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Tammy's Addiction Recovery

10 months sober, and loving life

Hello there, my name is Tammy, I’m 44 years old and almost 10 months sober. What was my poison? Alcohol… and pot.

It’s lovely to now be free of it. The clarity I have in my thinking is amazing.

I was once asked by a friend, “how did you know you were an alcoholic?”. Well, I had thought that I’d only recently become an alcoholic, I can see now that that’s not the case at all.

If I go back to that time when I had my very first drink… I remember sharing a beer with Dad and I remember I wanted more. I used to think, “I can handle that, what’s wrong with having a little bit more?”

When I was sixteen, I got drunk for the first time and experienced my first blackout.

Knowing what I know now, I could probably say that I was an alcoholic right from the get-go. I could never have just one drink and I experienced blacking out with alarming regularity due to the amount I drank.

I was always the life of the party, I was the good time girl, always going out and partying hard.

I was all about having fun and indulging in risky, life threatening behaviour.

That’s just what I did. To me, it was all fun and games.

Drinking to excess was considered the norm in the town where I was raised.

Then, slowly but surely I got less and less invitations to parties etc., to the point of none, because no one knew what I was capable of doing, nor did I.

My kids often had to remind me of my escapades, the day after. They also used this to their advantage by telling me of promises that I had made whilst drunk.

Pot got introduced to me by my ex-husband, when I moved north at 18 years old.

I started smoking that and my drug habit got progressively worse to the point where between the two of us, we were smoking more than an ounce per week.

We were both very big drinkers and very big smokers.

Eight years ago, my ex-husband and I split up and I moved to a different town with our children to start afresh, cutting all ties to pot which helped me get off that.

I thought everything was hunky-dory but I was still drinking excessively.

I didn’t stop drinking, because I thought I could control it (like we all do).

I still managed to take the kids everywhere, I kept a very clean and tidy house and made meals. I was even a president of a P and C Committee, and Manager of the kid’s sports teams. You could say that I was a high functioning alcoholic.

I was living in my parents’ beachside rental at that stage and started to accumulate some savings.

Then my ex-husband came back onto the scene and made promises which won me back.

Things seemed ok for a while. But then, three years ago, everything started spiralling out of control.

My marriage was in tatters, and I started smoking pot again.

This is where my alcohol use went through the roof.

My ex-husband was a narcissist and an enabler.

He played on my alcoholism so that he could control me. He knew that I couldn’t stop.

When I’d say to him that I was having an alcohol-free day, he’d come home with a carton. And what’s an alcoholic going to do? They’re going to drink the whole damn lot! You could say that he was a catalyst that fuelled the drinking fire.

I would drink until he went to bed, and then I would drink even more.

I would make sure that I would get a couple of hours of sleep before he woke, then after he’d left and gone to work, I’d have to have another couple of drinks to get rid of the shakes and just so I could start my day again.

It was no life at all. I also started popping pills, particularly Phenergan and Nausetil, which settled my stomach. That way, I could drink more. Not necessarily to eat more, but to drink.

Drinking was a way of numbing myself from my surroundings and what was really going on in my life.

I was now drinking to the point where I was passing out in my own vomit, wetting my pants, and waking up in this messy sludge.

My son found me and had to undress me and put me into the shower, my daughter had to use the hose to try to wake me up.

I was hospitalised quite a few times with alcohol poisoning and injuries.

About a month before I went to the Hader Clinic Queensland, my ex moved out to one house and my daughter moved into my brother’s house as she did not think it was fair to choose sides, both saying they couldn’t handle my drinking anymore.

I went on a four-day binge, (little did I know that this was to be my last of these).

My mother came over during this and said, “this is out of control, WTF are you doing?”. My mother never swears.

She told me about the Hader Clinic Queensland.

I was still extremely drunk. I agreed to go, just hoping that she would leave, and 30 days I can do that, I’ll treat it like a holiday, man do I need a holiday.

All the while thinking of the half bottle of vodka I had stashed under the bed, ready to drink when she left. She returned shortly after, saying, “you’re booked in”.

Twenty-four hours later, I was in rehab at the Hader Clinic Queensland.

I hated it at first, I felt it was regimented and a dictatorship, I thought 30 days of this crap, lining up like a herd of cattle to get tablets, it’s vitamin B1 FFS, what’s mum got me into, is this a cult. WTF!

This is where Phil played an extremely large part in my accepting rehab and helped me with understanding the program.

We would have long chats of a morning over coffee, talk about things that I would never divulge to anyone ever. It was very cleansing.

With his empowering, inspiring nature, support and him explaining parts of the programme which I had difficulty grasping, like “A Higher Power”, I decided to grab this opportunity by the balls, and totally immersed myself in the teaching and learning of the program and The Twelve Steps.

It wasn’t until I left that I truly began to appreciate the process of what was happening there. I have to say that the magic didn’t happen with me until I left rehab.

Attending daily meetings, going back to the Hader Clinic Queensland to see Phil, talking to older sober members, feeling free to be able to drive anywhere at any time, not having to make up feeble excuses as to why I can’t make it to that appointment, most of all, I had this overwhelming feeling of happiness, this was the strangest feeling, I hadn’t experienced that feeling in a very long time.

Now I respect the program and the twelve steps. I work them every day.

I know where my life will head if I pick up another alcoholic drink.

I know that I am powerless over alcohol and that my life becomes unmanageable.

I have a disease.

I’m now always self-evaluating. I take the time to think, where did I go wrong? What do I have to do to fix it? How did I upset that person? I make amends and fix things straight away.

Because ultimately, it’s all about yourself, “SELF and FEAR”. As soon as you realise that and you work on it every day, it gives you a totally different perspective of everything.

I came to believe in a higher power whom I choose to call GOD. I believe in signs of nature and nature showed me signs of a new beginning.

The best aspect of my rehab journey was meeting the love of my life.

This, of course, is a little bit crazy, but I believe it was meant to be as we’re on exactly the same path.

We never had any type of physical relations whatsoever when we were in rehab.

When we got out, we remained in close contact, which soon became daily contact and then twice daily. We were both doing a lot of chatting and soul searching. We would talk for hours.

I’m living with Phil now, and work with him too.

We are very happy and totally in love, a love which I have never experienced. All the signs seemed to point to us being together.

When we met, neither of us wanted a relationship at all – we were both recovering from our own bad experiences, alcohol and relationships – it was the last thing we were looking for.

Fate had different plans which seemed to draw us together.

My working hours started to dwindle where I was living, yet there was plenty of work in my sector where Phil lived.

I came and stayed with Phil for the weekend when I went for my interviews and a couple of months later, I was living with Phil and starting a new job.

It was advised not to start a relationship for at least 12 months of sobriety; start with a plant, then a pet, then the relationship… Well we killed the plant; the dog seems to be surviving and so is our relationship

It’s been great.

We both believe in God our higher power, we’re both equally committed to the program, our relationship has been built on a very good foundation of, trust, honesty, respect and commitment, not only to the relationship but to achieving our goals, aspirations and maintaining a sober life.

We know a lot about each other, stuff you would never ever tell anyone as I stated previously.

Even to this day we read the “Just for Today” and “Daily Reflection”. We do it most mornings. These readings are for everyone.

I often say to people that if everyone did the Twelve Step Program and implemented it, we’d be living in a completely different society.

We also read self-help books in the evenings. We share empowering activities.

When you change your mindset from negative to positive, your life just changes for the better.

We are reaching for the stars and making our lives bigger and better every day.

I have only found out recently that my Mum tried to intervene several times and help me, but my ex actively prevented her from doing so, telling her that he had “things under control” and “she doesn’t need help”.

I can’t thank my parents enough for intervening and doing what they did.

Every month I send them a text or call them and say, “another month sober – thank you for giving me my life back”.

I’m starting to cry… they gave me my life back.

If it wasn’t for them, rehab, and Phil, I’d be dead.

I would have overdosed on Phenergan or crashed my car; I was a terrible drink driver.

I only lost my license once due to drink driving. How it was only once is a complete mystery. It’s beyond me. I could have killed somebody.

Now I can reflect and look at what could have happened.

I’m so grateful for this life now because the one I had before was horrible. The relationships that I destroyed, especially with my kids was devastating. They couldn’t trust me.

However, the good news is that my relationship with the kids is being repaired, as with others. I’ve made amends to a lot of people and told them how truly sorry I am.

I hope that my story can inspire someone else to take stock and realise that there’s a better life being sober.

You’ve got to make the decision that this is definitely the life you want and put as much dedication toward your sobriety as you did to your sneaking, deceiving and knifing while in you were in active addiction, if you can do that your home and hosed…. I did it in 30 days…… ANYTHING is possible…. Dedication to the point of success…. No way in hell am I going back to that life at all ever.

Thank you to the Hader Clinic Queensland for starting me on the journey to living again.

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