• Cristina Ferri

Telling my story

Hi. My name is Cristina, and I’m a grateful human in recovery... or some refer to me as, a sober unicorn. My recovery spans a list of topics: spirituality, perfectionism, alcohol, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, control, co-dependency, nicotine, fear, over-eating, shame, restlessness and CPTSD (or Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) ... just to name a few. I choose to refer to myself as "in recovery" or "sober" as opposed to an "alcoholic" or any other label. The short reasoning behind this is because I feel it perpetuates the stigma associated with addiction. Stigmas are imposed by society, communities, friends and family members and can cause major discrimination and hurt. The last thing that someone who is struggling with staying sober or a mental illness needs, is to be discriminated against and add to the hurt that already exists within them.

The main reason I choose to *NOT* be anonymous is, ironically, because I've found through the rooms of different 12-step anonymous programs that I'm not alone. I sit there and share my story in front of strangers and I pour my heart out and I'm not judged… and it's healing and it feels so good, so freeing. I also sit there and I listen to other people's stories and I understand I'm not the only one to feel these things… things that I've felt shame and hatred of myself for, for years. At home, I listen to podcasts of others who share their story and I laugh at the most random things that I thought, there's no way anyone ever felt this way before… and BOOM… there is this woman over in LA telling me my quirky story, but through her own words. I respect those who choose to remain anonymous, but I also believe that there is healing, especially in the shame, when you share your story. I am fully embracing telling my own truth to you who feels compelled to read about it.

According to the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately 37 percent of individuals with alcoholism and 53 percent of individuals with drug addictions have at least one serious mental illness. That means dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorders, happens more often than was first thought. Sober Unicorn as an organization, is devoted to helping people through their recovery in positive, realistic and creative ways. Getting sober is generally just the first step. Our goal, is to start having monthly workshops or groups where we discuss topics that are often uncovered in sobriety and will give you tools to use in your every day life to cope with issues that arise. We want you to know that you are never alone, that you can be safe amidst peers and share honestly and openly without judgment and that you have the ability to take control of your life and face life's issues without the use of drugs or alcohol. Relapse does not have to be a certainty. I mentioned to friend my upcoming anniversary date from abstaining from alcohol, and she said to me: "I never saw that as a problem for you." I giggled a bit and told her that I used it at first as a coping mechanism, as a lot of people do, but that it snowballed into something that I was hugely ashamed of. I hid my issues from most people but also I was also unsafe and self-destructive in public at times. I have made the choice to no longer drink alcohol, so that I can fight my own issues with a clear head.

With all that being said, keep an eye out on this page, as well as over on Facebook, for there will soon be an announcement when these groups will begin. Volunteers are always needed as are donations and ideas. You can also send me your recovery story to share on my blog. Or send me names/blogs/podcasts/facebooks/twitters/instagrams of others in recovery who are open about their addiction and story. And very, *very* soon… a special fundraiser is being held to bring Sober Unicorn to official non-profit status and you will not want to miss that!

Together, we will break the stigmas from addiction and mental illnesses and we will help others who are helping themselves.

Peace, Namaste & Unicorns to you all

<3

For your reference:

I highly suggest you read this article when you have time, because it goes deeper into other reasons why the term alcoholic is detrimental. My favorite part of this article: "Cured is never HAVING to drink again. Cured is enjoying life every bit as much if not more without the need to rely on alcohol or reach for a glass of wine to unwind a day or enjoy an event. Cured is the ability to remain present and ride the ups and downs without having to numb or escape out of them. Cured is being free altogether." - Holly Glenn Whitaker

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© 2019 by Cristina Marie Ferri

Photos © 2019 by Lee Visuals