EP 45 – Tracy Viola: The Power of Sobriety & Personal Growth

In this deeply moving The Begin Again podcast episode, Tracy Viola, a resilient survivor and advocate for sobriety, shares her personal journey from addiction to recovery. 

She discusses the profound impact the 12-step program has had on her life, the unwavering bonds formed with her ‘recovery friends’, and the transformative power of sobriety. 

Tracy candidly reveals her family history with alcoholism, her own struggles with substance abuse, and the societal pressures that led her to use substances as an escape. She recounts her unsuccessful stint in rehab, subsequent homelessness, and the turning point in her recovery journey. 

Tracy emphasizes the importance of personal choice, self-realization, and finding a supportive community. She credits her success to the principle of making the ‘next right decision’. 

Tracy also discusses her concerns about the rise in alcohol use during the COVID-19 pandemic and shares insights from her book “Pretty Wrecked: Confessions of a Teen Addict and Her Road to Recovery”. 

This episode is a beacon of hope for anyone battling addiction, offering a raw, honest, and inspiring look into the journey towards sobriety.


Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed by our guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the stand or beliefs of the host or the podcast. We aim to provide a diverse range of perspectives and ideas, fostering open and respectful discussions. We encourage critical thinking and forming your own conclusions. Enjoy the show!



About Our Guest (Tracy Viola)

Tracy Viola is a beacon of hope and resilience, sharing her powerful journey from addiction to recovery through her candid discussions and written works. Tracy’s personal experiences with substance abuse and the transformative power of the 12-step program have shaped her into a dedicated advocate for sobriety. She emphasizes the importance of open communication about addiction, particularly with younger generations, and is not afraid to challenge societal norms associating drinking with social acceptance.

Her journey through addiction, influenced by societal pressures and a turbulent home life, serves as a testament to her strength and determination. From her struggles with substance abuse in her formative years, through her unsuccessful stint in rehab and subsequent homelessness, Tracy’s story underscores the harsh realities of addiction and withdrawal.

Tracy’s turning point came through a series of devastating personal losses and a life-changing confrontation with her counselor at an intensive outpatient program. Since then, she has become a staunch advocate for the importance of personal choice, the power of self-realization, and the significance of finding a supportive community. She credits her success in recovery, relationships, and her career to the principle of making the ‘next right decision’.

Tracy is also an accomplished author, with her book “Pretty Wrecked: Confessions of a Teen Addict and Her Road to Recovery,” offering a raw and insightful look into her journey towards sobriety. Through her writing and her social platforms, she emphasizes the importance of making small, consistent changes towards personal goals, whether it’s sobriety, career change, or health.

Follow Tracy Viola’s inspiring journey on her website at https://www.tracyviolaauthor.com and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/tracyviolaauthor/ to stay updated on her recovery advocacy, personal experiences, and insights on substance abuse and recovery.


Show Notes

  • [02:03] Tracy Viola and Gary Menkes discuss their personal experiences and continuous journey in recovery from substance abuse, emphasizing the importance of the 12-step program, the profound impact it has had on their lives, and their gratitude for the personal growth it has enabled. 
  • [06:28] Tracy discusses the deep, unwavering bonds she’s formed with her “recovery friends”, whom she’s shared raw, transformative experiences with on their journey to sobriety. 
  • [08:57] Tracy discusses the transformative power of sobriety in her personal and family life, setting a positive example for her two daughters. 
  • [11:10] Tracy candidly discusses her family’s history with alcoholism, the genetic potential for addiction, and the importance of openly communicating with her children about these issues, as she recounts an incident at a neighborhood bus stop where she challenged a neighbor’s casual remark associating drinking with social acceptance. 
  • [14:10] Gary and Tracy discuss the positive impacts of abstaining from alcohol, as they share personal experiences and reactions from friends who have taken up the challenge.
  • [17:26] Tracy shares her challenging childhood experiences, dealing with her alcoholic father, the divorce of her parents, the affluent lifestyle she had, and the mental and emotional abuse she suffered from her stepfather, all while navigating through her formative teenage years. 
  • [20:18] Tracy openly discusses her journey through addiction, detailing how societal pressures and a turbulent home life led her to use substances as a means of control and escape, starting from her teenage years. 
  • [24:03] Tracy details how a combination of challenging living conditions, peer influence, and a pursuit of escape led her from experimenting with marijuana to escalating into harder substances. 
  • [28:03] Tracy recounts her struggles with substance abuse in the 90s, the escalation of her addiction in college, and her experiences with sexual assault. 
  • [30:03] Tracy shares her unsuccessful stint in rehab, and her subsequent homelessness, underlining the harsh realities of addiction and withdrawal, and the tough love approach her family had to take. 
  • [33:10] Tracy shares her journey of struggle and realization, recounting a series of devastating personal losses and her battle with addiction, leading to a life-changing confrontation with her counselor at an intensive outpatient program, which marked the turning point in her recovery. 
  • [37:43] Tracy emphasizes the importance of personal choice, her experience with Alcoholics Anonymous, and the significance of finding a supportive community that resonates with you. 
  • [44:29] Tracy discusses her journey through recovery, emphasizing the power of self-realization, taking responsibility, and choosing belief over fear. 
  • [47:55] Tracy credits her success in recovery, relationships, and her career to the principle of making the ‘next right decision’.
  • [52:08] Tracy emphasizes the importance of making small, consistent changes towards personal goals, whether it’s sobriety, career change, or health, stating that progress is achieved gradually. 
  • [54:38] Tracy discusses her concerns about the rise in alcohol use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • [59:23] Tracy discusses her book “Pretty Wrecked: Confessions of a Teen Addict and Her Road to Recovery,” emphasizing its unique structure of vignettes, use of ’80s and ’90s nostalgia, and its focus on the recovery process, which she believes can be applicable to anyone looking to make significant changes in their life. 
  • [01:02:31] Tracy shares her experience of being a pivotal support system for her friend Brian, emphasizing the power of kindness, patience, and non-judgment.

For more incredible and inspiring stories of those who have overcome alcoholism and addiction, tune in to the next episodes of The Begin Again Podcast through:


About Gary Menkes

Gary Menkes was born and raised in Port Washington, NY and struggled with alcoholism since his early teens which took him to places he never wants to go again and which took a toll on his health, relationships and professional endeavors. However, Gary completely transformed his life when he was given the gift of sobriety on May 13, 2006. Determined to break free from the cycle of self-destruction, he embarked on a remarkable journey of recovery.

Today, Gary is an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous in New York, married to the love of his life and father of two amazing children of which he owes all to his sobriety. Gary is now launching his own podcast, The Begin Again Podcast.