Bringing Back My Joy

Lauren Carbone

This content is for mature audiences and may contain triggers involving, but not limited to, drug use.

Can you help us understand what it’s like living with addiction?
It’s a conscious fighting effort every day. It took years for me to finally realize that sobriety was the only way I was going to be healthy and happy, so before then, it was a lot of indecisiveness and repeated negative cycles.

What are some of your biggest struggles or hardships you’ve had?
Considering that alcohol is my remedy for social anxiety, learning how to enjoy socializing sober and how to be self-confident without my usual crutch is definitely the biggest struggle for me. A lot of people are surprised when I say that I’m very socially anxious, but it’s not always as obvious as you think.

Was there a time when you felt like you hit rock bottom?
I hit many rock bottoms along the way. Car accidents, hospital trips, getting fired from my bartending job for being too drunk…the list goes on. I didn’t accept the fact that I needed to get sober until I accepted that my life was always going to be in shambles if I didn’t take control of the situation.

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That was then, this is now: who are you today?
Today, I’m a professional writer, a dog mom, a cat mom, a loyal girlfriend, a loving daughter, a supportive friend, and most importantly, a work in progress. My personal brand used to be a “hot mess” or “drunkest girl at the party” and I strive every day to adopt a new identity that makes me feel proud instead of ashamed.

How has your journey shaped who you are today? Has it made you a stronger person?
I definitely think it’s made me stronger because I’ve had to accept myself for my flaws and shortcomings in order to truly heal and grow. Sobriety gives you a bit of a “this is me, take it or leave it” mentality, especially when you’re so open about your struggles like I am.

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Do you have any advice for others who are struggling with addiction or recovery?
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it right the first time. Connect with people, document your progress, and indulge in REAL self-care whenever possible. Sobriety is hard, but living life as a drunk who is constantly fixing self-inflicted problems is so much harder.

What do you wish people knew about you? How would you like to be remembered?
I wish people knew how much I really care, and how intelligent I really am. I know that sounds like I’m tooting my own horn, but a lot of people would probably jump to conclusions about what kind of person I am because of how I act when I’m drinking or the fact that I have a mugshot. I’m a completely different person when I’m drinking…that’s what is so scary about it.

Is there anything you want people to know about you, addiction, or recovery in general?
Recovery is really, really challenging. But it’s also extremely eye-opening, rewarding, and important. If you have friends or family who are struggling with an addiction and are trying their hardest to overcome it, check in on them. A lot of us are struggling with a brave face on and any and all support means the world.

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Lauren Carbone

Lauren Carbone is 24 years old. After years of going around in circles and abusing alcohol as a coping mechanism for anxiety and low self-esteem, she’s finally on a serious journey of finding herself, getting sober, and bringing back her joy. She lives with her boyfriend in sunny Ponte Vedra Beach and they’re crazy cat and dog parents. She’s also a professional writer, an INFP, a spin class enthusiast, and is obsessed with listening to recovery podcasts and reading recovery memoirs.

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