This post is part of our ongoing Whole30 success stories series. To submit your own Whole30 success story, contact [email protected]

In Courtney’s Own Words

“Recovery is a full-time job—a lifestyle change,” “It’s not going to be easy,” and “The first step is admitting that you have a problem.”

If only I had a dime for every time I have said these phrases to my patients.

And, if only I had a dime for each of the responses I’ve heard in return: “But, Mrs. Courtney, you don’t understand,” “You don’t have the cravings like I do,” and “You don’t know the guilt I feel, or how stressed I am.”

I am a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Level Two, and I work with individuals who suffer from opiate addiction, a rising epidemic in our country. I have worked as a counselor for almost four years, but my involvement in this family business extends back as long as I can remember. Every day, I go into work at 5:30 AM with a smile on my face; I am there to serve as a listening ear and a guiding voice.

Most important, I offer a sense of understanding to help my patients learn how to live life without drugs, including heroin, Percocet, and Vicodin. Many of these drugs are prescribed tablets of hope used to treat real pain, but for the unlucky ones, they can lead to a life of disease, sickness, and helplessness.

Recognizing My Own Addiction

Over the years, I’ve seen ups and downs, successes and relapses, and sadly, overdoses and deaths. I’ve witnessed desperate men finally become the fathers they always wanted to be, and women learn to love themselves without sacrificing their integrity. I’ve seen children come home to their parents and trust brought back to families.

Over the years, I’ve learned that I am not that different from my patients.

I have battled with food my entire life, swinging on a pendulum with over-exercise and obsessive calorie counting on one side to secretive binge eating on the other. I understand now, finally, that food is my heroin; it serves as my greatest comfort and companion during times of need.

Through these addictions, my brain suffers, my heart suffers, and my pant size suffers. My quality of life diminishes and the rest of my years are in danger if I do not make a permanent change. I knew this, but I did not know how to take that first step.

Finding Healing through The Whole30

My sister-in-law introduced me to the Whole30 a few months ago, and I know now that I will never look back. I learned so much from It Starts With Food and the other wonderful resources available to me.

Through the Whole30, I finally found a happy medium where I can see a healthy, happy life in my future. It is high time that I practice what I preach on a daily basis and accept that I, just like my patients, am stronger than my excuses. I am a beautiful, educated woman with endless support from family, friends, and an incredible husband. I have a newfound faith in my ability to overcome obstacles and achieve personal goals.

Just like my patients who require medication for stability while they learn new life skills, we can’t always be put on a timeline for recovery. It takes some longer to move through this process than others, and I am no exception.

I want to be a living example to those around me, and I know now that this is possible.

I strive to help my patients gain an understanding of their denial, identify their triggers, and encourage them to think back to their beginning, to that very first step, and always remember why they started down this path to recovery when they feel most like giving up.  

I conduct group counseling sessions weekly at my office, and now that I accept my personal struggle with food, I encourage healthy eating habits to my patients through using the Whole30. It takes the brain and body time to heal, but I believe that whole, nutritious foods truly benefit the short and long-term recovery of any person trying to overcome addictions.

Thank you, thank you for everything. The Whole30 is now my rock and I can see it already making a huge difference in my life and career. My first 30 days may be over, but I have decided to continue using the Whole30 as a vehicle for recovery and a road map to building lifelong healthy habits. Feeling healthy is a positive “addiction” like no other, and I cannot wait to see how far this journey will take me.

To follow along with Courtney’s story as she continues her Whole30 journey, visit her blog.

Share Your Story

Are you a Whole30 success story? Share your story with us via Instagram, Facebook, or in an email to [email protected].

This is Courtney’s story, in her own words. The Whole30 is not a medical diagnostic tool, nor a replacement for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. Speak with your doctor before beginning any new dietary or lifestyle program. Your results may vary.⠀

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Published by Jen Kendall

Jen Kendall, our Whole30 Approved Program Manager, is a born and raised Floridian who now lives in Utah with her husband Quinn and their two-year-old boy Easton. She graduated the University of Florida in 2010 from the College of Journalism and Communications and has a strong interest in nutrition, health and exercise. Jen has an insatiable appetite for travel and adventure and also loves books, spending time in the kitchen cooking and experimenting with recipes, Crossfit, and enjoying as many days as possible in the outdoors year-round.

Jen Kendall

Whole30 Approved Program Manager

Jen Kendall, our Whole30 Approved Program Manager, is a born and raised Floridian who now lives in Utah with her husband Quinn and their two-year-old boy Easton. She graduated the University of Florida in 2010 from the College of Journalism and Communications and has a strong interest in nutrition, health and exercise. Jen has an insatiable appetite for travel and adventure and also loves books, spending time in the kitchen cooking and experimenting with recipes, Crossfit, and enjoying as many days as possible in the outdoors year-round.