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Southborough resident turns addiction into action

By Valerie Franchi, Contributing Writer

Danielle Boland Photo/submitted

Danielle Boland
Photo/submitted

Southborough – Southborough resident Danielle Boland was a successful sales director in the high-tech industry, when a couple of years ago, she decided to completely change her life and her career.

It wasn’t a choice, Boland said, but a necessity.

“I would go to the bar after work or take clients out for drinks and that was how I justified that I wasn’t so bad,” she recalled. “I had spent my life making sure everything looked great from the outside, becoming what I thought you wanted me to be instead of really loving myself and being true to who I really was.”

In school, she was an athlete, class president and president of the National Honor Society – a typical overachiever. With her success in school, a happy marriage and skyrocketing career, “many people are surprised when I tell them I was unable to stop drinking alcohol on my own and that I loved drugs,” Boland said. “After two years of trying to quit and not wanting to surrender, I was lying in bed one night at the height of my career, still feeling empty inside and thought, ‘This can’t be it, there has to be more to life.’”

In 2013, she made the courageous decision to check herself into a 30-day treatment center.

“I fought to get into a residential treatment program and it was the best decision I ever made,” she said.

After treatment, Boland was “anxious to return back to the work that defined me,” but was told that her position had eliminated. In addition, she was deemed not a risk to herself or others – despite a history of drunk driving – so her insurance company refused to help with her $14,000 treatment bill.

She spent a year fighting insurance companies and speaking at the Massachusetts Statehouse, “letting them know how damaging the insurance companies were to people trying to get well.” She also became the first Massachusetts Chapter Leader of Young People in Recovery.

Most importantly, during that time, she took a journey of self-development.

“Looking back I now understand what a gift it was to have every last outside thing that defined me taken away,” she noted. “It left me no other option than to learn who I really was.”

Boland invested her savings into rebuilding “a solid foundation for life,” even selling her car to enroll in a life-coaching program.

“Once I made the decision to get sober and focus on my recovery, there was no turning back,” she said. “I knew I had to do it so I fought for it.”

She became a certified master recovery coach by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC); a professional member of the National Association for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors; and a member of the Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery.

“I began doing what I was destined for all along – helping others find their real, true and authentic selves,” Boland said.

She began working as a sober companion and eventually decided to open her own company to connect those with addiction struggles and their families with coaches. Real You Revolution opened in July and currently has four NAADAC certified coaches on staff.

“We want to be the premiere resourcing agency in New England,” Boland said. “Coaching services are not a new concept, but the more resources people have the better off they will be.”

Boland noted that Real You Revolution differs from a traditional therapist is that “clients can call or text their coaches 24/7,” she said, and that the coaches have all battled their own addictions.

“I couldn’t do this without experiencing it,” she said. “I cannot control others so I choose to be a power of example.”

Boland was recently the Massachusetts organizer for the national “I Am Not Anonymous” project, a photo shoot in which local residents share their stories of addiction and recovery.

According to Boland, there are millions of people who never seek help or may not even realize they have a problem.

“Addiction is anything we continue to do despite negative consequences,” Boland noted. Besides drugs and alcohol, these can include work, food, sex, exercise, parenting or even cleaning.

Boland is certainly trying to lead by example. She is enjoying a fulfilling life with her husband Matthew, a firefighter in Ashland, and their Golden Retriever Nico. She loves being an aunt and hopes to eventually have a family of her own.

“I meditate and read daily, and love taking care of my body by eating a balanced diet and working out through running, lifting, yoga and CrossFit,” she said.
She is focused on helping others but does not forget her own needs.

“Just because I do this for a living I cannot forget that my own recovery must always come first,” she emphasized. “Instead of helping and pleasing everyone else, I work on and love myself first.”

 

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=58606

Posted by on Jan 29 2015. Filed under Byline Stories, People and Places, Southborough. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

3 Comments for “Southborough resident turns addiction into action”

  1. Patience Sanchez

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story and for the great advice on self care for those in recovery!

  2. I just loved reading this article about how you found your true “authentic” self. I am so happy for you and appreciate that your are giving back to others. I had the pleasure of meeting and going on a safari with Martha Beck, who is also a life coach. That experience has begun to nudge me in a different direction and I am excited to see where it will take me. I also saw the ” I am not Anonymous” and thought how wonderful it would be to show that in every high school and recovery center in the USA.

  3. Fabulous write up for you Danielle, well done on your accepting the challenge to be sober & following through with such a helpful way to others, while maintaining “yourself first”. I’m a substance abuse counselor here in Weymouth after spending 18 years as a jeweler in Boston. The need is so great for addicts to get help, esp. the young ones. I did my share of “Rabble-Rousing” in my younger days & decided to reject all substances from life. Now I have been through years of researching in my own little office, conducting groups in treatment centers. I love what you’ve done with your efforts in forming “Real You Revolution”. I’m sure your helping many, while keeping your own composure of sobriety. I’m seeing in Massachusetts a significan amount of efforts by higher ups, including senator, mayors & Norfolk county sheriff dept to creat a diversion program to favor treatment over jail. Thanks for sharing your tremendous example of proof that this disorder of addiction can be dealt with successfully. Sincerely LaneCash

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