Published March 7, 2022
Raised in Watertown, SD, Aubrey grew up in a family-oriented environment.
“That’s what I love about South Dakota and the Midwest in general – even in cities like Sioux Falls you still see the family values and morals I was raised with,” she said.
Aubrey joined the Face It TOGETHER team as a peer coach in summer of 2021. She loves having a job that gives her a purpose.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do, but any other job I’ve seen like it has required a master’s degree,” she said. “As a coach, I get to tell people, ‘I’ve been there. You’re not alone.’”
Aubrey’s challenges with alcohol started in high school, when she started looking for acceptance in a new group of friends. After nearly not graduating as a result of partying, she started a 10-year exotic dancing career.
“When I was in that time of my life, I was seeking acceptance and validation. Validation that I was beautiful, that I was able to be the life of the party, to be confident and funny, to have lots of money and luxurious things,” she said. “That’s what I thought being successful was and that’s who I thought I was when I was drinking.”
Though she was apprehensive about sharing that part of her life in the past, Aubrey said it was a big part of her journey and hopes her experiences will help others feel comfortable reaching out.
“Seeing the relief in people’s eyes when I share some of the messy, ugly things from my past – it makes those times worth it,” she said.
After experiencing panic attacks and increasingly worse anxiety after drinking, Aubrey knew she needed to make a change.
“I got to the point where I couldn’t take the anxiety anymore. It was horrible,” she said. “I wish I had known about Face It TOGETHER when I was in that place.”
Aubrey tried seeing a few different counselors to help her get well, but she didn’t find the peer connection she was looking for.
“They didn’t look or talk like someone I could relate to,” she said.
Today, as a peer coach, Aubrey loves seeing members walk out of her sessions feeling a little lighter.
“I’m able to use all those negative things from my past for good,” she said. “I’ve helped people find a strategy that helped them remain sober or well for longer than they have in the past. I see hope in members who had none when they started coaching.”
One of the most significant factors in Aubrey’s decision to get well was the realization that she was living outside of the values she grew up with. She experienced severe guilt and anxiety over things she said or did while under the influence.
“I realize now that by not honoring my values I was robbing myself of peace and keeping myself from truly living a full life,” she said. “I teach my kids by example now, which I wasn’t able to do while I was drinking. My values are what make me the person I want to be and they’re what I want to instill in my children.”