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“Gratitude is an action word for me these days”

Annie has been in long-term recovery for over seven years now and is simply livin’ her best life! This James Island/Folly Beach native changed her world by getting active in 12 Step support group, exploring creative outlets, and most recently attending Ben's Friends National!

Annie went into the hospitality industry over 24 years ago and thought to herself, “Ah yes, I have arrived!” when she first experienced the fast-paced

lifestyle of restaurant life. “My relationships back then were based on what I could get outta someone, though”. As time went on Annie noticed that maybe she partied a bit more than most and that things had to change if she wanted to live a full life, so she went to Any Lengths Recovery! During her time there she obtained employment in a kitchen, where she quickly realized she didn’t need substances to have a blast being in that environment. “My canvas is a plate so to be creative in recovery is amazing” and although it took some time to really get her creative juices flowing again, this was a good start. Annie learned to LIVE her recovery very early on, how awesome is that?!

Annie speaks of spirituality with grace & ease. It's quite easy to tell she practices what she preaches, too. She begins each day by making her bed, saying her prayers, and creating a gratitude list. Starting her day by “focusing on what I can do for others” helps her to stay in a positive mindset. After meditation and prayer, Annie gets active! Connecting with nature and focusing on her breath is how she feels closest to her Higher Power.

Let's fast forward to Annie’s restaurant which is perfectly named “Annie O Love”! It all began with a simple granola recipe in which Annie sold at a local farmers market. After some time passed, a friend suggested that she use her healthy granola (which was a sell-out every week at the farmers market!) in a cookie! Turns out, Annie was really on to something with this and 3 years later she opened her very own restaurant in West Ashley. Her delish eats combine all vegan, healing, and downright delish ingredients. Something else pretty amazing is that Annie is passionate about giving back so she employs many folks in recovery!

This adventure has had its challenges though, just weeks after opening Annie O Love, COVID hit and the world shut down. While Annie has AMAZING support in the 12 step fellowships she really needed to talk to folks who were not only in recovery but also in the hospitality industry. When Ben's Friends National was suggested to her she gave it a try! There are no words to describe the amount of gratitude she has for this group, and Annie credits her current rhythm of recovery to their love and support.

Each of us has a different recovery process but what unites us all is that we are taking life “one day at a time”, striving to put good into the world and do better each day. If you are interested in connecting with Annie, check out her website

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