Women’s Equality Day has been celebrated on August 26 of each year since 1972. This nationally recognized day is set aside to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 giving women across the United States the right to vote. As it states, the right to vote, “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” In addition to recognizing this important and historical day, Women’s Equality Day also aims to pay tribute to the courageous women at the forefront of that movement.
Each year since its official designation by the United States Congress in 1973, every U.S. president has continued to proclaim this day Women’s Equality Day. In 2015, President Barack Obama said the following in regards to Women’s Equality Day,
“Today, as we celebrate the anniversary of this hard-won achievement and pay tribute to the trailblazers and suffragists who moved us closer to a more just and prosperous future, we resolve to protect this constitutional right and pledge to continue fighting for equality for women and girls”.
In honor of this year’s Women’s Equality Day, we wanted to honor two prominent women who not only are helping to make positive changes in others’ lives but are in recovery from addiction themselves. These women have transformed their lives from the perils of active addiction to happier, healthier, more peaceful, and purposeful lives.
When it comes to addiction, whether to a legal or illicit substance, life can be bleak. Hopelessness, despair, loneliness, and isolation are part of most days. During these days of darkness, it may seem like there is no hope, that things possibly couldn’t get any better—that you or your loved one will never find lasting sobriety from drugs or alcohol.
However, that’s simply not true. Thousands of others have been in your shoes, felt those same feelings, and are now living lives beyond their wildest dreams in recovery.
The following two women are examples.
If you have been to a 12-Step meeting or another similar support group, you often hear those in recovery telling their ‘stories’. In these stories, people share what it was like when they were in active addiction, what happened to change it, and what their lives are like now.
The two women, Glennon Doyle and Nikki Myers featured here illustrate that a good life after addiction is possible. Remember, no matter how bad you think things are—and they may be grim—there is hope, healing, and recovery.
Glennon Doyle: From Addiction to New York Times Best-Selling Author
Glennon Doyle is one woman with an inspiring story. Born outside of Washington D.C. and raised with many privileges, Doyle began her struggles with addiction and an eating disorder early in life. In an interview with the fix in 2013, Doyle recounted parts of her story.
Doyle explained that at the age of ten, she began to notice that her skin was oilier, hair frizzier, and waist was a bit thicker than those of her peers. At this time she became bulimic.
Then around age 13, Doyle discovered alcohol and the relief that came with that first drink. From that day on until the day she became sober at age 26, Doyle recounted that not a day went by when she wasn’t in a blackout. But despite her struggles, Doyle still excelled at viola, lacrosse, and academics in high school. Nonetheless, by the time Doyle entered college she was a full-blown alcoholic.
Doyle’s college days included waking up and grabbing a beer, maxing out her credit cards, becoming a chain smoker, and snorting cocaine mixed with chopped-up ADD pills. Again, managing to push her way through school, Doyle graduated from James Madison University in 1999 and went on to secure a teaching position. Despite all of this, her self-destruction and addiction didn’t stop.
Until at age 26 she found herself pregnant—for the second time in just a few months. Unable to have another abortion, Doyle came to the realization that she needed to change. And she did. Quitting alcohol and all other drugs that day, Doyle has been sober ever since and as of 2021 continues to be a sober woman.
And what is her life like now?
The journey has had its rough spots. She went on to marry the father of her first child and have two more children with him. However, she would learn that he was battling his own demons which included a sex addition and they would go on to divorce. Doyle admits that while she doesn’t worry so much about drinking or using drugs again, her relationship with food and eating sometimes continues to concern her.
Doyle came into the public eye with her blog, Momastery. In this blog she is brutally honest about her life—all of it. As her blog became a hit, she went on to write her memoirs. These include Carry On, Warrior, Love Warrior, and Untamed. All three are best sellers. In these books, Doyle talks about her life—including all the gritty details many may leave out as well as her journey through addiction and recovery.
Not only do Doyle’s books recount her daily struggles with life and being human—and living as a person with addiction—she also inspires women to be true to themselves.
In an excerpt from her book, Untamed, she said,
“The epitome of womanhood is to lose one’s self completely. That is the end goal of every patriarchal culture. Because a very effective way to control women is to convince women to control themselves.”
When it comes to addiction, Doyle is brutally honest—a trait vital for long-term recovery. Here is one thing she says about addiction,
“Addiction is just a little hiding place where sensitive people can go so we don’t have to be touched by love or pain.”
Her ability to take what so many feel in their hearts and so poignantly put it into words has won her the admiration of many. Doyle is renowned by women from the mom down the street to celebrities like Oprah, Adele, and Reese Witherspoon. Brene Brown said her work is epic.
Doyle has become known as a truth-teller and spreader of hope. Her blogs and books remind others to believe in themselves and that the journey is the reward. She has transformed her life from one of painful addiction to one of honesty, peace, and happiness.
In her book, Love Warrior, Doyle says,
“Recovery is an unbecoming. My healing has been a peeling away of costume after costume until here I am, still and naked before God, stripped down to my real identity.”
Nikki Myers: From Jails and Prostitution to Renowned Sober Yoga Therapist
Another inspiring sober woman leader is sober yoga therapist, Nikki Myers. Much like Doyle, Myers too began drinking alcohol at the age of 13. This quickly led to drugs. Myers grew up during the 1970s when experimenting with drugs was accepted and in some circles expected.
Myers recounted in an interview with the fix parts of her story. She said that after she started using drugs, it led her to the sex industry as a way to make money and get the drugs she was addicted to taking every day.
Myers, who is a member and active in the 12-Step programs says that much like the program of Alcoholics Anonymous says, her life was surrounded by death, jails, and institutions.
In an interview with Olivia Pennelle in 2017, Myers said that not only were people around her dying, but her soul had also died. And that, perhaps, was the most devastating of all.
She came into the 12-Step programs badly broken, barely able to speak sensibly. And it was there that Myers found people who would love her unconditionally until she learned to love herself—and she did.
12-Step programs have been a tenet of Myer’s recovery. But it wasn’t the 12-Steps alone that helped her first get sober. In 1987, Myers attended rehab because, as she said,
“I just couldn’t do it anymore.”
Life in sobriety was good for Myers. She earned her MBA, got her family back, and by her own accounts became ‘cocky and complacent”. Then, she relapsed. After eight years of a good life in sobriety, Myers found herself drinking and drugging as she had never stopped.
Eventually, Myers found herself back to sobriety. When she came back, she decided to use yoga as a tool to support her recovery and what she had learned in the 12-Step programs. After she began helping out a friend teaching yoga at a school in Boston, she noticed the changing behaviors of the students. They were calmer, more focused, and better behaved. The school teachers told Myers that after she left from teaching a class these effects lasted for hours.
At this point, Myers became more interested in yoga. As she learned more she began to see many similarities between yoga principles and the 12-Steps. Myers became completely focused on yoga and stopped attending 12-Step meetings. After about four years, she relapsed again.
Myers shared with the fix how this second relapse really helped her to see the disease of addiction more clearly. She said,
“It was shocking. I had all this education, money, experience and I still relapsed. It was a big awareness that the disease of addiction was so far beyond intellect. It wasn’t something I was going to be able to think my way out of.”
From this realization, her sober yoga program Y12SR was born. Y12SR combines the art and science of yoga with the practicality of the 12-Step program principles. The classes begin with a 12-Step and basic yoga discussion, similar to traditional 12-Step programs then are followed by a themed, trauma-informed yoga practice.
And as of 2021, Myers has about 20 years of continuous sobriety. Not a small feat. But, Myers remains humble and said in that same interview (when she was 15 years sober),
“I’m very clear that 15 years isn’t a long time to stay sober —24 hours is a long time to stay clean. Life is still one day, one moment at a time for me. I simply stay focused on doing the next good, right, honest thing.”
So what’s life like today for Myers?
Today, Myers has a deepened peace of mind and self-awareness that many in active addiction so desperately want. She said she is able to see when she is off balance quickly and has the tools now to get back into alignment with body, mind, and soul.
When asked what her advice for anyone new in sobriety is she said,
“Keep comin’ back…to yourself, to whatever it is that you related to as a Higher Power or Energy, to community.”
Get Inspired Too!
Doyle and Myers are just two inspiring examples of women in recovery who have found better lives and who are blazing their own paths. Both have worked hard and overcome their addictions. While each of their paths is different, there is one thing they have in common, their lives in recovery are beyond their wildest dreams.
This is possible for you or anyone with an addiction. Recovery is possible for all and it starts with taking that first brave step reaching out for help. While reaching out may seem overwhelming, it can be the first step to a life free from addiction, pain, and hopelessness.
As Doyle says,
“The braver I am, the luckier I get.”
These women are just two examples of lives that have been transformed from ones riddled with the pain of addiction to lives full of the blessings of recovery. If you or someone you love is ready to stop the pain from living in addiction, Futures Recovery Healthcare is here for you. Learn more about Futures’ evidence-based programs and how we can help today. 866-804-2098