I am an educated woman and mother to three beautiful children. However, I am alcoholic. I am sharing my story with hope to further educate the public in understanding that addiction is a disease that can affect anyone; regardless of gender, race, education or religion. Once people can wrap their head around the idea the addiction is an illness and the addict is a sick person, not a bad person, the more society will begin to accept those that suffer without judgment and in turn the addict will not feel ashamed, embarrassed and fearful of reaching out for help.
I was born and raised in Toronto. I grew up in a single parent home with two siblings. My first “drunk” was at the age of twelve. A few friends and I stole a large bottle of red wine from a parent and passed it around drinking it as quick as possible. I passed out and woke up to someone slapping me my face and throwing water over my head at which time I proceeded to vomit. This however, did not deter me from drinking again because I absolutely loved the feeling. With alcohol, I had arrived. Arrived to a special place, where I could experience the pleasure of “numbness” from reality, escaping my emotions and becoming whomever I wanted to be. There was nothing like it. Absolutely nothing. These are the experiences felt by an alcoholic when they drink. Very hard for others to understand if they haven’t experienced the same feelings.
I continued to drink throughout my adolescence and into adulthood. I can say that although I tried hard to “manage” my consumption of alcohol in order to function as a contributing member of society with a career in the insurance industry while raising three children, my alcoholism progressed greatly with time eventually spiraling out of control. I eventually lost everything. My home, career, drivers license, and children. All that was left to lose was life itself. During my progression into the abyss of addiction, I did make various attempts at becoming sober. I attended four inpatient treatment centers. The first three were unsuccessful. My fourth treatment center was a six month residential center for women. By this point I was spiritually and emotionally dead. It was the end. The point of despair that many alcoholics unfortunately, need to reach before surrendering to recovery. This is the crux of the illness. No matter how negative the consequences are the phenomenon of craving and using continue. The chains of addition are hard to break free from but with hard work and the right help, it is possible. I believe it is never too late for anyone suffering from addiction to break free and rebuild their life full of happiness, serenity and joy, which we are all so deserving of.
Getting sober is difficult, however, the tricky part is staying sober. There needs to be serious lifestyle changes made along with spiritual guidance and emotional support. I can only share what I believe made my recovery a success. I had to make many changes. I relocated from my home in the country to the city; this way there were many more supports available to me. I never went back to my original career and reeducated myself into a different field entirely. I joined a community self-help support group (Alcoholics Anonymous). Here, I found many others like myself I could identify with and draw on for emotional support. Working the twelve steps of the program gave me spirituality and a way of living that enabled my emotional growth and change. I am now six an half years sober living happy joyous and free from the “chains of addiction”. My children are all living with me and we are happy and grateful for the help I received and my successful recovery. It’s never too late.
About Carole Eastman
Carole is an addiction counselor whose passion is to provide support to others suffering from the disease of addiction and mental health disorders. In recovery from alcoholism for over 6 years, Carole understands the barriers and challenges many face in order to achieve a better quality of life which we are all so deserving of. Carole has raised three children as a single mother and after many years of struggling now enjoys living life on life’s terms. You can connect with her on LinkedIn, and follow her story on HMC’s Supportive Minds Blog.