Profiles in Recovery

Sharonlee Latham

Once addicted to painkillers and other drugs, Latham found renewal in Narcotics Anonymous – and the stunning Riviera Maya on Mexico’s Caribbean coast.

Embracing alternative wellness, Latham trained in such techniques as Ayurvedic massage, reflexology and Reiki. She immersed herself in the healing properties of the Mayan jungle and the swimming holes of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Today, home is Playa del Carmen, where Latham offers alternative wellness treatments and healthy adventures for travelers.

Even after two decades of recovery, Latham still attends 12-step meetings. “For me, I need to keep my recovery process first and foremost,” she says. “Otherwise I don’t have the spiritual grounding to serve my purpose: being a positive influence to encourage others to follow their star.”

Day Job:
Founder of Paradise Wellness in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

At my worst, I was:
Addicted to pain medication that was freely given to me as a result of a car accident. That is how the medical system is set up to treat the symptom . . . I was 29 years old and kept trying to overdose to get out of my pain and suffering – brought on by my inability to face life.

What worked for me:
I went to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting to support my friend. I had no idea about 12-step meetings or that there was a way to find help. I identified with what people were saying. I finally felt like I had some hope.

Advice to my younger self:
You are enough! Don’t let the pressure of society dictate how you contribute your gift. Connect with like-minded people who want to live healthy lives and make a positive contribution to the world.

When cravings come:
I take the time to Breathe, remember that this too shall pass, and do the next right thing. That usually means get to a 12-step meeting, call my sponsor, sponsee, or any of my inner circle of women friends . . .

I look at my behavior to see what things I stopped doing for my recovery that would prompt the feelings of wanting to use. I ask for guidance from my Higher Power, who has always been with me, especially when I was trying to die.

What I value most in recovery:
Peeling the layers of who I thought I was supposed to be and finding ME. Connecting with my inner self. Being able to serve others in a positive way.

On my schedule today:
Wake up and say “thank you” to my Higher Power for another day clean.
Meditate, do yoga, have a healthy smoothie. Do some social media work for my business. Have a healthy lunch made of whole foods (I stay away from gluten, dairy, and processed foods). Take people on healthy adventures.

Then I get out in Mother Nature and let her clear all the stress energy out of my body. I uses essential oils for when I am at my computer or just around the house as a balance. I love to swim in the Caribbean sea or ride my bike. I go to a 12-step meeting a few nights a week.

Best advice for newbies:
Find a tribe that works for you. For me it was Narcotics Anonymous. Keep coming back no matter what. Get a sponsor, be of service, work the steps. Look for ways to practice self-care in your life, and clear out the toxins including people, places and things.

Connect with Mother Nature and do some yoga, learn some meditation. Explore what you like in life. It’s your time to shine your light.

I get inspired by:
The 12-step family from around the world that I have come to know over the years. They are living the lives they only dreamed of as well.

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If you’re a person in long-term recovery who wants to share your
insights, please contact us at [email protected].