: if you want to be surprised by that thing, stop reading this post now and come back after listening.
Kirsten has an 11-year-old son named Jack. Back when he was born, he was a preemie—you may remember the story we told in episode 21 about how Kirsten obsessed over getting Jack’s weight up with her breast milk so that he could leave the hospital. Even after he came home and plumped up, Kirsten weighed him on this antique scale in her kitchen at least 20 times a day.
Kirsten was sleep-deprived and on edge. There only seemed to be one thing that would calm her down, and that was wine. Kirsten drank more and more, especially as her dad deteriorated, until she reached one to two bottles a day. And even though Kirsten’s dad died from alcoholism, Kirsten didn’t see herself as an alcoholic; her drinking looked so different from his.
For example, she could play tennis drunk. Here she is at what she calls “happy hour tennis.”
Then, six months ago, Kristen quit cold turkey. Tune in to hear the story of how this lethal trait of Norm’s snuck up on Kirsten … and how she decided to take a different path than he did.
Kirsten’s Recommended Resources for Recovery
There are tons of great resources for people working on sobriety, so add yours in the comments. Here are Kirsten’s personal faves, along with her commentary in italics.
Favorite blog: Hip Sobriety
Favorite motivational book: The Little Book of Big Change by Dr. Amy Johnson (helps you examine, understand and control cravings!)
Favorite memoirs: (Memoir was great in the early, early days because I wanted to feel less crazy, weird, fucked up, alone and it was so helpful seeing myself in others’ stories. However, I got a little turned upside down because I started comparing myself to the writers and feeling “less alcoholic” because of thoughts like “my rock bottom wasn’t that bad” or “I didn’t get arrested.” There’s a sneaky little trap there!)
– Lit by Mary Karr
– Bottled: A Mom’s Guide to Early Recovery by Dana Bowman
– Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepbola
Favorite mindfulness and spiritual reading:
– When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron (really anything by Pema—she teaches you how to feel worthy, calm, whole, how to act from a place of love not fear)
– The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz (he writes about the assumptions we live by and with and how they undermine our joy and peace)
Favorite new coping skills: Do yoga, drink tea, bitters in seltzer, take lots of baths, write in a journal, and drink kombucha. In the beginning fill the time when you would most often drink with another routine. I do yoga during happy hour and take a bath with candles and bubbles every damn day!
There’s Kirsten in her favorite yoga tank, plus a kombucha flight, which she says is “kinda like drinking alcohol, but not at all like it!” She says the fermentation in kombucha doesn’t trigger cravings for her, though she knows it does for some people.
Talk to Kirsten
Kirsten’s Instagram account is pretty much all about her sobriety. (Lots of tub selfies.) She graciously invites LST listeners to connect with her through that account to discuss alcoholism and recovery. Her account is private, but if you request access she will likely accept your request!
What has addiction looked like for you or YOUR family?
How about sobriety? Think of this as a place to share and connect with others.