From Addiction to Recovery with Tamar Medford | IT 039

Sep 30, 2020

If you have ever had a loved one struggle with addiction, it is hard. It is hard to know what to do and hard to know what to say. All you want to do is help. But what is helpful and what is hurtful? In this week’s episode, Kathryn speaks with Tamar Medford about overcoming her 20 year battle with addiction and how she’s helping others.

Meet Tamar Medford

 Tamar is a Performance Consultant, Podcast host, Best-Selling Author, and Champion for people who suffer from addiction. Since overcoming her 20-year battle with addiction and obesity in 2012. Tamar is now on a mission to inspire and empower others to build a firm belief in their abilities to change their lives and achieve their goals. Her passion for supporting others in personal growth, and become successful came as a result of her own journey and past struggles.

Visit Tamar’s website, Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and check out her book, “Hope Elevated.”

In This Podcast

Summary

  • What can lead to addiction
  • Advice on addressing someone’s possible addiction
  • Hints you might be dealing with addiction
  • Why addiction can show up outside drugs and alcohol

What can lead to addiction

Oftentimes we think addiction comes from an unhealthy upbringing, but that is not always the case. Tamar had a supportive and loving family life, but negative self-talk was on repeat in her head. Developing insecurities and limiting beliefs during the pivotal time of early teenage years can be the perfect recipe for unhealthy coping habits. Every human behavior is driven by a need and ongoing thoughts of “not enough” might drive someone to feel the need for validation. That feeling of not good enough can cause anxiety, pain, and depression, which can lead someone to use alcohol to boost confidence and mask emotions. This can be particularly difficult coming into high school when everyone is trying to fit in and seeking out approval from peers.

Advice on addressing someone’s possible addiction

Approaching someone who might be struggling with addiction is hard. The best approach is being honest. Understand that if the person is not ready to change, any sort of conversation around their behaviors won’t be well received. They will continue to seek out other friendships until there is no longer someone to lean on. It’s also important to acknowledge that addiction is an illness and doesn’t come with an on and off switch. The initial use of a substance for an addict floods the brain with dopamine, a feel good chemical that can end up in a constant chase because of increased tolerance. When someone is ready to change it’s usually because people who care gave them tough love, rather than enabling their addiction. Many had lost enough connections to significant people and that was the catalyst for change.

Hints you might be dealing with addiction

Besides recognizing when personal relationships and obligations are suffering, there are some not-so-obvious hints of potential addiction. For example, someone betting that they could quit drinking for a month with friends might be a sign of convincing others as well as themselves. Most people who don’t have an issue with drugs or alcohol aren’t spending a lot of time trying to convince others. If someone finds themselves still making exceptions when trying to stay sober, such as for birthdays or events, that might be a sign of a problem as well. Similarly, if they are replacing drinking with other harmful habits like smoking excessively, there might be addictive qualities. If counting calories while dieting to allocate for drinking more than a moderate amount each day, that might be another sign of addiction.

How else addiction shows up and getting help

Being in codependent relationships, having an unhealthy relationship with food, or even a perfectionist mindset could run concurrently with addiction. For Tamar, it all went back to negative self talk of not feeling like she was enough. If you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, or are close to it, that often motivates someone to choose change. They can then seek out the help they need with support groups and resources. Removing the shame around it and having grace to embrace imperfections can make the road to recovery more accessible.

When you have a group of people that you can talk to about your behaviors and your addiction and it’s something that’s so powerful… you become vulnerable and you share your story. And they’re like, I’ve done this as well. Then they share their story. All of a sudden it takes the power out of what you were ashamed about.

Books mentioned in this episode

Blueprint to Thrive Quickstart

And if you are not completely satisfied with your life check out the free “Blueprint to Thrive Quickstart.” After just a few minutes, you will know what areas of your life are working well and what areas need more attention if you want to get to your most satisfying and fulfilling life!

Click here for your Quickstart now:
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Useful links:

Kathryn Ily

Meet Kathryn Ely

I’m Kathryn Ely and at age 50, I’m enjoying my very best life. I spent years as a lawyer and then stay-at-home mom helping others go out into the world and live their best lives. While this was very important to me, I did not realize that I was losing myself in the process. I followed all of the “shoulds” like “women should always care for others” and “taking time for yourself is just selfish”.

As two of my children were getting ready to go out into the world I realized I was lost, without my next purpose, and it was scary. So I went back to school and over the course of several years, I not only found myself, but I designed the formula for women in midlife to achieve their most fulfilling lives. It is my mission to equip as many women as possible with this design and the tools to make this chapter of their lives the best chapter.

Thanks for listening!

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Imperfect Thriving is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Podcast Transcription

Kathryn:

Okay. So welcome to the show Tamar. I am so happy to have you here today. I can’t wait to hear about your story. 

Tamar:

Thank you for having me Kathryn. 

Kathryn:

So let’s dive right in and just tell our listeners a little bit about you and how you got to where you are today. 

Tamar:

So I grew up in a really happy family.

I had a very supportive, parents and brother and all throughout life though, I developed these insecurities, right? These limiting beliefs. Like I wasn’t good enough. I was very self conscious. I was very shy. And I remember going into high school thinking, Oh my gosh, like I’m not going to fit in here.

And it was never anything my parents had done because my parents were always very supportive and my dad always pushed me to do better. But I still didn’t feel like I was good enough. And at the age of 14, I decided to try drinking for the first time. And I just remember that first full drink because my parents let us drink when we were younger, not excessively, they’d let us have a sip.

So it wasn’t anything that was taboo. But I just remember the feeling that came over me, it was like my life actually went from black and white to color and all of a sudden I felt like I fit in. I felt like I could be confident and funny. And I really loved that feeling, right. It was such an elusive feeling that I was like, this is my solution to life.

And that’s also around the time that my education started to fall apart because my priorities shifted. I was more interested in what was going on after school and on the weekends. So I really used alcohol and then drugs followed very quickly after to mask my emotions, to hide my feelings and to also just give me that confidence that I so badly wanted.

I was always seeking the attention from my parents and my friends that I wanted to be good enough. And I remember just craving that feeling and alcohol kind of fixed that, right. So to speak. And so. After high school, I barely passed high school and it wasn’t because I wasn’t smart enough.

Although that’s what I told myself. I continued these behaviors and these patterns and where a lot of my friends started to going to college. And after they got married, while I continued down that dark path and in, when I was about 25 years old, I got into harder drugs and I kind of slipped into a place in my life where I never imagined I would be. And I talk about that in my book, “Hope Elevated.” And some of my friends who have actually read the book that I really hid that part of my life from were shocked because they’re like, you’re not that person. Right. We can’t picture you being in this house in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of addicts using.

But that’s where my life had gotten to and so during that period, I actually struggled with obesity as well. I was drinking probably anywhere from 2000 to 5,000 calories of alcohol per day. The drug use allowed that to be even even greater. And because I had gained the weight, all of a sudden I wanted that instant gratification from dieting.

So I would join programs. The first program I joined was Weight Watchers and it’s a phenomenal program, except when you’re someone like me, that manipulates everything. And I actually got it down to a science where I would have two bags of microwavable popcorn. Cause they were only worth one point each.

I’d have that for breakfast and lunch, I’d have a couple of diet Cokes. I also took diet pills at the same time, which made me feel like I was going to have a heart attack. I’d go home and have a veggie patty, seven oven baked fries, and I count them. So I could have anywhere from six to 18 beers per night, depending if it was a weekday or a weekend.

And I lost 35 pounds that way. And that started the yoyo dieting. Every time I would do something, it’s like, okay, this isn’t happening fast enough. People are gonna think I’m not pretty or beautiful or whatever. And I was always trying to fix what was on the outside, but on the inside I was screaming and I needed help.

So. I actually ended up getting married. Cause I figured a relationship would be the answer to all my problems. I’d been in many, codependent relationships before that as well as one that ended up in abuse and he was an alcoholic as well. Although I’d quit the hard stuff, we continue to drink together.

And that’s what our lives became. It was like, well, we go to the movies, we’re going to bring a bottle of vodka with us. We wouldn’t plan anything that didn’t involve alcohol. And that caused me actually to slip into a really severe depression. And I was very up and down. I had an amazing doctor. He actually put me on medication, but he said, Kay, tomorrow you have to take a program. You’re not just going to do this by taking meds. And that’s it. He actually made me attend classes on how to deal with anxiety and depression. And so I did that. I got off the medication, but of course the one thing that he didn’t stop was drinking because that was my solution for everything.

And in 2011, I actually weighed 215 pounds. I didn’t want to live anymore. I remember sitting on the kitchen floor with my pug and pugs have a way of doing the side, the head tilt kind of thing. And I had a bottle of pills and I just, I wanted to die. I didn’t want to do this anymore. I’m looking at him, something came over me and I just thought, okay, enough’s enough.

Someone in my recovery had said, your bottom is when you stop digging. And I decided right then I’m done. I have to change my life. So I hired a personal trainer in 2012. And of course, again, it was that I got to fix the outside. Because that’ll fix the inside. And so I went on like that for a few months.

I lost the weight, but again, I had that all -in mentality and I was so strict with myself. And even though that led into me getting sober, because I realized that the one thing that I couldn’t control was my alcohol consumption. I still had this mindset that it had to happen right away. It had to happen quick.

And I had to torture myself along the way. So I actually got sober about eight years ago now. In that eight years journey, I’ve actually learned so much about myself. And one of the biggest things that I learned was that all these experiences that I’ve been going through have actually led to assets in my life.

That’s kind of led me to wanting to delve more into mindset and changing the way I think about food and giving myself some grace now, and now I’m a hundred percent focused on helping other people do the same. 

Kathryn:

Okay, that story is so amazing. I can’t even keep up with all of my thoughts and all of my followup questions, even as I’m trying to write them down.

There’s so much more I want to know. So let’s start with, if you don’t mind going back to the I wasn’t good enough. Every behavior that we humans have is driven by a need. So, what I’m hearing is the thought of I’m not enough and the need to feel validated. And like you actually were enough is really what started this whole process for you.

Am I right about that? 

Tamar:

A hundred percent. 

Kathryn:

And so really, and I heard you say depression and anxiety much farther down the road, but that thought of not enough is what causes the pain, anxiety and the depression to begin with. So you probably had it at a very young age and that first drink was like, Oh my gosh, I don’t have to feel like this anymore.

Tamar:

Yeah. 

Kathryn:

Of course, you’re going to want another one and another one and another one, right? I mean, because that is such a terrible feeling and such a terrible way to show up to high school and look around the classroom and feel like everybody else has it together. Everybody else is enough, but I’m not. So.

Your battle with addiction and obesity ran its course over 20 years, that is such a long struggle. Was there a cycle or a pattern? What did that struggle look like for you? 

Tamar:

So I think with the drugs and alcohol, like you said, it was my thoughts that always led to it. It was those limiting beliefs, the negative self talk that I was always like, I can’t learn like other people can, I’m not smart enough.

I’m not pretty enough. And I think it was when I started to seek that outside recognition or validation from other people that I really focused on okay. How can I not feel this way anymore? Like you said, and those feelings are something that I didn’t want to feel right. And it happened as well when I started to gain weight, because then I’m thinking, okay, I’m never going to find a partner in my life.

I’m never going to get married because somebody is going to think I’m not thin enough or I’m not beautiful enough. And so again, it was that seeking recognition, seeking validation and the main cause was I didn’t love myself. I had all the love around me and that’s one of those things I talk about in terms of my addiction as well is I never had a terrible upbringing.

It wasn’t my parents or I wasn’t abused. I’m very fortunate that way, but my negative self-talk was on repeat and every time I hit something in my life that I wanted more, or I needed that outside validation. It started again. 

Kathryn:

So do you remember when you first, how old you were when you first had the thought of I’m not enough.

Tamar:

I would say it was probably about 12, 13. So in my teens, just before I went off to high school because of course it was elementary school was always very safe for me. You always have the same people in your class. You made friends. But I remember when I hit about 12 years old, that’s when you start getting interested in boys and your friends get looked at, but you don’t.

And so you start to compare and you’re like, what do they have that I don’t. And then of course, high school switching all these class, you’re not with your friends anymore. That’s when it really got scary, because I didn’t feel comfortable.

Kathryn:

Yeah. At that age at like 12 to 14. There is almost like a perfect recipe for that to happen.

Right? So puberty brings on all these thoughts, urges, differences in our bodies. We start to notice the other sex. So we really start to look at what society says the other sex wants in a person. That’s when you question, am I pretty enough? Am I attractive, are people gonna like me? And at the same time, you’re moving into the stage of psychological development of wanting acceptance of your peers and moving away from your family and toward your peer group.

So, I hear that a lot and it’s like the perfect storm, right? The terrible, perfect storm. I completely understand how that happens. How did the addiction and obesity issues kind of play off of each other or work together in that situation? 

Tamar:

I believe that addiction can come in so many forms. I think a lot of people don’t realize it could be the mother, whether that comes home really stressed out and wants to have a glass of wine and may not be an alcoholic necessarily, but they use other means, right.

Their relationships with food. So for me, food is very, it’s still something I struggle with. It’s something that I share my journey now with on my podcast. But both of them were that instant gratification. It’s like, what is going to give me that instant comfort. Right. And it came in the form of drugs, alcohol, pills, relationships.

Codependency was a really bad one for me as well. So. If I didn’t have one in my life, I would have the other and that even worked into my sobriety. When I started working out in training, I mean seven days a week, I would go to the gym. I would eat chicken, broccoli and rice. And even though that’s healthy for you, it’s not sustainable.

And so I always had this, okay, I have to do this perfect. Because again, I think that seeking validation and not loving myself played a big part of that, but it didn’t matter. It was because of my mindset that they all played off each other. And if I didn’t have one, there’s always another right behind it.

Kathryn:

So I really think it’s that I’m not enough that drives perfectionism and the rigid thinking that gets in your way. Right. That all or nothing thinking. Did you ever realize or recognize that you were a perfectionist? 

Tamar:

Not until very recently. 

Kathryn:

So tell me about that. 

Tamar: 

I always thought that the harder you work, the better you are, right?

If you work longer hours that means you’re a better employee. And I put myself in the hospital last year because I thought I was having a heart attack. And this is in sobriety when I’ve actually started working on myself and I really started focusing on self love and looking at, okay, why do I need to have a perfect day?

Why do I need to have a perfect week? It’s okay to be imperfect. So I think I started looking at what I perceive to be failures or flaws in my life. And I thought these have actually really helped me. Right. These have given me that, Hey, maybe I can make a difference in the world now. And I never thought that before.

I remember first coming into recovery and thinking, okay, some of these people have been homeless. Some of them like they’ve hit such depths that I can’t relate to not thinking that well, maybe more people can actually relate to my story because the people who aren’t getting help actually need somebody they can relate to.

But, yeah, it’s, I feel that desire. I need to have a perfect day and I struggle with it, but now I know I gotta pull back. Okay. I’m trying too hard. Let’s do some self care now. 

Kathryn:

Yes. I’m so in touch with that, I think I was 49 years old before I figured out that perfectionism was actually, I realized when I went back to school that I had anxiety, but it wasn’t until a little bit later that I put it all together. That it was perfectionism from the not enough that drove the anxiety.

So really every time you can peel it back to the most base layer of the cause you can actually start to get some traction and do something about it. So I love that you had the realization that self acceptance and self love is the answer to the not enough, right. We can’t get that, there’s not enough validation in the world from anyone else that can get rid of that thought.

So how was it that you came to realizing that? And I want to know a little bit more, more about how you figured out that wait a minute, my flaws are what makes me unique and maybe helpful to others. 

Tamar:

When I started my podcast in December, I really want it to be more vulnerable. I wanted to share my story.

Cause at that time I had about 40 pounds to lose because when I originally got sober, I lost 75 pounds. I got into shape, but of course I got complacent because I didn’t have that growth mindset at the time. It was just that all in. Okay. I’m done. Whew, I’m exhausted. And so. I just decided to change that.

And I thought, okay, I’m going to share my journey. I’m going to be vulnerable. And what I found was that when I was honest with people about not being perfect, I got a lot more response like, Hey, you know what, I admire you for sharing your journey and you have a goal in mind. You’re sharing that even if you don’t make it.

It’s okay. And I started getting more flexible. I wasn’t as rigid, like we talked about the rigid thinking in the beginning, Cause I’m like, okay, I’m going to do this diet. And I don’t like the word diet. I’m going to do this diet. I’m going to do it a hundred percent. And then when I’m done, I can just kind of kick back and relax.

And that never happens. Right. 

Kathryn:

You never relax when you’re a perfectionist.

Tamar:

No, not at all. And so. I just started to live my life, looking at the things. Okay. What are things that I have that negative self talk? And I recognize it now when the word I can’t, and it’s something I teach in my coaching programs.

When I start saying I can’t instantly, that’s like uh-oh that’s a red flag. I’m heading to depression, I’m heading to anxiety. And now I’ve learned to recognize those words. I want that perfectionism and I want to do it a hundred percent. Right. I even do it with my coaching. It’s interesting because I will think that I’m not providing enough value, even though I know I am in my heart and that’s why I love doing this. Then you get a testimonial from a client saying, wow, I’ve made all this change. And I’m just the one on that shared my experience with them. And it’s like, okay, you know what? I have a lot of experience.

And all I have to do is share that stuff and be vulnerable with them. And then the transformation just happens. 

Kathryn:

I call myself a recovering perfectionist. Is that an insult to people who are in recovery for other things, because I feel like it’s a constant struggle for me.

And if I let myself go and quit recognizing it, it’s very easy for me to go back down that path.

Tamar:

No, it’s not an insult at all. I mean, there are so many things you look at when you go into recovery, right? Owning your life, making amends to those people that you hurt and really looking at what you’re addicted to because they recommend that, Hey, don’t get into a relationship if you’re single for the first time  because you really have to start working on yourself.

And when we jumped back into those relationships right away, we start again, relying on somebody else. Right. We try to be that perfect spouse, that perfect person. And I think we just need to have some time by ourselves to start to get to know ourselves. 

Kathryn:

Yeah, absolutely. So you spoke earlier about codependent relationships.

I want to dig into that a little bit. What were your codependent relationships like? How did they function? 

Tamar:

So I had a bunch of them and typically it was that feeling of jealousy. I needed to kind of keep tabs on them. I actually, the first really negative one that I had and I talk about this in detail in my book was I dated a fellow addict.

And even though I knew that he was when I met him, I still thought I’m going to be the one to change this person. And I went through four years of this and that’s when I also learned about enabling behavior, but, it was always okay. If only I can be a better spouse, then he’s going to change.

He’s going to want to be a better person because of me. I’m his lifesaver here. And, even though every second weekend he would go on a bender and he would leave and I wouldn’t see him for two days. Every time something good happened, I had that belief again that, Oh, maybe he is changing.

So it didn’t matter how bad it got and how abusive it got. As soon as something good happened, I completely forgot all the negative for some reason I blocked it out. I wanted to see the best in people. 

Kathryn:

Do you think that that could have been driven by I’m not enough because if you could save him, if you could save anybody wow.

Then maybe you could feel like you’re enough. 

Tamar:

Absolutely. 

Kathryn:

I’ve been reading about enabling and I know that there have been some enabling relationships in my extended family that I maybe didn’t recognize that they were that at the time, but I certainly recognize them as that now.

And I read the definition to mean: enabling is doing things for a person with a problem that they normally could and would do for themselves versus helping someone which is doing something for someone that they couldn’t do for themselves. What does is enabling do to or for someone who is struggling with addiction?

Tamar:

It keeps them in it.  My mom was a perfect example. I love her dearly. My dad always gave me tough love when he saw that things were going sideways and he didn’t know how bad it had gotten, he was always the one to say, you need help. You need to get your life together.

But my mom, because she wanted again, and that’s probably where I get it. She wanted to save me. If I needed money I could lie to her and say, mom, I can’t pay my rent. And you know, I really just needed money for drugs and alcohol. She would come to my rescue because she wanted to be that person that helped me.

And it kept me in that. And you see a lot of people and families in particular that don’t know how to deal with addiction is they’re constantly taking their kids back in and is disheartening as it can be seeing someone in your life go back out and get drunk. I mean, people ultimately it comes down to wanting to change.

If you don’t want to make that change, there is nothing you can do for someone like you can’t send them off to treatment and expect that 90 days later they’re going to come out and they’re going to be a changed person. Most people actually in fact, go back out. So until you go, okay, you know what, I’m sorry as hard as this is for me, I have to let you go because I had so many people in my life saying, why are you doing this? Like this isn’t you. Because they knew the real person that I could be, the people who stuck around with me, but when you constantly come to the rescue, you’re not helping that person.

You’re just giving them oh okay If I go to this person, then I know I’ll be okay for another day. 

Kathryn:

Yeah. So I think that’s really important for everyone to hear that enabling, it comes from love, right? From the best of intentions. But if you do things that keep allowing or keep fostering that behavior in your loved one who is struggling with addiction, you are just keeping them probably from getting to the point where they are tired of it.

Yeah. Sooner. That’s kind of what I’m hearing. 

Tamar:

Yeah, people need to hit their bottom.

Kathryn:

And it’s a ridiculously difficult thing for a mother, a father, anyone who loves you to say no, I can’t do that for you. I’m not going to do that for you. It’s not helpful. I mean, that’s heartbreaking. I would imagine for a parent to have to do for a child, but so necessary.

Tamar:

Yeah, absolutely. 

Kathryn:

So, was there anything that others did for you or towards you when you are an addict that helped you get to that place where you were motivated to change? 

Tamar:

I had people walk away. I had a very close friend of mine decide that, and she was a very good influence, that she was kind of tired of it.

Right. So we grew apart for a few years. My dad and we had an amazing relationship when I was younger, but he really pushed. He actually told me, I remember making my amends to him after I had gotten sober and we talked about it and he said, I’m sorry, how I treated you, but I didn’t know what else to do for you. And when I talked to people who had experienced, they said tough love, and that’s exactly what he did and I would get so mad at him. And I actually realized after I was kind of cleaning up my side of the street that I was the problem because everything he was saying was the truth and I just didn’t want to hear it.

So when I was ready to hear that, and that was really ultimately me being at a point in my life where I didn’t want to live anymore, because I thought I don’t want to hurt people because I knew I had heard a lot of people and I was tired of doing that, and so that is when I was like, okay, you know what, enough’s enough.

I have to change now. 

Kathryn:

So, what I’m hearing is like I said, every behavior is based on a need. So what facilitated your change was not people helping you and loving you the way that they always had and making excuses or supporting you. It was getting to the point where you had lost enough love or respect or connectedness with the people that were important to you that actually ushered you into a place where you are motivated to change. 

Tamar:

Absolutely. 

Kathryn:

I think that’s a really big lesson for people to hear, right? 

Tamar:

Yes. Yeah, yeah. 

Kathryn:

So tell us more about what advice you would give to families or to people who love someone who is struggling with addiction.

Tamar:

I think you need to be honest. It was people that started to call me out on my behaviors that I really started to listen now keeping in mind that if that person is not ready there, it’s not going to be well received. They’re going to find somebody else until they hit a point where they can’t really lean on anybody else.

Right. You get to that point where you feel so lonely that you’re either and unfortunately it does end off tragically sometimes, but to people who do really want to change, eventually something’s going to click in them and there’ll be sick and tired of being sick and tired. 

Kathryn:

Right. And it’s no one else’s fault. Nobody can control. I’ve had people say to me, but I’m worried that if I do this, he will do that. Right. You can’t make someone do anything. You can only control your words and your actions and what the other person does with it is completely up to that other person. Right? 

Tamar:

Yeah. And addiction, it’s a lot of people don’t realize when you start, you can’t stop.

And basically, people say, well you could choose to drink or not. Yeah, I can. But when you’ve got an addictive and they’ve proven now that addiction is almost an illness or an allergy. It’s that craving starts when you have that first drink or you ingest that first drug and it doesn’t matter what people say, you’re not going to stop.

Kathryn:

Right. Exactly. And the earlier you take a drink or the earlier that you take a drug, the more likely you are to become addicted to it. And I do think people need to understand that there’s a dopamine response in your brain, right? When you get that drug or you get that alcohol that feel good chemical of dopamine is released.

That is positive reinforcement for doing it again. Right. And the brain because of that cycle helps you get addicted to the substance that is creating that dopamine flood in your brain. The problem becomes that the response becomes less and less and you have to take more of the alcohol or more of the drug to get that same response.

Correct? 

Tamar:

Yeah. You’re continually chasing that feeling. 

Kathryn:

Yeah, absolutely. So. I think it’s important for people to understand that once you get to a certain place with that, of course you have to have more. So you have been sober for eight years? 

Tamar:

Eight years now.

Kathryn:

Congratulations. But that is amazing to me that after a 20 year struggle, you can be sober for eight years. Was that like a clean change? Or were there ever stumbling blocks along the way in between? 

Tamar:

The eight years has been completely clean. I haven’t relapsed. I’m very fortunate that way. Now in my addiction, there was a lot of times where I would make bets with friends and say, okay, I’m going to quit drinking for a month.

And of course I would plan little days. I’m like, well, I have a party to go to here and there’s a birthday here. So those are exceptions, but it was always nobody who has an issue with drugs or alcohol has to actually make a bet to quit or prove. Right. And that’s a big key indicator that somebody may have a problem as they spend a lot of time convincing people they don’t. Yes. Right? 

Kathryn:

Yes, absolutely. They want to convince themselves as well. And I think that’s where where that starts. What if there’s anybody out there who’s listening who maybe struggling with addiction and they know it, or maybe they don’t even know it or want to realize it yet. Do you have any advice for them?

Tamar:

If you’re at a point where you feel like you’ve hit your bottom and you really truly know that you want to change, you need to ask for help. Right? There’s lots of programs out there. One of the biggest things that I did is I got a support group. It’s truly amazing. And I think in all aspects of life, we can have this now, especially with social media and technology. When you have a group of people that you can talk to about your behaviors and your addiction and it’s something that’s so powerful with people who are addicted to anything and you become vulnerable and you share your story and they’re like, Hey, me too, I’ve done this as well. And then they share their story.

All of a sudden it takes the power out of what you were ashamed about. And it’s part of why I wrote the book because there’s a lot of things I had never talked about, even when I first came into recovery that I’ve shared in the book now, and it’s taken all the power away from it because people are like, Hey, I’ve been through that too.

I understand. You’re not the only one. So it’s just, there’s a power in that talking to people who have experienced the same thing. 

Kathryn:

So was having that normalized that your experience more normalized and taking the shame aspect of it away. Was that really helpful to you in your recovery? 

Tamar:

It was, it was something that just having people to look up to and go, okay, what did you do?

Like you look like you’re living a really good life right now. And just kind of copying their behaviors, right? What they’re doing in their day to day life, looking at how they treat people, how they own cause now if I make a mistake and I make lots of them, I own it. Right. Because I have people in my life that I can follow and go, okay, you know what, they’ve done this.

So I’m going to do that as well. 

Kathryn:

I know that I’m going to stop this interview and have so many more questions that I never even got to with you. Will you come live on my with my Facebook group, like the week that this comes out so I can ask you whatever follow up questions I have and invite them to do the same. Would that be okay with you? 

Tamar:

For sure. 

Kathryn:

I’m sure that there’s more and I don’t want to have to kick myself, like if I have that out, I can say, well, that’s okay. We’re going to have her back. 

Tamar:

I’m in. 

Kathryn:

Okay. Awesome. So tell me more about your book and your podcast and where we can find them and just find more about you.

So my book is called “Hope Elevated,” and you can find it on Amazon. It shares my story from basically when I grew up, how I got into addiction and what changed and what led me to the life that I live now, which is wanting to help empower and inspire other people to make those positive changes.

you can find me on my website, www.theroadtohealth.me. And I’ve got all my links there. My podcast, like I said, was the road to health and you can find it anywhere that you have podcasts. And then I hang out on Facebook as well as Instagram. So Facebook, it would be the road to health. that’s my Facebook group.

And then @theroadtohealthpc for podcast is where I’m on Instagram. 

Kathryn:

Okay, great. Y’all l be sure to check all of those out. And I will, of course have links in the show notes to make it very easy for you to do so. So Tamar I end each podcast with the same question, which is what is one imperfect action that you suggest we do today to take us closer to our best lives.

Tamar:

I would say, give your self that grace when you make a mistake because like I mentioned earlier, my mistakes and my pursued failures have actually been my greatest asset. So when you fail at something, ;ook at that and go, what can I learn from it? And how could I help other people? Because even if you’re not in a profession where you’re necessarily helping other people when we become other people centered and we start doing things, not only for ourselves, but for others around us, amazing things happen.

So just give yourself grace and realize that those imperfections can actually lead to assets and opportunities.

Kathryn:

Well, I second that I could not agree more. I talk a lot about how, what we perceive as our shortcomings that we need to fix, or our flaws are actually the most amazing parts of us that make us unique and separate us from everyone else.

So I completely second that, y’all go out and, and give yourself some grace today and try to look at what you have been wanting to fix, or that you consider your flaws as actually an asset that you can use to help other people. And, Tamar I just can’t thank you enough for being on the show today.

Tamar:

Thank you for having me. 

Kathryn:

All right. I look forward to our Facebook live. 

Tamar:

Me too. 

Kathryn: 

Okay. Thanks again.

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About Kathryn

I’ve created Imperfect Thriving to help you get back to who you really are, and live your best life possible, imperfectly.

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