I flip the last light off, turn The Office on and climb into bed. He exhales and lies his heavy head on my shoulder. The room feels smaller with him this close to me. I quietly remind him of the night we met. He sighs as if to say, “Really? This story, again!?” It’s true, I have recalled it a lot over the last seven years.

I’ll never forget March 6, 2010. I pulled through the gates of my apartment complex and saw my neighbors gathered around, watching this uncoordinated boxer jump side-to-side. I walked over to the group and reached down to pet the dog, “Awww, who got a new pup?!” I said, as I quickly retracted my hand to avoid the slobber dripping from his jowls. They explained that the poor thing must be lost because he wandered into our complex with no collar.

As we stood there clueless on what to do next, my ex-boyfriend and I shared an understanding glance. He was in his first year of vet school and offered to bring the dog to check for a microchip. I had access to the art building print lab so I volunteered to make lost posters. And just like that, he was our problem.

I’m an animal lover, but I can’t say I was exactly thrilled to be stuck with the chore of finding these irresponsible owners. After all, this was the THIRD dog I had found in Baton Rouge, in less than six months! What I didn’t realize was that this moment was the beginning of one of the greatest loves I have ever experienced.

The next day, I was up early to run Race for the Cure. I remember telling my friend that I found a goofy boxer puppy. She asked if I was going to keep him. I quickly came up with the excuse that I wasn’t into owning a dog at this phase in my life, and that I was more of a small/medium dog kinda girl.

Once I got home from my race, I made Bruce* (disclaimer below) a pallet on the ground and I climbed into bed for a nap. About 2 minutes later, I felt a cold, wet object nudging my arm. I rolled over to find  two big, bug eyes staring back at me. I avoided further eye contact and did my best to forget the look.

When I woke up, my arm was fast asleep. To my surprise, there was a brown blob occupying the space next to me (and also my arm). He was smiling, kicking his legs, and whimpering as he dreamt. It was that moment, I knew I was in trouble. This was no longer a LOST dog, this was MY dog. He had snuck onto the bed and into my heart and there was no doubt that he was HOME in my arms. 

Fast forward seven years, I am grateful (every.single.day) that the efforts to find Hank’s owners failed. I know that may sound selfish…but this dog, whom I not only share my bed with, but my life, has been the best friend I could ever ask for! We have grown up together. During stages of anxiety, depression, alcohol abuse, and breakups, he has been by my side. Moments I felt the world had turned on me, I looked down and saw those big, bug eyes staring back, time and time again.

Hank has taught me more about love and patience than a lot of humans. Despite my flaws, he has always greeted me as if I am what he’s been waiting for his entire life. It has never mattered that I was a hot mess or struggling to gain stability, he loves me unconditionally. The truth is, he was never my problem, only my solution.

*Bruce was his name for about eight hours. After I knew he was mine, I turned on a Hank Williams Jr. song and his ears perked up!

 **Hug your pups!! And if you are thinking about getting a dog, please consider adopting from your local shelter or rescue.

One More


I find it fascinating that a lot of recovering addicts, as well as people who live with mental health disorders, find a passion for running or working out. I’m aware there is scientific evidence that exercise activates the brain’s pleasure circuit (runner’s high), but I think I enjoy it so much because it’s the perfect mixture of meditation and (healthy) self-inflicted pain. In short, I have replaced a bad addiction with a good one. 

There are A LOT of parallels between my life and running.

1. The Voice: While intoxicated, I had this “voice” in my head that would scream, “one more…just ONE more drink!!” I rarely paused to debate with it. Now that I’m clean, sometimes I have to dig deep to hear the voice, but it urges me, “one more…just ONE more mile!!” During a particularly long, grueling run, I heard this voice and had the revelation that the personality trait that got me in trouble, now motivates me. The situation may be different, but I’m thankful that the voice is still just as persuasive as ever.

2. “I’m a Runner” (literally & figuratively): I typically laugh when I describe myself as a runner because it really is applicable in multiple areas of my life. Not only have I participated in sports and running from a young age, I also spent a good chunk of time running from my problems. *mentioned here*

3. Power of Accomplishments: When training for a race, there are some days I have a terrible run. Like, I can barely make it two miles and I’m scheduled to run six. My first reaction is to beat myself up. I have learned to pause and remind myself of the accomplishments I HAVE made – like 26.2 miles! I use my past accomplishments to encourage my future actions. Much like when I relapsed, I had the faith that I could pull myself back up, because I had done it before. While training for a marathon, you literally surprise yourself with each new milestone. The same goes for my sobriety – I am amazed at how far I have come and the strength I have to continue.

4. Crazy/Cool People: Whether it’s someone as “crazy” as you to train and complete 26.2 miles, or someone “crazy” to compare past stories with, there are some very cool people in both running and recovery circles. I love relating to people, especially the “crazy” ones!

5. Comfort in Connecting: When I run, I connect. Each time my feet hit the pavement, each squirrel I have to hurdle over, I’m reminded what a blessing it is to be alive. Running helps me reflect on the things going RIGHT in my life, as well as process the wrong. I thank God for giving me legs, the ability to move, lungs to breath, fresh air and a space to stretch, move, and grow. I feel this same gratitude, daily, since becoming alcohol-free. I’m happy every morning I don’t wake up hungover because I know I will be much more connected with my coworkers, friends, family, and in all areas of life.

6. Finding Your Pace: You’ve heard “life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.” I used to think running meant going out and hitting your PR (personal record) every workout (run a fast mile and be done.) Since I’ve had years of experience training for half and full marathons, I know that is not the mindset to have when tackling these distances. You must be patient and find a pace that helps you endure the test of time. The same goes for sobriety. If you are working toward a goal or removing something from your life, finding your balance is key. There will be times the road gets hilly, you will be faced with challenges, but you have to remind yourself that if you push through the temporary pain, the end accomplishment is forever!

Running is one of my healthy addictions. Now that I am more in touch with my “all or nothing” personality, running makes perfect sense. I started with 5k’s and gradually kept tacking on “ONE MORE MILE,” until I realized I was capable of completing a full marathon. Again, nothing worth having comes easy, but I found an intense joy in pushing my body to new limits and celebrating the milestones along the way. I am constantly surprising myself at how strong I am in both running and living each day without alcohol.

Maybe running isn’t your thing, but if you are working to eliminate the toxic in your life, I encourage you to find a hobby, sport, or mantra. The positive shift in energy will keep you moving forward and increase your gratitude for your body, mind and soul.

Eye Rolling


Over the last month, I have been tracking how long it takes me to see or hear something alcohol-related during my day.

Spoiler: I have yet to make it to noon.

While it’s possible that I am hyper-sensitive in terms of how often I notice alcohol, I prefer to think it’s the fact it’s virtually everywhere, that makes it practically unavoidable. It seems as though our society is abusing alcohol by overusing it in our advertisements and memes, and romanticizing it in our clothing and conversation.

When I chose to stop drinking, I knew alcohol would always be present in my life, in some capacity. I’m not naive enough to think I can avoid it all together. But I’m not sure if people realize, you don’t have to be in a bar or drinking environment to feel vulnerable and tempted. With that being said, this trend of normalizing alcohol use has become a gigantic pet peeve of mine.

Recently I went to Target to wander around aimlessly, because I’m weird and I like to touch a bunch of pretty things I know I can’t afford. Upon entering the store, there was a display of wine bottles ready to grab simultaneously with your cart. I rolled my eyes thinking about how I have to walk to the back of the store for something essential, like milk, but wine is literally 4 ft from the entrance! I venture to the next section – clothing. A wall of graphic tees with sayings like “Will Run for Wine” and “Coffee till Cocktails” are in my sight line (cue more eye rolling.) Next up, interior decor where the wall “art” urges me to do things like “Keep Calm and Drink More Wine!” At this point I probably let out an audible sigh along with another eye roll. All of this before I even make it to the actual grocery aisles.

When I see all of these things, basically glorifying alcohol, I can’t help but feel sad and angry. Think of all the people who are being influenced – even on a subconscious level. And what about those who are silently struggling but have accepted this as “the norm?” What about the people who simply cannot choose to ignore it?

These influences directly contribute to our nation’s addiction problem and I hate seeing people continually fall victim. These are ploys that blur the fact that alcohol is not a “cure all.” You might say, “it’s not Target or anyone else’s fault you can’t handle drinking!” And if that is what you think, you are missing the point. My point is that if alcohol wasn’t around us as a constant reminder, and wasn’t held in such high regard in every corner of our lives, we probably wouldn’t feel the need to partake as much.

While this may sound like over-sensitive, complaining to some, I hope you can understand that I see alcohol in a completely different light now. I know that it can (and does) ruin lives every day, while I strive to do the opposite. I would like to protect people from this unnecessary pressure, and in doing so, save lives. Because of all these subliminal messages around us, awareness is key to shielding oneself from the impact/affect. I want to send the message, especially to younger generations, that alcohol is NOT a required ingredient for a happy lifestyle. 

I challenge you to try my experiment. When you witness the insane amount of times you see alcohol throughout your day, try to think of the people who struggle to keep their cravings at bay. Think of the impressionable kids who are watching closer than you think. Think about families who have lost loved ones as the result of addiction. Are we sending the right message?

If you want to make a step in the right direction and make a difference as much as I do, check out CLTIVATE. I was drawn to the founder, Zack’s story, on instagram. He has such a big heart for those in recovery and I am 100% behind his mission to help cultivate the fight against addiction. Please read about how you can help and buy a shirt that has a positive meaning!

*These are my personal opinions and I am in no way saying sobriety is for everyone. However, life is for everyone and I hope you don’t miss it because of things that hold you back.

You lied

You pulled me in close and whispered everything would be okay
That in your presence, I would find security
You told me, with your help, I could be confident, sexy, alive
The warmth spread over me like a blanket
You promised everything I needed was in you
That I was nothing without you
You lied

Alcohol lied to me but I always seemed to have a desire to crawl back for just one more dance. In a lot of ways, giving up alcohol was like going through a breakup.

In the beginning, I knew it was the right decision but was scared to take action. I didn’t want to know who I was without it. After years of intertwining my identity and formulating my self-worth through a liquid, I had to discover who I was on my own and that terrified me. If you’re in this stage, I promise you will get through the initial shock.

Telling people wasn’t exactly fun either. I used to get that confused, sad look people give you when you tell them you broke up with your significant other. Then come the questions.”What? Why? How? Are you ok?” I remember dreading those questions in the beginning of my sobriety. The best thing I found was to be honest but remember you don’t owe anyone an answer if you aren’t comfortable providing one.

You lose friends. All who have gone through a break up know that you aren’t just losing one person, you’re most likely starting a silent siding war between your mutual friends, maybe even family. When you stop drinking, people will choose alcohol over you. But as I have mentioned previously, finding out who your real friends are is a blessing.

Then comes the delusional stage where you start to think the relationship may not have been as bad as you remember. Our brains have a funny way of recalling only the good times, right?! A photo will pop up on your timeline that makes you feel nostalgic, but you must remind yourself of the negatives lurking beneath the smiles. This can be extremely painful, but it has also helped me put things in perspective countless times.

Lastly, you will wake up one morning and realize your life is better. You will be happy and content with yourself. You no longer question your decisions and you no longer miss the relationship. People say time heals. And though that is real annoying to hear, it’s the truth. Major life changes, whether a break up or moving on from an addiction, take time. Be gentle with yourself in the beginning and embrace all the stages in between. You will get through it and you will be thankful you did.


I posted a video to my Facebook and Instagram asking y’all for your questions. If you didn’t get a chance to ask me something, fear not! I would love to make these Q&A posts a regular series on my blog.

Q: Do you attend AA meetings?

A: I have never been to an AA meeting, but I have not ruled them out. I know that AA helps a TON of people! I believe finding a community of like-minded people for support is essential, I just haven’t felt the desire to go to a meeting at this point in my life.

Q: How have you changed since you quit drinking?

A: WOW! Where do I start? Without a doubt, I am a new person in every sense of the word. I am not only happier, I’m much healthier too. I’m 10000% more confident and as a result, I have become more outgoing. Without my crutch, I am more authentic and a better listener. A month into my sobriety, I started noticing how amazing I felt in the mornings (even before coffee) and I wouldn’t trade that for anything! I tell people all the time, “I used to wake up and regret my choice to drink, but I never wake up and regret my decision to be sober.”

Q: Is it hard to go to bars/clubs/parties? Do you get upset when people drink around you?

A: I will not lie about this question. Yes, it is hard, especially at first. It took me quite a while to learn how to socialize without some liquid courage in my system. I had immersed myself so deep in this drinking culture that I was conditioned. Honestly, I still feel weird if I don’t have a drink in my hand at a social event (what do I do with my hands?!)

With time, you will learn that birthdays, weddings, even holidays aren’t any less fun without alcohol. And when I DO find myself feeling uneasy, I remove myself from the situation.

I never want my friends to act different around me, and if that involves them drinking, I want everyone to be comfortable doing whatever they choose. Every now and then I do get a little bummed that I cannot partake, but I remind myself how awesome it will be to replay the memories with a clear mind. I also tell myself that I have had my time as the party animal and this is my “new normal”, and that’s perfectly fine with me!

Q: What do you say when people ask you why you aren’t drinking?

A: I used to absolutely dread this question…mostly because I didn’t have a straightforward answer. It’s such a complex subject and to spare people an hour-long conversation about how I get crazy and will try to make out with their boyfriend (or girlfriend), I usually say something like “drinking and I don’t mix” or my new fave, “I was better at drinking than being drunk.” You’d be surprised at how many people will respect you even more for your choice.

My advice is to tell people whatever makes you feel comfortable. Remember, you don’t owe anyone an explanation for your life. If someone makes you feel like less of a person for your choices, I say reconsider their friendship.

Q: Do you have a go-to N/A beverage?

A: I drink non-alcoholic beer, mostly at home. I don’t like paying $6 for a bottle of beer flavored water though (let’s be real). I have it in my fridge for those All-American moments (i.e. crawfish season, football season, 4th of July, etc.).

My favorite drink to order when I’m at a bar is tonic and lime. Side note: Most people HATE tonic and it’s really funny to watch the faces of your drunk friends take a sip when they think it’s water. 

Q: Was there a rock bottom moment that you knew you had to change?

A: I giggled when I read this because, like many other people I know in recovery, there were MULTIPLE rock bottom moments I chose to ignore (more on that later).

However, the last time I drank I was with some of my life-long friends. I drank bottles of wine, I took Adderall, I laughed, I danced, I cried, I pissed people off.

It wasn’t my WORST night, by any means, but it wasn’t the BEST night either. Afterwards, I was really down for about a week and my apology tour with regret-filled messages to all of my friends was enough to set the train in motion. I was FINALLY ready to move forward with my life, sans alcohol.


Gatorade + ibuprofen couldn’t fix my anxiety and depression


I realize a lot of you have supported my choice to give up alcohol, without question. Here I am 600+ days later, and I also realize I have never elaborated much on my decision to get sober. I could tell you a lot of stories, but the short answer is I was better at drinking than being drunk.

While searching for a “before” photo for this post, I was slightly disappointed at how happy I looked in the majority of my college, party pictures. Not that a lot of those nights weren’t fun but happiness was the farthest thing from my truth.

Although I am smiling in both of those photos, I can tell you the inward difference could not be greater.

What’s not captured in those old photos is throwing up, screaming matches, cheating, stealing, broken phones (and bones), tear soaked pillows, suicide attempts, car wrecks, ruined friendships, many regrets and the most brutal hangovers you can imagine.

All of those things fueled my lifestyle of DRINK, REGRET, REPEAT. And it took me a really long time to see that Gatorade + ibuprofen couldn’t fix my anxiety and depression as it might a hangover.

Back then, I held onto a false hope that I could handle it all and I could be just like every other 20-something college kid. I didn’t want help. I didn’t want to be fixed. I just wanted to be “normal.”

But after struggling for nearly 7 years, I was tired of the highs and lows and pretending to be someone I was not. The rollercoaster ride got too intense, so I got off. I walked away from it all and accepted that I wasn’t, nor will I ever be “normal.” And at 27 years old, for the first time in my life, I chose my health and happiness as a priority.

Almost two years later, I have learned to replace those unhealthy habits with things that benefit my growth as a person mentally, physically, and spiritually. It’s not always easy and it’s not always fun but it’s always worth it. 

My story is long, my patience short, and I’m continually working on both. So rather than look back in anger, I’m looking forward to all of the things I am meant to accomplish without numbing and avoiding life’s many challenges.

Thank you to all who choose to support me. Thank you to all who have been brave enough to say “me too” when we talk about alcohol, addiction, or mental illness. I love this crazy, beautiful life and want to spend the rest of it showing that all is not lost on the things that threaten to steal your light.