AODCCC Member Story Sharing
In this safe space, those with a lived and/or living experience of alcohol and other drugs share their stories and life experiences for others to read, in an attempt to change the conversation and look beyond stigma.
Trapped in a Nightmare
I started using substances and drinking just before I hit 18.
I didn’t know I had an addiction problem, I thought I was just a rebel teenager.
I couldn’t get out of the vicious cycle, a tangle, stuck, trapped, hell of a nightmare – the drink and drugs took over my life.
It took over all of me.
I went to a youth program in the city to get help.
I worked hard to gain my control back.
Since becoming a mum eight years ago I’ve been clean off meth and weed.
I want to be a role model for my kids and for them to have a life that I didn’t get.
Gill, Just an ordinary Suburban Mum
- Her Story -
My thirst for alcohol developed in my early teens when I discovered that it altered how I felt. At the age of 15, I also developed a smoking habit and for the next few decades I drank and smoked myself silly. It never occurred to me that I was using alcohol and cannabis as medication. I just did it without thinking. When I reached my 50th birthday I came face-to-face with my deep unhappiness. By then, I had already stopped smoking thanks to two pregnancies. But there I was with two teenagers who were watching me pour wine down my neck every night and waking me up during a family movie to tell me that I’d missed the best bit! The booze made me very cranky, and I was in the never-ending cycle of wishing for it to be five o’clock so that I could switch my mind off with a large drink. I began to feel extremely guilty about the type of role-model that I had become for my kids. I imagined how I might feel if they also started looking for happiness in the bottom of a bottle. After much rumination and a few weeks of abstinence here and there, I finally decided that the best option for me and my family was to stop drinking completely. Of course, that brings its own challenges. I soon felt the raw feelings creeping in. The pain of a difficult childhood that I had been numbing for decades reared its ugly head. I sought help. I found AOD (Alcohol and Other Drug) support services and, after a few weeks on a waiting list, I finally got the help that I so desperately needed.
The first step in my recovery journey was admitting that I had a problem. The second was opening up to the counsellor at the AOD support service who recommended I attend their weekly women’s group. Through the group I found connection that made me feel more worthy. I learnt healthier strategies for managing my anxiety and stress, not just from the educational component of the group sessions, but also from the women themselves.
Addiction does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone. It is just one of the ways in which some people survive the trials and tribulations of their lives. While it is often difficult for people around us to watch us grapple with addiction, compassion and non-judgement are two qualities that are extremely helpful. When a person is stuck in the dark hole of addiction, they are often heavily burdened with awful shame and self-loathing for being in that hole in the first place. When we see a helping, caring hand being extended towards us, we are given hope that maybe, just maybe, we might get to climb out of that ugly place towards the light of a brighter future.
I am so grateful for the support that is available to us as it really does save lives.
It takes strength to ask for help but it is a choice that we never ever regret in recovery.