Tonic Talks: Abby Kicks her Addiction in the Ass

Tonic Talks: Abby Kicks her Addiction in the Ass

This is Abby. 
I’ve been friends with Abby online since our Myspace days. Yes, Myspace. Actually I used to sew some pretty outrageous(ly fun) outfits for her when we were both teenagers (more on that another day). Although we’ve never met in person, we’ve been keeping tabs on each other for the past 15 years. (She’s also a total Tizz chick to state the obvious.)

And from afar I've watched her battle and then smash her drug addiction and I’m so proud of her. 

This time on our Tonic Talk Series: Abby Kicks her Drug Addiction in the Ass. 

Here is her story. 

Abby, let’s just go ahead and call this what it is. You’ve kicked your drug addiction in the ASS and that’s INCREDIBLE.
Tell us your story. How it began, how it all evolved and where you’re heading now. 


Abby: Oh man, where to begin! It feels like a lifetime ago but yet a never ending journey and evolution in the same breath. To start from the beginning, it’s fair to say that I had a rough childhood and wasn’t really taught how to regulate my emotions or process some traumatic things I went through. My first addiction was basically just seeking and needing validation and acceptance from people - this started back from as far as I can remember.

I began self-harming as another way to escape my traumas and at around the age 13-14 I started smoking marijuana and drinking. I did it mainly because the kids I hung out with at the time did it as well. It felt like a normal thing to experiment and neither one really turned into a ‘problem’ per say. The real issues started when I was around 16 years old and picked up painkillers. For the first time in my life, I felt all my pain and trauma dissolve. At least I thought I was feeling it go away. I thought I was experiencing peace. But really the drugs were just suppressing and numbing the things I wasn’t ready to face.

Photograph: Marc Friedhofer @snapkracker

Needless to say, it got bad very quickly. All I wanted to do was get high. Being sober became even more painful than it already was. It went on like that for years. Whatever joy or innocence that I had was robbed from me. I became a complete shell of myself. The only thing keeping me going was finding ways to get high to numb the pain of living in my own head. I lied, I stole, and did traumatizing things for money. I hurt everyone I loved. And a deep part of me cared but it hurt to care, so again I would turn to drugs. I couldn’t stand myself. 

When I found heroin I didn’t know it could get worse but I was wrong. Life was so unbelievably dark and heavy during those times. I wasn’t me, I didn’t know who I was. I just knew I was Abby and I was a drug addict. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be alive and that I was just broken and those were the cards I was dealt. Eventually the drugs stopped working. I still felt my pain even when I was high. Nothing worked anymore. So I knew I had to do something differently. 

When I was around 21 or 22 years old I realized I had had enough. I was alone in my room, absolutely wrecked out of my mind, so full of guilt, shame, and sadness. I didn’t know what to do but a voice popped into my head that said, “Ask for help. Go to rehab. You can do this. Without even thinking about it, I picked up the phone and called my mom. I broke down and begged for help and I was in rehab the next day. 

For the next five years I was in a 12-Step Program/Fellowship. I would stay sober for a while and then relapse. This happened a couple times over but eventually I ended up staying sober for over three years.

I actually had three other family members end up in recovery too, so we all held each other up. It was amazing to never have to feel alone and always have someone to connect to through the process. We went from using together to finding ourselves again. Getting to see your family recovery and live beautiful lives is just as rewarding as experiencing that transformation yourself.  

 

 Photograph: Marc Friedhofer @snapkracker

I’m so grateful for the program and all the help I received, but after the years I felt like something was missing. I had faced and conquered some demons but much of it felt very surface level. A deep part of me demanded healing and reflection that I wasn’t able to do in the program. I was being pulled towards my own journey of spirituality and self discovery. Something told me, “You’ve gotten all you could from this, it’s time for your next adventure". I ended up leaving the program to do what I was being called to do and that’s when my life really took off.

I started doing deep inner child work, facing my shadows, and just questioning everything. Then the pandemic hit and it pushed me even further into myself. I was able to heal so many wounds that had haunted me. I discovered who I truly am and what my purpose in this lifetime is. My transformation was beyond powerful and still continues to be so. I’m forever grateful that I followed my intuition to keep progressing forward. 

Photograph: Marc Friedhofer @snapkracker

I didn’t stay fully sober though. I have a drink about once a month. But through the process of allowing myself to explore the old version of me I discovered that I’m no longer an “addict”. Or, at least, I don’t consider myself one. Because I no longer run away from what I’m feeling or the experiences I go through. I no longer feel the need to numb myself, so I don’t. I healed so many parts of myself that were my reason for getting high so now I don’t have a reason to turn to drugs in the same way. I stay very present to what my intentions are with every decision I make, which helps keep me on the right path. No doubt that I still experience hard times, but I have grown so strong and grounded in my self awareness and resilience. And honestly even when I’m going through a rough patch in life the thought, “I want to get high/drunk” never enters my mind anymore. It’s incredible. I have changed my immediate reactions and response to high stress situations through patience, understanding, compassion, self love, and healing. 

Life is so beautiful now. I can appreciate it in its fullness. The good, the bad, and the indifferent. I wouldn’t have it any other way and I’m beyond grateful for the experience of addiction and all it taught me about myself. And now I get the honor and privilege to help others find themselves and heal through coaching. I know now that I went through all of that to be able to guide others through similar struggles and challenges. Everyone deserves to love themselves, to feel GOOD about who they are and live the kind of life they truly desire. 

Imke: Abby, you are an inspiration and your healing process sounds very intense and very self-driven. You should be really proud of yourself and I can say that it's been really moving to watch your transformation. 

Let's talk about you now. Tell us about your favourite spot in your town of Havertown, Pennsylvania.

Abby: Honestly it’s my front yard! It’s so peaceful. We have a porch swing and wind chimes and vegetable gardens. As I’ve grown older I’ve found that connecting back to nature is so healing and relaxing for me. Where I live is a very small town - but there is a great vegan place called Ox’s Way that’s delicious. 

 

 

Imke: You’ve just launched your podcast Conscious Divinity - congratulations! Tell us about it. What is your motivation behind the launch of the podcast?

Abby: The podcast is my baby - it’s been years in the making. I’ve wanted to do a podcast for a while now and I'm beyond happy it finally happened. I have a great co host, Zoe, and together we show how spiritually can be experienced and expressed in so many beautiful ways and that it’s all valid. We also just wanted to be a comfort podcast for people who feel alone in their healing process. Choosing to change your life and live differently can be super lonely and tough. But it’s always worth it on the other side. And we want to be the women you can come to for support and encouragement even if it’s just through an audio file. :) 

"This podcast was created out of love to show that spirituality is inherently instilled in all of us and how it can be implemented into anyone's life no matter who you are. We have a vast array of guests that embody and speak to the different levels and possibilities within spirituality. Our sole purpose is to help others feel guided and not alone no matter where they are on their journey." - Conscious Divinity 

 

Imke: You are a huge promoter of self-love and acceptance and you’re damn good at it. (You're also impossibly hot by the way.)
What tips can you share on days when you are just not feelin’ yourself?

Abby: The best advice I can give is DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP! Feeling guilty or shaming yourself is a form of self rejection and can make your “off” days feel even worse and harder to get through. Allow yourself to not feel ok. You’re a human being and we all go through ups and downs. Once you’ve accepted that you’re just not feeling yourself at this current moment you can then ask yourself if you’re up to doing something to feel better. The answer may be yes and you can dance around your room, take a walk, hang out with a friend who lifts you up, look in the mirror and tell yourself you’re an amazing incredible human, or cook a yummy meal.

If the answer is no, that's OK. Just allow the feelings and ‘blahness’ to move through your body so the energy doesn’t get “stuck”. I would also suggest that moving and physically SHAKING your body can get rid of the bad energy quickly. Remind yourself that this won’t last and tomorrow is always a new day.

 Photograph: Marc Friedhofer @snapkracker

Imke: I recently saw on your Facebook status that you're planning to be on the road more next year. What’s on the itinerary?

Abby: I’m actually moving to Bali next year which is extremely exciting. It will be my first time moving away from my home state but it’s time. Within the next year I also plan on visiting Greece, Italy, Switzerland, New Zealand and more. Traveling sets my soul on fire. I feel so free when I’m in the unknown. 

Imke: Well if you ever find yourself in Germany we definitely have a home for you here - I would love to finally meet you IRL. What’s been your pandemic crutch/muse to get you through these past years?

Abby: My own self development. The pandemic granted me so much 1|1 time with myself that wasn’t available pre-pandemic. I got to really surrender to the healing journey and have completely changed as a person and found my passion and purpose. As hard as this time has been for everyone I am grateful for the ways in which I was able to grow through it. I am my own Muse and damn proud of it! 

Imke: Describe your style in a sentence.

Abby: I’m a Gemini so my style is forever multifaceted. 

Imke: What's the thing that makes you the happiest right now?

Abby: Dancing and following my joy! I neglected myself for so long but now I know there is so much happiness to be found in all the little moments.  

Imke: Pineapple on your pizza or nah?

Abby: YES! The superior pizza. Hands down! 

(Yassss.)

Photograph: Marc Friedhofer @snapkracker

Follow Abby's story and find her on social @abby.aluna and catch the latest  episodes from her podcast here @consciousdivinity & on Spotify!

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