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Grieving a Child and Doing it Sober with Rose Clark, Sober Vegan Cop

Updated: Aug 8, 2022



Rose Clark is Sober Vegan Cop on Instagram. Based in Texas, Rose and Alex met back in 2021 when they both were guests on Bac 2 Zero, hosted by Jeff Graham and Cathy Charles (one of the Mindful Life Practice yoga teachers!) After the death of her daughter Catherine, Rose became sober, began a vegan lifestyle, meditation and yoga. In this episode, learn more about how Rose moved through grief and what she learned along the way.


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Rose can be found on Instagram @sobervegancop. Follow me on Instagram @alexmcrobs and check out my offerings in yoga, meditation and coaching at http://themindfullifepractice.com/.


Transcript


Alex: Hi friend this is Alex McRobbs founder of the Mindful Life Practice and you're listening to the Sober Yoga Girl podcast. I'm a Canadian who moved across the world to the Middle East at age 23 and I never went back. I got sober in 2019 and I now live full-time in Bali, Indonesia. I've made it my mission to help other women around the world stop drinking, start yoga and change their lives through my online sober girls yoga Community. You're not alone and a sober life can be fun and fulfilling, let me show you how.


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hello everyone welcome back to another episode of sober yoga girl i am here today with my friend rose clark and i'm really excited to have rose on the show because i actually met rose almost probably around a year ago on my friend jeff graham's show back to zero and jeff was part of the mind life practice for a long time and a good friend of kathy's and so rose and i did a show together with jeff and it was really fun and i kept saying that i wanted to have her on my show and we never ended up making it happen until now so now we're here and um welcome rose and rose goes by sober vegan cop on instagram so she's sober she's a vegan and she's a cop and she has a shirt which i love and so she's here to join us today to talk about her sober journey and also her journey with grief so i'll turn it over to rose and maybe rose you can tell us a little bit about your journey um your story with losing your daughter and your journey up to sobriety yeah absolutely thank you so much for having me on here and allowing me you know to share my story in this platform um i'll start with the way it all happened i wasn't always a sober vegan cop but um my oldest i have five children my oldest daughter catherine who had two children um she dealt with a lot of mental health issues you know she was bipolar she had depression things like that and um subsequently it led to an addiction um to heroin and it was very short-lived from the time she told me she was addicted to heroin to the time you know she passed away it was like less than two years um it was a she told me obviously i was freaked out but i immediately got her help you know i took her children she's got two beautiful children and um tried to get her all the help i stood by her side i supported her um through the whole journey it was a very rough you know just never giving up on her every time she you know is on the side of the road and shooting up and just all the things that you deal with as a mother of an addict is so painful um but you know i always had so much hope for her recovery and she did well and she was in and out of rehabs and then she would you know lose her battle i mean it just it was it was an emotional roller coaster um anyway in november of 2017 i got a call from a homicide detective and told me that catherine had been dumped in an alley and had overdosed


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sorry i get emotional every time but um i was just i remember getting that phone call it was like 9 30 at night and um basically she had already been dead for about two days because they hadn't eater or anything like that and it was just excruciating and i just went in shock i don't even know what i did but to hear that you're you know i just felt like i we we were gonna make it you know she was gonna make it and everything was gonna be okay and even though i knew it was overdosed was a possibility for her it just never really quite hits you you know that it's actually gonna happen to you um i immediately went into mode of staying super busy um you know just speaking out immediately just speaking everywhere i could about overdose awareness and going to everything i could to try to share that and but i wasn't taking care of myself at all i just wanted to stay busy and try to help other people immediately like that's i'm a like a fixer kind of person and so i wanted to just go around and be like you know be aware don't let this happen to you and you know just all the things that you try to do to try to make sense you know of her senseless death i guess um but subsequently even though i've you know i've been drinking for probably a couple decades you know of my life um it never it went to a real dark place for me um right after she died because i started just using um alcohol to cope every single night you know i was very functioning i'm a police officer i you know did my job you know everything else but i'd come home at night and it would just really hit me and i would just drink until i passed out you know and i did this and i didn't even realize until you know i did that for about three


years um just drinking every single night then in the daytime i would abuse my prescription adderall because that's what got me through the day you know the the fake sense of like i'm fine everything's good i can talk to people you know i'm happy and it was all just a fake thing and then i got into uh nicotine pretty bad too and it was i had so much anxiety you know for my grief and then of course the anxiety from drinking every single night you know and i i got to such a dark place i mean i just didn't want to live at all you know and i wasn't suicidal but i just didn't care basically you know about living and nobody really knew exactly the extent of of my you know my pain and my grief alcohol for me had become my best friend like you know when when you have a loss and it's such a great profound loss when you lose a child um but when that happens you know everyone's there for a minute and then suddenly your journey becomes very lonely and it's isolating and nobody wants to continue talking about your daughter anymore and they're like shouldn't you be better by now and you know all those kinds of things and meanwhile you're just screaming inside you know because it's like walking around with like this open wound you know that that's just you can't do


anything to to take away the pain it's physically painful too and um so when i would just come start drinking alone at night and it like wrapped me like a warm blanket you know became like my best friend and it didn't tell me to stop crying and didn't care if i screamed and laid on the floor in the fetal position you know freaking out like it allowed me to do all those things but what i didn't realize was that alcohol was it was smothering me at the same time it was killing me it was slowly trying to choke me out you know and i was it felt like i was like in a dark cave you know and i was starting to get concerned um towards the end of my drinking career like i wasn't physically recovering as well you know and i started to feel like kind of sick and even if i drank a small amount of alcohol and i just kind of go i think i scared myself a little bit to the fact of like even though i didn't care about living or dying i was suddenly like what am i doing like i've got catherine's kids you know that i'm supposed to be being here for and i was too of course to to a degree but not fully present and um and my other living children and i just but i didn't it wasn't on my radar to quit drinking you know i didn't realize that that was was part of what was you know keeping me in the darkness it wasn't allowing me to heal at all and um i still remember one night i just i went out to my my porch and i just said if you want me to live catherine you know basically was yelling out to the universe and like if you want me to make it then you have to step in and help me because i don't want to you know and i need you i need you to step in and take over and help me do this if you want me to do it and it was um it was weird because i i went in afterwards and


i watched a random documentary on netflix called what the health and it was about you know plant-based and vegan and just all the health-related sides of it and suddenly the next day i went i woke up and i said that's it i'm going vegan that's going to be my first step in my health journey i still hadn't talked about quitting alcohol or anything else like that but um i just said i need to do something something because i'm gonna i'm just gonna die here and that's what i did i i went vegan from one day to the next um and then two weeks later suddenly it dawned on me like how can i still i was still drinking i was like how could how this does this make sense so for me you know i'm a real practical person i think that's how i had to rationalize it all in my


mind i was like how does that make sense to continue drinking and i'm here trying to be eating a healthy diet doesn't make sense um so i said i have to let that go i have to quit drinking and i quit that cold turkey as well um of course that was a whole nother it was like a morning another loss for me because i was saying goodbye to my best friend here and something that i learned to cope with and i that whole day i started crying because i realized i was like i can't i'm not gonna be able to just like quit for a while or i'm not gonna be able to just moderate like i'm i have this addictive personality you know like i'm i'm all in or i'm nothing at all you know kind of person and i um i just i i cried about it and i said okay i gotta do it and um that's what i did and i just stopped drinking and i listened to a lot of podcasts and i floated myself and i read the book like quit like a woman which really helped me because it helped me understand like the health reasons of it and all that and i i knew that like a typical program like aaa or something like that wasn't going to be for me you know i i just knew i knew myself and i started my own type or recovery program if you will i started


meditating for the first time in my life um and i did every single day and i wrote down my stats every single day and i and i wrote in general and i started moving my body you know weightlifting and yoga and just things like that that um would help me because i had to i had to put my energy and everything else into something positive you know and then three days later after equating alcohol i i quit nicotine too and then two weeks after that i tapered off of adderall so within the month i was free of my addictions which was to me like a huge miracle which i attribute strongly to my daughter catherine stepping in to help me um it definitely wasn't easy you know like i took 90 seconds at a time you know at times of just being busy and and doing the things that i needed to do but i knew that if i continued to put one foot in front of the other and continue staying steady on my course um that i was gonna see change and and i did immediately start


seeing change i suddenly was able to start healing i set up a meditation room which i'm in right now and i started connecting with my daughter because before that it was just so black i couldn't even see her find her anywhere and i just wanted to so bad and when i set up the space it's got like crashes in here and special things about her and and every time i meditated like we meet in a special space every single day you know and i have this and we just and she heals me she heals me every day and um and i've i mean that's that's kind of my story i talk really fast so i apologize but um it's just changed my life uh quitting alcohol um it took off sort of like the the filters or whatever else was going on i quit numbing my pain and at first i had that whole pink cloud as they call it you know where i was just like oh my god i need to bottle this up and give it to everybody it's just so incredible you know and then you know life starts setting in and you're like wait what we're having bad days again like what's going on you know and you realize that but the difference was that i had the


tools now you know and i had i had learned how to to deal with um you know my issues and my problems and my grief in a healthy way and processing my grief in a healthy way which really started helping me to heal and um i read a book by oh my gosh my mind is blank right now on the author i apologize but it's uh it's called the finding meaning the sixth stage of grief david kessler or something like that and um it it changed my perspective on my grief because before i just thought of everything as bad like she's not here you know the sad and the bad memories and everything else and i was able to focus on my gratefulness for the time almost 25 years that i got to be her mom and all the she taught me unconditional love and all the memories and the kids that she left me i just i started focusing all my energy on the on all the things that i had gotten


for my time with her and um just processing grief in a in a different way that was super healing talking a lot thank you so much for sharing all that rose it's just such a heartbreaking story and the way that you are able to share it with people in the hopes that it will help other people that are going through the same thing it's just so i know it takes a lot to be so vulnerable and so i really appreciate you sharing that with us thank you um i feel like it's you know it's it's such a it comes at such a great price the loss of my daughter but it's also for me it feels like the collateral beauty um in my life now which i never would have seen it that way but for the first time in my life i've i'm founding i'm finding myself you know i'm i'm getting to know and love myself and all these things that i never did and i'm 48 years old you know so um it's been a just a total game changer all all the way around you know but i call it my collateral beauty because i would have never


discovered these other things without you know without going through my grief and of course i still miss my daughter every single day and i and i get emotional every time i talk about her but she i don't carry her as this like it's like the grief as a heavy burden anymore i carry it as it's like she's right here on my side and she we're walking side by side through life with it you know and it's never going to go away but um by sharing my story i try to offer hope to you know to the other people that have lost especially lost children um that you can find your way and and you can come out on the other side and be okay you have to make a choice you have to you don't want to do that obviously um but there is hope and life can be beautiful again and and guilt-free you know you can enjoy your life again and um it's just a matter of finding you know whatever works for you and being able to heal and allowing yourself to heal and that's that's a game changer you know and i've also started like well with my vegan stuff i started juicing and i started this little page called


sunflowers and juice but through my community i um started uh bottling up like just fresh pressed juice and you know giving out to my community we're gonna be doing a goat yoga here at one of the little parks in our town that some one of the uh people here that does yoga is doing and um and i'm gonna be offering like little you know free samples of the juice and stuff like that just trying to start healthy initiatives and you know just try to be a positive impact in my community and you know even as a police officer um i use my story a lot you know and just relating to people and i had a mother the other day who lost her son to suicide and i was just so grateful that i was the officer that was there to to help her and i follow up with her and i and i and i check in on her and i i try to give her hope you know for for the future even though it looks so dark i was i was there you know i was in that


dark horrible space and now i'm in a different place you know on my journey and that's that's my goal and being so open and sharing my story um and obviously this is a condensed version but um you know that there is there is definitely hope and that's all that's all i want to do is encourage others with it and so there's so many things that interesting things that stuck out to be in your story and one is like the way in which you you found sobriety i feel like it's so different like most people or i shouldn't say most people i'll say speak from my experiences that i quit drinking first and then everything else kind of rippled in like then i was like oh maybe i'll try the speaking thing maybe i'll like reduce my coffee like you know and i just think it's so interesting how you started with veganism and then you later were like okay well alcohol needs to go too and also the fact that you knew from the beginning like okay i can't moderate it needs to be gone completely because i feel like for like for me it was like okay i'm gonna take a little break before i finally accepted like okay this is it i can't drink anymore and so just think it's so interesting the method in which you found your


sobriety yeah i just i think i know myself really well after this you know i'm older and i know that i i can i'll go overboard and i knew that when i told myself i had to stop drinking um well first of all with the veganism i i don't think that i would have just decided to quit drinking so somehow my daughter i know she was working you know in the universe saying you know we'll do this with mom first because then she'll get on board with this and then you know the next thing might happen and um and that's how it worked in my mind the way my mind works in a practical sense you know but uh when i you know when i decided to quit i even told myself there's no you can't even relap you can't even test it again because i knew where i was at when i was drinking which is such a horrible space um i knew that if i ever even tasted it again i would be back 10 times worse and i would never try again and i knew this about myself just so i that's what kept me in in in my strength every single day and that's going to be what i'm 691 days over so in august it'll be two years um


and like i said i've been drinking for two decades so i feel that i find this a huge miracle um and just uh super grateful every day and i'm like oh my god thank you so much for not giving up on me i tell myself every day on my body thank you for you know i feel like i reversed any possible bad things that could have happened you know just by changing up my health journey you know um but i i feel grateful myself thank you thank you for not giving up on me when i wanted to give up on myself you know and i i and i just so grateful to not be in that horrible space that i was in because it is it is a nightmare so it sounds like a big part of your journey has become spirituality and something that stuck out to me in what you were sharing was you mentioned that before sobriety and before setting up your meditation room you found it really difficult to connect to katherine and then as soon as you had your your sobriety in your meditation room and you go into that space and you're connecting with her every day in your meditation practice and i just think that that's so interesting because i feel like like i did yoga and meditation all these practices for a long time before i got sober like i've been practicing since i was 18 and i feel that when i got sober that was when my spirituality really clicked and it really deepen and there's something about being substance free that helps you like really authentically connect to to your spirituality in these moments of silence and so i was wondering what you think about that oh i completely agree i think that getting rid of all the substances like removes the layers that are holding you back from you know getting into that that spiritual space you know into that different you know dimension or whatever it is that people want to call i'm not a religious person um but i'm very spiritual i really believe in energy and in the universe and things like that and um i like i said after she died i just couldn't find her anywhere and it sucked because every once in a while i feel like i i would see a little sign here


and there or i'd grasp on any little okay there's a butterfly it's got to be her or a bird or just anything desperate to try to find her you know because you just they're just gone you know and and then setting up this space um just enable i feel like i i set myself up to allow that energy and her energy and all of that healing to happen so i think it's really important if you have the opportunity even if it's in a small little corner to set up a space that's just for that you know um and i so i come in here every single day that's how i start my day and i and i and i come in here and i meditate and i have a picture and i kiss it and i put my hands on her ashes and you know on the box of her ashes and and just and i lie at a candle and i just feel her healing and and when i imagine it when i'm meditating i just feel like her white lie just pouring out of her chest into mine you know and it's and i just feel it you know and it's obviously working in my life you know because it's changed my life and i'm i'm a completely different place and i'm a different person and i'm substance free and i have no desire at all to go back to any of that you know whatsoever i don't feel like


i'm uh missing out obviously there was you know for a while there was a few triggers and stuff like that but when you've been in such a horrible place and now you're over here you're just like hell no i'm never going back there again you know and you just mostly you just feel super grateful like i do every day and just like and i love myself for the first time and i i um i'm present in my life and i'm and most of all i think it's so important that i'm i'm honoring because my daughter fought addiction you know and uh for her sobriety so hard and her kids were the most important thing to her and i know that she really wanted to make it so for me to be sober um and to have my own personal transformation i think is just the best way that i can honor her and her and you know be here for her children yeah that's so beautiful thank you and so when you quit drinking what tools did you use like what helped you stay committed well i i definitely because i wasn't like working like you know when people do the aaa program and they go to meetings and things like that i um connected with people online different uh sober groups um i read i listened to a lot of books like um like i was telling you to quit like a woman and um we are the luckiest and yeah i don't know just all the the books that you know the most relevant books for me and um and then i just do the same routine literally every single morning because i think that's a huge tool for me i don't let myself slip a day of not meditating i'm not moving my body i'm not writing down you know my stats and other things every single day so i always start my day which is really


because the consistency is where i start seeing change you know what i mean and so it's important for me to stay on a routine because i feel like if i um compromise in one little area then what's to keep me from compromising from the whole thing that's just how i work you know i like i like i like boundaries i like to keep myself and you know on a type of regimen um because that's what's helpful to me uh i don't know if that answered your question but that's that's what i do every day and i list i just i flood myself with like i said groups and podcasts and just you know sharing my story really helps a lot too because i i share a lot of sober groups um and grief groups um with parents that have lost children and stuff like that and to me it's like journaling for me or like you know just being writing that out every single day i have so many people that reach out and say thank you


um


and that it inspires them their journey that if i can make it so can they and so that's that's a huge part of what motivates me to keep doing what i'm doing that's interesting that you mentioned that because i feel like there's a big connection between the way that we support and help others and how that helps us get deeper in our sobriety like i was just speaking to kathy about this yesterday um the role that service plays in our sobriety and if we start volunteering or playing a role in meetings or whatever and supporting other people it helps us stay committed to our journey and so that's interesting that you share that and there's many different ways of doing that and i think i can really relate to the way you did it in terms of i got really interested in you know posting on facebook groups and writing little daily posts of what was going on with me and that's a way that that does support other people because people can read your story and feel like they're not alone yeah and they can relate in so many ways you know that when you make things relatable it makes people like oh okay they get it too you too you know what i mean me too like we're all you know we're in this together we're just in different spaces in our journey and but it's possible to make it if you want to make it it's it's really it really comes down to a choice and you can do it if you want to do it you know it's just making that decision to to do it you know and then using the tools and everything you know to to be consistent with that choice so that you can see the change and you have to be consistent because sometimes change takes a minute you know and people want it to happen right away i i


know that with working out you know i'm just like oh my gosh it's taking so long for me to get a little bit of a bicep or whatever you know you're just like keep going keep going and then you start seeing the results and you're like man my arms look great you know kind of thing so same principle so what do you dream of for like your third year in sobriety are there any things any directions you want to take um your your project like for the love of katherine is there any dreams you have in ways that you can support other people and sobriety or grief or otherwise yeah i definitely do want to grow the i have a love of catherine page but with that i'm like this year i'm doing an overdose awareness event i'm not hosting it but i'm going to be part of it and i have you know giveaways that are are talking about because we have the good samaritan law that was it's been passed in many places including canada you know where that protects people from prosecution if they call for someone that's overdosed in my daughter's case um the person that dumped her was just he was also an addict and i think he just freaked out you know and was scared to call for help and in texas we didn't have that law now um you know i kept speaking vocally about it and a lot of people did and now that law this this last it was september of 21 got passed here in texas um not the exact scale that we wanted it to but it is and so that's part of like at


the overdose awareness day i've got that house bill printed out on these little notebooks for catherine and i'm just going to be continuing to spread that message and help educate people on overdose awareness which is super important to me um and then with my juicing my sunflowers and juice that's been a super fun hobby but i'm also turning it into some like a side little business just in in helping people wanting people to get uh healthy you know even if it's just a shot of of juice a day you know and i try to turn it from shots shots shots to like you know shots of health you know kind of thing and and inspiring people more to on their health journeys um and then you know also in the future i do i plan on on writing a book you know about my life i've had a really long interesting life not that's been even talked about here but that is definitely on on my radar to


be to be writing a book and um and then you know just really being the best grandma i can be to my grandkids which one of them i'm raising so that's that's pretty that's what's called what's in store for me at this point i think that's amazing that you're interested in writing a book because i was thinking that exact thing like people that are like me that are as well so interested in posting in facebook groups and posting little bits of the journey like that seems like a next step and you um you know you shared one of your things which i resonated is just like listening to audio books you know listen to we've all listened to all sober quitlet books you know and yeah and so we know how powerful story is absolutely so i don't plan on you know being quiet anytime soon i'm super open and um i'll continue to do that you know because it helps me and it and it's helping others so as long as that's what's happening then i think it's a awesome thing


yeah


oh that's amazing so i have two last questions for you um my first one is if you had any advice or wisdom to share with someone who is grieving a major loss like the loss of a child what would you share i think i'd share that it's it's it's going to be overwhelming and it's going to be the most painful experience that you've ever been through but if you break it down and just i had someone tell me when catherine died just put one foot in front of the other one day at a time um and that's my biggest suggestion not to because it's overwhelming and it's just too much to handle um but just take even if you have to take it minute by minute one just one foot in the other one breath at a time do that and then one day leads to the next day and the next day you know instead of thinking about how am i gonna live my life like you know without my kid for the rest of my life like this is it's just a miserable thought


so just putting one foot in front of the other and and you know life has a way of allowing healing and things to happen but that's that's my best advice on that literally just one breath one foot at a time one day at a time and you know take it from there that's my best advice on that yeah that's great i'm being almost five years in now so i didn't think i was gonna make it but i'm still here so using that philosophy oh that's amazing and my next advice i mean it could probably apply to the same thing but maybe something else to share what would you offer what advice would you give to someone who is just starting out a sober journey um you know i 90 seconds at a time that is i read that somewhere and it's probably one of those quit books you know something but it was about you know no no emotion lasts longer than 90 seconds if you let it run its course without interference and that's not my quote it's from one of these books that i read but that philosophy right there just made so much sense to me and basically when i would get an urge or a craving or a feeling i would i would acknowledge it i wouldn't you know be hard on myself i would take it in and then i would get busy for 90 seconds and just let it run its course but i didn't


just sit there and because you know if you it can be you can be consumed by it if you sat there and just thought about it thought about it and thought about it so i just take it in let it go and i would get busy for 90 seconds and before you knew it 90 seconds turned into you know long yeah i did that for hundreds of times a day at first but then it's spread out and you know now i don't even i don't even get cravings rarely you know so that's my best advice on that it's 90 seconds at a time that's worked for me and i love that i know exactly what you're talking about because i've shared it before in my yoga classes um it's someone says that


takes you it was something like you know it takes you the same amount of time as it takes to microwave popcorn to like move through an emotion and so you just have to like um exactly what you said it's just like pause and breathe and be with it and then know that it's gonna pass and i think that's really wonderful advice for people because you don't realize that um like a trigger is going to move through you that quickly if you just kind of sit with it absolutely well rose thank you so much for taking the time to be on the show this morning i really appreciate it and i'm so glad that we finally got a chance to do it and i think it's going to really resonate and connect with so many people but especially those i know i have some people in the community that have been through that major grief like the loss of a child or someone else really close to them and so i think your story is going to be really helpful and comforting and inspiring for them in particular so so thank you so much for sharing thank you so much for having me it's been an honor and um i'm sure i'll see you soon in the sober world as well um so see you soon i hope to make it to one of your retreats soon oh that would be amazing mexico i speak fluent spanish i could translate yes all right take care rose thank you bye






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