When I was at university, I thought I was normal.
I thought I was just like the other students I was drinking with. However, in retrospect, at the end of the night, everyone else went home. Everyone else could stop drinking at a respectable hour, go to class in the morning, and study before going out. On the contrary, I was always the last one there – scrounging up the half empty cups drinking as much alcohol as I could. I would sleep through my classes the next morning and be drunk before my last class ended. I was far from normal.
When I drink, I wholeheartedly believe that I can just take one. Then one turns into five which turns into more until I fall into a blackout. I can wake up the next day and promise myself that I will not drink that day, then somehow find myself picking up another drink. When I drink, this becomes a never-ending cycle that envelopes every ounce of my being. When I drink, my mind terrifies me.
It took a lot of consequences to drive me deep into the darkness that I needed to reach in order to ask for help. Since I wasn’t going to class I failed out of school. I wasn’t reliable enough to hold a job, so I found myself bouncing from couch to couch to keep a roof over my head. My family refused to let me into their home until I accepted professional help. Most importantly, I was miserable day and night and saw no purpose in the life I was living.
At the age of 25, I spent two months in an alcohol treatment center participating in a multitude of different therapies. I had a therapist who showed me love and compassion as she helped me work through the underlying symptoms and issues of my alcoholism. I also made friends who held my hand as we began a journey of recovery together.
Although not all of these friends I made in treatment are still sober, each one of them played an important role in the reason I am still sober today. After all, alcoholism is a disease, which means that relapse can happen. My friends taught me the importance of having a fellowship that is formed on a common ground of experiences, despair, and hope. The ones who were doing well taught me what to do to stay sober. The ones who relapsed gave me lessons to learn from.
By incorporating healthy habits into my life, taking responsibility for my actions, relying on the people around me, and coping with my emotions in healthy ways, I am still sober today. Although I’m not back in school, I landed a job where there is an opportunity for both education and growth. I have my own house with a steady roof over my head and my family invites me home whenever I am in town. Most of all, I finally found solace in sobriety from alcohol and use my experience to try and help others who are still suffering.
Hailey has a passion for helping others recover from addiction and alcoholism.
She works with https://clarksvillerehab.com/ to educate others and spread awareness around the disease of addiction. Her hobbies include hiking, writing, and volunteering at an animal shelter.