Ericka’s Summer Blues

Ericka’s Summer Blues

Damien’s Note:  Ericka started following this blog on it’s Facebook page a while ago and recently reached out with a series of articles written from her personal experience.  Here is the second in the series.  I can certainly relate to parts of her story and I suspect some of my readers will as well.  This piece was written on August 6, 2015.

It was July 4th weekend when my whole family came for a long weekend visit. I lived near the ocean, so my place was the perfect summer vacation spot.  I was so excited and looking forward to having everyone under my roof.  At this time, my husband and I were still sleeping in separate rooms and for the most part living separate lives.  He really wasn’t too thrilled with everyone coming because as he always would say, “it’s your family.”  It was the first time we would all be together in a long time and all I wanted was for my husband to be present.  Upon their arrival, he made excuses to run some errands and stayed away for hours.

That morning I had already started my drinking.  After breakfast, I opened up my first bottle of wine and proceeded to finish it before noon.  I had a plan to just sip throughout the day so that maybe I could once again hide the fact that I was drinking a lot. I knew once everyone arrived, we would be packing up the coolers with beer and soda and heading to the beach.  I couldn’t wait.  I could drink the beer freely along with everyone else.  During this time, I knew my drinking was getting heavier, but denial still lived inside me.

We had an amazing visit together all weekend long and I was drinking not only with everyone but behind closed doors as well.  I had my stash of wine in my bedroom and whenever I had a moment I would go upstairs and have a nice, long sip.  Sips turned into gulps and then I knew I had to hold it together.  I really don’t think anyone noticed.  I thought I had complete control over my drinking.  I was so very wrong.

The short vacation with my family came to an end.  My husband did several disappearing acts during the weekend. This was so difficult for me because it was so out of character for him.  I just knew our marriage was not going to last much longer. I just didn’t get it, but my wine did for it always understood.  As my family pulled away to head home, I waved goodbye and cried.  I walked back in the house, grabbed my purse, got in my car, and went straight to the store.  That night I would drink my sadness away.

IMG_20170223_093816_772Ericka’s Bio: Ericka Brandt Delagarza is a professional, creative, and witty writer who has been published on many blogs and websites. Her most recent accomplishment was as a co-contributor for the cookbook, “What’s Left to Eat” which debuted as a number one international best seller on As an amazing home cook, foodie, writer, and former resident of Europe, and Puerto Rico, as well the East Coast, Ericka writes just about anything these days. With food and travel as her passion, she has found writing about her struggle with alcohol and staying sober over the last five years the most difficult, yet very therapeutic experience to date.

Ericka’s Story Part 1: “I Remember the Morning”

Ericka’s Story Part 1:  “I Remember the Morning”

Damien’s Note:  Ericka started following this blog on it’s Facebook page a while ago and recently reached out with a series of articles written from her personal experience.  Here is the first in the series.  I can certainly relate to parts of her story and I suspect some of my readers will as well.  The post was written on August 5, 2015 and this is the first time Ericka has used her full name in conjunction with her struggles with alcohol and she said, “It feels raw, but amazing!”

It was another lonely night in an otherwise full house. My husband and the step kids were downstairs watching a movie. The Sunday night family dinner was over, the leftovers and dishes were put away and my wine cup was washed and put away. I had a few drinks while preparing and cleaning up after dinner hoping no one noticed my slurred words or loud voice at the dinner table. All I could do was think about being upstairs, alone, and open that extra bottle I had hidden in my dresser drawer. This had become my life, my routine, my only existence at that time.

So there I sat, once again, alone in my bedroom. At this time, the husband and I were already sleeping in separate bedrooms for over a year so it was easy to be alone and even easier to hide and drink my wine. Although his bedroom was a mere two feet away, it felt like miles.

Morning came along with the hangover, the shakes, and the regret. Continue reading “Ericka’s Story Part 1: “I Remember the Morning””

Matt & Caz’s Story

Matt & Caz’s Story

Damien’s Note: Matt and I have followed each other on Twitter for some time and have had enjoyed good interactions. Last week, he reached out via Direct Message requesting my email, saying that he had something to share with me. When I opened the email, in the middle of my work day, I was dumbstruck. I had to get up and leave my home office for a bit to absorb the pain.

Matt’s story hit home because I know what it’s like to loose someone important to death, but I can’t imagine loosing my wife. I hoped that Matt might want me to share this story on my blog. Matt’s story is one of resilience. He’s proof that our sobriety can be stronger than our emotions, life’s twists and turns, and even death.

C0IQQWbXgAAO-U8I married an amazing woman in 2004. We had been together as boyfriend & girlfriend for 7 years to the day when we tied the knot. Not only was I marrying the love of my life, this person was my best friend/lover & soul mate.

I came out as bisexual to her early in the relationship, she understood and excepted me. If I am in a relationship with a person that’s it I am just in a relationship with that one person.

By coming out to her it was as if I had come out to the entire world. I was free to be myself, no secrets and no shame. When I saw her eye up some attractive random man could smile and tell her she had good taste, a relationship like this comes but once a life. Continue reading “Matt & Caz’s Story”

Guest Post: Justin’s Story

Guest Post: Justin’s Story

A note from Damien: From time to time, I accept guest posts from others.  Justin reached out to me late last week asking if I would accept a blog post.  I think it’s important to share stories from other people in recovery as well as my own.  In particular, I was interested in sharing this story because I have a friend who is early in her recovery from pain medication abuse and while I can speak volumes about my recovery from alcohol, I felt somewhat inadequate in offering good advice for her situation.  I must also clarify that I do not represent nor endorse Muse Los Angeles Drug Rehab — as a friend said to me early in my recovery, “there are many paths up the mountain.”

Our own personal journeys in recovery are irreplaceable to others but I personally found it rather ordinary to myself and not with extraneous drama…or so it seems.

The first time I actually endeavored recovery, it was basically a detox state of affairs, and I felt that would undoubtedly take care of all of my substance abuse installments. How funny is that? I had a reasonably legitimate run with opiates, predominantly Vicodin, which I tuned to by and large due to its easy accessibility. I was taking about 8 extra-strength tablets per day; a fairly insubstantial inclination in comparison to some other more stout acquaintances I later came across in the ensuing years. A girl friend put me up for a few days and I arrived at her pad with a small prescription of Clonidine, which I had read (in John Phillips autobiog, Papa John) helped with opiate withdrawal symptoms, along with a few Valium and a 6-pack of beer (hey, I had a problem with Vicodin, not a substance abuse concern …) . The Clonodine worked quite well, and put me asleep for large swatches of the day. After three days, I pronounced myself ‘cured’, and made it home. I felt great, like I really accomplished something. I did precisely nothing, except temporarily get off Vicodin, which lasted a few months. 

Several years later, my problems were a bit more advanced, and I had a full-blown heroin habit, and why aren’t you surprised here? An old friend helped me get into an actual program via a musicians aid organization. It was full detox, as well as several months of sober living. I believe I was on the way to some form of sobriety, and ended up with about six months clean from all substances. 12-step meetings, being of service and continued therapy and meds certainly helped, along with a sense of community. But eventually, I had to move out, and did so with a fellow musician, who it turns out was very, very helpful. He taught me that I really wasn’t hitting my veins correctly when injecting smack. I learned how to register…and eventually also gave up the registration to my car, which was sold for $300 to (properly) fit in my arm.

I continued on this rough patch for several years, eventually found myself being busted with my dealer and spent a few months at the pleasure of Los Angeles Country, in a 4th floor walk-up. Upon release, I ended up at a faith-based drug program in LA. It wasn’t really out of choice, I just had nowhere to go. I learned, though, that I was actually ready for treatment.

The main aspect of this treatment that worked was the basic fact that it was nearly open-ended, and I initially stayed in  treatment for a full year, and then began working at the facility. It was time that I needed, and this was provided for me here, and I feel like I made the best of things. 

Article courtesy of Muse Los Angeles Drug Rehab

Handling Success When You Are Not Used to It

Handling Success When You Are Not Used to It

Damien’s Note:  Today’s post is the first guest post on here on Walking in Sober Boots and comes to us from Rose Lockinger from Stodzy Internet Marketing. When Rose contacted me I was honored — no one had ever asked to be a guest writer on a blog I authored before — but I was a bit shaken and didn’t know how to respond immediately. I gave it consideration and decided that the next right thing to do was to share this platform with others so that many voices in recovery are heard.  If you’d like to have a post featured on this blog, reach out to me via the contact page and we’ll work together to make it happen. Without further ado, here are Rose’s thoughts on a pair of topics to which many of us in recovery can easily relate — self sabotage and perfectionism.


I recently discovered something that I found quite surprising— one of the most frightening things in life is the prospect of achieving your goals. This may sound crazy because aren’t goals what we are all working towards and shouldn’t finally reaching them be a cause for celebration and not a cause for stress and fear? You would think so, but what I have found over the past year is that success and the completion of certain milestones, while they have brought me a great sense of pride, have always introduced new fears and stressors into my life.

I have found myself unsettled by my recent accomplishments and because of this I have become cognizant of the fact that I am subconsciously attempting to sabotage myself. It is almost as if I am looking to introduce chaos into the peace I have found and I can’t help but think that this is because I am not used to succeeding, so part of me is hard wired to try to destroy anything good. Something that I really relate to is that in this journey of recovery I have become focused on the destination and not the experience as a whole, in doing so I have lost any enjoyment I may have experienced.

Talking to a friend of mine about this idea he had a little bit of a different take on it, but could relate nonetheless. He said to me that succeeding requires something of us whereas failure doesn’t, and with each success that we gain there is a feeling that we now have something to lose. Many of us come into sobriety at a position of zero and there is a certain freeing feeling that comes with this because we have nowhere to go but up. The longer you stay sober and start to accomplish things, there then starts to be a fear that you are not worthy of your successes and that you do not have what it takes to keep them going.

He told me about how when he started back to college he started getting all A’s. This at first was a point of pride for him, but after 2 years of never receiving anything lower than A, this pride began to turn on him because he now had something that he had to accomplish. He felt as if he had to continue to get straight A’s and if he didn’t then he felt like his self-worth would be taken from him. The next two years of school were full of anxiety and he began to focus on perfection as the goal, which usually never turns out well. When he finally graduated with his 4.0 GPA he found that it did not bring him the feeling of elation he had hoped for, but rather just left him looking towards the next thing that had to be accomplished.

I thought about what my friend told me, and his inability to enjoy his accomplishments, and realized that to a certain degree this is what was going on with me. My goals since the beginning of my sobriety were to finally have a place of my own, the ability to see my children on a regular basis, have my family back in my life, and a job that I loved. I have all of these things in my life but yet I can’t shake the feeling that the other shoe is going to drop at some point. It is almost as if I am expecting it to happen and this is making it more difficult for me to enjoy my accomplishments.

During my active addiction, I became accustomed to letting people down. I never enjoyed it and it always hurt, but I got used to it and knew how to handle those feelings. Now I am no longer in a position where I let people down and so often I don’t know what to do with my emotions. I don’t know really know how to accept compliments and it is still a strange feeling that people trust and depend on me. Part of me really feels great that my family and children can trust me, but another part of me gets fairly stressed out by this as well. I don’t want to let them down again and so I probably put a lot of unneeded pressure on myself.

Adding to this is the fact that I am extremely hard on myself. Any little “failure” is felt to the umpteen degree and because of this I have a tendency to focus on the negative rather than the positive. Doing this usually, results in me not being able to enjoy the successes in my life to their full extent because I always could have done something better or changed this or that.

A good example of this happened about a month ago. I have been back in Virginia now for six months and everything is going well, but one thing that wasn’t going exactly as planned was my visitation schedule with my children. I thought that by this point I would have had more time with my children but this is not the case. Any mother would feel the same way as I do, but I found that this “failure” seemed to override all of the positivity that was going on me in life and like I said I began to focus on the negative rather than the positive. I couldn’t see how far I’d come, or the fact that my children were back in my life, all I could was the fact that I wasn’t able to be a full time mom again.

It is strange because I felt more comfortable being angry and upset then I did when I felt like everything was going my way. I know what to do when I have to fight for something or against someone, but I don’t know how to handle peace and serenity. Hopefully, as I stay sober longer this will change and I will begin to learn to enjoy the moments of my life, rather than look back on them and realize how good they were. Until then I am going to do my best not to destroy my successes and ignore the thoughts in my head telling me I have to.

About Rose

RoseRose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. A single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

You can find Rose on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram