If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. Matthew 5:15-16 (MSG)
Meet Pamela Devenport | The Sober Mami
Tell us a little about your website/mission/ministry.
Nothing is more devastating as being your own worst enemy; villain and victim in the same body. As an alcoholic and codependent, I lived like that for decades – being my worst enemy and not knowing why. I was trapped in what I thought was my own private hell, thinking I was a terrible person…when in truth I just suffered from a disease that had a solution. So I had to unravel my life in twenty knots to understand I could not “figure it out” by myself. God had to step in and do it for me. I just had to put the gloves down and let Him.
Today, my mission is to share my experience in sobriety and recovery in a very real and unfiltered way. The hope is that my story (with all of its sharp edges and stumbles) helps those who are still stuck in the muck of addiction. I am convinced that there are not enough sober people speaking to the beauty of the process, and what life in recovery looks like. We need more sober warriors openly talking about their journey and their recovered lives today. Not just sharing in church basement meetings and in inner circles – but in our schools, workplaces and family circles. Breaking the stigma of addiction can only be done if we educate, guide and inspire everyone around us. You never know who will hear your story of addiction and say “me, too..” – followed by “maybe I can get better like she did…”
What is the number one thing on your bucket list? Will you do it?
The number one thing for me is to touch as many lives as I can by recovering OUT LOUD. Frankly, I am sick and tired of the stigma of anonymity as an alcoholic. I have a face, a voice and a story – so I will use them all. I want to be part of the warriors who change the whole perception of addiction – give clarity to what it is, what it is not and how to flip the script. I think sobriety can be portrayed as empowering, sexy and super badass – especially to our teenagers. Lots of plans in the works for that!
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your younger self?
Oh, wow. So much! I think I would tell myself to breathe more often – to listen instead of talk all the time. To stop making myself so small, and judging myself so harshly – shame, fear and secrecy were too freaking heavy for a little girl to carry all the time!
But mostly I would tell me to stop looking outwards for something (or someone!) to make me feel safe and complete. I have spent decades looking outside for something that was always inside. I know it sounds cliche, but I really wish someone had explained to me in simple terms what that means.
If you could change anything about the world we live in now, what would it be and why?
I would include a series of courses in public schools that gave kids the ABC’s of Life. For real. What addiction is. How to change your story. The power of your words. How to connect with others with kindness (and not fear and shame). How to honor yourself by your choices in life. How money is related to your passion for what you do. That type of thing. I would do away with chemistry and algebra and give kids stuff they can really use in the real world. I wonder what our society would look like if we shifted the mentality of humans on that level from the get go…
If you could spend an evening with any fictional character, who would it be? What would you do?
Fictional? Uhm. Le Petit Prince, the book character (The Little Prince). I would visit his planet, share his silence and probably learn the secrets of the world.
I’ve included you because I believe you are bringing much-needed light to this world. Why do you do what you do? What keeps you going every day?
Well, the way I see it, I have two choices in life. I can connect to my recovery in a way that excites me and elevates my life and those of others — or I can succumb to what I am “GPS-wired” to do…drink. I don’t have a middle door to chose from. Its an all-or-nothing kinda deal for me. The only way that my recovery is elevated is if it helps others thrive, grow, get curious – and then pass on their own experience an hope. That chain reaction is what keeps me vibrant, alive. So I pick that – the staying alive part is particularly important to me, ha!
And If I have to be honest, at the core of it all is a magnificent human being who I am honored to call my son, Stefan. At 17, he is observing, learning. I am hoping that he never has to go and pick me up from a bar, ever again. Having him say with pride “my mom is a recovered alcoholic, she can help” is the best thing I can imagine him saying. For a long time.