Profiles in Recovery

Amy Parrish

Parrish was a heavy drinker for 20 years before an emotional wake-up call – and unconventional approach – led her to recovery.

Hung over and unable to get out of bed one morning, Parrish saw the worry on her children’s faces. She knew they felt loved, but didn’t want them growing up in the shadow of addiction. So she vowed that day – December 7, 2012 – never to drink again.

Searching for help online, Parrish found a sober blogger named Belle. “I wrote an e-mail to a woman I’d never met or heard of and said, ‘Hey, I’m trying to quit. I’m scared,’ Parrish recalls. “And then Belle wrote me back and said, ‘I’d be glad to be your pen pal.’ And she helped save me.” Finding connection online – and blogging about her own struggles and triumphs – has helped Parrish stay accountable and achieve long-term recovery.

Day Job:
Yoga teacher, waitress, life coach, blogger at

What I lost to addiction:
Many, many years of growth and living. My self-respect, my integrity, my peace.

At my worst, I was:
Drinking and blacking out every time.

What worked for me:
Surrender. As soon as I surrendered to the thought that I was an alcoholic, that as long as I drank my life would be a mess, I was able to see clearly for the first time what drinking meant TO and FOR my life.

I did a lot of writing and a lot of yoga and found a pen pal I kept in touch with daily.

Favorite recovery quote:
“Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be” ~ Clementine Paddleford

Advice to my younger self:
When you get afraid that drinking is a big problem, listen. Listen HARD.

Rules I live by:
I am sober forever. The oxygen mask goes on me first. There is power in pausing. I don’t have time to rush. The things that make me the most anxious are the things I could say “yes” to. Pay attention to fear.

On my schedule today:
Today I’ll do some coaching practice, go to one of my favorite yoga classes, and remember to breathe. I take care of my recovery by remembering how valuable it is to me: without it, this life I live now does not exist.

Best advice for newbies:
Get all the booze out of the house. Find a special treat drink to replace the booze – I drank seltzer and fresh grapefruit juice out of my favorite wine glass. . . get fancy hot teas, a beautiful cup to drink it out of. Read sober memoirs and blogs — find someone to connect with, whether it’s through those things or with AA. Never underestimate the value of “me too.”

What I value most in recovery:
My integrity. I say what I mean and I mean what I say – I am capable and reliable. I also value the support of my family and my community.

Proudest moment:
The moment I wake up sober each day is my proudest moment.

What saves me from myself:
I offer up the same compassion and understanding I have for others to myself. I remember to be hugely grateful for the strength and courage I have daily. When I’m feeling really critical toward myself, I think of myself as a little girl looking for comfort and it makes it easier to console and shore myself up.

On finding purpose:
It feels so mind glowingly good to have reasons to be alive and functioning at a high level each day. I relish the opportunity to challenge myself and even when I’m cranky and frustrated, my sobriety holds it together. My purpose (sharing my sobriety, helping others, sharing compassion and kindness) is a daily gift.

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