I never would have thought that my drinking problem—which began when I was 14 years old and burned through my life until I stopped boozing at 31—would end up being my biggest teacher.

But it has, and I’m grateful for it.

Knowing firsthand how powerful the recovery journey is, I’m excited and proud to have Shedoesthecity partner with The MoMentum Series to co-host Recovering Presence: An exhibit and provocative conversation on how recovery transforms us, helping us in both our personal lives, as well as our professional ones. 

Moderated by The MoMentum Talks founder Natalie Ruskin, powerhouse panelists Garvia Bailey, Heather Cameron, and Melanie Gordon will get real about what they’ve faced, and how staring down those challenges (from cancer to trauma) has helped them become the leaders and mothers that they are today.  

For me, hitting bottom allowed me to see everything differently—more clearly. I was at a point where I was forced to make a change (or else), and I had to get honest with myself, and stop running away from things, and feelings, that made me uncomfortable. I began to understand gratitude in an entirely new way; treasuring the here and now, finding joy in the ordinary. That process, as well as the rigorous self-discipline required to stop drinking and maintain my sobriety, enabled me to truly understand my inner strength. My patience was tested, and I learned to loosen my desire to control. These are all skills that are challenged daily in motherhood. 

It might sound odd, but dealing with my addiction was probably the best preparation I could have had for becoming a parent. The slogans, or survival skills, I first learned in AA like, “keep it simple”, “do the next right thing”, “progress not perfection”,  and “first things first” have helped me, over and over again. In recovery, I learned to live for today, which has allowed me to be more present—focusing my attention and energy on what truly matters (most of the time).  

We all have things we’re recovering from: grief, divorce, illness, trauma, depression, abuse, addiction—and while I don’t wish any of these things on anyone, the process of dealing with our challenges, and learning how to live with them, alters how we approach life. It inevitably make us stronger.

I’m excited to learn from the women featured at the Recovering Presence event on Saturday, November 2nd. Having frequented several of Natalie Ruskin’s events, I can assure you that you’ll encounter a moving, thought-provoking experience. Natalie, an Original Content Producer at CBC, possesses an innate curiosity and a deep sense of empathy that propels her to ask great questions.  

The event also celebrates the opening of talented documentary photographer Melanie Gordon’s PhotoArt Project: Presence Portraits. Melanie herself will be on the panel, speaking about her own journey through recovery into presence. Presence Portraits is a series of meditative portrait sessions where Melanie has her subjects connect to the subtle motion of inner spirit, heartbeat and breath, tuning into their own light and vibration.

Life will always throw us curveballs, it’s how we choose to manage them that really counts. Join us on Saturday November 2nd at Ossington’s new focusmindspace for a thought-provoking exhibit and evening of powerful conversation. 

Saturday, November 2nd at 8pm / Tickets are $50, purchase on eventbrite / focusmindpsace, at 49 Ossington Ave, 2nd Floor