IMG_0554Hi! My name is Kathy O’Connor and I am a recovering Alcoholic. My Sobriety Birthday is February 11, 2012.  I am so excited to be sharing my recovery journey with you and to be able to introduce you to my recovery coaching business that includes horses in the healing process.

Four years ago, my life was a mess. I was living my life dependent on vodka, or whatever I had around the house during a shaking attack.  My days consisted of waking up shaking so bad that getting a cup up to my mouth was a chore. The cup had to be filled with vodka and a splash of orange juice. I would drink some of it, regurgitate it and go back to drink more — believe it or not — to settle my stomach, stop the shakes and get my heart rate back to a normal.  I would then find an excuse to go to town or the local liquor store to buy another fifth so I could continue on my day without everyone knowing that my life depended on a bottle of alcohol.  I had to have a continuous “buzz” throughout the day to stay alive. If I stopped drinking, my heart would race, my body would tremor, my stomach would flip and my blood pressure would sky rocket.  My body was screaming at me to stop and the only way I knew to help it was to add more alcohol to it. I would pray every night that I would live to wake up in the morning.  I thought then that my God did not talk to me. But today I believe that that was God yelling at me, keeping me breathing, until I found the courage to ask for help.

February is my month to celebrate my Sobriety Birthday. To celebrate the many ways that I have evolved. I am excited to share some of how my past experiences lead me to my journey in recovery.  In my trek to be certified in the Touched by a Horse® Equine Gestalt Coaching Method®, Melisa Pearce, CEO of TBAH, taught me that I must heal my own life in order to become healthy and whole. I learned that I cannot help others in their recovery until I am living an authentic life of recovery myself.

In the coaching Melisa did with me I was asked what were the 5 most important moments in my life? It didn’t take me long to recognize that deciding to get sober was one of them.

One of the ways I was coached was to stand in a round pen with a horse on free liberty, which means to be free of halter and lead rope. A 10 foot pole was set down in the middle of the pen. I stood on one side and talked about my life as a sober Kathy; then walked to the other side and talked about my life as a drinking Kathy. I went from one side of the pole to the other, having the 2 Kathys talk to each other. At one point the horse literally pushed me back to the sober side of the pole.  It is where my heart was, where my true self wanted to be. The horse was able to show me that today I do not want that drinking life anymore and that recovery lives in my soul.

I will celebrate this day, not with the celebratory champagne or the fake apple cider with a fizz, but with my closest and dearest friends, the old and the new, with joy, gratitude and pride.