‘I’d go to yoga high as a kite. I shared needles with everyone. It eventually caught up to me, and I got sick.’: Yoga instructor celebrates 8 years sober, ‘I manifested my life’’

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“‘Remember when you wanted what you have now.’ We have all seen that quote floating around. Hell, I even have a shirt with those words written on it. But when I sit back and think about my life, I actually have what it is I wanted. I was strung out for almost a decade and during that time, I would dream about the life I wanted. Although I was strung out, I still was trying to reach those goals.

For instance, I loved hot yoga, so I would go to hot yoga high as a kite… I know, not the smartest idea, but in my head, I thought maybe I could sweat all the toxins out. I was also in school to be a drug counselor. Also not the best decision. But I knew deep down, I wanted to help others. I researched yoga for recovery and dreamed of one day being part of it. I would print out all the info on it and keep it in a little portable file cabinet. I was living in Dallas, TX, and my boyfriend at the time broke up with me because I couldn’t stay sober.

Courtesy of Gretchen Courting

I moved back to Austin, dropped out of school, and all those fun dreams I had faded away as I got deeper into my addiction. My addiction lasted almost 10 years. I would get sober for a hot second, then convince myself that I wasn’t an alcoholic, drink, and be high that night. I was evicted from the place I lived. I would share needles with anyone and everyone, which eventually caught up to me. In 2008, I got Hep C, but by the grace of God, when I was 6 weeks sober, I was accepted into a research study and was cured. My addiction took me to some pretty low times, but now I can see each of those times and moments as something to learn from. I lost so many friends to overdose and I knew I was not meant to go out that way. I knew, deep down, there was a bigger meaning for my life.

A year later, I was 29, and my best friend who was sober before me said something along the lines of ‘starting a new decade clean.’ Those words stuck. I wanted to start my 30’s clean and sober. New decade, new me.

Courtesy of Gretchen Courting

So on July 4, 2012, I got sober. I did all the things to help stay sober and one of those was yoga. My dreams of being a yoga teacher again and helping others started to come back. Sadly, when you have been an addict for what seems like forever, your self-confidence is lacking. I had no confidence in myself to even try. I did what most recovering addicts do and I went back to school to continue my journey of being an addiction counselor. I already had a few semesters under my belt from back when I was in Dallas.

Courtesy of Gretchen Courting

During this time, I worked at a treatment center, and then I was an outreach worker. Helping others was and still is my jam. Around 3 years sober, I met my husband. He had moved to Austin from Reno. I took one trip to Reno and knew I wanted to leave everything I have ever known and go there. He, being the most amazing, agreed, and in 2016, we got married and moved to Reno. I got a job as a waitress and decided I was going to continue school.

At this point, this 2-year associate’s degree was taking 6 years, but I was determined. In August of 2017, we found out we were expecting our first child. Morning sickness got me so I decided to put school on hold. 10 months later, we decided we needed to move back to Texas where we could afford to buy a house. Here I am, returning to the first school I ever started at, except then, I was strung out and now, I had been sober 5 years and was a mom.

Courtesy of Gretchen Courting
Courtesy of Gretchen Courting

I won’t bore you with the details but I never graduated. They wanted me to take a class I already took and at this point, I was pregnant with my second. I was only finishing school for me. In my heart, I knew I finally completed that 2-year degree in about 10 years. After the birth of my second, we moved back to Reno.

Courtesy of Gretchen Courting
Courtesy of Gretchen Courting

Fast forward to now. I have spent years working on myself, building my confidence. You could call me a personal development junkie. I started practicing hot yoga again. I got that feeling again of, ‘I need to teach this.’ COVID hit and what looked like another set back was actually a blessing. COVID gave me the opportunity to take a lot of classes from my studio, which gave me the number of prerequisite classes I needed to take their teacher training.

Courtesy of Gretchen Courting

Here I am living that quote. ‘Remember when you want what you have now.’ I just recently completed my training and I’m teaching. I look forward to actually taking the Yoga for Addiction training I dreamed about so many years ago.

Courtesy of Gretchen Courting

Life may seem really hard. Your dreams may seem so far away. There were days I didn’t even know if I would survive, but I’m living proof that when you set your mind to something, you can get it. It might not be instant but if you can visualize it, you can have it. My hopes and dreams took over 8 years to manifest into my life, but they are here. I cannot wait to see where all this takes me.”

Courtesy of Gretchen Courting

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Gretchen Courting of Reno, Nevada. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Gretchen here:

‘After rehab, I manipulated my mom into dropping me off at a bar. ‘I’m not an alcoholic.’ I got drunk and high that night.’: Woman overcomes heroin and alcohol addiction, ‘God put me on this earth to make an impact’

Read more inspiring stories about overcoming addiction:

‘I began violently shaking. Through my locked jaw, I muttered, ‘I’m addicted to heroin.’ My family had no idea.’: Woman overcomes addiction, ‘I am so thankful for this new life’

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