My name is Danielle Boland and I am a person in long-term recovery. Many people are surprised when I tell them I was unable to stop drinking alcohol on my own and that I loved drugs. You see, in some peoples eyes I can’t be an addict because I came from a great family, had a nice house, a great husband, and a lucrative job as a sales director in the high tech industry. But I had a secret and over time it was killing me from the inside out. I would go to the bar after work or take clients out for drinks and that was how I justified that I wasn’t so bad. I had spent my life making sure everything looked great from the outside, becoming what I thought you wanted me to be instead of really loving myself and being true to who I really was. I lived in a reactive and fearful state.
I couldn’t imagine a life without partying. I was terrified at the thought of not being able to drink. It seemed so great in concept but impossible in actuality. For some reason, I was never ashamed or embarrassed to talk about my struggle. I believe we all have some type of what I call distractions in our life that keep us from living mindfully and in reality. All of us are guilty of denial on some level. After two years of trying to quit and not wanting to surrender, I was lying in bed one night at the height of my career, still feeling empty inside and thought, “This can’t be it, there has to be more to life. Maybe I don’t know as much as I think I do and perhaps I should listen to others who have some of what I want.”
I realized that since I had built up this house of cards around me I needed some time to be alone, peel away these layers like an onion, and come to terms with who I was at the core. Despite a recent promotion and employing a team to work under me, I decided to check into treatment. I recognized that I was spiritually bankrupt and if I couldn’t fill this God sized hole within me than I had nothing. I remember realizing that I needed to fully change the person I brought into treatment. To do the opposite of what I had always done and to be honest, open minded and fully willing. I participated every day at treatment and spent my nights reading, journaling and working on myself. It was raw, there was no portfolio of illusions, and it was just me, alone with my true self. I was becoming free.
A week out of treatment anxious to return back to the work that defined me, I had been told that my position was eliminated. To add to the blow, I was getting numerous letters from the insurance companies saying despite my chronic drunk driving I was not a risk to myself or others and would need to pay the almost $14,000 treatment bill myself. The old me would have cowered in a corner and given up at this point. I recognized that I had only one choice and it was to turn these obstacles into stepping-stones, so I did. I trusted the process. As much as I didn’t want to get out of bed every day and as difficult as it was to put one foot in front of the other, I still did it. Looking back I now understand what a gift it was to have every last outside thing that defined me be taken away. It left me no other option than to learn who I really was.
I spent a year fighting insurance companies and speaking at the Massachusetts Statehouse, letting them and everyone know how damaging the insurance companies were to people trying to get well. Nothing like an addict getting a letter in the mail from medical experts telling you that you aren’t really an addict and in need of treatment…I also became the first Massachusetts Chapter Lead of Young People in Recovery. Despite numerous job opportunities making a ton of money in Corporate America, I decided to sell my nice new car and live very simply for the first year of sobriety, forming a strong foundation for my new life to be built on. I invested my savings into self -development and eventually decided to open my own company where people with addiction struggles and their families can connect with coaches thriving in recovery, helping them change their lives.
It has been said that everything we want is on the other side of fear and I continue to be living proof of this every single moment. Life in recovery continues to bring me experiences beyond my wildest dreams. Here, anything is possible. I have worked in Hollywood as a sober companion and continue to meet and help amazing people every day. Just because I do this for a living I cannot forget that my own recovery must always come first. Instead of helping and pleasing everyone else, I work on and love myself first and recognize that the entire universe will benefit from this approach. I cannot control others so I choose to be a power of example.
So many people are sitting in the wings just waiting to be convinced that they have some type of problem with addiction. According to statistics there are actually millions upon millions who never seek help. I believe this is because they fail to recognize that they deserve more from the world and that the world deserves more from them. I will not be silent. This is my story and this is my truth and I couldn’t be more proud of that. I want everyone to see that people do recover and most of these people are brilliant, creative, unique, and a major asset to our society. There is no weakness in admitting our shortcomings, only power and strength. Watch out world, here I come.