How did your addiction start?
I was in a bad marriage for a decade. What started as a fun weekend occurrence, gradually picked up with frequency and ended up becoming a habit I depended on more than I should have to deal with my life. I then switched jobs and became a marketer…I was wining and dining folks nearly daily. I knew it was killing me and I needed to stop but couldn’t. It took me years to finally quit.
What was your experience when you were under the influence of drugs/alcohol?
Over the years it intensified. I used to be able to handle my liquor, but I started drinking more in quantity and more often. I was beginning to black out regularly, and any bad thing I ever did in my life happened when I was drinking. The hangovers lasted days, and I was puffy, bloated and felt older than I was. I hated looking in the mirror. The daily regret was more than I could handle.
When did you reach the point where you felt its time to fight addiction?
I was at a concert with my 19-year-old daughter. I don’t even remember much of the show, and I deeply regret that. I spent more time ordering drinks and waiting for a bathroom than I did with her. The next day I woke up and said that’s it. No more. It’s time to change starting NOW.
How was your journey towards sobriety?
Long. Again, it took years to quit entirely. I wanted to cut down, but it didn’t work. I bargained with myself a lot and tried to only drink on weekends, but I always gave in and returned to the same frequency-time and time again. It was a black and white situation for me. There was no grey area. I had to quit for good, but it took a long time to wrap my head around that fact. I didn’t want to drink again, but for me, that’s what had to happen. It’s poison anyway and utterly unnecessary in life. We allowed alcohol culture to tell us how things should be according to them. We have to break those rules and live life being fully present.
How does life feel now?
Amazing. I enjoy life. I am happy and proud of myself. Alcohol had a grip on me, and it was going to kill me. I kicked its ass, and now I don’t miss it at all. I never wake up with regret, and I am thankful I can see now, and when I look in the mirror I love the woman looking back, she fought hard to get to where she is today.
What message would you like to give to people who are struggling with drug/alcohol addiction?
To know how common it is. And that you’re not a freak or a loser, alcohol culture wants you addicted. It wants you to need the substance so can make money off you. That ordinary women struggle with addiction but hide in shame. My goal now is the help break the stigma associated with alcohol addiction and to let women know it’s ok to say, “I have a problem.” I am an educated woman with a successful career and alcohol affected me. It can happen to anyone, and anyone can beat it!
Thank you, Rhiannon, for sharing your story.
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