In this powerful story of transformational sobriety, Soberful Coach Tamara Kirby finally discusses her traumatic childhood and descent into addiction. Sober for over eleven years, she is a powerful example of doing the work of sobriety.
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I have a really special interview today, one that I think that you’re really going to get a lot out of, with a very dear friend of mine and one of the Soberful Coaches within Soberful Life, Tamara Kirby.
There’s no better way to describe Tamara’s journey than transformational sobriety. We connected at an AA meeting years ago and changed each other’s lives, and we’ve been friends ever since.
“The first nine years of my life were pretty dramatic and traumatic.” – Tamara Kirby
Tamara’s story is a powerful one. She had an extremely rough childhood going from living in orphanages and foster homes to being adopted and exposed to several years of significant abuse from a member of the family. At the young age of 11, she was so uncomfortable in her skin that she turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism. At 13, she was coming home drunk and blacking out and by 18 she was wrecking vehicles and getting arrested. It only escalated from there.
After leaving home for college, Tamara was drinking as much as she could and soon dropped out and moved several times in an attempt to escape the problems her addiction created in her life. She eventually ended up in Alaska where her drinking was compounded with cocaine addiction.
“I can’t believe I survived.” – Tamara Kirby
Tamara realized her relationship with alcohol was a problem when she started lying to her partner about how much drugs and alcohol she was consuming. She had that moment of clarity that we all have, but hardly ever listen to right away. She realized “I think I might need to stop this but I don’t think I can stop this.”
A month later she found out she was pregnant.
Tamara’s pregnancy was the turning point for her that gave her the push to get sober and get back in touch with her family. She stopped drinking and using, had a horrible withdrawal, and stayed in recovery for 8 years.
That’s the problem when you don’t do the internal work of sobriety.
Without doing the work on herself, all her focus was on stopping drinking and Tamara didn’t have the tools to cope with life in a healthy way. It started with taking an over-the-counter stimulant to keep herself awake but that triggered her addiction and sent her on a downward spiral that left her in a worse place than before – facing 3 to 5 years in prison.
“There’s been some really strong character traits that are difficult in recovery if you still hang on to them. Some of those were dishonesty, really strong self-will and inability to ask for help.” – Tamara Kirby
In time and with a lot of internal work, Tamara found her stride in a 12-step program and her transformation began. Her focus was on healing herself and her relationship with her daughter and that was her priority for many years. Taking her daughter with her to meetings, being a strong part of a recovery community, and validating her daughter’s experiences were life-changing. The relationship which was the most important to her – with her daughter – has been restored and she attributes a lot of that to the fellowship.
What does Tamara want you to know about recovery and sobriety?
“Don’t stop. I never thought that I would be living the life that I’m living right now. I feel free.” – Tamara Kirby
It doesn’t matter how bad your childhood was or what you did in addiction, you’re never too far gone. If you just continue to do the work, the recovery journey can give you a life beyond your wildest dreams.
Once you remove the alcohol, you have to deal with everything else underneath, and getting help is key to getting through the fear and faulty beliefs that stand in our way from becoming what we’re meant to be.
For both Tamara and I, we have so much more than we ever wanted from our sober lives. That’s what’s on offer in recovery. Our message is that we are not special and different. There is a way out for you too, so take that way out.
No matter what’s in your past, a better future is possible
During her years of addiction Tamara abandoned relationships with family and friends, hurt her daughter, lost careers, and much more. With perseverance and seeking help and committing to doing the internal work of sobriety, she’s transformed her life into something better than she thought possible.
Stopping drinking is just one part of sobriety
Tamara took the journey alone the first time she got sober, but she realized that doing the internal work was critical to maintaining her sobriety long-term.
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