Real Housewives of Orange County star Braunwyn Windham-Burke is sharing intimate details of how she decided to get sober at the beginning of 2020 after hitting rock-bottom. While on that journey, the reality star disclosed how the decision was more about "saving" her life than anything, while it also gave her the "gift of pause and clarity." In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, the 43-year-old opened up about what's helped her through this journey and all that she's gained from it.
"For me, being sober was not a choice or a trend. Sobriety was about saving my life," Windham-Burke confessed. "I am so excited to see people embracing sobriety and demonstrating that you can have fun and live your best life while being sober. It's such a real, authentic way to be — a lot of times; alcohol hides yourself. There's nothing more beautiful than people done hiding and ready to embrace themselves." She then encouraged anyone who is "sober curious" to give it a try saying "living life while truly feeling everything is amazing."
When asked how she's managed to stay sober and what's helping her in the process, she detailed that she doesn't feel it's a "one-size-fits-all process," but she's managed to find what works for her. "For me, I have a sponsor, work a twelve-step program, and have sober friends I can always call. I've learned to take life one day at a time, or even if I need to, one second at a time." After 2020, like many others, she's found benefits of slowing down as well. "I now realize that pausing is important, to take a moment to reflect and know that my perception of how I see things to be and reality aren't always the same. Sobriety has given me the gift of pause and clarity."
During the Season 15 premiere of the hit Bravo show, Windham-Burke admitted, "I don't know if it's divine intervention. I don't know. But for the first time in my life, I can say, 'My name is Braunwyn and I'm an alcoholic." While her path to sobriety has been a life-changing one, to say the least, she also came out as gay, which took many by surprise as she's still married to her longtime husband, Sean Burke. However, she revealed that she's finally feeling "comfortable" in her new life as a "sober, gay person."
"I'm starting to feel comfortable with my identity as a sober, gay person; it's like I've always been wearing an outfit that is the wrong size, wrong fabric, and just plain wrong. I'm finally getting used to feeling comfortable in my own skin. It took me 42 years to finally say, "I'm gay," but now I can't imagine being any other way. While she does have a girlfriend now, she said that she and her husband knew things would probably be challenging in the process and confessed they were right, "but that's okay; modern families aren't the status quo, so we are setting our own status quo."
As for the next steps for Windham-Burke, she says she's taking life "day-by-day," which has now become her new "life motto." She has launched her new IGTV show called #AmplifiedVoices, where she's seeking to share "untold, diverse stories" all while enjoying the "amazing gift that we call have called life."