In honor of Recovery Month, we asked you to send us your stories about the impact community, nutrition or environment has had on your life since you put down substances and picked up life. Winners are not only receiving copies of our book, The Miracle Morning for Addiction Recovery, but are also being published here on the site.

This week we have Emily Redondo. 

Early sobriety found me in an emotional mess some days.  I had to find new ways to handle life other than drowning it in alcohol.  Aside from the hard work I put into my recovery, I still needed some sort of outlet to express myself.

Music was a medicine to connect me to feelings I didn’t yet understand.  Lyrics and rhythms helped me fight for positivity, understanding, and the courage I needed to keep fighting for a life free from the chains of addiction.

Along this journey, my mom and I started a yearly trek to Austin, TX for their annual music festival, Austin City Limits.  Sober since 1990, my mom might be 70 years old, but she’ll beat anyone I know with her music IQ.  We stay all three days, embracing every moment.  We are no different than the 150,000 other music lovers there, except we aren’t drinking or doing drugs.

Our second year we decided to make a flag.  It’s a subtle reference to those of us in recovery, a triangle and the words “we are not a glum lot”, that we still have fun and act wild.  Strangers have asked us about it, and we happily tell them.  Other sober attendees see the flag and suddenly we have instant new friends.  Some use it for a meet up spot during the day, and we just smile at each other as they drink their beers.

Last year, ACL had a booth supporting those who were there in recovery, even having meetings a couple times a day right there in the park.  How fantastic.  There in the midst of the wild crowds of music lovers was our sober community!

This love for music has carried over to other live venues and concerts.  People in recovery are out there just like normal folks, living life and rocking out, high-fiving and fist-bumping each other when we make the connection.

Life is not over when we put down the drink or the drug.  In fact, it’s just beginning.  I’m 43 years old, still dancing around at music festivals and concerts, finding sober friends in my company.  My mom and I are still surprising the younger generation by being an example that yes, grown-ups still can be fun, and that no, we don’t need to be loaded to be happy, joyous, and free!