My Interview with Tina Witte, blogger on http://www.VTMommies.com:
A Wife, Mother, and a Crown – Mrs. Vermont Shares How She Does It All With a Smile
I recently had an opportunity to catch up another mommy, Hannah Kirkpatrick, who also happens to be Mrs. Vermont 2013. Here, she shares with us how she keeps it all together while also leveraging her platform to send messages of hope to those conquering addiction.
T: Congrats on being crowned Mrs. Vermont! I see that you are using your platform to empower those conquering addiction. Tell me more about the special activities you’re involved with to support that cause?
Mrs. VT: Have you ever heard that joke, “What do you get when you play a country song backwards?…..You get your man back, you get your house back, you get your truck back, your job back, your dog back….” Well, my life has played out a lot like that in reality!
Four years ago, at 28, I hit rock bottom with addictions to substances and behaviors that had been slowly, and often invisibly from the outside, eating away at me and my potential for years. I never realized they were bad enough until, well, they became bad enough.
So, after having lost everything I found myself jumping headfirst into recovery programs and spending nearly a year focusing rebuilding myself from the bottom up. I am dedicated to sharing my “story,” in all of its vulnerability and ugliness, with anyone and everyone in the world who may benefit from hearing it!
The principle is that as folks who have experienced success in long-term recovery become willing to sharing their voice. We offer proof that recovery works. In fact, my life in recovery ROCKS!
T: How are you balancing all aspects of your life (wife, mother, recovery advocate)? What support systems and/or activities contribute to keeping yourself healthy, balanced, and centered?
Mrs. VT: I can say that it truly does take work, dedication, focus … and most importantly, a village of support.
First, my spiritual life, personal recovery and self-development work, and quality time with my family have to take precedence over all else. Next, I do as much personal growth and self-development work as possible, and have even joined a company that offers literature on helping individuals and families achieve balance in the “8 F’s”: family, finances, fun, faith, following, friends, fitness, and freedom. Also, I regularly read books and listen to audio CDs to support and develop positive habits. Time outdoors being active is a huge key for me, so I also do a lot of running. Yoga also keeps me sane and balanced.
But I couldn’t do any of this without the support of my parents, and my husband’s parents, my husband, and our closest friends. It literally does take a village, and I’m eternally grateful for mine!!
T: What special message would you want to share with VT Mommies on balancing motherhood and other interests and pursuits?
Mrs. VT: A few primary points of my life lessons and learning have been this. Now, I’m not saying I’m always right, or even that I ever accomplish these perfectly, but it is stuff I’ve learned the hard way, so I would hope someone else can benefit more easily:
Sometimes, the greatest act of courage is raising the white flag of surrender and ask for HELP. We need to know when we’re in over our heads, and asking for help is incredibly courageous and admirable. It’s more than okay – it can also change your world in ways you can’t even imagine.
We must take care of ourselves first, so we have the capacity to then bring fresh oxygen to our families and our communities! Much like the airline’s suggestion to put the oxygen mask on ourselves before our children … our spiritual, emotional, physical, financial, and relational lives are only as successful as the oxygen we give ourselves as mothers FIRST! This is not selfish – it’s serving!
Embrace your story. Find your purpose. Step into your magnificence. The world needs you! Never stop stretching, growing, learning, visioning your dreams and taking one step every day towards them. By doing this, you are setting an example for your families (not taking away from them, as too many women have been taught).
It has been a whirlwind year for Mrs. Vermont, who will be giving up her title in March to the next lucky woman. In the meantime, Hannah is available to speak with diverse audiences who would benefit from her message of hope, including teens, local guidance counselors, and parents of teens. She also speaks with adults and other diverse recovery groups to share her experiences, insights, and real advice from someone who has experienced the depths and has made it through.