In this series, we sit down with the staff and subject matter experts (SMEs) that facilitate the many different workshops, Q&As, and processing calls with our members.

Today we’re chatting with DL Grant, a Peer Coach and Tempest alum who has been working here for the past two years. DL will be hosting a workshop on Navigating Sober Friendships on August 20th, as part of Friendship month, available to our Complete and Daily members. We sat down with DL to chat about self-care, friendship, and what drew them to working with others in recovery.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

My field of expertise is Healing Work, or Care Work. That work has and continues to take many forms. I grew up in an environment where addiction and trauma were ever-present, this inspired me to heal myself and in result, support others along their path as well. I also have a BA in Psych, with concentrations in Philosophy, Gender Studies, as well as Race and Ethnic Studies.

I spent much of my time studying human behavior, culture, neurobiology, and oppression—and the systems that uphold and perpetuate it. I eventually found myself investing in alternative mental health structures and healing practices. I received facilitation certifications in Interntional Peer Support, Alternatives to Suicide, and Hearing Voices frameworks. Prior to Tempest, I worked at the first ever Peer Run Respite to be established in the United States, Afiya. I bring all of this with me to the work I do here with members.

What drew you to the topic of friendship?

Establishing, maintaining, or ending friendships in recovery is one of the juiciest topics for me. Some of the most intriguing parts of developing relational skills are enhancing your own relationship to yourself, growing comfortable with conflict, establishing boundaries, and learning to show love through action. Being with people is a basic human need. It’s one of the core aspects of being a human, and whether you have one person you are close with or one hundred (if there are a hundred, let’s talk cause I’ve got questions), connection is vital to well being. Exploring this topic was inherent to my healing process and will always be a part of my journey toward personal liberation.

What does the word recovery mean to you?

Recovery means that I reclaim my life from all that tries to rob me of self-determination and radical self-love. It’s addressing the ways oppression has made a home in my psyche, and piece by piece uprooting it to reclaim my humanity and my joy. I was not born to suffer, I was born to thrive and take in the beauty of the world, and so recovery means reclaiming that birthright.

Can you list a few things you have in your sobriety ‘toolkit’?

  • Willingness. A commitment to trying anything is the #1 thing in my toolkit and was there before I even got sober.
  • Therapy. No matter what, I never miss an appointment with my therapist. I am extremely lucky to have found a transformational therapeutic connection and it has taken years of searching and getting clear on exactly what I want and need from therapy to get here.
  • Aromatherapy. I am extremely responsive to smell and so this is one of the most useful tools I have. Orange, lavender, and coconut are some of my favorite scents.
  • Peer Support. I cannot overstate the importance of being with people who have had similar experiences as me, whether in friendships or attending groups that are in line with my values and overlap with my experience.
  • Music & Dance. Moving my body in a way that is joyful and not focused on some false ideal of “health” as well as tuning into the rhythm of music has been a huge part of my healing path!
  • Using my voice. Whether this is singing in my day to day or being vocal about issues I care about, activating my throat chakra is an essential part of my toolkit and is always with me!
  • Self-massage. Touching my body in kind ways that support it in feeling good has been a game changer. Developing self-soothing skills that contribute to emotional and physiological regulation are key to mitigating my mounting stressors.

What things have you been doing to support your recovery during COVID-19?

Having compassion for my food choices and not shaming myself for what I eat, deepening my relationship to my houseplants, deleting my Instagram account, and doing home karaoke!

What’s been the best part about being sober?

Growing comfortable with exactly who I am and having the opportunity each day to continue that process.

Want to learn more about Tempest Membership? You can explore the program here.