#205 – Episode 205 – Things That Changed Our Lives This Year


In our traditional end-of-year episode, Chip and Veronica share the things that changed their lives this year.

Veronica had a big realization about her mother that changed her life. Chip won a photography competition. They also discuss books, TV, and movies that they loved. Chip also reveals what he will eat for his non-Christmas dinner this year.

Thank you for listening and being a part of our community for 2022!

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key highlights

Hormones & sobriety

As women, we deal with several transitions with our bodies. From starting your period for the first time to doing everything to avoid pregnancy, then trying to get pregnant and possibly struggling there, to perimenopause and menopause.

Working in rehabs in my 30s, I never fully appreciated the impact of hormonal changes on women in recovery. Now in my 40s and in the middle of perimenopause, I’m experiencing firsthand just how big of a role our hormones play in our physical and mental health.

Our responses to hormonal changes are very individualized so it’s essential for us to understand our cycles and our particular responses. Then we can start to empower ourselves with tools to deal with them.

This isn’t something that’s talked about much, but it’s a significant factor for many women, particularly in early sobriety. It’s a whole other level of hard, besides getting sober. I have a much better appreciation of that now.


Evolving relationships

This summer, I went home with my kids, and it was my mom’s first seeing the kids since late 2019. My mom’s whole world is her grandchildren, and since we live in a different country, we stayed for a month to spend as much time with her as possible.

In the past, I wouldn’t have imagined that to be possible.

Our relationship has been difficult for my entire life. I left home at 16 because I couldn’t bear living with her a moment longer, and early in my sobriety, it was crucial for me to establish parental boundaries. Now, I’ve worked so hard on myself that we have a decent relationship with genuine love and affection and even lovely times together.

On this recent trip, at lunch with my cousins, we realized that it’s very likely that my mother is autistic. At that moment, so many things I had never understood about her made sense.

Even though I have no intention of telling my mother since she wouldn’t likely respond well, it’s been life-changing for me and helped me in my 20+ years of sobriety. I feel a lot of gratitude for this opportunity to shift my perspective and how I interact with her and I feel more hopeful about our future visits together.


Embracing life

Early this year, Chip’s granddaughter was diagnosed with leukemia. She’s been in treatment and has responded extremely well to a bone marrow transplant, but that experience completely shook up his relationship with his daughter and granddaughter.

Chip also had a close call with his health, having to spend time in the hospital this year. On top of that, he’s lost two close friends recently.

For him, these feel like reminders that time is not endless and it’s vital to try to embrace the moment a bit more.

“Let’s make my relationships with people as good as possible.”


Winning moments

Chip finally got to see the Northern Lights – a bucket list item! It was a beautiful moment and a spiritual experience that he’s planning to return to in short order.

Since COVID, Chip’s been doubling down on photography. A keen photographer, he also won two photography awards in a national competition this year! It was a really special moment and one to be very proud of. Check out the photos:


Recovery-changing moments

The book coming out in January 2022 was a massive moment for me, and hearing the feedback has been heartwarming. Being able to go out and do a book tour and meet people in person was the icing on the cake.

After attending my first SHERECOVERS event, I finally returned to Key West, my spiritual home. It’s the place I got into recovery and the first time I’ve been back after leaving when I was around 15 months sober. It was amazing to go back and see the island and connect with people I hadn’t seen in so long.

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