12 Oct Interview with JuliAnn Crommelin
Getting sober young is not always an easy task. A lot of the time, young people struggling with addiction may not have reached the external lows that accompany decades of hard drug abuse. Just because the outside isn’t falling apart though doesn’t mean that the inside is doing well.
JuliAnn Crommelin got sober young, at 17 and on the outside, was still functioning for the most part. But at 17, she knew something was missing from her life, even if she didn’t realize right away that her drinking and drugs played a part.
She now has almost ten years sober and is actively participating in life, following her passions, and giving back to her community in a variety of different ways. Her story is a great example of how we don’t have to wait until we are homeless on skid row to do something about the way that we feel, and that it is never too early to try to change your life for the better. She took some time out of her busy schedule of conferences, traveling and marathon running to answer a few questions and give us some insight into her story!
- When was the first time you knew you had a drinking/drug problem?
- Describe your ‘rock bottom.’
- What were your first 30 days of recovery like?
- What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?
- If you could go back in time to when you were drinking/using what would you tell yourself?
- What do you do for a living now?
- How has recovery shaped your passions and created new dreams and aspirations in your life?
- Where would you like to be in the next 5 years in terms of goals?
- Tell me something meaningful that happened to you recently that never would have happened if you had been drinking?
- What new and exciting things have you introduced into your life as you have put together time sober? Hobbies, interests, etc…
- How has recovery helped your relationships?
- Do you have any advice for other young women getting sober?
When was the first time you knew you had a drinking/drug problem?
You know, I’m not sure exactly when the first time I realized I had a drinking or drug problem was. I think it was probably when I was in treatment when I was 17 and I realized that I was relating to the people at the AA and NA meetings they took us to. I wasn’t fully convinced that I had a problem but my counselor in treatment suggested that since my mom was an alcoholic it ran in my genetics and it would be in my best interest to stay away from it. The first time I actually recognized I didn’t drink or use like normal people though, was when I did my first step with my sponsor.
I don’t know if I ever had a rock bottom per se. When I went into treatment I knew that I was really depressed but I didn’t connect it to drugs or alcohol. It was more of a spiritual bottom for me, realizing that I wasn’t connected to or enjoying the life I was living. As far as my external responsibilities and appearance though, I was still functioning pretty highly. I wasn’t doing too terribly in school, was able to maintain a job and was playing on the school’s basketball team. Really, my bottom was defined by my inability to enjoy life and how I hating waking up every morning.
What were your first 30 days of recovery like?
My first 30 days of recovery are still kind of hazy (laughs). Apparently, I didn’t have everything out of my system for about 60 days! I remember feeling irritable, restless and discontent quite a bit. But I enjoyed being in treatment rather than being at home because that way I didn’t have to deal with my family while going through the emotional turbulence of early recovery.
What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?
The best thing that has happened to me in recovery has definitely been getting reconnected with my higher power and letting that power guide my life. Everything else that has happened is just subsequent to, and a result of that.
If you could go back in time to when you were drinking/using what would you tell yourself?
I don’t think there’s anything that I would go back and tell myself when I was drinking or using. I think it all transpired exactly as it needed too and I’m really grateful that I was able to get sober as young as I did.
What do you do for a living now?
Today I do the marketing for Promises Treatment Center.
How has recovery shaped your passions and created new dreams and aspirations in your life?
I’ve always known that I wanted to help people, but now I’m more committed to helping people with addiction. I’ve learned that once you get addiction under control, you can go anywhere else that you want in life. Sobriety is the springboard onto anything else that you’re interested in creating or achieving.
Where would you like to be in the next 5 years in terms of goals?
In the next five years I’d like to open a farm animal rescue and marry that with a foster home for kids along with a self-sustaining garden.
Tell me something meaningful that happened to you recently that never would have happened if you had been drinking?
Recently I was able to adopt two dogs from a rescue that I’ve been working with! I know that I would never have been able to be a suitable pet parent if I was still in my active addiction.
What new and exciting things have you introduced into your life as you have put together time sober? Hobbies, interests, etc…
Throughout my time in recovery I’ve been able to build a career for myself in the addiction treatment field, volunteer with the dog rescue, become a marathon runner, go through treatment for an eating disorder and walk through that with honesty and transparency. I’ve also been able to show up for life in a way that I wasn’t capable of previously. I have the opportunity not only to be of service and give back but also to continually grow as a person and better myself.
How has recovery helped your relationships?
Like I said, recovery is the springboard for me in terms of all other avenues of becoming my best self. Experience has shown me that if I can practice the principles of the program in their entirety within my relationships, I set myself up to have authentic, loving connections.
Do you have any advice for other young women getting sober?
My advice for young women getting sober is that you’re never too young! Finish all 12 steps and complete a year sober before deciding that sobriety isn’t the right choice for you. I didn’t fully believe that I was an alcoholic or addict, or that I even wanted to stay sober, until I took my year cake and realized that I was authentically happy for the first time my life.
Thanks JuliAnn, we look forward to seeing your continued success in recovery!