I fell off a cliff to find my way home.

2024 update addiction codependency finding home in yourself inner child recovering resilience sobriety trauma healing Mar 16, 2024
Pamela gives an update of the last two years of absence

Well, hola again.

Yes, it's me. Remember me? The chick who was so empowered about her sobriety that it verged on obnoxious? The woman who was cheering you on as you got sober for the first or the 100th time? The girl who was constantly churning out courses, podcasts, and sober-badass content? Yep, that was me. 

But you haven't seen me in a while. I mean, really seen me. I've sputtered a few vestiges of life, but mostly, I've been gone. Today, I'm coming here to share a coffee with you and get us all cozy and updated. 

Phew, it's been a hot minute. 

I could write about it in a million ways, but it's as layered as it is simple.

The headline? I erased myself over the last couple of years, one little piece at a time until I could barely breathe.

To be honest, I didn't realize this was a necessary process of evolution. Until recently, I felt lost and small, like I had dissolved and there was no way to find me again. I now know this "erasing" was a cycle of death in life —one that's needed for rebirth. As I re-design my life, I look back with great tenderness at what happened in the last two years. 


It all started in 2021 when I got hit with RHS (Ramsay Hunt Syndrome virus).

It started with shingles in the ear, which paralyzed the facial nerves of my left side and affected my balance and hearing. From one day to another, I went from normal to not being able to walk (vertigo was similar to being two bottles of wine in), losing part of my hearing (with a lovely side of tinnitus, the high-pitched constant stress alert in my left ear), and the left side of my face completely paralyzed. 

This meant I could not walk, hear well, move my face, talk, or eat properly. I had to tape my eye shut at night so that it would stay closed and not cause permanent damage. I could not pronounce some basic letters (like the "P" in my name, for example). Water dripped from my mouth when I drank. My livelihood as a recovery coach, a voice actor, a podcast host, and everything else went out the window. 

I remember the feeling of doom. I remember crying for a whole day at the start of the journey. James, my then-partner, did everything he could to care for me, but the feeling of loneliness was devastating. Being in a body that stopped functioning well from one day to another was hard. And badass heart kicked in. 

If sobriety has taught me anything, it's to fight for myself. 

A couple of days after the initial shock seeped in, I sent James home (we each lived in our own apartment then) so I could be alone. I remember him kissing me goodbye with a worried look as I held on to the wall for balance. I also remember getting very quiet with myself as the door clicked shut behind him, embracing the terror of what was happening to my body, welcoming grief with all its dark edges and fearful corners. I've learned that walking through the darkness is necessary to get to the other side. My loving friends and family supported me from a distance. But the conversation with my heart and with my God was mine alone. I decided to fight for me.

For the next 90 days, I embarked on a profound journey of healing.

Whether I was ready or not, I had to become my best friend, coach, mentor, and tender parent. All my energy was placed on healing—from the minute I woke up to the minute I went to bed. I prepared every bite of food I ate with love, peeling vegetables for fresh juices, singing Shakira as I made anti-inflammatory broths, and learning to chew slowly to avoid biting my paralyzed inner cheek. 

I became a guardian of my thoughts. Every "truth" I told myself was up for investigation. This meant that when my mind said: "Your life will never be the same; this will never get better," I took a deep breath, grabbed the thought from a corner, held it up in the air between two fingers, and looked at it with compassion instead of blind belief. Ahhh, it's fear. Fear is what's shooting this thought into my mind. Yes, ok, I got it. A deep breath would clear my heart, and just like that, the edgy thought would grow limp between my fingers, losing its power. I was 100% mindful of what I allowed inside my mind, body, and heart. I felt lost in the same way I felt in early sobriety - but I also felt guided by hope (like in early sobriety.) God and I got real close. 

I learned to follow my intuition more than ever.

I took out a loan so that I could pay my bills. I Ubered to a Chinese medicine man for herbs, needles, and electrical rods. I did sacred rose therapy via Zoom with my shaman friend from Mexico. I went to bed surrounded by petals and prayers. I bathed in salts four times a day. I leaned on my sponsor, parents, brother, and son for faith. I learned to dance in this new world, strong and tender in my new reality. I healed from the inside out by deciding to find the gold in the mud, the lesson in the challenge. What was this illness here to teach me? I asked over and over. f found my answer by writing myself a story of healing —repeating the glorious lessons of sobriety. 

By 2022, I was 90% back to normal. 

I never recovered my whole facial movement, but you can barely tell if you are not watching for it. I can definitely feel and see it, but my gratitude for my recovery is much greater than the voice of self-critique. So what if my eye closes when I yawn? Assume I'm winking at you and move on. 

I still have some vertigo and tinnitus, and they skyrocket when I get stressed or overtired. I have to laugh as I realize this virus gave me an inner system to detect when I need to slow down. I now know when to cancel a business meeting, hop into a bath, and call it a day. What a radical new way to move through life.


Then, in 2022, James invited me to live with him. Again. 

James and I were once married and shared a house, which was a chapter of our story that ended badly. We married in 2013, and by 2015, I was so wound up in resentments (and a raging codependency as I know now) that I drank again at five years sober. My relapse was the demise of our marriage. It would be two years before I could get sober again. 

We'd become new people from 2016 (when we divorced) to 2022, when he invited me to buy a house and live together. I'm a huge fan of second chances, so I said yes and leaped. 

We bought a house with a blue Frida Kahlo wall and a big backyard. I spent the following months unpacking and decorating and was excited about what I thought would be a stable life. Ummmm. 

We had great times for a couple of months. We traveled and laughed and played. I got on my first stage at the She Recovers conference in Miami, where I discovered my love for public speaking. James was there to cheer me on. At home? I gave it my all. I made Dia de Muertos altars, hosted Thanksgiving dinners, set brightly colored Christmas trees, and baked apple freaking pie. James tried, too. 

Then 2023 happened. 

The year was off to a rough start. Within a few months, James lost his job, his sobriety, and his mother- in that order. A dutiful partner, I took on his grief as mine and, hour after hour, erased the lines between he and I. When he drank out of pain, I ate out of misery. When he laid awake at night, so did I. I opened the faucet of something I called love, and it got stuck on "open." I poured myself out. 

Codependency is a cunning little butterfly that sometimes feels like loving, caring, fixing, and taking on burdens that aren't yours. By the time I looked up, I had put on 30 lbs, was surviving in a body programmed to high-level cortisol, and was tapping out with everything except wine. Most tragic is how little remained of my ability to self-care. How it all ended is not mine to share. The only way to stay afloat was for me to fly away. 

Once more, I shut the door behind me and was back at square one. 

I placed hand-on-heart and thought, "It's time to write a new chapter of my life."

So here I am, doing just that.

I chose to share some of what happened because I like living openly. Writing about my life helps me process it, recognize the hiccups and triumphs, and lean into compassion and accountability for and with myself. I like seeing my badass heart in action. I enjoy sharing how sobriety is about fighting for yourself in more than just one way. It truly is.

These days? They are wonderful.

I live alone and love my solitude. I have plants and books, and I still sing Shakira as I lovingly cut my fruit into perfect little cubes in the sunlit kitchen of my new apartment. I'm tenderly piecing myself back together. I work in my jammies, take long baths, and sweat on my spin bike at midnight - because I can. I'm working with my body to heal the way it disconnected from my heart (which feels like having my foot on the gas pedal and brake at the same time.)

Last month, I went to help my mother pack up my childhood home. I brought back with me a portrait of me at age five. I hung it in my office, where I can glance at her daily, as many times as I want. It's a gift to my healing - Pamelita's sweet face, with her wicked little smile. I'm falling madly in love with her and me all over again - or perhaps for the very first time.

I've been gone for two years.  I've been coming home for the last two years.

What lies ahead this year is still a mystery.

I'm excited to be undusting my feathers as a teacher and sobriety mentor.

This upcoming week, I am co-leading a SHE RECOVERS retreat in Austin with 30 women.

I have another retreat lined up in Oaxaca, Mexico, in June.

Alyssa and I are working on season two of our podcast.

Exciting things are coming up. I'm scared some days and thrilled on others. It goes back and forth, and I let myself feel everything.

Beyond all, I want to lead with my heart and not my mind. Yep. I'm done thinking my way through life. It's time to feel my way back home- and to invite you to do the same. Letting go of alcohol, drugs, and toxic relationships is a thing of the heart. Expanding your life after "you quit" is a rebirth of who you are, and a journey of coming home to yourself. Period.

If you've read this far, I'm grateful to you for receiving my update, opening your arms when you see me in your inbox, and being tender with me as I come back to life. 

Hit reply and let me know you're still here and ready to take another big leap with me, will you?

A very grande hug to you, from my heart. 

I can't wait to see what we do this year, you and I, together. 




Let's hop on a 30-minute clarity call, free. 

Whether you want to quit drinking or talk about where you feel stuck, I can provide mentorship and suggest a plan of action. 

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