Katharine shares her journey through sobriety and recovery while finding her creativity along the way. She is able to find beauty in the hard moments of her journey. She shares her learning process through different types of art and has an amazing YouTube channel. Katharine is impacting and improving lives daily. I’m honored to have her on the show.
Hey guys! Welcome back to the show! I have Katharine D. on today's episode. I am so excited for you to hear from her. She’s the owner of Dryer Days Art Studio. But, I actually met Katharine about five years ago as she was my hairdresser. So, it’s been really great to see her transformation in her creativity throughout. This episode though guys…get your kleenexes ready because I was literally crying through hearing her amazing story of recovery and her ability just to own her truth and her desire to help others through some of these things.
Not only does she have a heart of gold but she’s extremely gifted and creative in so many ways and so I want you to be able to hear directly from her. How her creativity and artistic ability has been able to help her through so many hard parts of life.
So thankful for Katharine and that she is able to be on the show.
K: Hi Katharine! How are you doing?
KD: Good! How are you?
K: Good! Good! Thank you so much for being on the show today!
KD: Well, thank you for having me on. I’m excited!
K: Absolutely! Well, can you introduce yourself to the listeners?
KD: Sure! I’m Katharine D. and I am simply a wife and a stay at home mom of two little girls and a retired hairstylist and artistic YouTuber who’s living in long-term sobriety.
K: That’s awesome! That’s a great summary of you. I think there are a lot more pieces to you but that was a great summary! That gives us a great place to start. So, do you want to talk a little bit about or can you share with me where you’re located? I guess I’m not 100% sure where you moved to.
KD: Yeah. I moved away from Jamestown actually. After we left Jamestown back in 2015, we moved to Raleigh, North Carolina where we lived for about two and a half years and just about a year and a half ago we moved up to a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio, so that’s where I am now.
K: Okay. Do you like the new location?
KD: Yeah. We like it a lot. It’s closer to family and we’ve never lived in this area of Ohio before and we’re really enjoying it. \
K: Good! I’m glad to hear that. So, just a little bit of background information for everyone that’s listening, after connecting with you as I was connecting with you, I was like, “Oh! You totally used to be my hairstylist before you moved there!” and so that was kind of fun to have that full circle moment there and be able to interview and talk with you.
So, can you tell us a little bit more about your creativity, how you discovered you had this ability? Is it something you’ve always known?
KD: Well, both of my parents were very, still are very gifted artists in their own right and so growing up, I would do a lot of drawing, just creative stuff, crafting. I was kind of heading more in a writing direction when I was younger and so even so majored in journalism and stuff in college. I sort of got away from the art, if you will. And then after college, became a hair stylist which I think is a very creative job and you have to have that ability, especially with coloring too - not just hair cutting but coloring as well - so when we moved to North Carolina, I had just had my second little girl and I decided to stay home for a little while with her and I was just starting to go a little stir crazy because I was so used to working and being busy with my hands so that’s kind of where i started getting back into basic stuff at first like zen tangles and mandalas. Just some fine line drawing. And it evolved into paint and then evolved into what it is now that I’m doing.
K: That’s great! That’s really awesome. You know I was thinking this morning as I was getting ready about doing hair and how that really is such a creative process. It’s almost like trying to blend their vision with your vision and trying to incorporate it all. It feels really heavy, you know?
KD: It’s funny because I was actually thinking about as I was laying in bed, I knew we had this interview coming and I was thinking about that creative part about being a hair stylist and I always say when the clients come in, you do, you just have to ask what do they want? You’re catering to them, to that client and the one in twenty that’s like, “Just do whatever you want.” And that’s so fun but that’s not the typical client.
Now, with my art work, I do what I want. I do do custom work. People are reaching out all the time and they say, “This is the color combination I’d like” or whatever. And really, that gives me a lot of inspiration. A lot of times they will come at me with colors or an idea that I never thought of before.
This woman in particular, she’s bought five pieces from me and she said, “I really want something peach and coral.” I’m not a big orange person and I have just never even thought about that and ever since she said that, I’ve made like five coral pieces. So yeah, it’s definitely kind of a different thing. But you are right on the money with that. It’s sort of like reigning in the creativity that catered to the client with the hairstyling.
K: Well, I have to share too that I actually ran into a mutual friend - Marni - who was on the podcast if anyone wants to listen to episode seven. I was talking with her about interviewing you and she had mentioned about how you basically are good at, I’m just going to say, your good at everything. She didn’t even realize that you had the ability to sing and you competitively sang and so I feel like your creativity is really broad. Would you agree with that?
KD: Um, yeah. I don’t know what the phrase is where it’s like I can do a little bit of everything but maybe not a professional at any of them though. I mean the hairstyling, definitely, I did that for a long time and I was certified in that and licensed. I mean, I think there’s so many different, I was just talking to a friend about this, there are so many different seasons of life, you know and with each of them I feel like I kind of moved into this different creative mode and I know, even just recently with my artwork I was doing a lot of acrylic fluid painting and that evolved into this resin work and I have a FaceBook group inviting my YouTube following to share their stuff and I think I’ve maybe upset some of them because they really like to do the acrylic pouring, which I still do but I really moved into the resin work. I have to honor that. I think we do evolve as artists and we move into other things and we maybe loose inspiration in one thing and really gain it in another area so yeah, I mean, in highschool yeah, I sang. I sang a little bit in college too and she and I were at Menohmen, Minnesota and she was doing karaoke and she’s like, “Oh, I dare you to get up there!” and I said, “You know I used to sing competitively, right?” And she just stopped in her tracks and was like, “What?”
I mean, we’re talking fifteen years ago, you know? It’s not like I am currently doing that. (laughing)
K: You know, I really think skills like that I mean yes, sometimes we need to finetune them but I don’t think they ever really leave us, do you?
KD: Um, I don’t, no. I think there’s always kind of something in there and I sing a lot with my girls in the car. I really try to encourage that because I do think music and artwork is just such a healthy, creative outlet and so I do agree. I am still very vocal within my car and within my house even though I’m not necessarily in a choir or anything like that.
K: Right, right. I would definitely like to get into that healing aspect of art but first I’m wondering if you can share like what is your particular favorite area of art? So, whatever that may mean to you.
KD: Yeah. So, right now, it’s definitely the resin art that I’m doing. They’re resin geodes so if you’re familiar with crystals or geodes, you know that when you cut them in half there’s kind of this beautiful sparkly, there’s sort of like ribbons and these shapes going on inside and so what I do is I take boards of wood and I just lay down these stones and glass and glitter and I even have like some swarovski crystals that I’ll lay in there. I try to use real stones when I can since I’m making a geode. I do try to incorporate semi-precious stones where I can and then I just pick colors that I’m going with and I will lay them in and I do that with a resin. I try to use a more professional, high grade resin because resin can yellow over time and so I do try to use the better stuff.
I think kind of integrating the hair styling too, that profession has taught me so much about the quality of professional products as opposed to getting by and maybe just going to the drug store and buying something and so I really carried that over into my artwork and I do take pride in the products I’m buying and so with that resin, it’s just beautiful how it cures over three days and you have this rock hard, glassy, shiny finish and it’s tricky. I really was afraid to try to attempt resin. It’s fickle. You have to make sure you’re mixing it properly and you need a respirator and a ventilated area and a heat gun and all these different things. There’s certain times when I have to take tape off of certain areas and I have an alarm on my phone of when I have to do all these steps and there’s a lot of work that goes into them. It was very intimidating. But now I’m just hooked. I just love it so much and yeah, so that is definitely my passion right now - the resin geodes.
K: Did it take a little bit to get the hang of it or was it pretty quickly that you were able to pick up on the routine of it?
KD: Well, I started playing with the resin probably in 2016 but again, I really was not….it wasn’t going well. And that was more like an operator error. I wasn’t following the manufacturers directions maybe totally correctly. It’s very sticky. It was getting all over the place. It has taken me a little while and a lot of trial and error but because I am in the YouTube community, I would look up other artists who are doing this and get a lot of tips and advice from them too.
The resin that I use is actually a company who specializes in making resin countertops so art isn’t even really there, I guess as in a clientele that I’m catering to but they’ve had all these artists who have come in and said, “Wow, this resin is really top of the line. This is really good.” So yeah, they actually have a lot of videos on their YouTube too on just making these countertops and how you can create marbling effect and all that with the resin so I kind of picked up some from them so you know, just kind of all over picking up these tips and tricks.
K: I love so many things that you said. I think that it’s great when we’re able to admit that things at the beginning weren’t nearly as easy because I think a lot of times we compare our beginning to somebody’s middle, you know? So just being able to say it wasn’t always fantastic. Even like with me and the podcast there have been times I have recorded things just myself multiple times just to get it where I would consider a good quality. So I think being able to say it’s not always an easy process and takes some practice and some ability to reach out to other people that maybe have some of that knowledge that we can gain from them I think is fantastic.
So, would you mind maybe if we switched gears a little bit and talked about the healing aspect of art for you?
KD: Yeah, definitely. Well, I am in recovery from alcohol use and the art I have been saying for years, probably in 2015 when I really started getting into the drawing and the painting and it really is like a therapy for me. I can just sit down and start working on something and it will feel like twenty minutes and three hours have gone by. I think that’s when you kind of know you’re in the zone. You kind of know you’re in your creative place or maybe that’s for people going to the gym or you know, going for a wax or something. I think everybody’s kind of different. But for me, that is almost like a meditative state and I’ve even had people ask me before how I made a certain piece. This was before I was recording everything. I would just say, “I don’t know.”
I was sitting there, it had been a half an hour, it had been a couple of hours and that happened and I think that’s when you know you’re in your space there and whether or not it even turns out that great, it’s a time to quiet your mind and focus on what you’re doing to be present. It has really taught me how to be present. Especially when I was telling you all these steps that have to go into this, really being able to walk away from the project and in a couple hours I have to come back and do something else, I’m putting myself back there with the piece.
I heard an artist say recently that you have to show up for your art work. Honor your artwork. So for me, that’s being present when I’m working on my artwork. It’s the same thing when I’m with my kids. I want to focus on them, give them my attention, and because I feel so passionately about my art and it’s so important to me, I’m showing up for it, you know? Because it’s given me so much. Really.
K: I love that so much. I love so many things that you said. I’m like, “Where should we go from here?” It’s great! So, can you tell us, before we get too much into that, I’d like to talk about how you’re able to be present but would you feel comfortable talking about your recovery journey?
KD: Sure. Do you want me to kind of start from when I started drinking?
K: Sure. Wherever you’re comfortable starting.
KD: Um, okay well basically I had a pretty normal childhood. I grew up in New Jersey; that’s where most of my extended family is from. And when I was young we had moved to Ohio for just a couple years when I was in elementary school and we moved back to New Jersey so we’re back there now and I’m heading into highschool and you know that’s a hard time for a lot of teens.
K: Yes, yes.
KD: I had this really solid group of friends. I was running cross country so I had a tight group of girls there in the cross country team. I was in orchestra. I played the violin.
K: I played the violin too!
KD: Yeah! I was just really active. I was an overachiever but I was headed down a good path. I had a solid family, solid friends, was doing well in school and then just out of nowhere my parents were like, “Well, we’re moving back to Ohio.”
I was...well, devastated would be an understatement. It was really hard and we were waiting to move until the summer after my freshman year and I remember my guidance counselor called me in and asked me how I was doing with it all and I said, “Not well.” He said the top three most traumatic things that can happen to a teenager are number one, the death of a parent, number two the death of a sibling and number three, moving out of state. And I was like, “Well can you tell my parent that?”
I just went kicking and screaming. It was a really hard time and so when we got to Ohio, we actually went back to the town we’d lived in before so I even still knew a couple people, I was familiar with the town. I tried to join up with the cross country team, did not feel welcome and I quit. I didn’t keep up with the violin. I did, however, join choir so that’s where that kind of came in but I just really had a chip on my shoulder and I wanted to seem tough because I felt tough. I felt hardened from this experience and with that happening, I was very mad at my parents and so I wanted to have that sort of punishment mentality. I started dating guys with fast cars and hanging out with the wrong crowd and started drinking when I was fifteen. It just kind of progressively got heavier and heavier into college and I told myself in college I’ll quit when I graduate and that it’s the people who keep drinking after college that are alcoholics
The reason I was thinking this is because I had family members who had gone through the program of AA so I kind of knew the signs. I knew about blacking out. I knew all the warning signs and I knew I was having them. I knew I was drinking excessively but that was my excuse; I’ll be done when I graduate.
I graduated, kept on drinking and then I enrolled in hair school, cosmetology school. I was older because I had already gone to college. A lot of them are like really young, I mean really young and I was like twenty-three, twenty-four. A lot of them were eighteen, right out of highschool but there were some around twenty-one, twenty-two and we would go out drinking. You know, you get a lot of these eccentric people together and it gets sort of crazy. Crazy times!
It was bad. It was kind of a dark time in my life and then when I finished cosmetology school, I got my first job in a salon and I just was kind of a mess.
My bosses were two women that owned that salon and they were just wonderful and I just feel like I really did not give them all that I could have because I had so much going on behind the scenes.
We like to think that we’re hiding it well. Although people knew I was drinking, I don’t think they knew to what degree I was drinking. And then Mike, my now husband, we had met at Bowling Green and kind of reconnected on FaceBook at this time and he said, “Well, I’m living out in Jamestown, North Dakota. You should come visit me.” And I said, “Oh God...well, what’s out there? I don’t know.” (laughing)
But I was single and I was kind of on this kick of traveling a lot and I thought why else would I ever go out there, so sure, I’ll come out.
So, I booked a flight out there. Three weeks later, I was there which kind of started this romance for he and I and within nine months, I was moving there.
But my troubles followed.
They followed me and I was still drinking. My drinking just lead to so many fights with he and I. So many problems and I ended up coming back to Ohio for about a month. I didn’t think I could hang in Jamestown. You know, it’s...I’ve got to say, I don’t know if you’re from North Dakota-?
K: No, I’m from Illinois.
KD: Okay. I have such a love and respect for North Dakota now. I really, really do. I tell Mike all the time I would move back there in a heartbeat. But it is different. When I was born and raised in New Jersey, lived in Columbus, Ohio which is a major city, you know...coming to the rural...I mean, we lived out in the country, too. We were like five miles out of town on a gravel road. I don’t know what I was doing. I had no idea.
And then couple that with drinking all the time so I left for a little while and I came back. That was a hard choice to come back. I had family saying, “Don’t go back. North Dakota’s not you.” And my husband was really good about letting me make up my own mind. I even told him, “Why aren’t you begging me to come back?!”
He said, “I want you to make your own choice. I want you here but I don’t want you to come back because I’m begging you to.” So I came back and within a week, I was just drunk all over the place again. I woke up one morning so hungover at my house and I’d been out with a girlfriend so I was like, “Where’s my truck? How did I get here?” And he said, “You don’t remember?” and I said no. That was typical, you know?
And he said, “Well, it’s a good thing. You like a girl.”
And I said, “I hit you?!”
He said I had a couple times and I had never done anything like that before. I mean, I had gotten several under ages, I’d been thrown in the drunk tank, I had legal things I had dealt with but I had never hit anyone. And now here I’ve moved all the way back here for the second time and within a week I’m so drunk that I hit him.
So I just said, “This is it. I can’t stand myself anymore. I cannot stand myself. I am the reason for all of my problems.”
I called a family member who had been through AA and they just encouraged me to start finding some meetings. It took me about three weeks to actually do it but I did and that started my journey into recovery was getting into the twelve step program and really working it.
K: So, can you tell me how long ago that was?
KD: When I very first went in, oh, let me think...it had to have been...I think it was about 2011. I had a couple of slips, though. I relapsed like three times and after that third time, that was January 29th of 2012 so coming up here on the 29th I’ll have seven years of sobriety.
K: Oh, my gosh. That’s awesome!
KD: Yeah. Seven’s my lucky number.
K: That’s so great. Thank you so much for sharing so open and honestly. I mean, you can hear the emotion as you’re going through your story and it’s not easy to be vulnerable and to share that but your story’s so impactful and I feel like it’s really going to help a lot of people. And I’ve noticed on your social media you’re pretty open and honest with others as well. Do you find that that’s a great way to be able to connect with people? I mean, I know art is like your main thing but it seems like you’ve really been able to help a lot of people with their sobriety so I’m curious to hear your thoughts on that.
KD: Yeah. My sobriety on Instagram is huge to me and I started my recovery account on there back before I think I started with the artwork and I decided to start this recovery Instagram and just share my story.
At first, I didn’t have any pictures of myself. I was trying to remain anonymous on there because I was in AA, you know? And the whole thing is anonymity or whatever. You never really know how people are going to react.
At that point I had like three and a half years of sobriety and even though that might seem like a long time, I say all the time that you’re still pretty sick for a while. It’s not just about putting the plug in the jug. For me, I had to have a total personality rehaul. I had to work the steps, I had to figure out why I reacted to life the way that I did and why my coping mechanism was really with really everything that I needed, I would turn to alcohol for. And so I really gave you a brief synopsis of what lead me there but on my Instagram, I do share like snippets of where I'll kind of go back in time or whatever and really in this frame of mind now where I don’t really like looking back in the past too much. I mean, I do because I think we need to remind ourselves to remember where we were so we don’t return. But I don’t get into like these really heavy stories about a certain party or you know, something in particular that happened because I think that ife we’re in AA or we’re thinking about getting into AA, we know how to drink. We know. And it’s kind of about like, “How did this change my life, though? What has AA done for me?”
Or just recovery in general. There’s so many different recovery programs, not just one way.
Definitely, if anybody’s out there thinking about it and maybe wants a little more into my story, you can definitely find it there on my Instagram and I can share later too where that link it.
K: Again, I just have to say thank you so much. That was so beautiful and I was near tears the whole time you were speaking, to be honest because it’s just...it is absolutely beautiful the way that you’ve been able to transform your life. I mean, that’s you that’s made that effort, you know what I mean? Yes. there’s people along the road that have been supportive. Your husband sounds fantastic by the way, so I’m glad you came back.
KD: Yeah, yeah. He is.
K: But, it’s great that you took those steps because truly only you can do that, you know? So I just love that so much. Thank you for sharing. Have you always been able, I know you talked a bit about in the beginning it’s hard with AA to be quite to open and honest but what about with family or even friends.
KD: It can be hard, sometimes. Especially...you know, I have been really fortunate in my family and my close friends who have been very understanding and supportive. Some people have definitely fallen by the wayside and that’s okay, because not everybody’s going to get it and everybody has their own journey and for me, I needed to stop. But I know i have friend or even other family members really struggle because their family really doesn’t get it and they’re still just not maybe respectful is the right word. Um, not realizing that posting pictures of their evening cocktail on their FaceBook when their child is in rehab maybe isn’t making their child feel very good.
I don’t want to tell somebody how they should be acting. That’s their life, that’s their path but from my experience, my family has been 100% supportive. They were there in the trenches. They know how bad it was so they were just happy I wasn’t dying and trying to get better. I have friend that I have been friends with since highschool. My friend Kristy’s a big one. We went through a lot together and she is just so supportive. She’s so respectful when she’s with me and you know, it’s really not a big deal for me now if I go out with friends and they’re ordering a glass of wine or if my husband wants to get beer with his dinner which is very rare but that’s not a big deal to me anymore. To me that’s a total lifestyle change. It’s just something I don’t do. I don’t drink. So, I have been very fortunate, I have to say, in that.
But like I said, we did...and my husband too, he lost a couple of friends and I really have to give him credit because he really stood by me. One thing I do want to mention to say when you kind of mentioned him before is that morning, when I woke up and he was telling me what had happened the night before, he went off to work and I called this family member and said, “I need to stop. What do I do? I don’t know what to do.”
I actually called Mike at work and said, “Listen, I have to stop.I have decided.” And here I was afraid that in telling him this, he would say, “Well, then we have to end this. How are we not going to...how am I supposed to be with someone who’s not drinking?”
I was so afraid that he was going to end things and the first thing out of his mouth was, “What can I do to help?” And that’s when I just knew. Like, you are going to be the father of my children, for sure.
K: No doubt at that point. That is just beautiful and I’m sure that in some ways did you feel like that really lifted a lot of weight off your shoulders just talking to him and hearing that he was so supportive and like how can I help in this process?
KD: Yes. And that’s just another thing of just how fortunate I have been because I know that there a lot of people that even their spouses are just like, “Well...okay.” So I just feel very blessed and I’m just so grateful to him and all of my family and friends that have been there and helped me through this.
K: Absolutely. Do you have any thoughts on what you would say for somebody who maybe doesn't have that support like many any recommendations? I know we talked a little bit about AA earlier but any other ways that people can get connected with people that can be supportive for them?
KD: You know, there is so many online recovery things now. I couldn’t name any for you off the top of my head but they’re out there if people are apprehensive about going to AA and aren’t sure that’s something they want to do. I will say I firmly believe that someone early in sobriety and recovery probably should be in some sort of a group or some kind of community because in that beginning, we just feel so alone in this and going and being around people who have been through it, who are going through it at the same time, I think that’s crucial. I have so many people on Instagram that will message me that have one, two, three days sobriety and they’re reading my story or any number...there are so many recovery accounts, you know, on Instagram. It’s such a good community on there. And I have since actually started a FaceBook group called “Mom’s Who Don’t Drink” because I wanted something...I just started it like a month ago. I wanted something specifically for moms because I think there is something about this mom culture with drinking and I think a lot goes on undercover. And so even in that group, I thought like a lot of old timers and stuff were going to join this group and no, it’s a lot of women that are like, “Today is my first day. My kids are running around screaming. I have a headache. What do I do?”
To see the outpouring from other women in that group, I mean it really touches me and so I think just find that community, you know? Whether you’re a mom or whatever, if you’re nineteen or not even of the legal drinking age because there are plenty of people that I’ve met in AA that got sober at like eighteen-nineteen years old so just finding that. I think that’s so important that you know you’re not alone in this, because you’re not. You’re absolutely not alone.
K: I’m so glad that you shared that. Thank you. One thing about the Instagram too that I won't say I’m new-new but newer to Instagram and what I love is their feature where you can do a hashtag and then like #recovery or whatever you want to put and you can do a search and it pops up like different things from different people and I have found a lot of people that I like to follow searching various hashtags and being like, “Oh, that seems interesting.” That’s a good way to just lump it all together or most of it together, you know? So it’s an easy way to find that.
But I love that you’re starting that group and able to provide some additional support for sure.
So, can you talk a little bit about how your creativity has helped you through this process. I know we went through your art journey but I wonder if you can kind of incorporate for us where some of that kind of came into play for you.
KD: Well, I think being a creative person, my brain is always going and I think that is sort of why I drank so much to kind of tame that down and that’s why it’s so important for me to have these outlets. I’m a person of extremes. I think a lot of people in recovery might say that. I’m very black and white so if I’m all in, then I’m all in. So that is sort of how even the YouTube channel developed. It’s not enough now that I’m making this artwork, now I have to make this and this and this and this. But I think definitely for me I have to be staying busy. And it has to be positive things and I really have to watch with the moderation. Like okay, I’ve been working on this art for a couple hours, I need to make sure I’m doing the things around the house I need to do. Definitely it’s a moderation thing.
I don’t know if that really answered your question or not.
K: No, I think that it did! And I’m glad that you mentioned that about moderation. I, myself, am actually very much all in or I’m not so I can identify with that in so many ways and I was actually talking with Marni about how a lot of times I think that people when they are creative have a really great imaginations and are really able to see such big pictures that it becomes really overwhelming at times. I wonder if that’s - this is not scientific by any means - but I wonder if that’s a portion not just for addiction but anxiety, depression in general because there’s just so much going on through your mind when you’re able to be creative like that, you know?
KD: Well, and I think that I kind of talked about this earlier but that’s where that kind of being present comes in and really just focusing on what I’m doing. Like sometimes, yes, I’ll have certain podcasts or an audiobook playing in the background but I’m really kind of into what I’m doing and instead of being a million different places so even though I’m creating and I’m doing something and it maybe looks like I’m really busy, I’m actually just kind of pacing myself and in that meditative, calming space for me and I think everybody just has their own thing with that.
K: Absolutely. Can you talk a little bit about how you remind yourself to be present? Are there ever times like where you try to be but you’re just really not one hundred percent connected with what’s going on?
KD: Oh yeah. I think as a mom, as a stay-at-home-mom, there’s a lot of nights where I don’t get a lot of sleep and now I’ve got one running around and I’ve got to do this and it’s like I’m just very tired and I want to maybe be doing this and I want to be laying down and I’m maybe a little bit more irritable and I think there’s a saying that I’ve heard in the rooms and it’s, “Be where your hands are.” Like where am I right now? This is where I am. I just started doing the course on Miracles, daily lessons for the year and I know I’ve got Marni doing it and my sister-in-law, they’re doing it with me too and so much of the course is just talking about the present and how the past is just like a dream. It doesn’t exist anymore and so many people live there and so many people base their future on their past experience because their past is what they feel like they know so they’re kind of basing future experiences off of what happened to them in the past when all their is is right now.
My first sponsor told me all the time, “Don’t borrow trouble. You’re worrying about stuff that hasn’t even happened. You’re stressing this, you’re stressing that. Be where your hands are.”
I’ve posted that a couple of times on my Instagram and it’s just a good remind of, “Where am I right now? What’s happening right now? It’s ten in the morning, I’ve got one kid on the bus and one is here with me and she wants me to play with her so I’m not going to worry about something else that’s going on or you know, I’m just going to be right here, right now.
K: I love that. Oh my goodness. Can you say one more time what it is that you’re doing? I didn’t catch the name of that.
KD: Oh, it’s a Course in Miracles.
K: Okay, Course in Miracles - just in case anyone wants to check that out because it sounds really great. And I love that; Don’t borrow trouble. I really like that as well because I think a lot of times that we do. We really do. Anticipation I often think is most of the time it's wasted energy, truly. It never ends up the way we think it is, right? It’s never going to be exactly how we imagined so that can be definitely challenging.
KD: And it’s a lot of energy. I know at the end of the day if I had a bad day or something happened and I’m just really wound up, I’m exhausted. And I didn’t even do anything! I was just all in a tizzy and then this next day it totally fixed itself and it’s like I just wasted a whole day! That has definitely been something huge in my recovery. I say this a lot to my Instagramers. There’s a difference between sobriety and recovery and I think I said that earlier. It’s not just about putting a plug in the jug or putting the bottle down. I really needed an overhaul because like you said earlier too, I had a lot of anxiety and depression and I have a very active mind and I would use the alcohol to numb that. Well, now you take the alcohol away, what do you do? How do you cope?
And so a twelve step program has really given me the tools to figure out how to live life, you know? And having the community there on Instagram, the fellowship and that has been crucial because I do think a lot of people self-medicate in that way.
K: You know, I used to work with an addiction counselor and she was super fantastic and she said she believes everybody has an addiction. It’s just different addictions. So for some people it might be alcohol, it may be drugs, it may be food, technology, video games, whatever it is but everybody has some type of way that they cope and numb themselves.
If you think about it like that I think it puts it in a different mindframe for people when they’re trying to understand recovery and understand sobriety. You said when you think about that that we all can be affected by that and we all very likely are and even if someone's not willing to say that they’re addicted to something, it’s probably there.
KD: Right. Well, I say all the time I think everyone could benefit from working the twelve steps because it just teaches you how to be a good person, how to look at your own motives and why are you acting this way? One of them is “Where do I need to make amends? Did I hurt someone today?”
I think the world would be a better place if we were looking at our own actions. Why am I doing this, you know? Do I need to apologize to somebody for what I did today?
K: I think there’s so much respect that just comes with owning our shit too, you know? Like if you do treat someone poorly or you make a decision that we don’t love, be able to just say it I think takes the power away from it. I think that can be extremely impactful in our lives.
YOu know, I’m wondering if we can talk a little bit about your YouTube channel because those videos are so fun to watch, by the way.
KD: I’m glad someone likes them! (laughing)
K: I do! To be able to see it come together, I’m just curious, when you’re doing this, do you know what color you’re going to do where or what you’re going to put where or are you just going with like whatever feels right in the moment?
KD: It’s definitely become more of a thought out process as I have developed. I used to just kind of do like wooo, I’m just going to willy-nilly but no, again because I’m doing this showing up and honoring my art and wanting to kind of let it kind of flow out of me sort of thing and not just be willy-nilly, take it a little more seriously, I do. I do plan things out a little bit now before hand and that helps I think the artwork turn out a little bit better as well. You know the art video recording, what happened initially was I was doing this acrylic pouring and that is a very tricky art form. It’s like very popular right now, it’s very trendy and there’s so many things that you kind of have to get right. I have my own pouring medium recipe that I’ve created, there’s different ones out there and I kind of developed that again over time and your water ratios and your silicone ratios. What I started doing was I started recording myself so I would remember what I’m doing and then I was like, “Well, I watch all these other YouTubers and I’m recording myself anyway and now I feel like I’ve kind of maybe got this down a little bit so maybe I’ll start my own YouTube channel.” And it really is kind of neat and fulfilling for me to go back and watch the process. When you’re asking about creativity in other ways and you can probably vouch for this too with just your podcast editing, it’s a very creative thing editing the videos and adding music and putting it all together so that’s kind of a creative outlet for me as well. I love, I do love making the videos a lot.
K: That’s great! You know, I was thinking about that as well before our conversation, just the podcast. If you had asked me four or five years ago if I was creative I would say no. I really would have. But now that I have started looking at my life, I realize that there are so many ways that I’m creative and maybe it doesn’t have to be necessarily tend to be something that’s like artwork, it’s not like singing or writing music but even like my thought process and ability to problem solve and the podcast, even working with clients I feel is a really creative process as well. And so I think there’s probably a bit of creativity in all of us, it’s just a matter of like acknowledging it and mastering it.
KD: I agree. I had a lot of people, clients when I was doing hair and I was sort of making these like hair pieces that were not very good initially but I was making them because it was just something I was trying at the time and people would say, “Oh, you’re so creative,” It kind of shocked me because I never felt that way about myself. I never looked at it that way. And then they would follow it up with, “I’m not creative at all” and I just thought, “Yeah you are!” That sounded wrong. I feel like everybody is and it’s just a matter of finding what it is for you. I mean, mines changing all the time. Like I said, I think I upset some people because my outlet has sort of changed so I think it’s just a matter of finding it.
K: I would agree. But I think it’s great that you’re not letting that hold you back because at the end of the day, we have to be true to ourselves. I mean, we don’t have to but it’s helpful to be true to ourselves and be true to what we need in that moment and if that doesn’t fit for someone else, that’s okay. We all have choices so we can all decide to move on to someone that really aligns more with what we’re wanting in that moment but to kind of just stifle yourself just to meet somebody else’s requirements would just be exhausting and not beneficial at all. I would think that would take like creativity away, don’t you think?
KD: It would. And I think that talking about like zapping that energy and bringing you down I think would be a very stressful situation so you know, yeah it is kind of like ripping the bandaid off at first but I think it’s better than stifling yourself and sacrificing yourself.
K: Absolutely. So, is there anything that you really wish that we haven’t discussed already that other people really knew or ways that they would be able to show up for people that are dealing with addiction and recovery?
KD: I think just being there for them. And being interested, you know? Genuinely showing emotion and caring for that person and what they’re going through. There’s a new podcast that just started called, “Recover Everything” and they don’t have a ton of episodes. They’re pretty new. From what I understand, one of the hosts is someone who is close to them that’s going through this and he had no idea about it so he wanted to start a podcast to sort of find out more. I hope that’s correct and I’m not totally out of line here. I’m pretty sure that’s what it is. But I just thought, “Wow! What a way to sort of show up for that person.”
Not that everyone has to create a podcast or anything but you know like one thing that my husband did was he went to ALANON a couple times, he came to open AA meetings. Be respectful around them because in that early sobriety, it was really hard for me to be around other people drinking. It was. It’s not anymore necessarily but it really was in the beginning. So I think just being respectful of that and just showing interest in them and wow, are you okay? Like my husband...what can I do to help? That was the perfect thing for me right at that moment and it just blew me away because I was totally expecting something else.
Just be there and be supportive. You know, one thing I always say too is that for people who maybe are out there struggling is that there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of if you think you’re struggling with this.
I think that's why you’re seeing so many people showing up now on Instagram and coming out not being anonymous. I feel like staying quiet is hurting people. I have friends who have died from this and I have regretted maybe not reaching out to them or making it more known that I was in recovery incase they wanted help or had questions, you know what I mean?
And I just read something on Instagram the other day that said “Recovery is a choice. Addiction isn’t.” And I just wish people would realize that; that when someone is an addict, they’re in a very dark place, you know? I don’t think anyone really wants to be there but they don’t know how to get out of it.
K: I often, if clients are talking about things and they maybe have some shame surrounding it, I’ll say, “But did you raise your hand and say ‘I want this’?” No. Nobody is going to sign up for that. Nobody is. Whether it’s addiction or abuse or whatever that might be, we don't’ raise our hand and say “Yup, I want to take that. I want to deal with that in our lives.”
Unfortunately sometimes it may just be the hand that we’re dealt and we get to determine how we work through that really. But I’m glad that you brought that up. I think that will be really helpful for people.
I’m wondering as we wrap this up, I have a few questions that I ask everyone so are you okay if I ask you those?
K: Alright. Are you familiar with Brene Brown?
KD: I’m not.
K: She’s fantastic. I know people listening to this podcast are probably like, “Enough about her!” but she is so great! She’s a social worker and she really got her start with researching shame and vulnerability which is how I first got interested in here. She has this book called, “Braving the Wilderness” and so an essential summary of it is it talks about stepping out into the wilderness alone and scared and just not really knowing where you’re going but along the way you find your journey and maybe even find other people in the wilderness. So I’m wondering if you could identify a time in your life where you felt like you were stepping out into that wilderness.
KD: I think definitely for sure stepping into the recovery process. Like I said, you can feel totally alone, even in a room full of people saying, “I’ve been there. I’m right there with you.” It can just feel so isolating and because in a lot of instances, people have to change their entire lives. Some people have to change where they work. Things like that. I think for me, in braving the wilderness, it was something that was very scary and very daunting and I had no idea what was going to come but I just knew that where I was, I couldn’t stay anymore. And it was either brave this wilderness, or die. There are people in your life. So, I would do it a hundred times again if I had to because this life is so much better. I heard this in the rooms once too. I had the chance to live two lifetimes. I prefer the second to the first but not before the first. So, I just think this is a journey. People say, “This is a journey” and they mean it. It’s life. There’s ups and downs. Just because I stopped drinking doesn’t mean I have a perfect life but oh my gosh, it’s nearly there and I think because I can have that appreciation and that gratitude that i work for daily.
That’s not just something I wake up with and it’s there. I say I choose joy today. It’s like in a marriage when you get up and you choose your partner. I believe that’s an absolute. And I’m choosing joy today.
I would say for sure that; it would be the recovery process.
K: That makes so much sense. The reason I ask this question and what I love hearing from people is that we’ve all been through various things and I don’t like to ever compare so I just always say various things that are challenging for us and we did have to step out into that wilderness but what i love is as we work through that and as we get through it, there has not been one single person who has regretted that and that is just so amazing to be able to see the impact that making some really scary steps and really feeling very alone but still moving forward to see that change in our life is amazing so I really appreciate you saying that.
Since the podcast is called Kelly and the Encouragers, I’m just curious….who are your biggest encouragers in life?
KD: Well, of course I’ve already mentioned him, my wonderful husband Mike. I will come at him with some crazy ideas sometimes and he is just right there with me on things and even in my artwork I mean, he cuts my boards and stuff for me. He is just so supportive of that.
Of course my parents, over the years, have always been there for me. My brother and sister are very very encouraging and supportive. I just love them so much.
You know my best friend, Marnie. She...I just love her to death. I am so grateful that I have that woman in my life. She’s kind of like Mike where when I come up with these off the walls ideas she’s like, “Oh yeah? Okay!” So encouraging! Not like, “Katharine, I don’t know. Pump the breaks.” She’s like, “Yeah! Alright, how are we going to do this?” She is just wonderful. A couple other people I just want to mention is I have a friend Aaron who I met down in Raleigh, North Carolina and he has been so supportive of my artwork and he has encouraged me to do things like going to local shops and asking them if they want to feature my art. I was so afraid to do that. I was so afraid. But I want to tell Aaron that I did that and it’s been going really well and I want to thank him for telling me to do that.
There are a couple people who have followed my channel from the beginning and are in the FaceBook group for my channel and that’s Maggie, Tammy and Kirk. They are huge supporters of mine and I am just so grateful for them. We all have our days where we’re just like, “I’m done. I’m done doing this.” And they will somehow, they don’t even know and I’ll just get a message from them, “I love your latest piece!” or whatever. It’s just amazing, their timing.
And I just want to say to anyone whos ever bought a painting and anyone who’s ever given a compliment or nice word on social media about it because it really never gets old. I’m in my fourth year of selling my artwork and every time my phone chimes saying somebody bought something it is just like Christmas morning.
Anyone whos ever bought a piece, I thank you so much. I really means the world. I don’t know if people really realize, as artists, there’s really kind of a little part of us in that work, you know? I just shipped out one the other day; this big blue one that I call my Okas. This lovely woman just received it and I had to say a little goodbye as I send it off. So just a big thank you to them.
K: How cool is that though, truly that little piece of you is able to go out there really and bless other people's lives and just even be able to brighten someone's life.
Truly I know for my office I spend a lot of time here and i Just like to look at pretty things. So I got pretty things hung up. It just makes you feel good to be able to be surrounded by beautiful pieces of art or you know I have pictures from some kiddos that I work with or whatever it might be - it just feels good to have that piece there. I love that perspective for sure.
KD: And I think sometimes when I sit back and think about it, I have sent pieces to Germany. I have people all the time to Canada. I was making shirts at one point and I sent some to Sweden and I think about that. Sometimes I just sit back and I think, “There is no way that i would be able to do any of this if I was still drinking.”
All of this is due to my sobriety and recovery and when I think about that I think sometimes we can feel so small, you know? And when I sit back and think, “A piece of my artwork is in Germany right now, living there!” It’s just amazing and it blows my mind and it really just fills me with gratitude.
K: I love that. I had read an author, Andy Andrews, and I cannot think for the life of me which one of his books it is but I have been very fascinated with this idea. He takes historical events and he will run through it and say, “Why did this occur? Was it because of this? Well no, it was this person's decision.” And then he goes all through their decision. Then he goes, “But was it really that or did this person’s decision?” And then he runs all through that. It’s kidn of neat to see how everyone is so entwined because truly, making that painting, sending that to Germany, now a family or person owns that, right? So now that’s going to be passed onto someone at some point and who knows where it might lead. How cool is it to know that impact that you might have?
I just think that a lot of times when we do feel lonely, I don’t think we realize how much our choices and our interactions really matter to the world, because they do.
KD: I agree.
K: Can you tell us, I know we talked a little bit about the YouTube channel but where can people find it? What’s it called and where can they find that information about you?
KD: Sure, well let me...I will mention first my recovery stuff in case anyone wants to find that so I’m on Instagram at _ownselfbetrue_ and then I did just start that group, Mom’s that Don’t Drink, and so that’s not just like for AA people. It’s for anyone. Mothers, I should say, not just anyone, but mothers who are trying to live in sobriety who are curious about it, etcetera. That’s the FaceBook group.
And it’s funny, when you start to put in “Mom’s who don’t drink” if it’s not exactly spelled correctly, you will get a million groups of mom’s who do drink. (laughing)
K: Oh, I bet. If I could mention this real quick, all of those memes are just like really ridiculous. Sorry if anyone likes them but they are really ridiculos. Like it’s not healthy to promote that but it’s just not funny. It’s intended to be funny and that’s not really, and I probably sound like a Debbie Downer here but that just really impacts peoples lives a lot and I can get on board with a lot of things being funny. I love comedy. That is not funny to me. That is just dumb.
KD: Are you referring to the mom’s that are like drinking?
K: OH yeah, yeah. Like mom can’t deal with a toddler today, I’m going to take a drink or whatever. It just feels rude, to be honest. It just feels rude and not supportive. I kind of got on my soap box a little bit there; my apologies.
KD: It can be. And that’s sort of why I started my group. I was thinking about possibly starting a podcast about it because I really think it’s normalized. It’s looked at as a reward and it’s not a reward. It’s a poison and are you really helping yourself and your chlidren by doing this? But I think it is sort of this culture and I think there are a lot of women or mom’s kind of suffering and they’re at home all day. I think it’s very kind of hidden away.
And don’t get me wrong, I know we have an opiate crisis and all that but I think we have this thing we’re not talking about that needs to be talked about.
Okay, so my art stuff, if anybody wants to come find me on YouTube, it’s Dryer Days Art Studio. I think you can just type in Dryer Days and it should come up but the full name is Dryer Days Art Studio. On Instagram I have a Dryer Days as well. It’s just DryerDays on Instagram and then you can find it on FaceBook too. The FaceBook one is mostly just business so it’s just like pieces for sale.
K: We’ll link to all of that on the website too so if anyone wasn’t able to get that all written down or has any difficulty finding that, then we’ll just have all those links so it should be pretty easy for listeners to able to access that.
I look forward to watching more of your videos and getting a piece of art. I’ve been looking at them like, “Which one do I want?!” and I’m really excited about that because they are just so beautiful.
KD: Well thank you. I’m making a bunch right now because I have a Women’s Health expo that I’m doing in February. Yeah, there’s a whole community of holistic healthcare in the Greater Cincinnati area so there’s a Western Ohio Women’s Health Expo February 16th in Westchester, Ohio and they asked me, actually, if I would have a booth there so I’m going to be all set up. Right now I’m kind of on overdrive making pieces for that so I might not be posting a whole lot of stuff for sale until that’s over because I just posted one the other day that I was going to take with me and someone bought it. (laughing) Like I need to be upping my inventory for the expo. But I will after that probably have a lot more up for sale and ready to go.
And I do, like I said, do custom work too so you know, if you have colors or an idea of something you want, I’m definitely open for that and you can contact me through direct messaging on my Dryer Days or you can send me a message on messenger sometimes on FaceBook but I don’t seem to get that.
K: You know, FaceBook has some issues sometimes.
KD: Yeah. Life if I’m not friend with the person, the message wont show up whereas I check my messages on Instagram numerous times a day.
K: I’m really loving Instagram a lot more than FaceBook these days although FaceBook owns Instagram apparently?
KD: They do.
K: Yeah, they do so we’ll see how it goes but I do think that in a lot of ways Instagram is just a lot easier to reach people. I know for me even when I’m reaching out to people, it’s just an easier way a lot of times.
Well, great! Thank you so much, Katharine for being here today.
KD: Thank you!
K: It was great to hear form you and to hear you share your story. I just really appreciate it.
KD: Well, thank you Kelly, so much. I’m really honored. I listen to podcasts all the time and so does my sister. I was like, “I’m going to be on one!” So I am just so excited. And I do want to tell you, I think you’re doing a great job. I listened to Marnie’s of course and I’ve listened to a few of the other episodes since then and I just think you’re doing a great job so just thank you for what you’re doing, too.
K: Oh, thank you! I really appreciate that feedback!
KD: We need more positivity in the world!
K: Yeah! Yeah, I would absolutely agree with that and it’s just really neat to be able to see and quite honestly I feel really honored to be able to connect to people, with listeners. It’s been fun to hear that feedback that a guest maybe even just said one phrase in there that really caught someone's attention and completely changed their mindset and that’s just been so cool to see. It’s been such a fun process.
K: Well, thank you so much.
Contact Information for Katharine D.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/dryerdays/
FaceBook Group for Moms: https://www.facebook.com/groups/794213120911490/
YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrMYoJSCzdgl-P_VTh3hBRw