• Past Articles

About Patty Powers

Originally from Toronto, Patty began drinking and using drugs recreationally as an adolescent. At eighteen she moved to New York City where chance meetings with other addicts opened doors to careers, romantic relationships, the art world and the music scene. By 1987, she was living alone in an abandoned building in Los Angeles, having cut all ties to her former life. It was at this low point she was first introduced to recovery. On December 10th 1988, Patty was admitted into a treatment facility located outside of New Orleans for heroin addiction, cocaine, and methamphetamine use. She was discharged with 42 days clean on the first day of Mardi Gras and has remained drug and alcohol free. Patty did not set out to become a recovery coach. Initially she was asked by friends in the entertainment industry to help provide guidance and companionship to their clients struggling with balancing work commitments with their newfound sobriety.Through word-of-mouth her practice grew to include referrals from therapists, treatment providers, and other coaches. Leaders in the wellness community, including integrative physicians and psychiatrists, now refer Patty clients struggling not only with substance abuse issues but also those with impulsive destructive behaviors. Her recovery writing and personal essays appear regularly on numerous websites. Patty speaks at wellness events and sober college campuses and brings Recovery Strategies Workshops to community and recovery events. She hosts a live video open discussion on Sex in Recovery the first Sunday of each month at http://www.intherooms.com/

From Life As A Movie To Real Life – By Patty Powers

  Does anyone remember the Scorsese film “After Hours”? At the start of the film Griffin Dunne watches his last $20 bill float out a cab window and it is a catalyst for a night of chaos in downtown 1980s New York City. Every scene builds with chaos and insanity and a colorful cast of menacing weirdos. To the average audience it probably seemed like a high-stress falling down a rabbit hole Alice in Wonderland but to people who’ve lived with addiction it’s more like watching “chaos-lite”. In case you ever forget what life was really like in active addiction, listen to the stories being recounted by people who are newly sober. The events taking place and the cast of characters usually falls somewhere between the epic Dante’s Inferno and Monty Python – and this is recounting twenty four hours or less. They’re recounting only one story from one of… Continue reading

When You’re in recovery but they’re not – By Patty Powers

The following post is based on a series of conversations that keep popping up lately. I use a masculine pronoun but this story is not gender specific. Perhaps this blog will hit home for some people new to recovery. To be clear, the situation I’m describing involves having a partner who’s a casual consumer of substances – not someone heavily dependent or in the grips of their own addiction. You did it. You’re finally clean and sober. What an achievement! Maybe you’ve even been exercising, hitting some yoga classes, and spending as much time as you can with your new sober friends. In fact, the only thing that feels shitty is going home to your partner. Driving home you find yourself praying his car won’t be in the driveway. Sometimes just the thought of him unleashes a flood of negative feelings you swallow down. You walk into the house and… Continue reading

Voluntary Emptiness – By Patty Powers

There’s a saying that’s so familiar yet one most addicts and alcoholics in recovery continually forget…. ….“Pain is optional”. How many times do we have to hit the same wall before we start doing things differently? The answer varies from one recovering addict to the next. In early recovery, we blindly make choices that lead us toward pain. Often it ‘s because we haven’t yet acquired a deeper personal insight into how the disease of addiction manifests. “The first time I consciously chose to act out was around the six or seven year clean mark. I wasn’t completely satisfied with where my life was at.” Pain still masquerades as a familiar friend, a constant gnawing, a sense that all is not well or that the other shoe is about to drop. It’s fighting for territory against the threat that recovery might actually take hold. That’s why in early recovery we stick… Continue reading

Dealing With Stress In Early Recovery – By Patty Powers

People in recovery like to overthink things. It’s probably a holdover from active addiction. I realize not everyone in recovery is a member of a 12-step fellowship but there are definitely perks for those in them. The collective wisdom passed down from one recovering addict to another is of immeasurable value. All over the world, recovering addicts share similar eye-opening revelations they’ve experienced and these shared insights turn into the often-repeated sayings we hear in meetings. “We can’t think our way into new feelings but we can act our way into new thinking.” (Or some variation of this). We hear this solution – that action changes feelings – yet we continue to overthink, ruminate, and obsess in a vain attempt to control how we feel. Overthinking is never a solution. Usually all it does is increase stress and keep us trapped in our discomfort and confusion. We long for change… Continue reading

Sexting To Fill The Void – By Patty Powers

For readers of a certain age who may be asking themselves “What’s Sexting?” It’s the act of sending sexy text messages which may include sexually explicit images (often personal). It’s the 21st century version of spin the bottle or strip poker but with higher stakes. It’s a way to bring sexual intrigue to the forefront of the conversation. The main difference is that you don’t even have to be part of the game to experience it. For example, last weekend I was shown a bunch of pretty graphic pornographic images of men and women who probably never gave a second thought to what would become of these personal photos when they were hitting the send button on their phone. And no – I didn’t ask to see them. This past year I’ve read numerous news stories about teenagers (young women mostly) who’ve committed suicide after nude photos they sent to… Continue reading