Alison's Insights

Accepting Mid-Life Addiction Recovery One Slow Deep Breath At A Time

About Alison

For over three decades I lived an addiction-based lifestyle rooted in alcoholism and an eating disorder.

Ultimately the day came with I had to make a choice.  I could continue living in my version of hell or find a way out.

I found a way out.  And when I did, my perspective of just about everything changed and what led me to begin this blog.

My intention is to share with you more than just the many lessons I’ve learned through the process of recovery but how I incorporate these lessons into daily life.  What I won’t offer is theoretical suppositions because that’s not what helped me change.  I needed to learn how to shift from addiction hell to a life that made sense by those who were able to do that, not from people who studied or researched how that “could” or “should” be done.

I entered the world of recovery in 2002, seeking treatment for alcoholism at Hazelden and in the fall of 2008 attained rescue for a life-threatening eating disorder at The Renfrew Center.

After a high-powered 22-year corporate career in advertising, working at worldwide agencies, managing multi-million dollar accounts for several clients, I stepped away from the corporate world to focus on what truly mattered in my life, honoring my recovery and dedicating myself to serving others who seek the same freedom from addiction.

In addition to sponsoring/mentoring women, I’m asked to speak about recovery later in life around the country at treatment centers, with relevant support groups and interested organizations promoting healthy lifestyles.  Most recently was the featured speaker for the 2013 Chicago NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) Walk, an annual fundraiser with hundreds in attendance.

I wrote and professionally recorded a radio testimonial about my experience at The Renfrew Center which aired in South Florida and have been a guest on many radio programs focused on healthy transformations through recovery later in life such as “Recovery in Motion” on WTFL-AM/Miami, FL and “What Are YOU Waiting For?” with Kristen Moeller on Contact Talk Radio.

I’ve been a board member for the 12-Step fellowship club I still belong to and am currently serving on the Board of Directors for MentorCONNECT, the first global, 501©3 nonprofit online eating disorder mentoring community, reaching recovering persons in 16 countries around the world.   In addition to my Board position, I am the “40 Something” Group Leader, Special Events Director, Mentor Guide Leader, and Public Relations Director, writing press releases to help build awareness of the organization, their outreach events and the monthly teleconference series.  In addition I’m the liaison between MentorCONNECT and the NEDA Member Network program and was instrumental in creating and maintaining MentorCONNECT’s annual “Virtual Walk” the only annual online fundraising event coinciding with NEDAwareness Week.

As alumnae of Hazelden, I offer my practical experience to those new to recovery by staying involved with their online programs and weekly community meetings specific to those precious early days, weeks, months even years after leaving treatment.  In addition, I help moderate bi-weekly online alumnae support group meetings. These recovery-educating opportunities have allowed me the opportunity share how I shifted from a life dependent on alcohol to a full life independent of that crutch.

As a fully recovered alumna, Alison is often asked by The Renfrew Center to share her experience transitioning through their “Thirty Something and Beyond” program with national media such as Vogue, Parenting, and Renew magazines .

My service work for Hazelden and Renfrew enables me to remain true to my primary purpose, providing hope to those who feel hopeless by carrying a message that an extraordinary life is possible without addiction at any age.  My efforts remain focused on supporting others as they help themselves, ever-reminding that with hope, it’s never too late and never too soon to face an addiction and recover.

In the general population, I am a contributing writer for several online communities. I’m a Social Media Influencer for BlogHer, a Blogger Partner and invited contributor for weekly TweetChats with EmpowHER, and a Write-to-Done Dream Team member.  I’m honored to guest blog on several addiction and recovery sites, such as myaddiction,com, thesoberworld.com, addictionland.com, soberinfo.com and recoverybites.com.  Similarly I’m a participating resource for educational webinars, conferences and teleconferences on the subject of recovery in mid-life.

I’ve shared insight and personal stories about various aspects of mid-life recovery in printed publications such as Connections, The Renfrew Center Foundation newsletter sent to alumnae, board members, financial contributors and all supporters worldwide, and The Sober World, a monthly publication offering articles from people who have found recovery and from professionals offering valuable recovery information.

I was the focus in articles about women finding recovery later in life such as, “More Older Adults Getting Eating Disorders” (Chicago Sun-Times), “Eating Disorders and the Executive Woman” (Forbes.com), “Eating Disorders Can Last Well Beyond Teen Years” (Healthday News), and “Is An Eating Disorder Part Of The High-Powered Career Woman Package?” (The Grindstone).

Interactively, I’m often invited to participate in TweetChats on the topics of midlife eating disorders, recovery and other women’s heath topics with ABCNews Dr. Richard Besser, The Academy for Eating Disorders featuring Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D. and EmpowHER.  Following these focused online conversations I’m often privately contacted by those in the professional community with requests to act as peer support for their patients.

I also share insight and personal stories about various aspects of midlife recovery in printed publications such as Connections (The Renfrew Center Foundation newsletter sent to alumnae, board members, financial contributors and supporters worldwide) and The Sober World (distributed in South Florida, focused on recovery resources).  I’ve been featured in articles about women finding recovery later in life such as, “More Older Adults Getting Eating Disorders” (Chicago Sun-Times), “Eating Disorders and the Executive Woman” (forbes.com), “Eating Disorders Can Last Well Beyond Teen Years” (healthday.com) and Is An Eating Disorder Part Of The High-Powered Career Woman Package?” (thegrindstone.com).

To date I remain sober and healthy, living in a quiet suburb outside Chicago with my incredibly supportive and unconditionally loving husband and best friend, Matthew.

Oh, and one more thing, if you like the kind of content I offer, please sign up to follow my blog.

2 thoughts on “About Alison

  1. I’ll be following your blog, Alison. Thank you for your fine writing and your hard work. Nice to connect via Hazelden. (I left a message just now from your most recent message to me.)

  2. Bravo! Congrats! You deserve the recovery you fought so hard to attain. Makes me happy to hear of another person the disease of addiction didn’t get to keep!

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