For most of my life I considered myself irrevocably broken – lost forever in an abyss of self-destruction and despair. From the age of twelve I felt suicidal and within a few short years I discovered what I believed to be my elixir: alcohol.
In some ways drinking saved me from myself – it provided what felt like a glorious reprieve from my tortuous thoughts, albeit temporarily, but I sank rapidly and helplessly into the quicksand of alcoholism.
I also started self-harming and so began my 11 year battle with this heart-breaking, violent ‘coping mechanism’.
I was lost in addiction.
Years passed and nothing changed. Until it did. One day I woke up (with the worst hangover of my life after a despicably humiliating night out) and I was just done. I knew I couldn’t live like this anymore but I also knew that even with this resolve, I couldn’t do it on my own. I needed help.
Thankfully there was help out there and I grasped onto it with both hands. For the first time in my life I opened my heart and my mind and listened to what I was told because I was desperate to get well. I followed what felt like counter-intuitive suggestions (kicking and screaming most of the time!) and slowly, very slowly, I started to get well.
I rediscovered art during my second year of sobriety (having not picked up a paintbrush in 15 years) and it has proved to be an instrumental tool in my recovery journey. Read more about how I’ve healed through art here.
In July 2019 I celebrated 10 years sober and abstinence from self-harm. For 8 of those years I have mentored other female alcoholics, holding space for them to heal themselves and achieve sobriety.
My role has always been to hold a safe space for them to do the work, never to tell them what to do. I share my experience, strength and hope with them and offer many of the same gentle suggestions that were freely given to me.
This without doubt is the most profoundly rewarding work I have ever done.