Disclaimer: This article contains mentions of sexual abuse, suicide, and alcoholism which may be upsetting for some.
Early Childhood Trauma
“My name is Christine, and I am an alcoholic. As a little girl, I was always told I would become an alcoholic, so it was no shock to me when I started to lose control over my life due to my toxic love affair with alcohol. It was my destiny. I was broken from the start.
Growing up, I always appeared ‘normal,’ but I never really felt secure or accepted. My father was an alcoholic and my mother was the daughter of an alcoholic who died from the disease before I was even born. They split early on, and my time with my father became few and far between, always leaving me to wonder why he chose alcohol over me.
My mother eventually remarried to a man I began to call ‘dad,’ but he was soon out of the picture as well. We were abandoned once again. I was 6 when I saw my mom’s heart shatter, and I knew we couldn’t handle that again, so I vowed to myself I would never be the source of such terrible pain.
Over the next 2 years, I was being groomed and sexually abused by a person outside our family. I was desperate for male attention and although conflicted, I didn’t want to upset my mother with anything naughty I might have been up to. I was an easy target.
Eventually, we moved back to California, where I shyly bounced around schools; not quick to make friends but dying to fit in. All I ever wanted was to fit in. I was so lost. So alone.
That is, until I discovered boys and their ability to make me feel loved. At age 15, I had my first real boyfriend who came along with his own demons, already lost in active addiction. We were a match made in my version of heaven. We drank, we smoked, we snorted cocaine, and did all the things I pray my children will never do.
Yet, somehow, I was able to graduate and went straight to college, where the real party began. My addiction and I fit right in until I found myself (at age 20) drinking just to make it through the day.
Living With Addiction
I remember the first time I drank alone like it was yesterday. I had experienced an extremely traumatic event and I just couldn’t handle the pain anymore. I wanted out. I wanted an escape.
So, I walked over to the fridge and stared at the bottle of Boones I had saved for the weekend, trying to decide if I wanted to become the alcoholic I was destined to be, or if I wanted to sit with my pain, alone, yet again.
I chose the Boones.
Fast forward a few years and you’ll find me behind the bar, serving drinks, drinking drinks, willingly surrounded by heavy drinkers. It was a world fueled by alcohol and binge drinking. Alcohol was everywhere. It was my everything.
Over the course of a few years, my addiction had taken me from what appeared to be a normal life, to a life so full of pain that I was willing to do anything to escape it.
One night, around age 23, I even tried to stop living altogether. I had been on a huge bender, sadder than I’d ever been before because my alcoholism had successfully destroyed everything I once loved in my life. I let a fellow addict’s pain cut me so deeply that it sent me straight to a bottle of pills and a gallon of vodka.
His words of hate, after I rejected his advances, were my own words turned against me. ‘You are trash. A slut. A whore, not worthy of love. You are a piece of sh*t addict who’ll end up dead and alone because no one wants you.’ As he said, I was simply worthless. And sadly, I agreed.
You’d think after waking up in the hospital, after an attempted suicide, one would feel grateful to be alive. But I didn’t. I just felt more shame, more disappointment. I had failed, yet again. And it was just one more thing that hurt my mother. How could I be so selfish?
So, I kept drinking.
Drinking was the only way I could survive, and soon enough my body agreed. After years of binge drinking all day and night as a bartender, I became physically dependent on alcohol. If I didn’t maintain a certain blood alcohol level, it would trigger withdrawals from hell. These included painful tremors, delirium, and seizures at its worst.
This is why I always kept liquor bottles stashed around the house, in my car, in my purse, in soda bottles, water bottles, and most importantly under my bed so I could easily wake up in the middle of the night to take the swig that would hold me over until the next morning. I was no longer ashamed of it; it was just a matter of life or death at that point.
I remember waking up one morning, realizing I drank the entirety of my secret stash during my blackout from the night before. Being so desperate to find an excuse to buy vodka at 6 a.m., I picked a fight with my boyfriend, just so I could leave. But by the time I got to the liquor store I was already in full withdrawal.
I was barely able to walk to the cooler for a bottle of juice. When I finally made it to the clerk to ask for the cheapest bottle of vodka, he looked at me with serious concern and asked if I were sure. I could barely utter a response, but he begrudgingly sold it to me anyway.
I somehow drove my car around the corner and took a big pull off the bottle, but my body didn’t want it. I threw up all over my car, but I had to keep trying. I had to get some of it down or I would surely die, I thought. So, repeatedly, through streams of tears, I drank and puked until I had enough alcohol in me so I could somewhat function.
My life went on like that for several months.
Hitting Rock Bottom
On December 22, 2010, at age 27, I finally hit rock bottom with a monstrous thud. I had lost everything and found myself living with my mom, hurting her like I swore I’d never do. I couldn’t function anymore, and I knew if I took another drink, it would be my last. And for once, I didn’t want to die. I just wanted it to be over.
So, instead of drinking, I prayed. I prayed to a God I never thought existed. I prayed for mercy. I prayed for strength. I prayed for a way out of that hell and swore I would do anything to maintain my sobriety if He could just lead me there. I didn’t know how to do it alone. I didn’t know how to do anything alone, and I was terrified.
At that moment, I swear to you, I saw a light. A bright whitewash of hope I’d never felt before. The light shined down from heaven and spotlighted a pamphlet someone had left on my desk. It was full of recovery hotlines, so I called one. I wasn’t scared anymore; I was excited and desperate. And by the grace of God, that night was the last night I’d ever drink again.
I will always remember the woman on the phone, overcoming all my objections as to why I couldn’t go to detox or rehab, and her simple but powerful question. ‘Would you rather drink and die, or quit and live?’ Luckily, I chose the latter, and with her help I was able to check myself into a free detox facility. My detox was excruciating but also a reminder of what would happen if I ever drank again.
Road To Recovery
I immediately joined Alcoholics Anonymous and pledged to myself I would complete 90 meetings in 90 days. If I could manage to sneak out at 6 a.m. for vodka every day, I could figure out a way to show up to a single, one-hour meeting every day. And thank God I did, because look where I am now! I am nearly 12 years sober with an amazing husband, 4 children, a house, good credit, and a body that isn’t on the verge of death.
Don’t get me wrong, life isn’t easy. Recovery isn’t easy. Nothing about this is easy, which is what makes sobriety so remarkable!
In recovery, when we’re connected to a community of like-minded people who were once controlled by the same addiction, and with the support of each other, life becomes more manageable. We start working through the pain, the shame, and all the things we once pushed off while slowly self-destructing.
Life gets better.
Granted, AA is not the only way. I left the program around my one-year mark, but never stopped my intentional growth with the support of a therapist and a plethora of positive influences. I found a new job, moved to a new town, made new friends. The key to my successful recovery was substantial change and loving, spiritual connections. There was no need to heal on my own when I’d already lived a lonely life, trapped by my addiction for so long.
This is why I do what I do.
This is why I created a space within the social media world where I share my raw, unedited, and personal details from a painful life in active addiction. Where our community offers non-judgmental support by just being there, by just listening, relating, and sometimes even connecting in real life.
There is honestly nothing more fulfilling to me than knowing what was once my pain is now someone else’s comfort, because sometimes we just need to feel seen. Sometimes we just need to be heard. I share my story because no one should ever have to feel alone like I once did.
If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, please seek help. You don’t have to go through this alone. We do recover. I am living proof.”
This article was submitted to Love What Matters by Christine Nicole of Sacramento, CA. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Join the Love What Matters family and subscribe to out newsletter.
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