Profiles in Recovery

Jen Yockey

Teased and bullied as a child, Yockey discovered alcohol at 15 and suddenly morphed into the life of the party. She was voted “most fun to be with” in high school, but her insecurities lingered – even after earning a full-ride athletic scholarship to a top college, where she was popular in her sorority.

“There was a part of me that knew that they only liked this person that I had CREATED when I drank,” Yockey writes on her blog. “The true me, the REAL me, was rejected.”

After years of trying to fit in – and drinking to oblivion to escape her true feelings – Yockey got sober in 2009. Today she’s a work in progress but comfortable in her own skin. Recovery has inspired her to be authentic with her family, without pretense in her friendships. “The drama, the self-loathing, the incomprehensible demoralization is gone,” Yockey says.

Day Jobs:
Founder of SOULFUeL Yoga in La Quinta, California; Master Life Coach, Licensed Desire Map Facilitator, teacher, writer, mom, dog rescuer, community builder

What I lost to addiction:
Me. I lost me. I lost the connection to my true self. This might sound “hippy dippy” but it is the truth. I wanted SO badly to be liked and accepted that I shape shifted, compromised, acquiesced, became a chameleon; taking shape or identity that “you” wanted me to be in order to like or accept me.

This, ultimately, took me to a very dark and lonely place as my soul knew what I had done. I had abandoned me for a never-ending rabbit hole of changing costumes and masks in order to “fit in.”

What worked for me:
Changing everything. Asking for advice and help and then taking it. Contrary action: doing the opposite of what I had done in the past. Sitting in 12-step meetings until I was able to stand on my own two feet and think for myself again.

Surrounding myself with solid women that loved me until I could find and love myself again. LISTENING to that inner guide that I had suppressed. I “knew” what was right and wrong and moral and ethical; I had just chosen not to listen.

Rules I live by:
Be kind. Do your best. Show up. Be present. Love ALL people. Be on time. Lift others up. LISTEN. Self care is selfish and that is OK. Be generous. Find peace. Medidate. Yoga. Be of service.

Favorite recovery quote:
“We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are.” ~ Max DePree.

When cravings come:
I first become aware that I am feeling that way, that I have started that “spinning.” Exercise (yoga, walking the dogs, taking a hike) eating something GOOD for my body, meditation, reach out to a friend or making a cup of tea . . . I do one or ALL of these things until I settle. Settle in to the present moment. And in the present, immediate moment, I am ok.

Best advice for newbies:
Listen. Be still. Cry if you want to. Be of service; this does not have to cost you monetarily. Be gentle and kind and graceful with yourself; you have beat up yourself enough.

Do things different. Go to different places. Get some exercise. Fuel your body with something green. Rest. Write in a journal three things that you are grateful for; breathing can be one of them. xoxo

What I value most in recovery:
Presence. The ability to be still. The ability to be real and raw and authentic. The wonder of just being ME and being comfortable in that. Also, my friendships. They are real. They are honest and so full of love.

I get inspired by:
People who continue to rise despite the things that happen to them.

What saves me from myself:
My tribe. My family. My son. The ability to “play the tape out.” I don’t live in a fantasy world any longer. I see things as they are and am rigorously honest with my feelings and emotions.

On finding purpose:
I had spent so many years taking on other’s opinions and likes, I needed to take time to discover me. When I knew me better, when I knew how I wanted to feel walking through this life, I was able to find purpose and meaning and joy.

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