“My slide into addiction grew out of not loving myself,” Sarah Crutchfield said.
Growing up in the U.S., notably in the south, is tough. Girls often feel that they aren’t enough. Not skinny enough. Not athletic enough. Not smart enough. Not pretty enough. These societal expectations cause deep insecurities, especially in the high school years.
“That’s when I first got introduced to drinking, and I loved it because it gave me confidence,” Crutchfield said. “I became the party girl and people liked her. I went to college wearing that hat; I’m the party girl; I’m the fun girl. I drank too much but it was accepted.”
After college things started to fall apart as she continued to chase the high to numb the guilt and shame around bad decisions she was making when she was under the influence.
“There was a day that I vividly remember two thoughts: ‘Is this all life is — this miserable existence?’ and ‘If I continue on the road I’m on, I’m either going to be in jail or dead within the next year.’”
On the advice of a friend, she made a checklist of things important for her in a treatment facility: 1. Near her home state of North Carolina. 2. An alternative to a 12 Step Program. 3. On the water.
A Google search landed her on Gulf Breeze Recovery, which checked all her boxes.
She was addicted to Adderall and alcohol. Because she refused to believe she had to give up alcohol completely, Crutchfield returned to treatment a second time after falling in the guilt/shame spiral after she picked up alcohol again.
“I was willing to do whatever it took to change my life. And that is some hard work, not for the faint of heart. Because in changing your life, you have to hold a mirror up. And sometimes what you see in that mirror is not pretty,” she said.
Crutchfield marks her sober birthday as Feb. 22, 2017.
“I remember the point when I didn’t identify with that version of myself anymore,” she said.
Crutchfield feels that she is still growing and sees a therapist regularly.
“I continue to show up the best possible version I can in that moment and some days that best possible person is 100%; some days, that best possible person is at 10%. We have to love ourselves at 100% and at 10%. I’ve learned to have grace,” she shared.
Crutchfield is curating a life she wants and enjoying that life in the moment rather than waiting for something to make her life complete. She embraces her career in marketing and sponsorships. She recently bought a house and has adopted a dog. As part of her life’s mission, Crutchfield speaks to groups of people who are beginning their sobriety journey. She serves as the youth minister at her church and is in a relationship with someone she describes as “amazing.”
“As humans we don’t realize how absolutely powerful we are. We think that sometimes we’re victims to circumstances, but we are the creators of our reality and our experience. You have to put in the time, you have to work hard, and you have to be willing to love yourself,” she explained.
Crutchfield offers advice that everyone can use.
“Trust the journey of life. If I had not gone through the dark night of the soul, I would not be living the amazing life I’m living now. Even though people might not understand why they’re going through the tough things in life doesn’t mean that it’s not part of the journey. I think all that I went through was so I could learn to love myself. I still have insecurities and I probably always will, but now I try to view those struggles through the lens of love instead of judgement.”
Sarah Crutchfield’s Recommended Resources
Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Service: SAMSHA National Helpline, 1-800-662-4357
Gulf Breeze Recovery: GulfBreezeRecovery.com
“The Inside-Out Revolution: The Only Thing You Need to Know to Change Your Life Forever,” by Michael Neill
“The Untethered Soul: Journey Beyond Yourself,” by Michael A. Singer
“When Things Fall Apart,” by Pema Chodron