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 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 fairly young, but I was having a hard time in high school and was adamant on 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 really 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 booze. The idea was always the same: I would procure alcohol and drink until I felt drunk. Often times that led to feeling violently ill, and ruining mine and everyone else’s night. None of that really 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 and all difficulties. I had zero coping skills, and had no idea how to get them. For every problem, a ‘3 fingers, whiskey neat, no ice’ 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. Every so often something good would happen for 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 cutting back on booze, and attempted drinking 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 possibly 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 addiction 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 something. Getting sober hasn’t been easy. In fact, it was the first time I actually faced anything head-on. I had to learn how to develop coping skills, and truly 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 2 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. This year, I even began a career in recovery. I am a certified Recovery Coach and currently work at a Sober Living facility, outside of my career as an Influencer. There is no magic spell you can do or pill you can take. The work doesn’t stop, it is ongoing and sometimes really tough, but I do it because I love myself, and deserve every happiness. Today, I live a wonderful 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