This is a story that is very close to my heart and I am feeling a little vunerable sharing this but I feel that as its WORLD HEALTH DAY and the rates of mental illness and suicide are increasing it’s time to share, maybe it can help another person out there!
I was 14 when I first drank alcohol. I still remember so clearly the feeling that it gave me. This happy euphoric feeling that washed away all my worries. It gave me the confidence to be and say whatever I wanted, to be seen, to be heard. I had found the cure, the cure that I had been searching for, like a magic potion that made all my problems disappear.
From then on I came to love the feeling of being drunk, the way I could forget everything and I was suddenly filled with confidence, I felt like I was somebody. I continued to party and it kind of became a part of who I was, an identity. I was the girl who loved to party, I could be funny, loud and be whoever I wanted to be. I thought that people liked me when I was drunk and I guess I liked myself more when I was drunk too.
I could drink bottles of vodka and always got drunk too quickly. Even though I would always end up sick and vomiting the next day, I continued to drink because this was normal right? Just part of the hangover! Was this behaviour normal? I mean I didn’t see a problem with it, I knew plenty others who were like me too.
One day, drink just wasn’t enough and I found drugs. Taking my first ecstacy tablets it was 100 times better than the feeling of being drunk. A feeling that I had never felt before, a buzz like no other. I was hooked from that moment on. And I had some amazing times while high on ecstasy! But it was the after effects that were killing me slowly. After each session it would take 5-6 days to recover. Sometimes a week of feeling like absolute shit, depressed low and even suicidal sometimes!
But this was normal right? I mean my friends were doing it too. They would say don’t worry what goes up must come down youl be ok in a few days. And usually I would, or the next session would come along and I would forget everything again!
Soon I began experimenting with other drugs too, I loved going to festivals, raves, taking anything and everything that I could and getting completely out of my head. I thought I was having the time of my life and I probably was at the time and I met some wonderful people that I am still friends with today. But after every party I would get lower and lower.
I travelled to Thailand alone in an attempt to get away from it all or to find myself! While I should have been enjoying every moment, I knew that something wasn’t right, deep down I felt sad and alone in the world, with no aim or purpose in life. I didn’t know this at the time but I guess I was feeling a kind of spiritual pain that only alcohol and drugs could numb.
I still remember so clearly the moment that it all changed for me. I can only describe that it was like a switch just went off in my brain – things are blurry from here on as, it was like my body and mind had been taken over by another force. I was not me anymore, I was someone or something else and I had entered a really dark place that I didnt know if I could come out of it. I felt like I had crossed that invisible line between sane and insane and it was the most scary and horriifc experience of my life. I had a drug induced phsycosis.
Still travelling, I knew I needed help but I didn’t know where to turn. I considered jumping in the river in Berlin beacuase I couldn’t bear the pain. I remember being at the airport in Copenhagen curled in a heap on the floor and I couldn’t breath I was having a panic attack and some woman was trying to help me.
I managed to get myself back to Ireland but I knew I needed some kind of help. I was in so much pain, not a physical pain but an emotional pain, the worst kind of pain I have ever felt in my life. My heart ached and I didn’t know where to turn.
I realised I had a choice to make, I saw two versions of me walking away from me and in this moment I had to choose one – the person who I thought I was, or the person who I wanted to be.
You see I was the person who on the outside seemed like the most happy, positive and bubbly person but on the inside I was crippled with fears, anxieties, anger, frustration, low self esteem, poor body image, damaged emotions and more things that I couldn’t even name. All these things I never wanted people to see so I kept them hidden buried inside myself.
The other person was the one I chose… She was happy, healthy, free – she was me now!
Somehow I ended up in an rehabilitation centre for drugs and alcohol.
Saying “hi I’m Martha I’m an alcoholic and an addict” just felt wrong completely wrong. I didn’t belong here. But then again I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere in the world. I truly didn’t believe that I was an addict yet somehow I had ended up there. How did this happen?
I was so confused, lost, I felt like a tiny bird with broken wings so fragile! I didn’t know who I was anymore. The only reason I stayed is beacuase I felt safe there and I felt like I couldn’t face the world.
My brain was so confused and I was in turmoil.
If I was an addict or an alcoholic, why had nobody told me that what I was doing to myself wasn’t normal?
Maybe they did, I just wasn’t prepared to listen.
Or maybe we live in a society where alcohol and substance abuse is accepted as the norm?
Wether I was an ‘addict’ or not, that didn’t matter. I knew that my substance abuse was poisoning my body, killing my soul and making me depressed and unhappy and I made the decision to change.
The journey wasn’t easy especially in a country that revolves around alcohol and when so many people didn’t know or understand what I had been through. Seeing all of my friends going out and having a fun, while I was the ‘boring’ one stuck in a rehab centre. I felt that I was missing out on something and I still struggled to believe that I belonged there, that I was an ‘addict’. But when I met other people there who felt the same way as me I realised that it doesn’t matter how much or how little you used or drank but it was the reason why you drank, the effects it had on you that made it a problem.
Through treatment, counselling, and yoga I found the space to look deep inside myself to realease things I had been holding on to, I was carrying trauma in my body, I was full of negative thoughts and I had been suppressing my emotions for a long time. I feel so lucky and grateful to have met many people and teachers who have helped me to heal and recover, and I continue to heal and grow everyday.
Now I know that there is so much more to life than getting drunk and partying, and I have built a life that I truly enjoy, I wake up everyday feeling happy and healthy, I know my value and my self worth, I have so much more energy and motivation to achieve my goals and dreams and I travel the world fully enjoying each moment. So many wonderful things have happened in my life since I stopped drinking alcohol… but most of all I connected with my true self, I found a purpose in life, I know that I belong in this world and I have a mission to help people.
Everyday I make a choice, I choose not to drink, I choose nurture my body and honor and love myself, I choose to follow a path that supports my recovery and healing.
I choose love.
I choose light.
I choose life.
I want people to know that you should never be afraid or ashamed to ask for help, there is a world of people out there who will be willing to help if you just ask. If you feel like something isn’t right inside you, don’t just ignore it, be brave and face it, if you are willing to change, persevere and be open and honest with yourself then a world of healing and recovery awaits you. We don’t need to suffer, it is our birth right to be happy, joyous and to enjoy life.
Feel free to share this story if you think it can hep somebody else.
Lots of love ,