Some background is required here: In 1993, I (Audrey Kishline) founded the national support group Moderation Management (my last name was then Kishline), a self-help program for people concerned about their drinking. I wrote the basic text for the group and had it reviewed by many well-respected professionals in the addiction field, including Dr. Kern. Among other guidelines in the program, MM suggests: being honest with fellow MM members, moving on to an abstinence goal if unable to moderate, and stresses a zero tolerance policy towards drinking and driving. Within a few months after founding MM, I was in the media spotlight. Oprah, Dateline, front page stories NY Times, LA Times, among many others. A whirlwind.
There was one huge problem. Over a short period of time, I realized I was not able to drink moderately. I hid my drinking. Lies multiplied into more lies, until on March 25, 2000 I drove down the wrong side of a freeway in a complete blackout, collided head-on with another vehicle, and caused the tragic deaths of two innocent people. That I must live with for the rest of my life. After prison, I co-authored a book with Sheryl Maloy, the woman who lost her only daughter and the man she loved because I got behind the wheel drunk. She gave me the unbelievable gift of forgiveness, even in the depths of her grief. Unfortunately, I could not forgive myself, and continued to turn to alcohol to erase the memories, pain, and overwhelming guilt.
Only a few weeks after I had my last drink, I answered my cell phone. It was Dr. Kern. And he wanted me to help him re-write “Take Control Now!” I couldn’t believe it. He was offering me a job? What a risk! My brain had a ways to go before functioning on all four cylinders. To cut to the point: by writing, editing, talking, Skyping, arguing (yes!), and together translating the Habitdoc’s highly professional way of describing his process into concepts that I could put into practice – my old love for communicating with addicts and non-addicts re-awakened. Within a year, I went form non-stop drinking, barely accomplishing basic hygiene maintenance, to writing, speaking, interviewing with media, creating a website, re-publishing, and actually being invited to family dinners again. And all of this was set in motion by working with one of the most compassionate and caring men I have ever known – Dr. Kern. We are even now in the process of developing a set of videos together, The Habit Dialogues, which will help viewers find their own way to exchanging bad habits (or quitting addictions) for Good!