Recovery is not one size fits all. It is also not a one-and-done situation. Rather, recovery is a process and a journey. 

When someone gets sober and begins recovery, they are just starting to walk down the path of healing. Many of their previous feelings and temptations may continue to come up. However, they are gradually learning the tools they need to stay on their new path. 

Shelby John is passionate about helping people who are in this stage of recovery. She is the host of the Confident Sober Women podcast and the founder of the Facebook group by the same name. Shelby particularly loves to work with women who struggle with substances by helping them control their minds and bodies and build confidence, using everything she has learned in her own recovery. 

In this episode, Shelby talks about her journey of recovery. She shares her experience with depression, a suicide attempt, and how she used alcohol to find relief. She also talks about how she is now helping other women going through similar things to empower themselves and thrive in their lives. Tune in to learn from Shelby’s amazing wisdom.

In this episode, you will hear:

  • Shelby’s mental health and addiction story.
  • What being self-centered really means.
  • The problem with hiding and inauthenticity in our culture.
  • The eye-opening moment for Shelby in her alcoholism.
  • Why we can’t fight addiction by trying harder on our own.
  • How Shelby helps others who are walking through recovery.
  • How trauma is relative and can lead to addiction no matter what it looks like.
  • What generational trauma is.
  • The link between anxiety and not understanding your core values.
  • How to determine your values and make decisions that align with them.

Key Quotes:

[4:56] – “I didn’t have a lot of reasons why I didn’t feel comfortable within myself. I mean I had some… trauma in my childhood but not like what I viewed as to be very extreme. And so I spent a lot of time thinking, ‘What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you feel good enough? You have all this life… you’ve got this boyfriend and these parents and you go to school.’ But yet I still felt really kind of dark on the inside.”

[9:15] – “I was immediately like, ‘I’m not self-centered. What are you talking about? I can’t stand myself.’ And what I came to learn, was taught that self-centeredness isn’t what I think about myself but how often. And I learned that I thought about myself all the time… When was I gonna drink, when was the next time I was going to drink, when was I going to act out in this way, when was I going to have to lie, when was I gonna have to lie about the lie?”

[11:45] – “I think a lot of people who, you know, maybe even listening to this podcast, you know, on the outside, everything, once again, looks good. I mean, you were doing a master’s degree, you were married, you had all these things. And yet, internally, you’re falling apart, you’re in so much pain, and it’s miserable. 

[12:12] – “When you walk around… you look out at everybody else and you think they’ve got it all together, they’ve got all their stuff together. And, you know, a lot of times, that’s just not true.”

[18:57] – “There was a lot of things that didn’t happen to me. I’ve never had a DUI. I’ve never been in trouble other than that… My marriage stayed intact. I have three beautiful teenagers… As I was told early on, when I started working through some step work… you know, my list of transgressions or whatever might not have been that long, but it’s… still pretty big, what was on there. So I needed that, I needed that powerful statement right in my face for me to kind of get it because I was a little stubborn and it was helpful. And it’s helpful for me to look back to remind myself where I came from.”

[22:58] – “Sometimes I think people, like myself included… {take} that work hard… just put your feet to the ground, pull up your bootstraps, and try that approach to life… {you’ll} keep spinning your wheels out of control and keep digging that hole even deeper. So yes, we all have to work hard. Of course, I’m a huge believer in personal responsibility. We all have to work hard, but we cannot do it alone… Finding the package or the cocktail or whatever you want to call it that works for you, with all of those things and all of those guides coming up alongside of you to support you as you walk through this new way of living, is really important.”

[31:31] – “A lot of people don’t reach out for help because they feel like they shouldn’t have problems, like, they feel like they shouldn’t be anxious or they shouldn’t be depressed and they judge themselves and then all that shame comes up. And then they don’t reach out for help and they don’t get support and they have to turn to these isolative ways to cope: alcohol, drugs, sex… gambling, whatever it is to try and just numb that out, get that away.”

[35:20] – “Our backgrounds or our upbringings or our situations, maybe even your stress… it doesn’t excuse you lashing out at your child and acting a fool, but it sure does help explain it.

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Supporting Resources:

Shelby’s website

Confident Sober Women Facebook group

Confident Sober Women podcast