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Navigating Sobriety with Self-Compassion and Courage

Issue 32

by Gabrielle Gilbert

Erin Hamlin is an inspired and inspiring radical self-love coach in Maine. She is also a proud mother of three, a fitness instructor, an educator, a recovery advocate, and a two-time contestant for the Mrs. Maine America pageant.

As is the case for so many Mainers, drinking was normalized from an early age. As she got older, she began to use alcohol to drown out negative feelings of self-judgment, self-loathing, guilt, shame, and fear. The more she drank, the sicker she felt, and the less control she had over her actions and decisions.

As a young woman, Erin thought she, not alcohol, was the problem. She remembers thinking, “My favorite characters on TV shows were drinking wine all day and were high functioning. There must be something wrong with me because everyone else seems to have a handle on this.”

After experiencing postpartum depression following the birth of her first daughter and recognizing the impact alcohol was having on her life, she decided to prioritize her well-being. “I had to explore my relationship with alcohol and ask: is this really serving me?”

Prior to her sobriety date, Erin tried the 75 Day Hard Challenge, developed by Andy Frisella. The program is centered around building self-worth and improving fitness, health, and mental strength for 75 days straight. Erin’s main goals for 75 Hard included working out twice a day and not drinking.

“Being sober has been amazing,” she says. “I love it. I don’t ever want to go back. I am going to take it one day at a time, but I have zero desire to drink. I never thought that that would be possible for me.”

Erin’s journey through recovery has been largely self-led, leaning on the teachings of therapists and sober mentors through podcasts and books. She has received invaluable help from hired coaches and therapists alike.

Also central to her recovery is the practice of self-compassion and patient curiosity – concepts she learned through her education in trauma-informed practices. She emphasizes the importance of creating a safe space within oneself to process emotions and heal from past wounds.

As a mother, Erin is committed to combating the glorification of alcohol in the media by providing her children with a different experience, one that prioritizes honesty about addiction and the value of sobriety. She actively involves her children in recovery-based events and educates them about the dangers of drinking while encouraging them to make informed decisions.

Erin’s dedication to sobriety not only benefits her and her own physical and emotional well-being, but it also allows her to be fully present in her children’s lives. “I am here. It’s hard. I am in it. I am present with my kids,” she says.

“I am most thankful to my sobriety for the ability to be 100% present. It is the best gift I could give myself and my children.”

Erin is on a mission to be as healthy and as happy as possible and encourages others daily to do the same. Each week you can find her teaching group fitness classes around the state as well as working as a Substance Abuse Educator for RSU 16. She hopes to represent Maine at the Mrs. America Pageant nationals this year as a face and voice of recovery to reduce stigma and spread awareness that recovery is possible.

Gabrielle Gilbert
Gabrielle Gilbert
Gabrielle Gilbert is an endlessly curious freelance writer, poet, and visual artist waking up in Southern Maine.

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