Life is beautiful, life is exciting. With each new day comes new possibilities, new expectations and new beginnings.
My story is one of new beginnings – after my fall and rise from alcoholism.
What started out as fun at the age of 19 ended up driving me down a path that makes me shudder to date. A path that almost killed me. Addiction is a special kind of hell. It takes the soul of the addict and breaks the heart of everyone who loves them.
For many years, my family had been in denial about what I had become- an alcoholic. I couldn’t hold down a job and had sunk heavily into drinking cheap liquor. My life had spun out of control. I had become the laughingstock of my locality. The daughter of Christian parents had sunk into a bottomless pit. I hated myself so much yet couldn’t seem to quit.
Many times, I would stop for a few days but then go back into a serious binge that would last for weeks on end. Alcoholism is a disease that makes you too selfish to see the havoc you have created, and too selfish to care about the lives you have shattered along the way.
The mirrors in my house were for show. There came a point where I couldn’t look at myself in any of them. I felt ugly. I was ugly.
Taking a shower had become a thing of the past. There’s something about addiction and detesting water. It’s draining to take your clothes off and take a bath. I’d go for months without taking one. Body spray does wonders I tell you.
In the course of active addiction, I have had two miscarriages back-to-back. You see, women and alcohol don’t mix. This is because alcohol has a negative effect on reproductive functions leading to decreased ovarian mass. My menstrual cycle was also very irregular. I remember having missed my menses for an entire year back in 2016.
Being a heavy smoker as well put me at risk of developing breast cancer and early menopause. I will forever be grateful to God for saving me from this. Interestingly enough, my physical health remained intact. Not once was I admitted to hospital. I attest this to the relentless prayers of those in my inner circle.
My weight, however, suffered a massive blow, dropping to a point where I had to wear two pairs of jeans to feel like I had some pants on.
Finally in February 2017, after going through a cycle of intense depression, anxiety, hallucinations, paranoia and suicidal ideations, I reached out for help. I had hit rock bottom completely. February 2017 found me voluntarily admitted into a treatment facility in the outskirts of Nairobi (Kenya) for 90 days. It is while in treatment that I learned to love myself once again.
Self love doesn’t come easily for many of us. For the first time in many, many years, I could look at myself in a mirror and smile. Truly smile. I began to laugh again, began to enjoy the small things that we take for granted such as fresh air, the smell of flowers, the brightness of the sun.
My greatest achievements at that time were going to bed and waking up sober. No hangover, no alcohol or cigarette breath. Sober. My self-confidence grew in leaps and bounds and continues to do so to date. I have lost many female friends to alcoholism unfortunately. However, as a woman in recovery, I’d like to encourage any woman in a similar position to do the following:
- Learn to really love yourself.
- Eat right, get enough sleep, drink lots of water, exercise.
- Join the right support groups such as:
*The Girls group
*Alcoholics Anonymous ( AA)
*Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
*We are a glam lot.
- Make the right friends. Let go of toxic relationships (sometimes these include family).
- Join a faith-based community.
- Most importantly, smile 😊. That is your most beautiful asset. Your smile.
And if you fall…because you may fall, dust yourself off and START AGAIN. Let nothing stop you from reaching your goals. Remember that EACH day is a new beginning. You are worth it.
Read Caroline’s full story below:
Caroline Kagia is a certified addictions professional, inspirational speaker and wellness Coach. She is the founder of Caroline Kagia Wellness Initiative, an initiative whose aim is to help those struggling with both chemical and process addictions.