We always love sharing stories about people succeeding and thriving in their sobriety and it’s even better when the story is about one of our own! Today, we’re talking about Randi Newton, a contributor to Soberocity and an individual who has previously struggled with sobriety. Through her unique experiences,, Randi uses her efforts in order to provide guidance, love and care to those who are going through a journey she knows all too well. Luckily, we were able to connect with our fellow Soberocity contributor and illustrate her story of recovery, living a life of sobriety and leading others to this life as well.
Soberocity [S]: What do you do?
Randi [R]: I’ve been working in the recovery and mental health industry for almost a decade. I work as a both a therapeutic and sober companion, case manager and behavioral tech along with helping facilitate interventions.
I’m also a creative person who has worked as an actor, singer, model. I’ve written for various publications covering topics from celebrity interviews, pop culture, health, beauty and wellness to addiction and recovery.
In a perfect world I would be able to combine all of these talents and use them simultaneously.
S: Did you ever think that you would be in this area of work?
R: Honestly no. I had no idea what I was doing with my life before getting sober. I had tried working in the entertainment industry and spent two very strange years in Los Angeles. I was aimlessly wandering around in a daze throwing a non-stop pity party. One very clear memory was crying in the Grotto at the Playboy mansion during some party while intoxicated. The Grotto smelled horrible.
I worked in the nightclub industry in New York and Los Angeles. That business is lucrative but comes with a shelf life and ageism. You can’t pop bottles with models forever and you certainly can’t party like one. In an unexpected way working in that field inspired me to get sober. This was after an unexpected 15 minutes of fame that made me reevaluate my life.
In getting sober, I found that I wanted to be there for others in a way that I wished someone would have been there for me when it was all new, scary and uncertain.
I’d like to think It helps me be the sister or daughter to someone that I wasn’t able to be for my family. Although things are fine now and I’m in touch with my family, I regret not being fully present during my addiction. I wasn’t the daughter/sibling I wanted to be.
S: Can you share any success stories about people that you’ve been working with over the years?
R: There are some that I’m able to witness everyday, even from afar on social media. Seeing former clients celebrate anniversaries makes me happy; especially when they decide to work in the recovery and mental health industry themselves. I have one former client in particular I’m especially proud of. I think about them every day and how far they have come. Moments like that make me love what I do. I’m sure there are more but I’m not actively in touch with all of them.
FUNNY STORY: I was staying with a client in a popular hotel franchise. It was only supposed to last a few weeks but it ended up lasting for months. One night, as I was getting ready to go to bed, the police showed up and informed us that due to the client’s erratic behavior we had to pack up our belongings and be escorted off of the property immediately. Since the room was under my name, I was told I was banned from staying there again. We found another hotel that evening; same franchise but different property. The client ended up trashing the room and I was informed that I was now banned from this hotel as well. After some phone calls a colleague made I am allowed to stay in this hotel chain in 49 states. This is the only time I’ve been banned from a business. It’s a little rockstar, but equally embarrassing and funny.
S: How do you cope with watching others struggle or even fail with sobriety?
R: This is a tough one. When it comes to working with clients, it can be a challenge. It becomes harder when I’ve tried to help friends because it sets up an awkward dual relationship and I’ll tell them things they may not want to hear in the form of tough love.
I’ve been very fortunate to have friends who have remained sober and I’ve been able to witness their journeys. I also have friends who have reached out to me for help, and while some of them have achieved sobriety, it doesn’t always stick. I understand how hard it is. It hurts when those people stop reaching out. Just because they’ve relapsed doesn’t mean I hold negative judgement towards them. It makes me sad that they’d think I’d look down at them for certain things. I’m able to be a friend during the good and bad times. I have friends who are sober and happy, but don’t seem to be comfortable letting me into their lives.
It’s understandable when people who still drink distance themselves from someone who’s sober or when a sober person is afraid to associate with an alcoholic with whom they used to drink. The line that has stung the most: “You’re from the part of my life I want to forget.” But that’s all part of recovery.
S: Do you ever wish that you pursued a different career(s)? Why or why not?
R: I attempted several career paths before finding a place in the industry I’m in. I truly wish I could figure out a way to combine all of the creative aspirations I had with what I am currently doing. Maybe that is through a podcast, a book, or something that I haven’t mastered yet. So I’m open to collaborations. I also believe that we end up where we are destined to be…but a little collaboration and creativity would be fulfilling.
S: Are there ever any moments when you’re questionable or doubtful of the work you’re doing? Do you mind sharing how you overcame those moments?
R: I was recently told by a well respected doctor that if you never feel like you know it all and have no doubts about your work, then you better re-evaluate. I am as confident in my work as I am open to learning about new ways to better assist my clients and their families. There is always something new to learn.
I also have a personal rule that if I do not think a client is properly utilizing their time with me as a coach and it’s counter-productive, I will not work with them. It’s more important to be effective and if I see it’s not going in the right direction, I will no longer continue to work with that person. Usually that circumstance involves the client needing a much higher level of care than any sober companion is capable of providing. I’m not there to put a band aid on. I’m there to rip off the band aid and “air things out” even if it stings a little and do work.
S: How much has your life changed since you pledged sobriety?
R: My life has changed completely in a good way. I’ve accomplished more in the past 12 years sober than I have in the 20 plus I’ve spent in New York.
My relationships have improved greatly and the friends I have maintained from pre-addiction are solid, amazing people. Sadly it’s normal to lose friendships when you get sober and that can be hard to deal with. For a very long time I played a specific role to some people. Being a trainwreck who was a party game. “Let’s see what Randi does tonight when she’s drunk.” Then suddenly my presence as a sober person didn’t seem to gel with that group of people I spent time with. That’s something I’m finally learning how to be okay with and it has not been easy. I will always care about those people and I know they care about me. Our lives just don’t seem to align as much as I wish they did.
My idea of the perfect evening is watching a movie with my partner and drinking entirely way too much sparkling water. It’s simple, but I love it.
My work has picked up significantly during the pandemic. As much as I love hosting virtual events and journalism I hope to provide the best service I can for my clients.
S: What are some or one of the key things you’ve noticed that people need in order to be successful in their road to sobriety?
R: A solid support system. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you and motivate you to stick to the pledge you’ve made to yourself to stay sober. A therapist-which is affordable and accessible thanks to so many apps. Join sobriety groups on Facebook and check out other websites and apps that are recovery based. Be open to trying different kinds of 12 step programs but they aren’t for everyone. If that’s something you don’t find helpful there is nothing wrong with you it’s just not the right fit. A recovery coach can also be helpful.
S: If someone who is just starting their sobriety journey asked you for advice, what would you tell them?
R: Surround yourself with positive people. Stay away from anything that could be triggering and avoid keeping alcoholic beverages in your residence. When you choose to make a big change not everyone will understand. Friends will try and convince you to have “just one drink”, and they may get frustrated when you say no. Be prepared for a lot of amazing things to happen in your life. Also be ready for your relationships to change. You may come to find that some of them were based around drinking. I have a small amazing group of true friends. Some of them have seen me struggle and succeed during my journey and didn’t give up on me. I’ve lost other friendships because sadly we all grow out or apart from people we used to know. You don’t wish them any ill will. That is just part of growing as a person and when you choose to get sober.
We are all experiencing some unique journeys through this unprecedented time and stories like Randi’s just further show us that the fight is difficult but it’s not impossible. That if we keep fighting, keep supporting each other and persevere, we will be victorious in the end.