Rachel’s Journey to Alcohol Addiction Recovery
Rachel is a registered nurse from Sydney. She has been sober for 4 and a half months after alcohol addiction treatment at Hader Clinic Queensland. This is her story.
“Everything is so much brighter. I feel healthy and I am free from living a life of fear and dishonesty. I wake up and I feel happy to be a part of my life.”
I was born in New Zealand. My mother had adopted me out at birth, as she was only 16.
My adoptive parents were lovely people and I have a great relationship with them both. We moved to Australia when I was 5. My mother had 2 older biological sons from a previous relationship. I always felt different from my brothers and separated from the family.
My childhood was filled with a lot of adventures and fun. We were always going somewhere. I was bubbly and social but found it hard to maintain deep connections and friendships.
My world was turned upside down when I was 11. I was sexually abused. This continued for a year. I didn’t realise what was happening to me was wrong until I was an adult. This really affected all of my future relationships and my self-esteem. I started smoking and drinking in my early teen years. My parents would let me drink occasionally at home when they were there, but I would sneak alcohol and drink when they weren’t around. I found relief from alcohol, it helped me to cope with the trauma I had experienced and push it down.
When I finished high school, I went into the hospitality industry. It supported my lifestyle, and everyone worked hard and partied after work. I went travelling and continued heavy binge drinking. I would find myself in dangerous situations frequently and decided it was best for me to go back to Australia.
I felt really unsettled in my early 20s I had always wondered about my biological mum, and I decided I wanted to find her. I felt a lot of anxiety and emotional stress during this time, I had so many fears about her rejecting me or not wanting me in her life. I turned to alcohol to self-medicate. The entire process of finding her and making contact took about 12 months.
When I was 29, I met my ex-husband. We had 2 children together, and this felt like a good period in my life. I was happy for the first time that I could remember. I quit smoking and drinking throughout both of my pregnancies and was living a healthy lifestyle. When my youngest son was 2, everything unravelled. I found out my husband was having an affair. My life was falling apart. I felt so betrayed. I thought I had found someone I could trust. I didn’t feel like I could leave. He supported me and the children. I was so alone and trapped. I took up drinking heavily again as a coping mechanism.
I decided if I was going to have a better life. I needed to get a career and be self-reliant. I had very little self-esteem from years of verbal abuse. I believed I was not smart enough to study or do well without him.
I enrolled in a Bachelor of Nursing and when I was 36 years old, I completed my degree. I got a position as an RN in a hospital; I took my job seriously and ensured I would only drink at nighttime.
I hadn’t left the unhealthy relationship I was in yet. I fell into a deep depression again and alcohol made everything worse.
I wanted to leave the marriage. I found a rental property, and we had shared custody of the children. It was a messy separation. He did a lot of vindictive stuff to cause me harm.
I would find myself on regular binge drinking benders and having blackouts. I had tried many ways to stop drinking on my own and I would only ever stay sober for a few weeks. I knew I needed to stop drinking but did not know how.
My family and friends intervened and told me they thought I needed help. My mum had contacted Hader Clinic Queensland a few months earlier and suggested I get some professional help. I felt relieved at the thought of getting help as I was exhausted and couldn’t keep going on this way.
What I have learned during my time at Hader Clinic Queensland has transformed my life. I have learned I am so much stronger than I thought I was. I had no coping mechanisms. Life was tough before.
I was introduced to daily journaling and gratitude lists. I was taught how to pray, meditate, and look after my physical and mental health. The education program was amazing. I learned so much about the disease of addiction and that I wasn’t just weak-willed; I was very sick.
Everything is so much brighter for me today. I feel healthy and have freedom from active alcohol addiction. I am free from living a life of fear and dishonesty. I wake up and I feel happy to be part of my life. Everything I learned in treatment is part of my daily routine. I was introduced to the 12 steps literature and meetings during my stay. These meetings and the community of recovering addicts help me stay accountable and be able to live my life surrounded by hope.
Thank you, Hader Clinic Queensland, for all your support on my journey to recovery. You have provided a foundation for success and changed my life.
Names and photographs of this client have been changed to protect their privacy.
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