I was hooked on booze from the moment I had my first beer at 14. I loved it immediately. I was never a ‘social’ drinker, I was a binge drinker, once I started, I could not stop myself. The party girl who loved a good time. I drunk to feel happy, to relax, to feel special, to block out emotional pain and to avoid facing reality.
In the last couple of years leading up to finally giving up alcohol, my life was spiralling out of control. My mother died after a short illness; her death affected me greatly, so I drunk more to avoid dealing with my grief.
From the outside I looked like I was coping but inside I was consumed with pain and loathing. I would drink to have a fun night and to forget, then wake up the next morning feeling sick and filled with regret and shame. Every night out drinking ended up in a major drama and my relationships with my husband, family and friends were being significantly damaged by my behaviour when drinking. The party girl was not fun anymore, she was a sloppy, crying and angry mess.
Late one night I was lying on the bathroom floor alone sobbing, I was so sad and in so much emotional pain it felt like my heart was literally breaking apart. The thought of continuing to live like this was unbearable to consider. I knew that I could not continue to do this anymore. The only option I thought I had was suicide. Amid the hopelessness and suffering I cried out a desperate prayer. That small croaked prayer caused a shift in me, there was no angel choir or massive religious experience, but I felt a whisper of hope and a glimpse of a possible different future. I got up off that floor and decided to stopped drinking immediately.
I made a serious decision that night that I was not going to drink again. I did not know how I was going to achieve this but making the decision awakened a drive and motivation in me which I had not experienced before. Soon after that evening I was invited to church and shortly after I became a Christian. My new faith in God gave me the courage to change and the church gave me a solid support network of people who wanted me to succeed and supported me.
I learnt that I am stronger than I thought I was. When I was drinking, I was out of control, I felt powerless, constantly ashamed of myself and hated myself. Now I have hope, forgiveness, and a future.
My life is vastly different now. I have a happy marriage, two wonderful boys and many amazing friends. My life is exciting and interesting. I love waking up on a Saturday morning with a clear head and plans for the day, no more wasted weekends.
I have been sober now for nearly 22 years and I am grateful to God for every day I get to live with hope, freedom, and happiness.
Want to read more about my story, check out my book ‘Soaring out of the darkness’ on www.stacimclean.co.nz