Years ago, I remember hearing this song on the radio and thinking Helen Reddy was a pretty cool lady. I thought of this song lyric yesterday after my Girl Power weekend of hosting my friend Amy Dresner in North County. I found Amy a couple years ago as she was, and still is, a writer for The Fix. I loved her writing – it was honest, direct, funny and it helped me and let me know that I was ok and not going crazy. Amy writes with grit and honesty that touches you and tells you it’s cool to be who you are and fuck shame. I started emailing her and telling her how much I liked her articles and soon after we connected on the phone and now we are good friends who laugh and complain and bitch to each other about everything. I’m also one of her biggest fans.
But this post isn’t going to be all about Amy; even though it could be. I interviewed her a couple years ago, maybe I should do an updated interview with her soon? Maybe, she always has a lot to say. (Love you so much Amy)
This past weekend I was able to speak with three brave women at a large and well-attended speaker meeting in Carlsbad, CA. Each of us shared our stories, that had distinctly different messages and experiences to offer. The common thread is that we are sober, staying sober and being of service to the fellowship. It was a special night for me as the original date of our speaking engagement was last December. That was the same night I unexpectedly had to be in Philadelphia for my Dad’s memorial service. Dad had suddenly passed away a week prior and I had to be at his service with my family and show up as his sober loving daughter. It was a poignant day in which I was able to honor my Father with my family and many of my Dad’s friends, from near and far. It was an SRO gathering at the Chapel as Dad was well-loved by many many people and I felt peace and grace knowing I was there holding space for my Dad’s honor and memory.
I hosted Amy at my home, and we acted like giddy girls on a weekend pass from college making jokes about snoring and Farrah Fawcett hair and my non-social dog Bailey – who finally warmed up to Amy by licking her incessantly while she slept. At the meeting, Amy killed it with her humor and honesty and the AA’s were able to thank her for being so honest and relatable. I shared a story about my Dad’s passing and how Alcoholics Anonymous showed up for me when I needed them to, and how they continue to do so today. That’s how this program works. We get to love and support each other and lift us up during times of sadness, tragedy, and in times of happiness and joy. For me, it’s being able to share those feelings with the people in my life that I care so much about. Recovery is about connection and that’s what keeps me coming back.
At the speaker meeting, there was love, energy, healing, laughter, and God showed up also. I had a spiritual experience that night that I was really needing to fill my soul. Four women with courageous and truthful stories talked about what it took for them to get sober – and between us 51 years of sobriety was present. I’m not usually one of those big feminist’s shouting from the water tower about women’s rights and look at us and hear us. This weekend though I felt that way, and I was proud to be in recovery and participate with my friends as our message was heard.
The next morning, Amy and I had a book signing and reading at Eve in Encinitas, the uber-hip vegetarian eatery off the 101 PCH highway. Amy, as usual, had everyone laughing and gasping reading from her best-selling Memoir. She’s a pro and it shows. I, however, hadn’t done a proper book reading for Last Call, a Memoir ever. Being able to share this with Amy, who does this almost weekly in her life, felt so complete and right. Getting to be vulnerable in sharing my story of how I got my second DUI, the one where I picked up a loser dude at a local club and was planning on taking him home. The one where we both had our cars barricaded in front of a liquor store on a Saturday night. The one where the cops administered our field sobriety test and we both failed miserably. And, the DUI that got me sober. Yes, that’s the most important part – it gave me the gift of sobriety. Being a confident truth teller makes me proud to be an alcoholic. Something I never wanted to be. Today’s it’s all I want to be.
Thanks ladies for showing up for me this weekend and being honest and open and letting me know it’s okay to be vulnerable in sharing my truth because that’s the only way I can be my authentic self.
#Fuck shame #Truth teller #An authentic life