After a 20-year background as a successful life and business coach and online marketing executive, I discovered that my most difficult struggles in life (with food, obesity, alcohol, drugs, and relationships) were due to unhealed complex PTSD, AKA childhood trauma.
Although I had been sober and maintained a 160lb weight loss for over 20 years, I still struggled in my close relationships and with food, sleep, and caffeine. I also avoided telling people about my history due to the shame I carried about it.
Discovering I’d unknowingly been suffering from complex PTSD resulting in my getting the right support to heal the root cause of so many lifelong struggles had such a profound effect on my life that it compelled to write It’s Not About Food, Drugs, or Alcohol: It’s About Healing Complex PTSD so I could help fellow survivors heal.
Healing from C-PTSD also inspired me to transition my coaching practice to working exclusively with adult trauma survivors to heal the root cause of their struggle with food, weight, substances, relationships, and work. I also shifted my speaking career to raising awareness about how often complex trauma goes unrecognized and therefore untreated, and how to help survivors heal.
I was raised in a chaotic alcoholic home where I witnessed my mom raging at my dad on a regular basis for over a decade. I began using food to cope when I was just five years old. By the time I was six, I had begun getting bullied at school for my weight. As the dysfunction at home continued, my weight continued to climb.
When I was nine my mom began putting me on various restrictive diets in an attempt to help me lose weight. She took me to my first Weight Watchers meeting when I was just eleven years old.
Sadly, none of them worked and by the time I was fourteen my weight had shot up to 225 lbs.
Finally, when was fiveteen I found some success though a medically supervised weight loss program and lost 80lbs.
At 16, I was introduced to drugs and alcohol and had such a peak experience my first few times partying that I literally fell in love with alcohol and marijuana. My partying and binge eating continued on a daily basis for another decade.
By the time I got sober at 27, I weighed over 300 lbs.
I experienced many successes in my early years of sobriety. In my late twenties, I lost 140 lbs working an OA (overeaters anonymous) program.
After doing so much recovery and personal growth work, at 32, I had the self-confidence and inner resolve to build my first business. A few years later, I found love and purchased my first home. At 35, I entered the life coaching field, built a thriving coaching practice, and attained the highest accreditation as a Master Certified Coach.
Although I looked good on the outside and had what most people would consider a successful, fulfilling life – behind closed doors, I still struggled with food, my weight, relationships, self-esteem, sleep, and anxiety.
Even though I’d been sober for over a decade and had lost 140lbs, once the toll of the stress I’d endured for many years as an entrepreneur and coach, combined with the overwhelming grief and heartbreak I was facing from a long-term relationship ending, the pain became so unbearable, I relapsed with food and alcohol. Tragically, due to spinning around in the hell of relapse for over two years, every aspect of my life fell apart, including regaining the 140lbs I’d lost.
Thankfully, I was able to get sober, lose the weight I gained, and have been sober and in recovery from food and substance addiction for several decades. At the time, I had no idea that my brain, body, and mind were profoundly dysregulated by untreated complex PTSD, which undoubtedly contributed to my relapse with food, weight, and alcohol. But since I had no idea I was suffering from complex PTSD, I blamed myself for being weak, a failure, and not working a good enough 12-step program. This only added to the painful shame I already had for my history of addiction and obesity.
The good news is I provide a step-by-step map and compassionate guidance on how I was able to recover from my relapse with food, weight, and substances and what I’ve done maintain my recovery and my 160lb weight loss for over two decades in my book It’s Not About Food, Drugs, or Alcohol: It’s About Healing Complex PTSD
The two primary reasons I wrote my book and completely shifted my focus as a speaker and coach to supporting adult trauma survivors to heal are:
Although I’d been searching for my true calling for decades, it wasn’t until I learned I had trauma and had experienced profound healing on so many levels that it became clear I was meant to support fellow survivors in healing the root cause of their struggle with food, weight, substances, or relationships by healing the trauma driving them.
I am beyond grateful to be living the life I am today as a trauma survivor who’s thriving in her work, relationships, recovery, and health. This is what inspires me every day to support fellow survivors in learning that their struggles are not their fault and that with the right support, they can heal and live a life they love.