Profiles in Recovery

Laura Silverman

Tattooed on Laura Silverman’s back is a classic bit of wisdom from 12-step culture: “One day at a time.” That simple mantra has sustained her recovery for nearly a decade.

The daughter of a diplomat, Silverman spent part of her childhood overseas and graduated high school with honors. She also struggled with mental illness – anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and panic attacks – and was the target of frequent bullying. Silverman began self-medicating with alcohol when she was in college, and life quickly spiraled out of control.

A second hospitalization for alcohol poisoning triggered Silverman’s journey to recovery at age 24. Today, she’s embraced her calling as a mental health warrior and recovery advocate. Silverman is the founder of The Sobriety Collective, a community of sober people who support indie artists in recovery and share their stories, podcasts and resources to heal and inspire others.

Day Job:
Community Outreach Coordinator at a day treatment program for struggling teens in the Washington, D.C. area; founder of The Sobriety Collective

What worked for me:
Intensive outpatient rehab, Alcoholics Anonymous (early in my recovery), cutting ties with toxic people, learning to accept myself more.

Best advice for newbies:
Have a willingness to try. There’s a whole slew of support from every single program (or non program) imaginable. I recommend trying AA and SMART recovery, seeing a therapist/counselor/social worker/peer recovery specialist, building an online support system–and then creating a menu of things that works for YOU.

Remember, no one can tell you that your recovery is right or wrong. It’s yours.

Advice to my younger self:
The golden rule may be to treat others the way you want to be treated, but I would say to my younger self: treat and love myself the way I treat and love others. I am deserving of love. To this day, I still parent my inner child.

A good read:
“Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood,” the New York Times bestseller by Koren Zailckas, was instrumental in my recovery.

On healing from mental illness:
I apply the “One Day at a Time” methodology to my mental and spiritual health, more so than not drinking. It’s the recovery version of “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Patience.

I also have a great therapist and support system, read lots of self-help books, exercise, and take an anti-depressant medication for anxiety and panic issues.

What I value most in recovery:
My family. My close, true friends. My ever growing recovery network. Myself.

On my bucket list:
Experience a great and passionate love, find financial freedom, visit Australia and Greece. Go skydiving at least once. Be a better version of myself every day. Make an impact on the world I live in.

I get inspired by:
The thousands of advocates in recovery who join forces together to make the world a better place for those struggling, and for ourselves. So, so many people. I created a long list of blogs, websites, podcasts, etc. that I call “Link Love” of addiction recovery and mental health heroes that grows almost daily.

On Finding Purpose:
Starting The Sobriety Collective was the launching pad I needed to find purpose in my recovery. My experiences as a person who abused alcohol and had addictive behaviors across the board were not for naught because they led me to where I am – right here, right now.

Follow Silverman at thesobrietycollective.com; on Twitter @wearesober

SHED THE STIGMA:
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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