michelle smith

Michelle Smith | Recovery is the New Black

On today’s episode of Revitalized Womanhood, Gina welcomes Michelle Smith, who shares her inspiring road to recovery and empowers listeners with her experiences working in a penitentiary mental wellness developmental program. She advocates for maternal mental health, and debunks some of the most stigmatized aspects of substance abuse and sobriety in general. Gina shares her perspective, applying Michelle’s advice to her own experiences. The two discuss a range of topics from delegation and mom-shame to communication and counseling in an episode sure to enlighten listeners and stimulate their own definitions of recovery.

Connect with Michelle Smith on Instagram


"No matter what happens today, nothing requires a drink."

Michelle Smith

See the detailed show notes and timestamps below for more information.

On this episode:

(0:30) Gina introduces today’s guest, Michelle Smith who she met at a conference in Scottsdale who works in the penitentiary system specializing in the mental wellness development program.

(1:30) Michelle’s brand and account is “Recovery is the New Black”. Her website can be found here.

(2:20) Gina welcomes Michelle, who is here to talk about her journey to recovery and the upcoming excitement in her new book, Living Sober, Living Free.

(3:56) Michelle introduces herself; she has extensive experience working for the department of correction helping with people who struggle with substance abuse and mental health issues.

(4:20) Michelle describes some of the major life struggles she experienced which became the catalyst to her substance abuse.

(6:00) Examining your relationship with alcohol and normalizing recovery is what Michelle articulates as important factors in destigmatizing substance abuse before it gets out of hand.

(7:00) Gina talks about how sobriety’s normalization where she grew up in Utah, and the shame that comes with hiding substance abuse.

(8:00) Gina and Michelle discuss hitting rock bottom and how there isn’t always just one event that signifies a turning point, and how you don’t have to wait to hit rock bottom either before choosing to recover.

(10:15) Gina inquires about Michelle’s experience working with inmates. Michelle shares how she got into her career and what inspired her to start in her line of work.

(13:00) After Michelle’s initial description of her job, Gina shares how passionate Michelle becomes when talking about being able to empower and help the people she works with.

(14:30) A majority of the inmates Michelle works with do have motivation and desire to get better, Michelle shares.

(17:00) Michelle discusses the different programs in and out of the institutions that help inmates get back on track, including child support, parole and probation offices, support groups, and food stamps.

(20:20) Michelle shares specific examples of inmates she has worked with, and how they ended up institutionalized, including success stories and reiterating that this can happen to anyone.

(24:00) On the other hand, Gina and Michelle discuss the stigma around institutionalization having an opposing, negative impact on the inmate rather than a beneficial one.

(25:00) Addiction can happen to anyone, which Michelle explains as she discusses all the different types of people she has worked with as a counselor.

(28:00) Gina relates Michelle's discussion of substance abuse as a habit to her recent read, Atomic Habits by James Clear.

(29:00) Michelle explains the inspiration behind her new book, Living Sober, Living Free, which can be pre-ordered on her website, or at Target.

(31:30) Gina tells listeners about some of her own experiences with substance abuse.

(36:00) Michelle and Gina challenge vulnerability, addressing emotions like shame, anxiety and fear in regards to sobriety, motherhood, and life in general.

(39:40) When a substance stops being a choice, that is when it becomes an issue, Gina and Michelle reiterate.

(41:30) Michelle stresses the fragile relationship between alcohol and motherhood.

(44:30) Gina continues on the topic of motherhood with reiterating delegation, communication, and the topic of mom-shame.

(46:20) The stigma around counseling of all kinds is debunked by Gina and Michelle.

(49:50) Michelle talks about the money she began to save as she stopped spending anything on alcohol. Gina connects this to other frequent unnecessary expenses like Starbucks.

(51:30) Gina goes further on the topic of motherhood and setting a good example for her children in regards to smart financial choices and responsibility.

(54:10) Michelle reviews the differences between alcohol dependence and alcohol use disorder.

(57:00) Michelle gives listeners a sneak peak of her upcoming book, emphasizing empowerment and motivation.

(1:00:00) Creating boundaries, planning ahead and other tips are shared by Michelle in regards to maneuvering around social events while in recovery.

(1:04:00) Michelle’s free facebook group can be reached here. Living Sober, Living Free is released December 27th of this year.
(1:07:00) Gina and Michelle say goodbye, thanking each other for such an empowering conversation. Gina encourages listeners to visit Michelle’s website, and watch her Tedx Talk, seen here.



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