One year ago, Ronnie Holly shared with us her testimony and experience with sobriety here on the blog. You might remember Ronnie (formerly Ronnie Holly Negus) from The Real Housewives of Vancouver that aired in 2012-2013 on the Slice cable network. Ronnie has now been sober for over a year and desired to share an update on her journey.
Ronnie is not only a “Real Housewife,” she is a class act and an inspiration to many. Please share her story if you know someone who is struggling with alcohol addiction. I also encourage you to read her original message posted on 2/28/16 here -> http://www.iamalive41.com/?p=2468.
One year later…
Q – How did you celebrate one year sober?
Ronnie – I invited about 75 people to my home. There were speeches, tears, a lot of love, and…alcohol! Most of my guests do drink, so I had an open bar. I noticed that the sober contingent however were oddly enough all sitting closest to the bar. One person said we may be sober but we’re still crazy and like to have a good time! Also, two of my friends from AA surprised me with my one-year sobriety chip that was presented to me during the speeches. It was passed around the room and everyone held it and rubbed their good energy and well wishes on it and then it was returned to me. It’s in a beautiful case in my dressing room sitting next to a small rock that says “courage.”
Q – How has sobriety changed your relationship with your family?
Ronnie – I have always had an extremely close and tight bond with my children and family, sobriety hasn’t changed that. I have been very blessed and wouldn’t change a thing as to how my life has evolved and unfolded. The roads I have chosen and the decisions I have made have been the natural pathway to where I am today and led me to this very moment in my life. Through my sobriety, I am able to be an example, pave the way and set a path for my children. We can have anything that we set out to accomplish if we focus, set our minds to it, and want it enough. Nothing is out of reach.
Q – What keeps you motivated to stay sober and who or what inspires you?
Ronnie – We have all heard the expression from people who have decided to get sober that they got “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Well, all I can say to that is “FEELING GOOD FEELS REALLY GOOD.” My life just keeps getting better. It’s spiraling “upward.” The grass is greener, the sky is bluer, LIFE is better, and I feel amazing. I am getting so much accomplished! I’m helping other people, and my list of things to do is always done and not lingering. I’m in the best physical and mental shape I’ve ever been in, and I would never do anything to jeopardize the life I live today. I’m inspired every day. Inspiration is everywhere. It is all around us.
Q – How has sobriety changed you on the inside?
Ronnie – There is no downside to sobriety. When someone gets sober, life altering and amazing changes are imminent. I truly enjoy the clarity I now have and not reacting to things and situations the way I used to at times.
Q – What challenges did you face when you stopped drinking? Describe the stages you went through.
Ronnie- Alcohol is a part of our social fabric, it’s everywhere. It’s very challenging being around people and places where there is alcohol when you are newly getting sober. A lot of people go through what is called “white knuckling” it. But in time that passes and you are able to resume your life and be around people who drink and not want or desire it anymore.
Q – What are your goals for the future? Are you active in any programs to help others who are struggling?
Ronnie – I have a lot of goals and there are a lot of things I want to accomplish. My story and journey so far have inspired a lot of people. I’m constantly asked how I got sober and if I can help others. I am currently mentoring several people right now.
Having said that, while I have complete respect for AA as it has helped millions of people get and stay sober, and was my initial starting place, I have never done the steps. (Well that’s not entirely true, I got to step 5). I don’t have a sponsor, I don’t read the blue book, and I don’t have a step group. I still do go to meetings about every 4 to 6 weeks because I like to “check in.” I feel an inner peace in the rooms of AA with the people who get me and understand me. AA is somewhat of a universal family. When I travel I like to go to meetings because I find different groups of people interesting and new stories fascinating. I always get something out of a meeting, even if it was just one thing somebody says while speaking. The last meeting I attended was in London, and the last thing I heard someone say that stuck with me was “I couldn’t take drinking anymore, but more importantly my soul couldn’t take it anymore.” That resonates with me.
Q – I read that you’re changing your name. Did your recovery inspire that in any way?
Ronnie – Hmm that’s an interesting question. Without getting into too much detail I will leave you with this…Life moves on and sometimes things change in ways that tell people they are not on the same path anymore. Making healthy choices are of paramount importance to me. One of my healthy choices is to be the best person I can be and let go of the past and anything that encumbers my growth, development, and happiness as a human being. However, God only knows what the future holds.
Q – What is your “word?” – When you think of all you’ve overcome and been through in your journey, how could you sum it up in one word?
Ronnie – I don’t know, I really thought about this question. There are so many words, but I’m going to go with “determined.” I am a very determined person and a type A personality. When I put my mind to something, I do it. I don’t like to lose when I challenge myself.
Q – What are some of the things on your “bucket list” you still hope to accomplish?
Ronnie – I will be making a trip to the Himalayan mountains going through Nepal, India, and Tibet. I’m very spiritual and gravitate towards these types of trips. I find monks very inspiring and fascinating people and try to practice Buddhism in my everyday life. I also would like to write a book. I’m starting to do a lot of public speaking and would like to help, motivate, and inspire others.
Q – How has God and faith helped you in recovery?
Ronnie – I thank God every day for my sobriety…I believe in a higher power for sure. It’s different for everybody.
Q – What is your overall message to others struggling with addiction?
Ronnie – If you want to get sober and change your life…it can be done,
but…you have to WANT it. You cannot kind of want it, or sort of want it, or slow down on your drinking, or modify it. You have to really WANT it. And when you do, you can have it. I’m a true and living testament to this.
Q – Favorite quote?
Ronnie – “I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.” (J. Graham)
Indeed, Ronnie’s light burns bright! Keep shining on beautiful lady!
Stacey ~ iamalive