DREAM BU I L D I NG WI TH ALY F . CANAVAN
Professionally has your decision to be public in sobriety had any consequences.
What are your sober rituals daily? Pledge? Prayer? My rituals daily are for living my best life and showing up for myself every day. I meditate, connect with nature, dance, sing, get to bed early, journal, study and ensure I’m present for my life as much as possible. I give a prayer of thanks each day that I am free and my gratitude for living this way is endless. Alcohol is a poison to our body and just because it’s been normalised by our society does not mean that’s its normal. I try and steer away from toxins in my life as much as I can and this helps both my mental, spiritual and physical health too Have you found meditation, podcasts, or books helpful in recovery? As a meditation teacher my daily practice is so important. Getting truly know ourselves is the most important part of our human journey. The relationship with yourself when abandoned causes chaos. Getting to know and trust yourself and giving you’re the space to do the introspective work is an important part of recover. What was the last sober book you read? Gabor Mate has played a huge role in my understanding of addition and through his compassionate inquiry I have truly learnt to view addiction from a different lens. His book in the realm of hungry ghosts is a must read for everyone. I read Jason Vales book kick the drink easily from cover to cover the day after I stopped drinking too. Russell Brands book Recovery – freedom from addictions I loved the unexpected joy of being sober by Catherine Gray And we are the luckiest by Laura McKeown Do you have any sober heroes/heroines? Actually, my best friend Roxanne who have never really drank I admire because through all the years of us going out she never succumbed to pressure and I admire her for that because those years were tough for her in a lot of ways. If there is someone reading this out there what would be your top sober tip for them? Very simply I would say that I have never heard one person say that they regret getting sober, but I have heard hundreds who regret not doing it and relapsing. There is great freedom out the other side of addiction and when you break free the only way is up. You begin to realise that there is so much more life to be lived than the one you have been stuck in. I love life and life loves me back because I’m awake and aware enough now to be present.
Professionally getting sober in Ireland at the time was career suicide. I went on The Late Late Show to talk about giving up alcohol and on the Monday morning 90% of my clients cancelled my work. It was a stark wake up call for me when I realised where Ireland really was with addiction and how disconnected we were from the pain and suffering it was causing. These experiences have built great strength in me from within. They required me to dig deep for courage and overcome so many fears around what people thoughts and had I just made the biggest mistake of my life. At this point I realised that I has nothing to lose and so another layer of freedom was gifted to me. In the past 6 years I have witnessed great change in Ireland, and we are truly waking up to the devastation that addiction brings into our homes and into our society. I am now living in the US and I find it interesting that not one person has ever asked me if I drink. Getting sober in Ireland was a lonely and very isolating time but again I look back on those years with deep gratitude because they have made me the mum, coach and speaker I am today. Have you seen great changes within your relationships in sobriety? Yes no one invited me anywhere and when I did go out the entire conversation would be in fascination of me not drinking but I wouldn’t change a single moment. I have a small but trusted group of friends now and sure, my phone doesn’t ring off the hook like it used too but I’m happy. It’s taken over 40 years to truly make peace with myself and my life. What other significant changes have you see in your life without alcohol? My relationships are real and not based on getting drunk. I get to experience life good and bad and its beautiful. It’s like someone lifter the fog and revealed this incredible world and the longer I’m free from alcohol the clearer my life. I can taste, feel and experience real life as it's happening and I deal with life as it happens understanding that’s it an adventure to be lived and experienced and not avoided and escaped. I escaped because I was in pain and my pain relief stopped working in the way it once had. What I soon realised is that I was causing more pain and more suffering. . Having struggled with chronic anxiety and depression for years and been medicated, I can say today that I rarely suffer and If I do feel anxious, I work through it and I know that it’s a normal part of my growth and journey. I don’t wish every day to end so that I can take a break and sleep. I now live every day to its fullest extent.
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