An absent mother, a violent father, life as a single mom, and a brother who was murdered created the perfect storm for today’s podcast guest. Annie meets up with Angela, who shares her painful (yet amazing) naked life story of recovery. Angela shares her pain and heartache with us and explains how she found healing through forgiveness; freedom from alcohol; and how her gray world now has color once again.

Episode Links:

Drink by Ann Dowsett Johnson
Seed of the Soul – Gary Zuvak

Download EP:147 Transcript

The Beginning

My parents divorced when I was 6. Consequently, my father, a violent alcoholic, moved away. My brother and I stayed with my mother and her “new man”. Mother was an emotionally absent mother. I never had the type of relationship with my mom that all my friends did. She barely talked with me. She was incredibly strict. I don’t remember being hugged or kissed – ever. I never was without the “things” I needed…but the love, care, interest in and for me – was never demonstrated. She was closer with my brother, James. She adored him.

Drinking Days

I grew up thinking this was “normal”. I sought attention and always received rejection from my family and my friends. The only person in my life who was a constant confidant was my brother. When I turned 16, I grew out of my “ugly duckling” phase and kids from school started to notice me. Kids from school also went to parties and binge drank. So here I was – the girl who was always rejected – getting noticed by way of introduction through binge drinking at parties. AHHHH – finally – acceptance.

Constant Party

I left home at 17 and lived a life of constant partying for 5 years . I slept on couches, in backs of cars, sometimes had a home, sometimes didn’t. The party girl life was always on. During this time – I forged a bond with my alcoholic dad – herein again – acceptance through alcohol. My mom and I became barely aware of one another. The detachment with her grew. It wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I realized how cheated I truly was by my mom. Yet, I didn’t say anything or do anything about it.

Growing Up Quick

I became a single mom YOUNG. I had my son at 22 (1993) and my party girl days were behind me. Well – at least to the point where I was really only going out once or twice a month. But when I did – it was to drink and drink hard. This continued for several years – 13 years actually. My mother and I had a relationship – strained – but it was there. I never had alcohol in the house. Therefore I was a true occasional binge drinker – up until the age of 35.

The Worst Fate

In the summer of 2006, my brother, James, was murdered in Victoria, BC.

The only person in my family (besides my children) who I had a loving relationship with was brutally taken from me. It almost destroyed me. I found myself thrust into a world of madness. And alongside of it – a grieving mother who drank. So I began to drink with her. Wine became the norm. Wine in the house was always there. I couldn’t handle the pain. The pain of losing my brother, the pain of my mother verbally telling me she wished it had have been me and not him. So I drank. Never to the point of black out. Maybe 2 or 3 glasses a day…. more on weekends. My party girl days were back, but subdued.

More Reasons To Drink

I met my husband a few years later. He’s from the UK and drinking there is completely normalized. My drinking did not seem strange to him at all. A few months later – my father died of complications from alcoholism. More pain. More wine. My relationship with my mother grew more and more strained. I stopped talking with her for several years. It was always my fault.

Grey Area Drinker

I became that “grey area” drinker. For 11 years I drank regularly (every day) often more than I wanted. Always waking up with a hangover, fuzzy head, and puffy face. I stopped pursuing all of my dreams. I was a classically trained pianist and I completely stopped playing. My degree was in Anthropology – I did not pursue my Masters. I worked hard at jobs and drank hard when I wasn’t at work. It was madness. I was too old to keep being a party girl.

Ending It

Last October (2017) I looked in the mirror and saw my dad looking back at me. That scared me. I knew I had to do something and stop being a grey area drinker. I found the book “Drink” by Ann Dowsett Johnson and read it in one day. That got me on Amazon and This Naked Mind came up. I finished it in 2 days while on a business trip to Chicago. I quit for 3 weeks that October. Then justified that I must not have a problem, so started drinking again. I tried to quit again 2 or 3 times early 2018, but it never stuck. I never made it past those initial 3 weeks.

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Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (
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