Hiding–many addicts do it. It’s what keeps them locked in prisons of guilt and shame. It’s how they convince even themselves that they don’t have a problem. It’s the very thing that prevents them from getting the help that they so desperately need.

Today’s guest, Wanja Joy, has experience with hiding. She hid her alcohol addiction from everyone in her life. Even after she reached out for help and started seeing a therapist, she hid her struggle with alcohol from him.

However, today she is the host of Wanja on Air: Actions in Recovery. On her podcast, she shares her story of struggling with alcohol and how she used it to cover up. She tells how she eventually overcame her guilt, shame, and perfectionism and reached out for help. Wanja changed her life and now brings that change to others. 

Wanja is just a genuine spirit who wants to bring joy to other people, so tune in to hear our incredible conversation about her story of recovery.

In this episode, you will hear:

  • All about Wanja’s childhood and how perfectionism began brewing in her at a very young age.
  • How addiction can start in our minds.
  • When and how Wanja first began to realize she has an issue with alcohol.
  • Her struggle with hiding her addiction.
  • When she first started being honest and asked for help.
  • The intense drive that pushed her forward her entire life.
  • The tools she learned in rehab that helped her begin to abstain from alcohol.
  • When she decided to share her story with others.
  • What her podcast and coaching are all about.

Key Quotes:

[04:05] – “My mom is a teacher and I’m her daughter, and we weren’t given an option to do things like reading. It was not an option to have good grades. Those things were not optional. So when I ended up in the height of my disease, I realized that I was actually brewing perfectionism from a very young age.”

[05:33] – “Way before I picked up a substance, I did have a disease of perception… it was all made in my mind and it started really young.”

[08:29] – “And in my mind, when growing up and everything else in between, I just thought alcohol is a liquid and you could have it or leave it. But at some point, for me, I was obsessive about it. And I knew that wasn’t normal. So my choice was, at the time with this mind of mine that plants a seed and blows it up, I’m just going to hide it.”

[13:01] – “I was in such denial that I actually believed my own lies.”

[19:24] – “But somehow I had this mind that was made up that I needed to do certain things at certain times. And I felt like I was being delayed because now I’m setting my degree later than I wanted to and so I have to catch up.”

[30:17] – “I was really vigilant about feeding my alcoholism. So now I started feeding my recovery at the same rate. It started being beautiful but it wasn’t at the beginning.”

[36:25] – “So many times I think so many of us can get lost that we don’t realize we’re like everybody else. We all have these fears and insecurities and shame and sometimes trauma. And if we share our story, I think it helps so many more people and to mitigate that suffering.”

[42:15] – “We can get addicted to stress without even knowing, to a core belief without even knowing.”

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Supporting Resources:


Wanja on AiR (Actions in Recovery) podcast

Book a free call with Wanja