Profiles in Recovery
Cali Estes


Recovery Date: Summer 1997

Cali Estes drive to help others with their addictions came from her struggles with addictions to food and diet pills.  Today she draws on more than two decades of recovery — along with a Ph.D. in psychology, national certification as an addiction professional, and her skills as a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, personal trainer and yoga/Pilates teacher to lead others to wellness.

 “I have worked with some of the most famous and powerful people in the world, yet when I see them, they are at their worst,” says Cali Estes, who has shared her insights on “Dr. Drew,” CNN and other national media.  “I feel like a proud momma bear when one of my clients gets and stays sober.”

Estes is the chief executive officer of The Addictions Coach and founder of The Addictions Academy. As an addiction therapist and life coach, Estes’ high-profile clientele includes rock musicians, corporate CEOs, notable actors and athletes.  She co-authored I Married A Junkie with her husband, Tim Estes who struggled with an addiction to heroin. Her third book publishes in March 2019, “The 7 Keys to Tap into the Wealth Inside You, how to Unpause Your Life and Move from Stuck to Success”.

Looking Back:
My roommates found me stuffing my face with cake on the floor and crying at 2 am when I came home alone from a girls night out. I would always eat to make myself feel better, and then I got addicted to diet pills and ephedra which lead me to the ER, and a doctor told me that I was going to die if I did not stop. I was 23. I wanted to live not to die and so my second battle to get clean ensued.

Advice to Others Seeking Sobriety:
JUST DO IT, as Nike says!! It may seem impossible and daunting, but you owe it to yourself to get a better more productive happy life.

It is hard both physically and mentally, and you have to conquer the physical first, get on a solid nutrition program (pop tarts are not breakfast food), workout every day. You will also need to work on your neurotransmitters and brain health. Once you get your physical detox and physical body feeling better, then it is time to work on the emotional turmoil that causes your addictions. Sometimes the physical detox is the easy part; the mental can drive you insane if you don’t get to the root cause to why you are doing this to yourself.

On Digging Out of a Rut:
It can be done, and you can do it. Start one hour at a time, minute by minute. Get the physical detox over with and then tackle the mental issues. Get a recovery coach; we can help you while you are still using and get you over the hard parts.

What Helped Me the Most?
“Put your Big Girl Panties on!” That was always a great inspiration to me. It meant shut, up, suck it up and get your business handled.

What Works for Me Now?
I am 100% present when going through life. I am no longer looking to numb out or escape from my feelings. I can process them and move on to enjoy the moment and the day.

My Gratitude List:
I am grateful for my health as I almost died at 23 from all the damage I did to my body. I am grateful that I live in Miami, where most people vacation, and I am grateful that I can fly anywhere to help people and teach them how to become a recovery coach, interventionist or counselor. Now I enjoy public speaking and I have written 3 books, my third book “The 7 Keys to Tap into the Wealth Inside You, how to Unpause Your Life and Move from Stuck to Success” releases in March and I have a course that I will be teaching to go along with it. I am humbled and grateful to touch so many lives and help so many people to find success.


Celebrations Today:
Because my primary drug of choice is food, mainly sugar (that pings the brain just like cocaine and detoxes like heroin), I do not celebrate my wins with cake. I don’t celebrate with cupcakes or other items. This is what most people that stop using drugs or alcohol do and they do not realize that sugar is just as bad if not worse than a lot of drugs out there.  Before I handled my issues with food and diet pills, I would eat when happy, hungry, sad, frustrated…. all the time and then take 6-8 diet pills a day to combat all the food. Now I can work out without all of that garbage and go to a buffet and not eat every item.

Simple Pleasures Once Overlooked:
Walking, yoga, movies and just being outside in nature are things that I never really enjoyed. I was always in a rat race, trying to figure out how to stop feeling and never really was living. Now I am living.

Good Recovery Reads:
I love The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz and anything by Dr. Wayne Dyer.

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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