Profiles in Recovery

Cathy Davis

Earning her college degree at age 50 is a highlight of Davis’ recovery from addiction. She says she “lost 30 years of life” to hard drinking and drugs, but they no longer control her world. Today, Davis has a thriving marketing career and is pursing an Executive M.B.A. at Cleveland State University. She hopes to eventually earn a Doctorate in Public Health.

Since 2011, Davis has been a passionate advocate for the recovery community in Ohio. She was instrumental in obtaining the White House 2016 “Champion of Change” recognition for her employer, Northern Ohio Recovery Association (NORA).

Day Job:
Marketing Manager and Peer-to-Peer Facilitator/Trainer at Northern Ohio Recovery Association, a community organization that provides prevention, treatment and recovery services.

In the grip of addiction, I experienced:
Hallucinations, violence, rape, incarceration, family separation, divorce, wearing the cleanest of my dirty clothes, compromising my values and beliefs, buying false friendships.

My rock bottom moment:
I got jumped on late one night in the streets while I was out using. That experience, and the death of my Father, made me recognize that tomorrow may be too late.

What worked for me:
Full Circle of Care Recovery Housing allowed the madness to stop and provided a safe place so I could get a job and finish college.

On my bucket list:
Earn a Ph.D., travel, take a Tom Joyner Cruise, remarry

Stigma I faced:
Having a criminal history, my mind always tells me I don’t deserve many simple pleasures of life. I had to invest in working through the shame I caused with my addiction and forgiving myself for the bad choices.

What I value most in recovery:
I value my family, my job, my recovery and just the fact that every day is a beautiful day. I now understand that “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” (Invictus)

On my schedule today:
Meditation, prayer, eating right, exercise and proper rest because there are many pathways to recovery.

When cravings come:
Acknowledge the feeling and ask God to help me

Proudest moments:
Graduating from Ursuline College at 50 years old and writing a winning nomination for my employer, recipient of the 2016 White House Champion of Change award.

Best advice for newbies:
One day at a time and keep it simple. Self care is number one.

What I learned about myself:
I have to protect my heart. Just be myself and not “people-please” just to fit in. Because when something doesn’t go the way I expected, then I am hurt. Now I know how to look at the part I played and recognize my character defects. Self-examination or a tenth step is done every day.

Favorite recovery quote:
The passage from Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, p. 417, that says in part, “Acceptance is the answer to ALL of my problems today . . . I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

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