Sommer Sallada

The disease of addiction does not discriminate and is often kept hidden inside of the people we could never suspect to be suffering.  This is Sommer, she is one of those people. Now she is in recovery and has awakened into a higher purpose.  Please show her some love, support and encouragement as she continues on her enlightened path of recovery. 

Q. Could you briefly tell us about yourself? 

I'm a 33 year-old recovering addict, humble, thankful and ready for my life to begin. I have no siblings, no cousins, live with my parents and help take care of my grandparents. I own my own holistic integrative therapy practice called Cerebral Equilibrium, I'm a member of the Rotary Club, I have degrees in Psychology, Criminal Justice, Sociology and Philosophy. I'm a certified Pendulum Dowser, Healing Angels of the Energy Field practitioner, a Crystal Energy Healer and a Reiki Master/Teacher. I'm a member of the American Psychological Association and have active my own active Psych research being conducted for the LGBT Division of the APA. I taught psych classes at PSU Harrisburg and was an assistant researcher there. I am on the board of scholarship reviews for HACC and am on the Discipleship Committee at my church. I am involved in several community advocacy projects and volunteer wherever I can. More personally, I consider myself non-binary (neither male nor female), but generally consider myself a lesbian. I've been married, divorced, and everything in between. I've been accepted to intern at the White House with GWU's LGBT Health Policy and Practice graduate program and hopefully will begin that journey in the near future.  

I've got a few psychological and neurological "disorders" and some physical conditions which impact my life significantly.  I'm Autistic, have Borderline Personality Disorder, General Anxiety and Social Anxiety Disorders, ADD, ADHD and OCD.  I have Homocystinuria which causes me to be unable to absorb B vitamins and certain proteins, I also had gastric bypass so am in a constant state of malabsorption and malnutrition, so I can't take normal amounts of the medications I'm supposed to be taking.  
I've been hospitalized several times for psychiatric emergencies, and recently had a 3-month long stint of delusional reality which lead to a series of mini-strokes. A lot has changed in my life recently, both good and bad, either way, I'm thankful to be here...alive, recovering and moving forward. 
 
Q. What was your drug of choice? 

I went through several periods of  addiction throughout my life. The first round, my drug of choice was a combination of benzos, muscle relaxers, alcohol and pain killers. The second round was pain killers, alcohol and sleeping aids, and the most recent round was alcohol, benzos and amphetamines. 
 
Q. What is your sobriety date? 

My last time using any substance abusively was September 7th, 2014.  
   
Q. Looking back, was there a turning point in your active addiction? 
             
In each case, my turning points seemed to revolved around my relationship status or at least the state of my relationship.  The more comfortable I was in a relationship, the worse my addiction became. I lost myself. Lost my drive to live my OWN life and lost my sense of self worth. Only when my world came crashing to a halt through being dumped, is when I would pick myself up and find ME again, swearing to stay sober, living a clean, productive life.  More recently, I had a "mental sobriety" event. After being hospitalized for delusions and having a stroke, my life changed drastically, for the better in terms of my sobriety.  I came home with a sense of worth, emotions and the will to want to live MY OWN life for ME and to do what is right for myself and those around me. THAT is what I consider my turning point for the rest of my life. That was December 6th, 2015. 
 
Q. What is a slogan that best expresses your current point of view in recovery? 
 
Live in the moment, be present, remember you always have a choice and forgive yourself and others. Set your goals, let the path take it's twists and turns, believe in yourself and love who you are. Only you can change your life. In other words, Aspire to Inspire...Create Your Own Reality. 
 
Q. What are some daily practices and key aspects in your life that assist you in your recovery? 
 
Being thankful for the small things, having a great support system and knowing it's ok to as for help, admit imperfection and forgive my mistakes. 

Q. As a person in recovery, do you have any advice you could offer to someone looking to get clean? 
 
Never give up on yourself. Don't listen to the negative people around you. Surround yourself with those who support your recovery, believe in your strengths, and respect your determination and drive to succeed. 
 
Q.  Addiction is affecting hundreds in Schuylkill County and it's very saddening. Any advice to people trying to help their loved ones seek help? 
 
Be positive, empowering and non-judgmental. Offer love and acceptance, not criticism and blame. We are already hard enough on ourselves. 
 
Q.  Why are projects  like "The Skook Recovers" important in this day and age? 
 
Everyone needs a supportive, accepting group of people to relate to, a place to express themselves unconditionally and a way to find THEIR place in this world.  This project does that. 
 
Q. Could you tell us about the good things that your new life in recovery has brought to you and/or improved, including what you are grateful for? 

It has brought me closer to my family and friends, allowed me to get involved in many projects and group activities and advocacy.  I'm grateful for each moment of my life because I'm able to LIVE IT, sober, loving and respectfully. 
 
Q.  Anything else you would like to add and/or people you would like to thank?

 I'd like to thank my family and friends first and foremost.  Without their love and support, I'd surely be another lost soul on the street. I'd also like to thank my spiritual guides, my Pastor, my doctors and those who took the time to see ME and hear ME...it saved my life.