A Reimagined Path To Sobriety

We talked to Valentine Darling about their own experience using Tempest.

Flowers in the sunlight

Imagine a life free of alcohol. Free of the stress and anxiety that often comes with drinking. Imagine finding an online recovery program grounded in a holistic, evidence-based approach — one that is mindful of your mental health, physiology, relationships, environment, spirituality, and identity when addressing the root causes of alcohol use.

This is recovery, reimagined. 

This is Tempest

Tempest’s innovative and effective approach puts people at the center of their recovery, empowering members to seek treatment by reimagining their relationship with alcohol, and consequently, themselves.

This is Valentine Darling’s (they/them) honest testimonial on how they reached recovery with Tempest’s membership program.

How did your journey with alcohol use begin? 

"My journey with alcohol began around the same time I came out of the closet. I was 12 years old. This was also the first time I spoke up about the abuse I was enduring as a child. Drinking became a way for me to deal with these difficult experiences. I guess you could say that alcohol was my best friend, which really established my relationship with drinking for the next 20 years."

When did you begin to worry about your drinking?

"I started questioning my drinking when I was 23 years old. I had lost housing, my job, and school. Up until that point, I had been very indifferent about my drinking. To me, it was normal to blackout and have all this drama — that was part of living a fun life. But when I became homeless, I was finally willing to look at my life, and the role alcohol was playing in it. I had a therapist who recommended rehab, and I was open to that, as long as it was not 12-step based. 

I knew I wasn't going to be able to pray the alcohol away, because I was taught to try and pray the gay away as a child. I went to rehab. And even though it was not a 12-step program, the only aftercare available were 12-step meetings, and that wasn't accessible to me. I tried for five years to make it work while also being in and out of homelessness and moving around to different cities— thinking there would eventually be a community where it did work. But it never did."

What inspired you to confront your problem and reach out for help?

"At one point, I remember thinking I'd rather die a sad party death than to sit in a meeting and pretend that I believe in God and to think that this is going to work. I was 28 years old when I started having drunk suicide attempts. After a couple of those, I felt extremely unsafe, and my life — my mental health — was really suffering. 

So, I started looking for alternative ways to make recovery work. I went to meditation retreats, which allowed me to gain mindfulness skills to help with impulse control, and be able to hold onto my intentions and follow through. That was my wake-up call."

What led you to Tempest?

"I was trying to make recovery happen in a city that doesn't have many alternatives outside of AA, which was most cities at the time. I had tried doing what everyone else told me to do for years, and it just didn't work. Their way of recovery did not work for me. I realized that I had lost my internal compass. Then, one day, I finally said, I'm going to try and listen to myself — my heart, my mind. That's when I started letting my compass guide me, which led me to the things that helped me thrive, and eventually guided me to Tempest. Finally, I was able to just “be” for a second. 

Tempest allowed me to take a breath and heal. That’s when I realized I didn’t have to do this all by myself anymore. I came to Tempest thinking it was short-term, but it ended up being this incredible, empowering community with so many resources. Instead of being about sin and redemption, the curriculum was about honoring ourselves where we're at and locating the areas of our life that we might need to build up."

How did you integrate the program into your life?

"This was a space and a community that I'd always wanted, so I finally felt like I was exactly where I needed to be. I was around people I identified with, which enabled me to lean into and embrace my trans non-binary identity. I had a whole community of people that supported everything about me, not just my recovery. 

Tempest helped me see my vulnerabilities without judgement. The lessons taught me how to identify these areas and strengthen them so that I could go out into the world and know that I was less in danger of a slip or a relapse. I met so many incredible people who offered me a place within the community. I had a purpose, and I was honored and loved in that community. That did a lot for my recovery. It was something I had never felt before coming to Tempest."

How would you describe Tempest to a potential member?

"Tempest is a program that brings together all of the different theories of addiction and modern recovery wisdom, and then pairs it with an empowering framework that enables you to feel strong in the world. It helps you locate the areas in your life that make you vulnerable to addiction and gives you the tools to strengthen them. 

The membership itself is like a playground for sobriety. There are so many ways to meet other people. With Tempest, you connect and learn from others through meetings and monthly contact. And the best part? Coming together means we all benefit from so many different sources of wisdom. Plus, no one is ever just “doing Tempest.” We’re all bringing resources and tools to the community."

What’s next for you?

"Tempest helped me find my inner strength. It allowed me to see myself. And I now feel empowered to give back in a more significant way. I’ve created a resource called Recovery Disco. Right now, it's a podcast and website dedicated to helping people find recovery resources, but I want it to be so much more. I’m slowly growing it, but I’m also prepared to run with it, when the time is right! I’m ready to take risks. And I know that no matter what, I have this incredible community that supports me. 

Community, connection, confidence. That’s what Tempest taught me."

About Tempest

Tempest is an online alcohol treatment program that takes a holistic and empowering approach to recovery. Through expert-led lessons and a supportive community, you’ll get the tools you need to build an alcohol-free life you love.