‘I don’t know how we got to that house. I don’t know why I did the things I did when we got there. I just know it was my bottom. I hurt him terribly by cheating on him.’

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“From a very young age, I became obsessed with the idea of booze and also boys. I was more insecure than anyone knew because on the outside, I was pretty and smart and quite the little comedian. But on the inside, there was a kind of darkness that was hard to put a name to and therefore I never spoke up about it, and continued to feel different during my childhood and adolescence.

I had my first drink at 13 years old and even though I felt wretched the next morning, I had felt so free and lighthearted while drinking, my insecurities floated away and I felt bold and beautiful and cool. I spent the next 10 years chasing that feeling again by binge drinking almost every weekend. Alcoholism is prevalent on both sides of my family, but having watched my dad fall deep into his disease when I was a little girl, I told myself it would never happen to me. But it did.

Courtesy of Emerald Gagnon

My dad got sober by the grace of God when I turned 10 years old. He has stayed sober since. And I continued to obsess over boys and booze all throughout highs chool and college. Every night I would drink, I would spend hours getting dressed up, and would head to the parties or the bars (with my fake IDs) and would expect it to be the best time ever, even though it never ever was. Too many weekends to count I blacked out and then spent days puking and shaking and wondering how I got the bruises on my body, and where did I leave my clothes or my car or my morals. And how much money did I lose and who did I say what to?

This calamity went on and on, my relationship ended because of my drinking, so I quit. For a time. 30 days or so and I thought I was normal and could control myself and my drinking again. My relationship was repaired and slowly but surely I started drinking again. I turned 21 and the next year was just madness. I graduated college with a journalism degree with a pretty great GPA. Another reason I never thought my drinking habits were that bad – because of how well I was doing with school and applying for jobs, etc. But I was drinking almost every night I could find friends to party with that summer after graduation.

By November, my life was unmanageable to me. I couldn’t suppress that darkness inside of me anymore with alcohol. It is kind of like I was so spiritually dead that the darkness took over my mind and my body and my actions. One night I was so unhappy on the inside that I told myself I was going to keep drinking until I blacked out. I had never before made that decision – it would just happen. But this night I was determined, almost like I wanted to drown myself completely in alcohol.

That night before Thanksgiving in 2011, I drank and drank and drank. I don’t know what my last drink was, I don’t know how we got to that house. I don’t know why I did the things I did when we got there. I just know it was my bottom. I can’t give too many details because there were others involved and I can only share my experience. My husband (was my boyfriend at that time) and I hurt him terribly that night by cheating on him.

When I woke up that Thanksgiving morning, I was so incomprehensibly demoralized and mortified at myself and my behavior. I never wanted to feel that way again. I never wanted to hurt like that again. I had to change if I was ever to love myself or let anyone else love me back.

Courtesy of Emerald Gagnon

My dad saw my pain, and he took me to my first meeting in recovery. And with the help of a sponsor, the Grace of God, my willingness to get honest, and one day at a time, I have been sober ever since. It takes working on myself still every single day to be my best self because that darkness will always be inside of me, I just don’t need to feed it. And with sobriety, have come many blessings. I am married and have the most perfect daughter. I am a deeply spiritual person, grateful, kind and secure, and if I were still drinking, I honestly think I would be dead. I have an attitude of gratitude now and I hope God is using me to help those who are still suffering.”

Courtesy of Emerald Gagnon

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Emerald Gagnon, 30, of Monterey, California. You can follow her recovery journey on Instagram and her blogDo you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

Read more empowering stories of people overcoming their addictions:

‘Our daughter has been placed in protective custody,’ my husband said. ‘We will deal with that later,’ I remember replying. Because first, I needed to get high.’

‘I was ABANDONED on my grandma’s front porch with a note that said, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ My own mother said those five words about me when I was only 8 months old.’

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