From the Podcast: Brittney Carbone: Becoming Sober and Inspiring Others
Brittney Carbone has been sober for over a decade and is a person in long term recovery. Brittney is Ashley Loeb Blassingame’s guest on Episode 4 of The Courage to Change: A Recovery Podcast. A Santa Monica-based fitness professional, Brittany founded Lean Lifestyle Method, a three month transformational program to motivate women to put down the “crash diets,” step into their power and create undeniable confidence. You can read more about Lean Lifestyle Method here.
We’ve edited and condensed Brittney’s story for a fast read. You can listen to the entire interview here.
Brittney grew up with three sisters in an upper-middle class family in San Clemente, California. While she lived in a gated community, she admitted that her perception as a child was “clearly off.” She shared, “I thought I grew up in the hood.” Some of her first childhood memories were of her parents arguing in the house, and she shared that they divorced when she was very young. Having felt what she calls, “outsiderness,” she would escape her parents bickering, hide in the kitchen pantry, and eat raw sugar out of the jar with a spoon.
Wanting to Fit In
Brittney was a good student growing up, and was involved in extracurricular activities including soccer and dance. When Brittney was 14 years old in middle school, a few girls invited her to hang out with them at the beach. Brittney shared, “these were girls that I really wanted to be cool with,” so she went. She had her first “moment of choice,” as her friends passed around a bottle of Goldschlager. She drank alcohol for the first time and remembered thinking, “Oh, hello, this is it.”
“I knew I shouldn’t have been drunk, but I was having a good time,” Brittany said. She developed a monthly habit where she would, “drink, get too drunk, throw up, piss someone off, probably [throw] up in someone’s car, make out with someone, hate [herself], and then be excited to do it again.” This became her new normal.
“I would drink, get too drunk, throw up, piss someone off, probably throw up in someone’s car, make out with someone, hate myself, and then be excited to do it again.”
When Brittney was 15, she went out one night and “drank an entire bottle [of liquor]. [She] ended up in the hospital, throwing up blood.” Brittney was terrified because she blacked out and couldn’t remember a thing. However, this experience didn’t deter her: she continued on the same cycle.
She shared, “I would black out 99.9% of the time.” She began to notice how much she hated the way she felt after a night out. Not only did she feel a tremendous amount of guilt, confusion and depression, she also found herself in dangerous situations. One night after a blackout when she had thrown up all over another girl’s house, the girl held a gun to Brittney’s head and said, “pull it together.”
This was one of the first wake up calls that she needed in order to make a lifestyle change. She went to college at the University of California, Los Angeles, and began to eat healthy, do yoga and even train for a marathon. She created what she calls a “drunk calendar” in which she would “mark the day that [she] blacked out and what [she] ate that day.”
Back and Forth
When Brittney was 22, she worked in the extreme sports industry, having toured with BMX, Motocross and professional snowboard teams. She met a guy and after blacking out, made out with another guy right in front of him. She felt so guilty that she swore off from drinking entirely. She quit drinking for 30 days.
After those 30 days, she went on a snowboard tour for work, and decided she would drink “one last time.” In high altitude and negative 17 degree weather, Brittney blacked out after only two drinks. She woke up in a house that she had never been to before in the Colorado mountains and began to cry. A woman who was staying at the house looked at her and said, “Don’t worry, sweetie. I wake up in random houses all the time.”
She checked in with herself once again and said, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” She ended up taking an alcoholic test on Google, and somehow through this “divine intervention,” she found Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). She began to go to weekly online meetings where she would participate in a chat room. Here, she met a man named Ian who told her, “You have a real issue. I really think you need to go to a real meeting.”
From Alcohol To Food
Brittney shared that “he probably single-handedly saved [her] life.” She decided to go to an in-person AA meeting, and stayed sober for another six months. Her sponsor showed her unconditional love and taught her the importance of “emotional sobriety.” At this point, Brittney shared, “I am flourishing, I am feeling good, I got this.” She learned that alcoholism really is a disease. However, her addiction quickly transitioned from alcohol to food, and she gained 70 pounds within a year.
At 23, she “learned a new level of depression.” She ended up going on what she calls, “crash diets.” After having tried Atkins, juicing, and basically starving herself, Brittney gained all of her weight back plus 10 pounds in just two weeks. She needed another solution and found Overeaters Anonymous (OA).
“There are few things that are as painful as untreated alcoholism, emotionally.”
Brittney shared, “what I realized is that sugar makes my life and choices much more complicated.” She added, “I do sugar like I do alcohol, and I don’t have any control over what happens once I have it.” While in OA, Brittney shared that being vulnerable about food was “the hardest thing [she] ever had to do.”
Becoming Sober and Growing Stronger
She shared, “I’ve had to up my meetings, my journaling, my meditation, and I talk to my sponsor every day, no matter what.” Brittney is now sober and has maintained a 65 pound weight loss. She feels that she’s in a “good place” and has friends and family who keep her accountable. She added, “the biggest thing that sobriety has given me is the ability to understand it and truly believe that everything is temporary. The good and the bad.”
“The biggest thing that sobriety has given me is the ability to understand it and truly believe that everything is temporary. The good and the bad.”
Brittney started a coaching program, Lean Lifestyle Method, based in Southern California. This three-month transformational program is geared toward busy executives and for people who struggle with putting themselves first. As someone who is in long term recovery, Brittney teaches others, “how to show up for each other in the most powerful way.”
Quotes have been edited for clarity.