Profiles in Recovery

Kellie Ideson

Ideson began her days with wine and Xanax, while shouldering single motherhood and a real estate career. She hit bottom when her teenagers found her drunk and defeated, clutching a bottle of pills. “They took action and got me the help I needed,” Ideson says. “And now, what happened in those few final drunken moments has become a lifetime of change.”

Today Ideson is grateful for mended relationships in recovery, which she sustains with weekly therapy, 12-step programs, service work and Buddhist spiritual practices. “I pray now before my feet even hit the floor in the morning,” Ideson says. She works to empower others through her journey and says “having my teenage girls tell me they are proud of me is the best thing that has happened in my sobriety.”

What I lost to addiction:
I had a lot of “yets” left in me — I hadn’t had a DUI . . . yet. Hadn’t lost my kids . . . yet. Hadn’t lost a job . . . yet. But I did lose my self-esteem, self-worth, and many relationships were quickly becoming dissolved as I sunk into isolation and shame.

At my worst, I was:
Drinking from 4 a.m. until I passed out at night. Sleeping most of the day, doing the minimal as a parent. My liver was near failure, I was also abusing Xanax and Klonopin. My blood alcohol content was 3 x the legal limit when I ended up in the hospital and crisis center, admitted for suicidal ideation.

What worked for me:
One week in the crisis center and then totally immersing myself in the program of AA, finding Buddhism again, and meeting a therapist once a week.

Favorite recovery quote:
“Life doesn’t have to suck” ~ Anonymous

Advice to my younger self:
You are worthy, you are smart, you are enough…beautiful, and loved. Most of all, you are never alone, use your voice to ask for guidance. Your internal voice (prayer, God) and your verbal external voice.

Best advice for newbies:
Get to an AA meeting. It may not be your forever solution, but it can likely be a bridge until you find yourself comfortable in your own skin. And DO NOT give up after just one meeting, try a few. Try different times, different locations. Always listen for the similarities, not the differences.

On my schedule today:
I prayed this morning, made a video and checked in at And I will attend an AA home group meeting after work.

When cravings come:
I do the next right thing. Most of the time that is getting my butt to a meeting or helping another alcoholic. However, it can also be as simple as doing the dishes. Prayer. Always the Serenity Prayer.

What I value most in recovery:
My healed relationships. I had pushed nearly everyone away through my passive isolation. I’m more patient, loving and productive. The lack of shame is the biggest benefit for me. It takes SO much work to hide this addiction/disease.

How I get through the holidays:
Service work, and more service work. Helping other alcoholics, and baking non-stop! I typically avoid parties where there will be drinking.

I get inspired by:
Seeing my fellows in recovery blossom through their chosen programs. My kids. They inspire me every day with their strength and resilience.

Thoughts on relapse:
Relapse happens long before you take that first drink. I have seen many people go through it, and some numerous times. I believe it is important to remember that with each falter, you can gain strength if you are willing to try and not defeat yourself emotionally.

On my bucket list:
Get fit for the first time in my life, travel to Italy, Ireland, Belgium, and Hawaii. Find stability in what I am passionate about. Stay creative and present at all times!

Shed the Stigma:
If you’re a person in long-term recovery who wants to share your insights, please contact us at [email protected].

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