Since I was no longer hung over every morning and I had come to a reluctant understanding that drinking or using was never going to solve my problems, I started putting my energy into getting fit instead of getting high. I was told I had to do different things to get different results but also to focus on doing the next right indicated action and stay out of those results I so desired.
The night of finals at the Miss California, United States 2012 pageant, I was overwhelmed with a flood of mixed emotions. I spent so much of my life frozen in fear to the point that I was even afraid of success. It was like once I set a bar that proved I was capable of achieving something, I then crumbled at the pressure to live up to the standard I set for myself. I found myself at this same crossroad again but this time I chose to rely on a higher power that I believed had my back. I didn't want to let my sponsors down and I wanted to make my family proud, but I knew that every other girl was probably feeling those same things so I challenged myself to look at what might set me apart. I made a decision right there behind the curtains before I walked out on stage for the swimsuit competition that I was here to be of service. If I became Miss California I would use the crown as a microphone to spread an inspirational message of hope, that no matter what has happened in life so far, we can change!
Through my sobriety I've learned that I'm not the only one sick and suffering but that I don't have to live that way anymore. I became aware of my paralysis by analysis and that to change my life I had to take action. I walked out on stage smiling, knowing I had done everything I could to be my best self in that moment, I took my time to soak in the experience and accepted that no matter what happened I was grateful to be who I am today. I won! They announced my name and I burst into the cliché tears of joy. I went on to nationals in DC and didn't even place in the top 20 but all the other ladies competing voted me as Miss Congeniality, United States!
I spent the next year traveling around the country doing philanthropy, supporting foundations that have a positive impact on the world. I challenged myself and those around me to be more loving, have more loving thoughts and do more loving things. I became less concerned with what I was getting and became passionate about what I could give to help others. I worked hard to raise the collective awareness about issues our youth faces regarding body image and bullying. I spoke out to the kids that I was drug free and I gave all the credit of being their Miss California to the fact that I didn't drink or use one day at a time. When stuff inevitably got stressful or I experienced loss during that year, I now had something greater then myself working in my life called faith and the wildest thing happened- every time I leaned into that faith I was okay.
Getting sober altered the way I look at the world which shifted the way I experience life. I was taught that I will lose anything I put in front of my sobriety and I have found that to be true. Everything good in my life today is a result of my sobriety, therefore if I don't put my sobriety first I can never truly be happy, joyous and free. Sobriety takes courage, it's fragile and precious and always changing. Staying sober is by no means easy but I'm here to share with you that it's worth it! There's one thing in this world I can't do and that's drink or use, but if I don't do that one thing then I can do anything else.