Jacque – Happy, Joyous & Free

July's Share 2020

Jacque embodies what it means to be Happy, Joyous & Free. She lives to see people smile and really make a difference in their lives. And this is why Flying Sober is so honored to showcase her story this month. It’s those subtle, gentle people that make the change we want to see in the world. Anyone who knows Jacque says “I really love that girl.” Not to mention, she has a kick-ass body and takes good care of herself. You wonder how she does it?

Introduction

My biggest secret is now my super power. I never thought I would hear myself say I was “grateful” to be in recovery, but that is exactly what I say these days. My name is Jacque and I am a grateful recovering alcoholic. My sobriety date is May 15, 2012.

What was it like?

I grew up in Wichita, Kansas and I like to say that there wasn’t much to do in Wichita, so I started drinking when I was young around the age 12-13. But if I’m honest with myself, I would’ve started drinking at a young age regardless of where I lived. I grew up in a loving, middle class family. My parents divorced when I was four and they both remarried when I was young, so I basically grew up with two sets of parents. It was a win-win: holidays and birthdays I got double the presents and double the love. I’m not sure why I started drinking in the first place, but I do remember that I would come out of my shell and I wasn’t as shy or reserved. I recall practicing a routine for dance team tryouts at a party one evening and my mom saw us practicing when she came to pick me up. When I got in the car, she commented on how well I was dancing. She didn’t know I was tipsy and that I didn’t have a care in the world. I felt so free! That was the pretty side of drinking, which didn’t last long.

I was a black-out drunk from the get go. Consequences to my drinking started early during my freshman year in high school. I went out with friends and the rest of the story my parents told me; my friends knocked on their door that evening and handed my drunk self over. My mother and step father Tom, had to bathe me while I was basically passed out. When my mother put me to bed, she was terrified I would choke on my vomit and kill myself while sleeping. She propped me up with pillows so I wouldn’t roll onto my back. Thankfully, I survived the night. This drunk-a-log was the beginning of my being grounded for the last three months of my freshman year. It sucked and I hated my parents for being so strict.

Fast forward to my Senior year, I was with one of the girls on my cheerleading squad and we were getting ready to cheer in a Basketball game. She had a beer in the car and we decided to drink it. What’s one beer, right? Next thing I know we got busted by a security guard. This was really bad because we got kicked off the cheerleading team and suspended from school. Cheerleading was my LIFE since 2nd grade and I was on the honor roll. To my demise, it was all taken from me. I was mortified, embarrassed, and ashamed. Honestly, the rest of my Senior year was kind of a blur. The two things I remember is that this is when my passion for fitness began and I became body conscious.

I continued cheerleading through college. I even taught Cheer camps traveling across the US in the summers. The only time I stayed away from alcohol is when I became anorexic and alcohol had too many calories, so I abstained. When my parents threatened to take me out of school, I promised I would start eating again. That’s when I learned about purging and so I invited my best friend  “alcohol” back into the picture. 

I studied nutrition in college. I became acutely aware that lifestyle plays a crucial role in one’s health & wellbeing (I will get back to this later on in my story). 


In college, I got a DUI (in Albuquerque, NM). My Step Mother worked for the State of Kansas. Somehow she worked her magic and it never appeared on my record. I know I was saved by the grace of God! I worked in medical sales later on and you can’t get hired with a DUI because driving a company car is part of the job. God is doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves, even when we can’t see it. I was obligated to attend AA meetings as a result of the charge. I seriously have no recollection of that. My thought at the time, “I am NOT an alcoholic.” 

After college, I moved to Tampa, Florida. I did my dietetic internship as a Registered Dietitian, and a few years later got into medical sales. My drinking escalated to an entirely different level. I was wining and dining physicians, reps, and myself included. I had a generous expense account, life was good! …or so I thought. On the outside, I looked great; I was “healthy”, fit, attractive, doing well financially, traveling and seeing the world. But on the inside, I was a slowly dying.

What happened?

At 27-28, friends started bringing up the severity of my drinking. I have so many crazy stories and they would always end up with me praying to God and promising I would never drink again. Unfortunately, I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain. At 36, I moved to Miami and a year later married my husband. A few years into our marriage, before we would venture out, he would ask me “What Jacque am I getting tonight; fun Jacque or falling-down-drunk, embarrassing Jacque?.” I honestly couldn’t answer that because one drink was too much and 10+ drinks were never enough. Sadly so, he wished I could drink like a normal person …and frankly so did I.

There were times when I didn’t know how I got to my hotel room during my work trips or off an airplane for that matter. Most of my nights were spent drinking alone in a hotel room and even at home when my husband left for work (he’s a pilot so it was a perfect scenario). Hiding my drinking wasn’t hard. I traveled a lot and I was rarely around the same people. I was on a work trip in Tampa and I was staying with a girlfriend of mine. The stories the two of us have, that literally no one will ever know about. She had actually been to AA once but decided to bail out, and naturally started drinking again. In 2012, she confided in me that her drinking was getting out of control and she considered going back to AA. I told her if she did, I would join her.

On May 14, 2012 I was home from ongoing travels and decided to grab a bottle of wine. I always drank with the intention of having just one glass, but as usual I would polish off the entire bottle. For some reason, I didn’t get into our hard liqueur that night and kept it mellow. My phone rang the following day and it was my friend from Tampa. She told me she’d been to an AA meeting. Low and behold there was a club house 10 minutes away from my condo in South Beach. So, I went to this meeting and picked up a white chip for the first time, committing to stay sober that night. I met an incredible woman whom I am still friends with to this day. She connected me with my first sponsor. 

I was so broken and I’d been praying to God for years to help me stop drinking, but it never worked out. I felt empty inside (despite looking like my life was so full and fabulous on the outside). I finally reached the point of no return and I was willing to listen to whatever they told me. I began working the 12 Steps and for the first couple of months I was on that pink cloud that people in recovery talk about. I was genuinely happy! The thought of drinking was lifted and I didn’t have any cravings! This was a true miracle in every sense of the word! 

But a few months in, I felt like I hit a brick wall. What was happening? The happiness had dissipated. I called my sponsor on the spot and after talking to her for a while, she said I never worked through my feelings and emotions. Apparently, I had been drinking my sorrows away for what seemed decades. I had reached my drinking threshold and alcohol was no longer an option. Let the work begin!

What it's like today?

They say you are at the age when you start drinking, plus the years in sobriety. That means, I’m 20 or 21 (my real age is 51 so do the math). I have learned a lot about myself and I am still actively learning. I literally had to learn who I was, what I liked and didn’t like, what brought me joy, passion, and learn about boundaries. A big one!

I uncovered that selling therapeutics and medications for a multitude of diseases was exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do. I returned to my passions of improving health through nutrition, fitness, and the people I surround myself withI discovered service is a love of mine. We learn in the program “you can’t keep what you’ve got unless you give it away.” This is true, not just in recovery, but life in general. 

Recovery has connected me with so many incredible women. Some of my closest friends are in the program. We connect on a deeper level. I can’t leave out my “normies.” They are equally amazing and they have supported me 100%. I have done amazing things in sobriety so far. I traveled to beautiful places around the world and this time it meant so much more. I created a business and it is really making a difference in the lives of women all over the world.

I have also experienced great heartache and sadness in recovery; My Step Father had a massive stroke right before my 2nd year in recovery. He never fully recovered but I was able to be there for him and my mom. My “baby” brother was diagnosed with a life threatening “rare” disease and I was there for him as well. I supported him and his wife when she donated one of her kidneys. He’s currently going through treatment for melanoma. I survived melanoma myself so I am able to relate and help him through it.

My marriage has had it’s ups and downs, and so has my business. But with all of that happening, I have so much love and gratitude for my husband who has stuck by me emotionally, financially, and spiritually throughout my journey. Although we have had our rough patches, we always come out stronger and more connected.

We buried my Step Father earlier this year and my family and I had the most magical week together. My mother was full of gratitude and she commented on how we bonded more than ever. This is all because of my recovery! It’s funny, because prior to my sobriety I would have never imagined being present in anything (good, bad, happy, sad, etc) without alcohol. Now I cannot imagine doing any of these things with alcohol. Hence, #thepromises.

I owe my life to this program. Recovery is my superpower. If you are struggling with addiction, know there is hope and another way of living. I am here for you and I mean that whole-heartedly. That’s what it’s all about!

Jacque's Wonderful Tools & Resources

I invite you to connect with me on social media: @fabulousjacque and @plantchicsIf you’re ready to health up your life, I invite you to check out my website, Plant Chics, and join our Plant Chics Tribe (women only).

I also offer Y12SR (Yoga and 12 Steps Recovery) which combines the ancient wisdom of yoga with the 12 Steps of recovery. We do it over Zoom on Sundays 1:30-3:00 PM ET. The first 45 minutes are meeting, and then we take it to the mat as the “issues live in our tissues” for the final 45 minutes. Suggested Y12SR donation $10. My Venmo is @Jacquelyn-Tarlton.

Thank you Rachael, for creating this sacred space and for allowing me to share my story. In love and service we give!

Xo, Jacque

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Mama!
Mama!
3 years ago

I love you so much. What an inspiration you are. God is blessing you to be a blessing. We don’t know why God allow us to go through certain things in life…but when you pray and trust Him you can come out and serve your purpose.
❤️❤️❤️❤️🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽❤️❤️❤️❤️

Lynda
Lynda
3 years ago

Woah! What a beautiful gift you made us by writing this. You are incredibly strong Jacque!
Bravo! Reinventing yourself and be here even stronger and more present and healthy than ever.
Just incredible. Thanks again for sharing. You have all my admiration 🙏💕