As a college student, Leipholtz figured she was too young to have a drinking problem. The people in her social circle agreed.
“But the truth was that I was always the drunkest one in the room,” Leipholtz recalls. “I was always drinking to get drunk, or to escape something that was wrong. My age had nothing to do with my relationship with alcohol.”
After landing in a hospital following a night of underage drinking, Leipholtz entered an inpatient rehab program.
“The days that followed were some of the hardest of my life, but they ultimately gave way to here and now,” she says. Today, Leipholtz has 3 ½ years of recovery and is a full-time reporter for a Minnesota newspaper. She stays accountable by checking in with her sponsor and blogging about sobriety. And she says she’s blessed to re-discover life’s simple pleasures: the world of books, the joys of running, writing, and being in love.PreviousNext
Reporter and freelance designer/blogger
What I lost to addiction:
Self-respect. I found that at the end of my drinking, I was no longer proud of the person I was. I was ashamed of the things I had done and the people I had hurt. I also had lost the respect of people in my life, which cut pretty deep . . . I lost other little things but I was one of the lucky ones, because I got a handle on my drinking before it took too much from me.
Advice to my younger self:
I don’t think advice would have helped me much. I needed to learn through making the mistakes, and ultimately I am glad I did because that’s what brought me to here and now.
What worked for me:
At first, I got sober because my parents intervened and forced me to. But as time passed, I found that I enjoyed being sober more than I enjoyed waking up wondering what I had done the night before, or having to apologize for my actions.
I think my recovery really took off when I decided to be honest about it with the people in my life. Since coming clean three and a half years ago, I have never regretted being open about my recovery. It’s brought many opportunities and wonderful people into my life.
Favorite recovery quote:
“An alcoholic is anyone whose life gets better when they stop drinking” ~ Unknown.
I was on Pinterest one day in my early sobriety when I came across this quote. Up until that point, I had been resisting calling myself an alcoholic because I wasn’t homeless, or in jail, or alone. I still had a job and school and people who loved me. But this quote made something click and I realized I didn’t need to lose everything before calling myself an alcoholic.
On my schedule today:
I have so many good things happening in my life today. I have a full-time job I love, and side jobs I also enjoy. I get to write about sobriety often and help others. I take care of myself by noticing how I am feeling and why, rather than shoving those feelings aside. I pay attention to my physical health, which I did not do when I was drinking.
I get inspired by:
The normal, everyday people that sobriety has brought into my life. I’m honored to be able to share in their triumphs, as well as their difficult days. We go through things together, and we support one another endlessly. Nothing connects people quite like a shared experience – going through something hard and coming out the other side.
What saves me from myself:
Writing. Being honest. Paying attention to how I feel and why. Reaching out for help.
SHED THE STIGMA:
If you’re a person in long-term recovery who wants to share your insights, please contact us at [email protected].