Sometimes, we find ourselves having a higher calling. Though our situations don’t always seem to reflect that “more” is coming into our lives, we can’t always judge life based on current circumstances, rather on a higher and greater power; sometimes, on God. In this instance, we are talking about Connie McMillan, a Brooklyn native now turned Jersey girl who has had her life transformed by obtaining her sobriety and doing so through God.
Using her platform to help queens and kings transform their lives through obtaining sobriety, Connie is an author, coach, motivational speaker and a podcaster at Sober Sessions Podcasts, which features guests that discuss and show the endless possibilities that can happen in a person’s life when they make the decision to be sober. She is a woman of God who has dedicated her time and efforts to change one life at a time.
Luckily, we were able to connect with Connie to share her story:
Soberocity [S]: Did you ever think that you would be doing the work you’re currently doing?
Connie [C]: I always knew God had chosen me for a specific purpose, I just didn’t know what it was. Honestly, my speaking ability was discovered by someone—a professor I had when I was completing my undergrad. I had to do a presentation—which we all know is feared by just about everyone. Regardless of my fear of public speaking during that time, my focus was getting an A in the course, so I was willing to face it; and as a result I received an A in the course. In addition, while I was being critiqued by my professor she told me I should be a public speaker. At first—though she was looking directly at me—I thought she was talking to someone else; I soon realized she couldn’t have because I was still standing at the podium.Well…those words changed my life forever.
[S]: How much has your life change since you’ve decided to get and stay sober?
[C]: My life is beyond amazing since I decided to get sober. Alcohol camouflaged my pain; sobriety allows transparency to shine through me. My goals of becoming a Keynote Speaker, Author, Radio and appearing in Television Interviews all happened after I put down the bottle and picked up my crown. I had to make adjustments to the environments I previously surrounded myself in and relationships as well. These changes were critical to success within sobriety. You can’t be lukewarm when it comes to sobriety. It’s all or NOTHING.
[S]: Do you ever regret the life you had growing up? Is there anything you wish could change? Why or why not?
[C]: I have no regrets about my childhood. Whatever was lacking it was replaced in some way. My father was incarcerated for a lot of my childhood, but I had uncles who were definitely a father figure to me. As an adult I found out my mother had rent parties to keep a roof over our head. I had no idea that was going on. Because my mother always made sure to keep things like that from my sister and I. The thing I wish I could change, I am changing which is to have the next generation of my family as well as other family SEE what’s possible with sobriety. Because everyone in my family drank alcohol and has died as a result, I don’t want that to be the next generation. I can’t be certain they won’t try alcohol but I can show them as an living example how much better your life can be without.
[S]: Why is it so important to help POC communities in regards to sobriety and recovery?
[C]: As a Queen who is black and proud, it is NECESSARY for me to speak and share my journey. Society glamorizes alcohol use and there is NOTHING glamorizing about it. Other races are sharing the truth about sobriety, however not all—if any—of us will connect with their story. One of the things I said to God was this: “If you don’t take the taste out of my heart, mouth and mind I am going to die. And if you do I will be the guinea pig and tell the good, the bad and the ugly about my journey to sobriety”. I give people the truth about how far I have come because that’s what people want to know. God did his part and I am doing my part until he calls me home to be with him
[S]: How difficult was it to finally stop listening to yourself and your surroundings, and start listening to God?
[C]: I’ve always been headstrong/stubborn, which has helped me mostly; I am not a person you can just tell anything to and I will believe it. I am a person who, when her mind is made up, that’s it. I am an ARIES :). However, there was a time I didn’t believe I was enough when I was drinking and listening to the deceptive lying ways of alcohol. It had me believing I could go to the club and spend money; getting VIP tables like I was rich. It had me believing that a guy found me so attractive and that was why we were leaving together to go to his house or hotel to have sex. It wasn’t until I got sober and rebuilt my relationship with God that things began to change for me. It was during my study time in the bible that I found out I am Beautiful and Wonderfully Made; I am the Head and Not the Tail. I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me. My relationship with God changed my belief in myself.
[S]: Are there any success stories that have truly impacted you? Could you share one?
[C]: The real success stories are the ones that come when you least expect it. Women who sent private messages that say “thank you for your transparency now I know I am not alone”. The ones who tell me, “I need help I am ready for treatment”. I can’t help these women directly, but to know I have access to resources to support them and to let them know they are seen is what uplifts me to keep going; they are to be recognized. I have coached lots of women in sobriety for accountability purposes and building businesses; that in itself is beyond a blessing. Seeing them live sober and sharing encouragement while creating a unique brand is all the success I want.
[S]: While operating your podcast and connecting with people, what are some or one of the key things that you’ve discovered people need in order to have a successful recovery process?
[C]: People want and need TRANSPARENCY because anything else won’t do. People are hurting and hungry, so if you feed them correctly they will return again; which is why I invite guests who are ready, willing and able to do just that. The Kings and Queens I bring on the Sober Session Podcast don’t hold back anything!!
[S]: What got you to become so open and transparent about your past and struggle with addiction?
[C]: Initially, it was my promise to God and that’s not to say it still isn’t, but it’s grown even larger. As a black Queen, I feel like we connect to one other through our struggles. My sharing earlier about rent parties that my mother had: if you grew up in a certain time that’s something that’s very common in our race. We are survivors; we know how to make a dollar out of 15 cents. So for me, it was important that I be the guinea pig for my race. Today, I am just glad to know others have joined in. We need people that look like us to be the example. And that’s not shade, it’s the truth.
[S]: Are you ever questionable or doubtful of the work that you’re doing?
[C]: Not all at. I know my purpose in life and that’s to impact change for Kings and Queens to see what’s possible with sobriety. I understand that not everyone wants change, so if there is ever a time I am speaking and someone isn’t interested I am not bothered. It just means I planted a seed and maybe someone else will have the opportunity to help it to fertilize.
[S]: For those who are just starting their sobriety process, what is one piece of advice you would give to them?
[C]: Think about one thing in your life that you are proud of. It doesn’t matter how long ago it happened. Hold that image in your head and feel the joy that connects you to it. Close your eyes. Avoid all distractions and just hold that image in your mind. Guess what? YOU DID THAT. YOU ACCOMPLISHED THAT ACHIEVEMENT. I want you to know the same accomplishment you did, then you are capable of doing another accomplishment. Start small because you’re building up your strength to believe in yourself again. Once you’ve done that, now it’s time to start or continue your sober journey. You got this King/Queen. You are Purpose, Not Pain.
From the mind of a queen who isn’t afraid to be vulnerable and encourage others to be more than what they could possibly imagine, these are some amazing words that we should use for all our lives. Let us remember to love ourselves, to not be too hard on ourselves and to take everything one step at a time.
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