The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is human connection.” – Johann Hari Author, Chasing the Scream

It finally happened in 2008.

For a long time after it was over, I referred to it as, those two long weeks in ’08. And while I was in the middle of it I referred to what I was doing as, a social experiment.

It was more significant than two weeks might imply and it had nothing at all to do with any social experiment.

Plain and simple.

I relapsed.

I had long ago accepted my status as an alcoholic. In fact, I stopped drinking for good, during the last three months of my senior year of college. As the years went by though, I often wondered if I was REALLY an alcoholic. Maybe it would be different now, maybe I could drink like a normal person after twenty-two years without a drop.

I got my answer during those two weeks in 2008, which was a resounding HELL NO! I could not drink moderately and I knew that if I did not stop as abruptly as I started, I would lose everything.

I waited eight years to share this experience publicly because the mental obsession that the relapse triggered was so terrifying. Every time I thought about telling this tale in hopes that it might help someone else in pain, it felt too soon, until now.

Speaking of helping, if you think you or someone you love may have a problem with alcohol below are twenty questions that Alcoholics Anonymous suggests will help to gain clarity.

  1. Do you lose time from work due to drinking?
  2. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
  3. Do you drink because you are shy with other people?
  4. Is your drinking affecting your reputation?
  5. Have you ever felt guilt or remorse after drinking?
  6. Have you ever gotten into financial difficulties as a result of the drinking?
  7. Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking?
  8. Does your drinking make you careless of your family’s welfare?
  9.  Has your ambition decreased since drinking?
  10. Do you crave a drink at a definite time?
  11. Do you want a drink the next morning?
  12. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
  13. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?
  14. Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?
  15. Do you drink to escape from worries or trouble?
  16. Do you drink alone?
  17. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of drinking?
  18. Has your physician ever treated you for drinking?
  19. Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?
  20. Have you ever been to a hospital or institution because of drinking?

According to AA, if you answer affirmatively to even one question, you may have a problem with alcohol. According to me:

If drinking negatively impacts your health, career or relationships, it’s a problem. Period. @Terri_Cole (Click to Tweet!)

I chose to interview a new pal, Andrea Owen as a part of this week’s podcast on addiction because she has her own recovery story that inspired me to share mine. We met last summer when we were both facilitators at Soul Camp East, and immediately connected. Andrea is an author and certified life coach. She helps women get what they want by letting go of perfectionism, control, and isolation, and instead teaches them to choose courage. She has also written a book that I love, 52 Ways to Live a Kickass Life.

To hear Andrea’s inspiring journey through addiction in addition to the full account of my 2008 relapse saga, tune into today’s episode of Hello Freedom.

If you know you have a problem with any addiction, I pray that this podcast will inspire you to get help. You are not alone.

Love love love,


Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Sign up for Terri’s weekly Newsletter, check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.

Image courtesy of John.