I began working in recovery in 2013. I can honestly tell you that working in this space was not on my radar, nor were the series of circumstances that brought me to the space! One thing and then another led me to a key conversation with Terry Marvin, owner of a recovery center. He said, “you have a unique voice and I believe that you could make an impact in recovery”, and then asked me to consider taking a position with his team. To which I replied, “give me two weeks, I need to pray about this one.” Mentoring stretches me to the core, I’ve had to sink my teeth in and just grow. Grow through my own stuff, grow into a better leader and get out of my own way, grow into a more compassionate listener and grow to not control and let go of the results. There’s been more than one occasion that I’ve had to go back and check-in to see if I should stay or run away, the possibility always draws me back.

I’ve coached thousands of humans who are desperate for a release from the nightmare of addiction.

At the core, most come the same way, broken and yet seeking a glimmer of possibility. They walk in, sit down, sign in, and wait. If they had a billboard, it would read, I’m here, now what? I decided not to study my client’s history, allowing them an opportunity to show up clean. I don’t need to know how or why they got into a shit-show. My role as a health coach is to help find an improved skill set so they can get out of it. Hmmm… wouldn’t it be uber cool if the world would allow us that same freedom?? With each conversation, I get to remind them that they were born with a plan and for a purpose. And then we get busy creating an environment where they can show up and grow into their potential. I also work with C-level exec’s, seemingly opposite ends of the spectrum, but really when life isn’t working, the symptoms are much the same.

There’s David, “I didn’t start drugging until about 8 years ago, and it kept getting bigger until one day I found myself laying on the ground with a gun to my head wondering wtf I was doing with my life.

God, will you help me?

It seemed like everyone around me was drugging, even my brother, we were dragging each other down. Something happened to me that day, I cried out, God will you help me? Three days later I was in Florida, and now I’m 30 days clean and have found out so much about myself. My coach told me that I was born to lead, nobody had ever told me that before. Looking back, I can see that she’s right, I was just leading people down the wrong path. I’ve done some bad stuff and I never want to forget. But now I can see a bright hope for my future, leading myself and being an encouragement to others.”

And Gina, “I grew up in an environment of addiction. I helped my mom run a prostitution home. I’ve seen things that can’t be unseen and done things that I can’t undo. The shame and blame are triggers to use; drugs help me to forget. I want to be different for my kids, I want them to know a different way is possible. My coach saw something in me, she suggested that with my background, I’d be in a unique position to work in human trafficking or something on that platform. I see my past as garbage, she suggested that I recycle my experiences and use them for good. She inspired me to be a better person.”

When I was young, my mom and others would tell me, Valerie, you can’t do that! A.K.A., NO! To which I’d respond or think, well if I can’t DeW that, then what can I DeW? Think of the puppy with its ears perked straight up and head turned inquisitively… well that was me! That sassy self-, ot me into a lot of trouble and I spent many years remembering how to use my voice. At 50, after years of being an entrepreneur in the health and wellness industry, I decided to go back to school to become a health coach. That feels so brave now when I say that, however, I was addicted to my comfort zone and it was super scary! Who knew that at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I’d find out that my childhood learning style was valid and has a name.

In a list of no, you cant’s, we coach you how to crowd in yes, I can’s!

The cool term is called “crowding in” and the strategy works so well in mentoring humans in recovery – that means all humans. Rather than giving a list of no, you cant’s, we coach you how to crowd in yes, I can’s! For example, if I told you that you could never have sweets again, all you’d think about is the next fix. However, if you learn that other foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, or green apples with almond butter will help you satisfy that craving, it will be much easier for you to crowd out the sweets, which will help balance your blood sugar, improve your moods and help with foggy thinking! We also crowd in the “other stuff”, like joy, spirituality and more. Connect with me and we can do a quick self-discovery quiz that will help bring awareness to what may be missing in your life.

I often get asked, “are you in recovery” to which I reply, “aren’t we all?” I am in my 50’s and have recovered from lots of things and the list is long… just not from drugs or alcohol. This may come as a complete surprise to you; although it appears in this moment that you are here to recover from drugs and/or alcohol, extra pounds or a broken relationship… those are simply responses to something deeper. Let’s play and find out what that might be. If you had to go through addiction to something in order to that allow you to get to a higher space, then so be it. Allowing your journey to refine you is the art of recovery.

Live and Be Well,

Valerie Marion

1 COMMENT

  1. I enjoyed your article Valerie, which brought to mind the book “Breathing Under Water” by Richard Rohr and its perspective that addiction is rooted in the ego and that we are all addicted in some way to the self. Thank you for sharing.

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