Becoming the captain of a mega yacht and star of a reality series on Bravo seemed like an impossible dream the way that Captain Sandy Yawn was struggling with addiction more than three decades ago.
The 56-year-old cast member of "Below Deck Mediterranean" celebrated 33 years of sobriety Monday with a grateful Instagram post about her journey from being "a hopeless human being" to living her dream despite a series of obstacles.
"It’s been 33 years clean for me," she wrote. "From jails, institutions, car crashes, motorcycle accidents, hospitals, bankruptcy, heart attack & cancer. I felt like a hopeless human being, always in trouble, people turning away from me because I was so destructive.
"The day finally came when I had my last drink and drug on August 29th 1989. My life today is beyond my wildest dreams. If your suffering from addiction and want help, call the hotline and ask for help. 1-855-290-0468. God speed to you all. Today I have gratitude!"
Yawn often shares photos of her active lifestyle on Instagram and has been particularly committed to her health since suffering a heart attack shortly before her 50th birthday. She has since spread the message about heart health, especially for women.
"Learn the signs. Learn your numbers, your blood pressure. Learn those numbers, and do the self-checks," she told TODAY in June. "And if you have a feeling ... and it doesn't feel right, it's off, listen to that, and just go to the hospital."
In addition to the constant walking throughout the ship, Yawn has an exercise ball in her room, where she also does pushups and situps, and goes swimming if she has time in order to stay fit.
I'm meant to be here. You know what I mean? Someone's keeping me alive.
Captain Sandy Yawn
She also is thankful for a motorcycle accident that occurred about a year before her heart attack and turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It led to a diagnosis of cancer, which she has had successfully treated.
"Here's what's crazy," she told TODAY in June. "I was going to the boat show. I believe that accident was meant to happen so I could find the cancer because kidney cancer is also a silent killer. I had no pain, no side effects, and that accident, they discovered the tumor which was cancer. And I had it removed a month after my surgery for my motorcycle accident.
"That was a blessing. I'm meant to be here. You know what I mean? Someone's keeping me alive.”