Outwardly, Heather Ormand had it all together. But the successful CPA was hiding years of alcoholism.
Now thriving in recovery, Ormand is stepping into a role where the story of her rock-bottom experience can help the people she serves.
Ormand wants people to know she doesn’t have some hard-luck story.
“I was loved, I was protected and safe,” she said.
But growing up bi-racial in a small Arkansas community spurred self-doubt. Desperate to be a quintessential All-American girl, Ormand obsessed over perfection.
“I always felt like somebody was going to find out, that I shouldn’t be there, that I wasn’t worthy, and it was a mistake,” she said.
To cope, she started drinking at 14 years old, often getting black-out drunk.
“I suffered from depression and there were a lot of things going on that I didn’t have the words or wherewithal to explain so, drinking quieted all of that,” she said.
She numbed her feelings for more than a decade and her dedication to all-things excellent landed her a high-stress career in New York City.
She was miserable. Christmas Day 2005 – she woke up hungover and over her secret lifestyle.
“So, I [said] I was willing to do anything, and those are famous last words when you say them to a healthcare professional or therapist,” she explained.
She started a 12-step program and quit worrying about what other people might think.
“For all them to go around and just say exactly what I was feeling inside without me having to speak a single word to any of them, I get chills thinking about it now,” she said.
Today, Ormand is the person helping women toward sobriety, as the new CEO of NEXUS Recovery, a place for women to find residential treatment from substance abuse.
“In my experience, the more you try to be what someone else expects from you, or what someone else thinks you should be or even what society expects from you as a woman or a woman with a career, it’s just not going to lead to happiness,” says Ormand.
This married mother of two changed careers and her lifestyle, and she’s now 15 years sober. Ormand appreciates the things about herself she thought needed to change.
“Every time I was able to speak up and say, 'This is me, I’m authentic, this is my authentic self, I’m just putting it out there,' it’s gone so much better,” she explained.
Ormand urges women to try new things, have a sense of gratitude and quit comparing yourself to others. Removing emotional barriers can help you move forward.
“We spend so much time at work and so much time on our careers, if you’re not happy, then just don’t do it,” she said.
Trust your gut – it’s simple but every #UpWithHer spotlight has shared the same advice!
“If something doesn’t sit right when you’re hiring somebody, or you make a decision and in the back of your mind you feel like 'I don’t know if that was right,' 99% of the time your gut is right,” she said.
So, quit wasting your time trying to make everything perfect.
It's important to note, Ormand says one in four children grow up in a household that’s impacted by alcoholism or a substance abuse disorder.
Nexus Recovery has been in Dallas for 50 years and serves women and adolescent girls, offering both residential and outpatient programs. Their services are robust and wide-ranging. If you or someone you know needs help, visit nexusrecovery.org.