Why I decided to give up drinking, and how I overcame alcohol addiction.
For as long as I can remember, I have always had a bad relationship with alcohol. I would even go as far as to say it was a tumultuous and toxic relationship. I began my drinking career at 14 years old. Looking back, I realize that may seem relatively young, but I was having a hard time in high school and was adamant about rebelling. Months of cutting school to return home with 2 or 3 of my best friends―we would cook an elaborate breakfast, and drink from my mother’s bottle of white wine. I remember feeling good and enjoying these times.
Throughout my teens, I would binge-drink when I could. As you can imagine, it was tough for a minor to score hard liquor. The idea was always the same: I would procure alcohol and drink until I felt drunk. Often that led to feeling violently ill and ruining mine and everyone else’s night. None of that mattered to me, though. I got to escape my body and all the emotions I couldn’t control. The way that I started drinking was the way I always drank. From 14 to 34, I went hard because I had no rules. However, I didn’t always have a bottle in my hand. During times I had a boyfriend, my relationship with alcohol took a backseat.
As many partnerships do, mine came to an end, and always in chaos. Each time, I propelled face-first into drinking, once again. The pattern I created was using alcohol as a crutch for any difficulties. I had zero coping skills and didn’t have any idea how to get them. For every problem, a three fingers whiskey neat was the solution. As the years went on, the spirits got stronger, and I grew darker. Who I became was unrecognizable. I was living in the shadows and felt utterly and completely lost. But, every so often, something good would happen to me. I would meet someone new or attain a great work opportunity, yet nothing lasted.
I was stuck in perpetual gloom and did not see a way out. Constantly feeling worthless began convincing me I wasn’t worth change. I felt as though I didn’t have a choice but to drink―it was the only way I knew how to escape myself. Eventually, I would try to cut back on booze and attempted to drink less. I avoided temptations, bad influences, and only drank at outings. All of these were mere games I was playing, as I would continuously end up right back where I started. From near-death experiences and many hospital visits, nothing seemed to change. I evaded the issue entirely. I did not want to face that I could be an alcoholic.
Accepting that brutal truth was one of the hardest pills I had to swallow, but it made total sense. I was powerless over alcohol and needed real help. On October 8, 2016, I decided to overcome my alcohol addiction and get sober. I started a program of recovery that would save my life. The only way for me to describe my obsession is, picturing myself as a small child, suffocating under a pile of dirt and rocks. I was going to die there if I didn’t do anything. Getting sober hasn’t been easy. It was the first time I faced anything head-on. I had to learn how to develop coping skills and genuinely love myself. The day I realized I was worth it was the day I allowed myself to grow in ways I didn’t know were possible.
It has been two years and 47 days, and I can officially say I am a completely different person. I have visited the depths of my soul, the darkest realms, and returned a beautiful being with a big heart. I know the work doesn’t stop and can be very tough, but I do it because I love myself and deserve every happiness. Today, I live a beautiful sober life that I have created with the help of my Higher Power. I am grateful to be alive and share this story with you. My name is Christina, and I’m a proud alcoholic.
Photographed by David Zayas