About Me

I thought it might be time to update my “About Me” information for those of you interested.

Before I share about my battle with addiction however….I thought I would add a few more details to round out the picture a bit. :-)

I was born and raised in southern California.  Spent my summers hanging out by the pier at Seal Beach.  Ahhh….to be a young surfer girl again!   After graduating from college…I made a handful of hops around the country (including back to Cali for a few years) and eventually ended up in the mountains of Utah where I have lived now for 17 years.

After I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism…I spent 3 months in the Big Apple doing an internship at ABC News and CNN. Actually had the privilege of working in the lobby of one of the the Twin Towers. It was an experience I will never forget and was the beginning of my life-long love affair with NYC. I would make quarterly sojourns there if I could…hopefully, someday I will!

After that, I spent a couple of years as a TV news reporter in a small market in North Dakota of all places!  Southern California girl moves to North Dakota in the middle of winter! My friends and family thought I had lost my mind…I was almost convinced of it myself!  But it was a great experience and I met the man I would end up marrying there…so I guess it was a “good thing”. :-)  After getting married we spent some time in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) where I worked as a producer for a daily talk show. A few years later, when I started my family, I adopted the title of “professional Mom” for several years.  When my youngest was about 3 years old…I got back into the biz…this time producing a daily talk show in Salt Lake City.  I spent 5 fun-filled years producing Good Things Utah at KTVX-TV and was privileged to work with some of the most talented and wonderful people I’ve ever met.

All of this has been great experience (and material) for my latest endeavor….blogger!  Hands down the most fulfilling and creatively challenging thing I’ve ever done. I can honestly say, I am enjoying every minute of it. I hope you are too!

Of course, as we all know, into each life a little rain (or a lot) must fall….and approximately 10 years ago my fairly smooth life’s path suddenly turned frighteningly bumpy and the clouds decided to let loose!

I share my “story” not to shine the spotlight on me, but with the hope that if there is someone out there who has or is currently trodding the same path I did…they will know they are not alone.

Some of you may know that I have battled and am currently winning the battle with addiction. I say currently because as an addict I know there is always that possibility I could end up back where I started if I’m not vigilant. So I continue to fight the battle one day at a time…taking great joy in each and every one.

A little background…

It seems like yesterday….it seems like a million years ago…but February 20th, 2008 is the day I celebrated my 46th birthday, and is the day I graduated from a residential treatment program for substance abuse called the Ark of Little Cottonwood.  Thanks to the angels there, I am here today. I can’t say enough about the people and the place so I won’t even try except to say that if you or anyone you care about is suffering from the nightmare of addiction, you will not go wrong seeking help from them. They literally and figuratively and every way possible, saved my life.

How I got to the Ark is a long story, one I could write a novel about (stay tuned!) but in a somewhat Reader’s Digest form, it goes like this:

About 10 years ago I started going through what I can only describe as a mid-life crisis. I was married with 4 wonderful kids and had everything I thought I ever wanted…and I was miserable. I wanted “more” than the life I had carved out for myself to that point and started looking for new ways to live it. That in and of itself might not have been such a bad thing, but unfortunately the choices I made led me down a dark and perilous path.  If there’s one thing I hope to convey to everyone who reads this, it’s that none of us know our propensity to become addicted!  It can happen to A N Y O N E!

A little more background…

I started drinking socially at first. Innocent enough huh? Alcohol, the social lubricant. I just wanted to have a little “fun”!  And actually there would be a few “good” years before it actually began to turn ugly. But when it did…well, it was UGLY. I actually remember the day when something particularly upsetting happened in my life and for the first time I drank with the sole intention of it numbing the pain. And you know what?  It worked!!  It worked really, really well!  It’s almost impossible to feel pain when all your senses are altered. And it IS impossible to feel pain when you’re passed out. At that point all the pain goes away…..for awhile.  Unfortunately, it’s only hiding, waiting, gathering strength for a tremendous comeback.  That is how it started. I drank to numb the pain which only multiplied the pain I would feel later.  And on and on it went for about a year and a half when my life was finally spinning so out of control that my family sought out the help for me that I couldn’t seem to find for myself. That’s when the miracle of the Ark entered my life.  Don’t get me wrong…I did not go waltzing in there willingly (as my family and counselors will attest to), but my life was so far out of control that even in my chemically altered brain I somehow knew I had to do this.

A second chance….

I entered the Ark on December 5th and graduated 72 days later on my birthday. :-)  So now I have two birthdays to celebrate on that date.  My belly button birthday and my RE-birthday. When I was given a second chance at life.  I often say “I should either be dead or in jail”.  That is not just for the shock value either.  I really should be one of those things.  But because of an amazing AMAZING family and my Higher Power that NEVER left me, I have been given that second chance at life.

The present and future….

This website is part of that new life.  When I was in the Ark my counselors taught me many important things, but one that was crucial for me was that I needed to find my passion and pursue it!  They didn’t just say it was a good idea….they said that for me it was mandatory if I wanted to stay sober. After a few stops and starts, I feel I have finally found that passion I’ve been searching for through this blog.  The only thing that could make it better for me is if you find it useful!  I hope you do.

So there you go. A bit more about me. Hopefully it will help someone, somewhere to know they are not alone, they are not “the only one”.  Believe me, I know how that feels.

Once again, thanks for stopping by. I hope you come back often. And please feel free to share your story with me. While I can’t respond to them all….I read each and every one and draw strength and inspiration from you!

jill5

Comments

  1. TAM says

    Jillie,

    Your story is so similar to mine. You are not alone.. nor am I!!! The only thing I haven’t accomplished yet in my recovery is fullfilling my passion.
    Mine has always been writing.
    I have spent the last month searching the internet for a way to get started online with my writing passion in a way that I can use it to help others.
    I am so glad I found your site. It was very helpful to me with the article about cleaning stove burners with ammonia.
    That is how I found you. Then I went to your HOME page and found this article and it helped me so much,
    you don’t even know.
    I know I have to keep working every day to find a way to share my passion with others in order to help them.
    The program I went through says that I MUST help others and by doing so I will keep what I have been given which is sobriety.

    Thanks,
    Tam

  2. liza jane says

    Amazing life story Jillee! You just keep doin what you do! I know I speak for a ton of people when I say how happy I am that the Good Lord blessed us with you. You have inspired and helped us in so many ways. Thank you so much for continuing this blog (I’m so addicted to it that I check it multiple times a day). I LOVE IT!!!! :-)

  3. says

    Jill~~
    I am an adult child of an alcoholic (my mom) so I can appreciate where you are coming from. Thank you for listening to your family, I know it was just as hard for them to seek help for you. My mom has 20+ years in recovery now. A blessing we do not take lightly. I hope and pray you continue to thrive and find your passion.

  4. Julie says

    Anytime I see the word Recovery, I feel an instant connection with that person. I too share your story. I was the proverbial “life of the party” from age 16 until the day of my 4oth Birthday, 11/06/2007. On that day instead of the kegger had planned for my big bash, I admitted myself to a rehab center for Alcohol and Addiction Recovery. This decision truly saved my family, my soul, and my life.

    My life had been great for so many years, so I thought! By the end of the disease’s peak, it was ripping away at my family, my goals, my career, each and every day.
    My husband and children could not take it any longer. They sat me down and said, “you need to go get help or pack your stuff and get out.” My lifestyle was affecting every part of my life in a very negative way. I was no longer the Life of the party, instead I was sitting alone in my basement drunk and high talking to my dog until 3-4 am every night. This did not make me that very kind and compassionate Registered Nurse that I once took so much pride in.
    Fast forward 4 years….We are the happiest family I know. This after counseling, acceptance, and lots and lots of forgiveness from all of those people I hurt along the way.
    I learned in my treatment program and AA so much about myself, and a brand new way to live that is better than I could ever have imagined. My husband stuck by me through it all. The years of watching me try to ruin our lives, unable, but trying to fix me.
    We celebrated 25 years of marriage Feb. 28,2012 with our now adult children who had huge smiles filled with pride on their faces. My husband and I have been together since college, had our first child my Sophomore year. Sudden parents at age 23 and 19! Its been a crazy rollercoaster ride, but in the end I too am extremely proud of us.
    I love hearing the success stories of people in Recovery, and I pray for those who lose their battle with this disease. You don’t truly understand its depth until you have lived it.
    Jillee, I thank you for your honesty, and look very forward to my new subscription to “One Good Thing”.

    Sincerely,
    your Sister in Recovery,

    Julie O.

  5. Mikako says

    This is so inspiring. :)
    I hope you continue to live happily! I’m 15 years old and believe me, all your posts are super useful! :D

  6. katie says

    help!!!! I tried the contact me but never got a response….
    O made the enzyme cleaner, added a bit of yeast, its been a few weeks, and it smells awful.
    Let me back up….
    I started without yeast, added yeast two weeks in, about two weeks ago, there is white Goo on top I keep stirring in, its smelling baaaad, no way this is going to become good smelling, is it???
    Oh, I also added some lime.
    Please, tell me!!!

  7. says

    YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!!!! Your story was absolutely amazing!!! I’m in love with your blog. I love all of your craftiness and “Susie Homemaker” ways!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!

  8. says

    What a wonderful (and horrifying) story! You are such an inspiration! Even though I don’t have a drinking problem, I am addicted to cigarettes. I’ve quit several times and always go back. Too bad there are no rehabs for smoking! (I wish there were)
    I don’t know what my passion is. I guess that’s my big problem. I’ve lost any direction in my life.
    I have medical problems that has caused me to go from a fast paced working life where I raised 2 children on my own, sometimes working 3 jobs to make ends meet and trying to give my children what they need and some of what they want, to almost a dead stop, drowning in self pity, which I HATE!! Your story tells me there is hope.
    I often dream of being able to plant and grow a garden, play kickball with my grandchildren, go shopping with my grown daughter, etc. but instead find myself weeping into my coffee.
    I know our situations are completely different but I tell you all this to let you know that I find hope and life in your blog. A glimmer of the person I use to be are in your pages. They stir up in me some motivation to try new things or just to persevere . Thank you so much for sharing your world with others. You do more good than you know.

  9. Linda says

    I am glad I took time to read your story this morning. I give you so much credit for your recovery and on going recovery. I look forward to your email in my box every morning. Your writing is so funny and enjoyable, I would never have guessed you had gone thru the dark part of your life. I have bought supplies to make the laundry detergent and just about everything you have given “recipes” to make. I wish there was a treatment center for procastinators. I also am working on becoming less of a hoarder – I love gadgets, which I will buy not just for me but for family members. They just shake their heads when I say “oh, I have something you can use to do that”. I will say most times they are happy I have the “something”, but I need to stop buying something that may not be used for a year. I do give myself credit that I know approximately where it is when needed, ie, in the basement right back corner, in the barn, etc. Keep up the great work in your personal life and your blogging. Take care

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