Talksicology Episode 48

A Weight Lifted

Episode Synopsis

On this episode, the hosts talk with Carrie Smith, co-founder of Brightside Sober Living in Austin, Texas. Carrie has been sober since 2006 and is a notable fixture in the Austin recovery community.

Carrie grew up outside Houston, Texas, in a two-bedroom trailer with her parents and 4 siblings. She recalls a lot of drinking in her family. Her childhood memories start to become clearer around her early teenage years.

Carrie had her first drink at age 12. She recalls how it changed her feelings, and she knew she would do it again.

She remembers pretending she had a different life to escape from her own. Carrie turned to self-harm around age 12. Escapism became a theme throughout her life.

She moved out at age 17 and, by 18, was in an abusive marriage. The couple divorced when Carrie was 21 years old.

By this time, she was drinking regularly and using ecstasy and diet pills to get high. She struggled with mental health and attempted to end her life. Carrie moved in with her sister and was encouraged to start AA. She found a sponsor but didn’t do 12-step work.

Days after meeting a new man, she started drinking again. She recalls searching for someone to care for her and something else to change how she felt.

Carrie later moved to Austin, spent a month using substances, and attempted to end her life a second time. Carrie’s sponsor helped her get into treatment, where she completed 28 days.

Carrie started to take her recovery seriously when she moved back to Houston. She worked the 12 steps and spent time with other women in recovery.

At 5 years sober, Carrie received a bipolar diagnosis and made some drastic life changes. She started eating clean and working out. Today, Carrie participates in bodybuilding competitions.

Although she says she still struggles with mental health, it’s much better now that she’s sober. Carrie’s story exemplifies the importance of dedicated recovery work and accountability.

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