Relationships in Recovery; an Interview with Olivia Pennelle

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Relationships in Recovery; an Interview with Olivia Pennelle

Olivia Pennelle, or Liv, is someone I met via the Online Sober community.  She and I connected a while back and since then we’ve connected and I particiapted on a feature for her website, and now its my turn to focus on her for mine!  I love that her site is more than just recovery from alcohol and drug addictoin.  She is focused on health and wellness as well and she showcases recipes and  nutritional information. Liv comes from the UK, but recently just moved stateside to Oregon and I am so happy she’s on my Coast – which means I’ll have more of a chance of meeting her FTF soon!


  • What was your relationship with Alcohol/Drugs/Food before you got clean and sober?

In short, precarious, damaging and all-consuming. I barely survived and existed to use. In the end, I was drinking around four bottles of wine a day, taken together with a heap of pills.


  • What is your relationship with Alcohol/Drugs/Food today?

I have been sober for five years next month and will be codeine free for five years in August.


  •  How were your relationships with your family before you got clean & sober?

Strained, distant and damaged. My addiction got in the way of having any meaningful connection. I removed anything that got in the way of using. Sadly, I hurt a lot of close friends and family.


  • How are those relationships today?

I’ve repaired relationships, mended bridges and set about to make things right. I’ve cleaned up my mess. The longer I stay clean and sober, the greater the depth of those relationships. They see the sparkle in my eyes today, and they tell me how very proud of me they are. Some of them even go as far as saying I’m inspirational.


  •  Regarding your prior romantic relationships – how did your addiction affect those?

They weren’t relationships. They were encounters of conveniences, under the guise of a relationship. I chose one unsuitable partner after another and I hurt them terribly. My sexual harms list was long!  I came out as bi-sexual in the height of my addiction, which accelerated my using to cope with those uncomfortable feelings.


  • What is your current relationship status today?

I began dating a lovely guy shortly after I arrived in Portland.


  • How has this changed since being sober?

Today, I choose relationships. They are based upon mutual connection, understanding and open communication. They are founded upon real values such as trust, openness, honesty and respect. They are also not heavily laden with a sexual emphasis.  Although an important aspect of my sexuality and my ability to physically express myself, it is not the only emphasis today; I want to get to know my partner, I want to share experiences together, I want to share the world. I want togetherness and meaning.


  • How did you feel your relationships with friends and co-workers are now that you clean and sober?

I’m reliable, trustworthy and considered to be a very hard worker. I’ve discovered skills I wasn’t aware of: I’m told that I am a creative, a good writer, an easy communicator.


  • Do you have a relationship with a HP, God or Universe that guides you?

I don’t know what it is, but yes. The more I have faith that it will work out, that I am being carried and supported, the more the universe responds with just what I need.

  • If so, how does that help you in your recovery?

It has been particularly helpful with moving to America. I uprooted my life and chose to expand my horizons. That requires a huge amount of faith and trust in the universe. And in moments of doubt—I’ve had many of those in Portland—people tell me that I wouldn’t have been brought all of this way to be dropped on my arse.


  • Do you have relationships with pets and if so, how has that helped with your recovery?

I don’t have any pets, but I love small animals. I would absolutely love to get a dog. I share a house with a rather fetching cat, Bijou. He is currently asserting himself across my desk. I am quite feline in personality, so I get him. He amuses me.


  • How is your relationship today with Society at Large?

Whoa! Tough question! Erm, I struggle with people and why they do what they do. Despite understanding that everyone is different, and they all have a different moral compass, I continued to be surprised by the shitty things people do to others and to me. I try to let it not affect me, but it invariably does. As time goes on in recovery, I become less surprised and I bounce back more quickly. It is those experiences that make me want to change who I am, to harden, yet I can’t—that just isn’t me. I don’t want to live in a world as a suspicious cynic; that is harmful to my soul.


  • What have you been able to contribute?

I spend a lot of my time running a website dedicated to providing resources for the journey towards health and wellness in recovery. I also share my experiences in publications. I try to be the best I can, I try to be warm and I try to do good. That is all I can ever do.


Olivia Pennelle Bio:

Writer, blogger, nutrition and recovery advocate, Olivia Pennelle (Liv), is in long-term recovery from addiction.  Liv passionately believes in a fluid and holistic approach to sobriety. Her popular site, Liv’s Recovery Kitchen, is a resource for the journey toward health and wellness in recovery. For Liv, the kitchen represents the heart of the home: to eat, share, and love.   You will find Liv featured amongst top recovery bloggers and published on websites such as: The Fix, Sanford House, Winward Way & Casa Capri, Intervene, Workit, Sapling, Addiction Unscripted and Transformation is Real.

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