Your Pain Is What Will Serve And Inspire Others

with Rachel Brady

This content is for mature audiences and may contain triggers involving, but not limited to, alcohol abuse and addiction

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
My name is Rachel Brady and I’m first and foremost a woman in recovery. Without that gift, I would have never been able to live my most authentic, creative, and service-based life. I’m a Southern Californian obsessed with new foodie finds, an Air Force wife, a rescue fur mommy, and an avid weightlifter. I’m currently 16 months sober from alcohol, where I mainly abused it during my college years and up until age 25. I was also introduced to mental health awareness and advocacy at age 20 when I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and C-PSTD. My main joy lies in helping others dissolve shame through storytelling, empathy, and education. 

What is one thing no one really knows about you?
I’m actually a HUGE introvert. I used to be a massive bookworm growing up, and would have rather been hiding away with a Harry Potter book than playing outside. Thankfully, with social media, I’ve been able to cast a wide net for advocacy and impact while still honoring my social energy. 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
There are SO many nuggets to share, but the one that’s really resonating with me is: 
You’re not responsible for what happens to you, but you are responsible for your reaction. I’ve had many not-so-great things happen in this lifetime, and it has caused its share of trauma and pain. But if I spend all my energy blaming those events or other people, I strip away agency and power to heal myself and own my story. 

Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
Oh absolutely! The funny thing is that I would always find out through someone else – nobody ever said it to my face, and I deeply value directness. The main topic people doubted me for was my sobriety, especially since I had been such a spectacle during the drinking days. It hurt, it stung, of course. But it allowed me to really do a gut check and ask myself which was more important – doing this for me, or being a slave to others’ opinions? If you are creating something that you truly believe in, your steadfastness is going to radiate from the inside out.

What message do you think every woman should hear?
You’re never going to please everybody, even if you’re the smartest, prettiest, most talented person in the world. We all are trying our best in this world, raised with different perceptions, and sometimes that can get messy and miscommunicated. The best bet you have is to be authentic when possible, own up to mistakes, and treat everybody with kindness, for you never know what they’re going through. 

What do you love most about yourself?
I love my resilience and resourcefulness. Being a military wife, especially, I’ve had to learn how to adapt to a quick-paced, ever-changing lifestyle while remaining true to my core beliefs and passions. This has been an ongoing process, absolutely, but there are things that I look back on that I’m able to say, “Wow. I got through that and thrived coming out on the other side. That’s amazing!”

What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
I have crippling imposter syndrome. There have been so many times where I’ve hovered over the “publish” button because I had a mini alarm go off in my head, saying, “YOU AREN’T READY, YOU SHOULDN’T SAY THAT,” and I have to prove myself wrong over and over every single day. Action is the cure to imposter syndrome, for me at least. 

How did you know when you needed help?
I knew that I needed help with both my mental condition and my alcohol abuse when willpower and trying to moderate just weren’t cutting it, or even making it worse at times. I’ve always been raised with a strong ethic and “you can figure anything out” mentality, which is so helpful, but unfortunately, your brain sometimes doesn’t care how much willpower you have. And that’s not something to be ashamed of. It was an exercise of swallowing my pride when I first admitted to needing help, but it has burst open a new world of possibilities that would’ve never been available without asking for it. 

If there are others who feel the same as you, what would you like to tell them?
You are not broken. You are not damaged goods. You might be lost, or confused, but you are worthy of creating your own redemption story. Your pain is what will serve and inspire others. 

How long were you addicted?
I honestly knew that I was in trouble the first time I got drunk at 16 – once the first drink touched my lips, the floodgates opened and it was impossible for me to control my drinking, no matter how “good” I wanted to be. This bled into my college experience and social life, where I abused alcohol from 18-25. The severity and reasons behind the drinking varied throughout eras of my life, but the “drinking bug” always followed me wherever I went. 

How long have you been sober?
I’ll be celebrating 500 days in the beginning of October!

What was the first thing you did after realizing you needed to get sober?
TELL SOMEONE. It can be your mom, your best friend, a 12-step fellowship – telling somebody makes it real and tangible. I can’t tell you how many times I secretly wanted to get sober, but since I kept it all inside, it was immensely easy to justify in my head “just one more drink” because “nobody knows anyway.” Make sure it’s somebody whose support you trust and respect – you’re coming from a place of incredible vulnerability, and deserve to feel loved and supported in this time. 

What’s the best part of being sober?
Being present and choosing to move through the hard times instead of numbing it. One of the biggest reasons I fell in love with alcohol was that it seemed to shut my brain up. However, the repercussions of my addiction left my brain in panic and damage control mode every time I was snapped back to reality. Essentially, when I tried to numb my problems, they came back with a vengeance. In sobriety, I still deal with life’s challenges and not-so-swell emotions, but I give myself the grace and space to process these emotions now. Once they pass, I’m able to move on with a clearer mind than if I had used alcohol as a coping mechanism. 

Describe sobriety in three words.
Liberating, vulnerable, and brave.

Rachel Brady

Rachel is a former Los Angeles party girl that became sick of her own self sabotage and decided to take charge of her narrative. Touching on topics like sobriety, perfectionism, people-pleasing, and the occasional No-BS tough love, she is passionate about uplifting women in recovery, women who feel stuck in a shame cycle, and everyone in between.

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