I’m a single parent to a 13-year-old daughter, a nutritional therapist, and a former alcohol addict.
I’d always liked alcohol a bit too much, right from the start. It quietened me, filled the emptiness and softened the edges of my anxiety. After a series of losses in my 40’s, my drinking spiralled out of control. I was physically and psychologically addicted, drinking steadily from morning to night. I was vaguely managing to parent, run my business and even chair the PTA, but I was at the bottom of a slippery slope and I knew I was very ill.
Somehow, though, I recognised through the alcohol-induced fog that I didn’t want to kill myself and, more than anything, I didn’t want my beautiful daughter, then only 8, finding me either dead in my bed or in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. So, I stopped drinking.
I was sad, uncomfortable, lonely and frustrated in the early days, but very determined. Physically, I had malnutrition, my gut was a mess, my muscles had started wasting away and I had peripheral neuropathy. I turned to nutrition to sort out my physical health and found that it improved my mental health so started studying nutritional therapy to understand more about the science behind nutrition and mental health. I have found a sense of purpose in my new career as a nutritional therapist, supporting others to recover their vitality, especially middle-aged women, and I am full of excitement for the future.
I am also enjoying what I consider to be my first adult relationship with a kind, clever and funny man, the result of online dating a few years into my sobriety. The honesty and clarity that came along with sobriety meant that I would only stick around if there was a real connection, and, because I no longer feel the self-loathing and shame of addiction, I know I deserve to be treated well.
I’ve learned a lot along the way, and the most important thing I have learned is that living well is hard work. I have also learned that feeling everything takes courage. But the more you feel, the more beauty you experience.
Do you have a story to tell? Would you like to share with us your unique journey through midlife? We want to hear from all the CrunchyLadies out there. Submit your personal tale from the second act of your life HERE.