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Meredith Bell

How do you quit drinking when you’re a wine industry executive in Sonoma County, California? “I am surrounded by people drinking, billboards that show happy couples in sunny vineyards enjoying the latest vintage, and meetings where we are trying to discover the best ways to market wine to people,” Bell says. She overcame a destructive drinking habit not by changing her environment, but how she interacted with it. Bell’s path to recovery involved serious introspection, peer support from Alcoholics Anonymous, and a few relapses before she got sober in 2011. “Every time I see a bottle of wine, I get a craving. It never goes away for me!” she says. “I deal with it by feeling the shame in my body that I used to feel when I would wake up with a hangover or remember something horrible that happened to me. I don’t run from the pain or try to cover it up. I allow these feelings to wash over me as a reminder that no taste of wine is worth the powerful sickness, shame and humiliation that comes along with it.”

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