Jenn Hirst

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I justified my drinking for many years because I didn’t “look” like your typical alcoholic. I was what we call a “high functioning, closet alcoholic”. Many perfectionists out there might relate. I did my drinking at home, alone... so no one would know. I never wanted to embarrass or hurt anyone… just myself. 

 

I had a job, two in fact, a classic workaholic. I got up and went through the motions, but what people didn’t see was to help with the overwhelm and anxiety I experienced, I drank. I couldn't take the pressure that I put upon myself to be this perfect human being to everyone, but most importantly myself. My drinking gradually escalated to where I eventually needed alcohol to even function. Why couldn’t I stop? I could do anything that I set my mind to, but I could not do this. Was I really an alcoholic? I didn’t look like one? AA scared me. All I knew was that I needed that relief, stat.

 

I tried to moderate, unsuccessfully, many times. I always thought I could control it. While some people can moderate, it‘s not unusual or wrong if you can’t. You see, alcohol is an addictive drug. By getting addicted, your body and brain are just doing what they're supposed to! And it’s nothing to be ashamed about.

 

Who was I without alcohol? I couldn’t even imagine a life without alcohol in it, because it was so ingrained into every single aspect of my life. What would people think if they knew I had a problem? Would they think less of me? Would they still like me if I didn’t drink? If you’re not ready to quit drinking, that’s ok. I wasn’t at first either. It wasn’t until “I” was ready and “I” really wanted it, that getting sober became easier for me. One day it just clicked. I didn’t want to drink anymore because nothing tastes as good as sobriety feels 

 

It took many attempts to finally get sober (3 inpatient stays, multiple outpatients, AA, jail, etc), a year and a half in fact. And just because you slip up doesn't mean you've failed at this, it's just another learning experience on your journey. Get back up and keep trying, again and again and again. I want to let you know that you can come out of this, and be an even better person than you were before. I've learned so much about myself these past seven years alcohol-free, more so since I started sharing my story, and I’ve learned to love who I am becoming because of what I went through.  Your past doesn't determine who you are. Your past prepares you for who you are to become.  Getting sober is not easy, but it is possible and it’s absolutely worth it.