Jane’s Story of Alcohol Addiction Recovery
Jane is a 56-year-old professional working in the Supply Chain industry. Jane is 84 days sober after completing a 30-day residential addiction treatment for alcohol addiction at Hader Clinic Queensland.
I have mostly good memories of my childhood, however, my parents separated when I was eleven. My mother left me and my brother with our dad. I had to grow up fast and felt overly responsible for my family. Being the only girl, I felt it was my responsibility to fill my mother’s shoes.
When I was 16, I left school and started to work. My dad remarried and I now had three step-siblings. I did not get along with my stepmother, we fought a lot. This was a stressful time.
I decided to move out of home. I started smoking pot and drinking. I was going to nightclubs underage. I drank from Wednesday through to Sunday and I always drank to get drunk. This continued for a few years and by the age of 21, I was a daily drinker. I knew I had a problem. The thought crossed my mind that I was an alcoholic after reading an article, but I quickly pushed it aside. I made poor decisions whilst drinking, but I just thought this was what young people did.
When I was 24, I joined the air force. I did basic training in Adelaide for 3 months. For the first 2 weeks of training, I couldn’t drink. Once the initial intake was complete, we were allowed to drink on the weekends. Being in the air force was good for me, I needed discipline and structure. All my friends thought I couldn’t do it. I was determined to prove them wrong.
After 3 months, I was based in Wagga Wagga for 12 weeks of classroom-based. I was surprised by the drinking culture on base. I started drinking every night, everyone else was too so I didn’t see a problem with it. I was posted to Richmond in Sydney, I lived on base and continued to drink heavily at night and work through the day. I met my husband there. He was ex-navy, a big drinker, and a compulsive gambler.
We got married 2 years later. We spent most of our time at the RSL gambling and drinking. I felt I was having a great time and didn’t have any interest in changing my lifestyle.
My son was born in 1997, I managed to stop drinking while I was pregnant but shortly after he was born I commenced to drink heavily again. I was drinking a bottle of wine per night. My marriage was very tumultuous. He was emotionally abusive. Alcohol was my only coping mechanism.
In 2006, my family became very concerned with my drinking. I had always functioned, but I had started to have blackouts while drinking and both my physical and mental health were deteriorating. I was clinically depressed. I spoke to a doctor and got some tablets to stop my drinking. After 6 weeks I was drinking again.
In 2011 my husband and I were having massive arguments. He was getting physical with me; I was so unhappy and desperate to end this relationship. I had recently been promoted and could afford to live on my own. We broke up and got back together over the next 12 months.
Our marriage ended in 2013. My son and I moved to Rockhampton to escape. I was relieved to be out of my unhappy relationship and I started to rebuild my life. I got professional help to break the cycle of taking my ex-husband back repeatedly. Despite the positive actions and changes, I had implemented; I was drinking heavier than ever. I soon realised that it wasn’t the circumstance causing my reliance on alcohol. I knew if I didn’t get help I was going to die. I was afraid of losing my job and I was having suicidal thoughts.
I called a counselling line I had access to through work. The lady I spoke to was an alcohol and drug counsellor. She said, “you need to get yourself into rehab”. I made the decision to seek help. I completed a 2-week program in Brisbane. I stayed sober for 3 years. I attended a few AA meetings, but I felt it was too religious and didn’t continue. I truly believed I would never drink again from willpower alone.
One day I received news that my uncle had died suddenly in his sleep. The thought occurred to me that I didn’t want to die and never have a drink again. I was on holiday in America with my mum at the time. I ordered soda water, and she ordered champagne. They didn’t have soda water, so I made a split-second decision to drink champagne. It went so well that I thought, I can do this, I can manage my drinking. I truly believed that this time I would be able to manage and only drink alcohol socially. Unfortunately, this was not true for me. My alcoholism progressed very quickly, and I found myself drinking daily again.
This went on for 3 years, I didn’t care about anything. My job, my health, nothing mattered to me. I was made redundant and was offered another job. There was going to be drug and alcohol testing as part of my new role. I thought I better get sober again. I booked myself back into the 2-week program I had previously done. It wasn’t the same this time due to covid. There was not much connection. As soon as I left, I bought a bottle of champagne. I was devastated it hadn’t worked for me.
I was drinking heavier than I had ever been, I thought enough is enough. My health was really declining, I knew that I was not going to have a long life if this continued. I wanted to stay alive.
I was going to work hungover, and it was then I realised I could be putting myself and other people in danger. My life flashed before my eyes, I knew I didn’t want to die, so I searched online for residential rehabs with a detox program for alcoholics and found Hader Clinic Queensland. I found out that it could be covered by DVA funding due to being ex-military. This covered the whole cost.
I immediately booked in. I was in detox within a week. Everything happened so fast, and I am so glad it did because I needed help. I didn’t know what to expect, I knew I would be in detox for 28 days. When I arrived, I was introduced to my buddy. I felt very comfortable. The staff were amazing. They really understood what I was going through and helped me to settle in. I knew I was in the right place.
I was reintroduced to the 12-step fellowships. Previously I had thought it was a religious program but after having an open mind and the right people around me I could see the benefits it could have for me and the way it worked in others’ lives.
The classes with Mark were amazing, it was eye-opening to understand that we were all the same, I no longer felt like I was alone. I was filled with hope that I could recover. I knew that this was going to work for me if I took direction and did the work.
They took us to a meeting every day. This really helped me to get into a routine in the outside world, we did the daily readings, journaling, and regular feeling check-ins. Every one of these tools has been an integral part of my daily program over the past 83 days.
I am so grateful for the foundation I was given, every other time I tried to stop, I was just white-knuckling it. Now I have a new way of life.
For anyone considering seeking treatment, all I can say is it is worth it. Thanks to Hader Clinic Queensland I no longer live in isolation with nothing to live for except drinking.
I have a real connection with the world around me. I am present for my children and grandchildren who I get to see grow up. I feel alive and have so much hope that this will continue.
Queensland’s only private rehab centre with ACHS accreditation
We are proud to be the only private drug and alcohol addiction treatment centre in Queensland to be independantly accredited.