I can remember the first time tasting it and being hooked at 23 years old. All the feelings of insecurity, doubts and fears after the first taste were all removed. Alcohol had me feeling like SUPERWOMAN and I didn't want that feeling to ever leave me. From that day forward, everything I did included alcohol, from partying to going to the movies. It was my BFF, my man, my everything, for over ten years. It had given me what I thought was important, but it had stolen more than I could've ever imagined: thousands of dollars supporting my weekly habit; sexual engagement unprotected, often with strangers; dignity; self respect; family members dying as result etc. I lived my life this way for over ten years, self-medicating. Alcohol, the substance I started drinking and then ultimately became addicted to, was causing more pain than I was trying to mask. The substance I would do anything for wasn't serving me. I remember realizing my life was going to end because of my drinking. I knew I had to make a decision or else I wasn't going to live much longer. Besides, it had already sent all of my aunts and uncles as well as my mother straight to the grave.
I did what I knew how to do: I prayed. I told God, "I need you to take the taste out of my mouth -- if not I won't make it." What I didn't expect was, for God to respond so fast. So, of course, I followed my normal routine. The next day I went to the liquor store and got my pint of Long Island Ice Tea. I poured me a glass in the cutest wine glass I had. I took a sip and almost choked to death. It was as if my throat had completely closed. I remember coughing to try and catch my breath, because in my mind the first time the alcohol had just gone down wrong. As soon as I could breathe again, I took another sip and instantly choked again. This had never happened to me before, but then again I never asked God for help with my drinking. I remember crying and saying “Okay God, I hear you.”
It's been three years, I've been sober and it feels AMAZING. I won't lie -- in the beginning it truly felt like I was parting with a good friend. But the truth is that alcohol was never my friend. It caused a lot of trouble in my life and contributed to a lot of pain.
What I would say to someone facing the same struggle as I have? You are the only person who can get tired of being tired, and whenever you do you won't regret it. In fact, in the future you will thank the old you because the two of you now can reach back and help someone else on their journey, just as I pray my story has. Having the opportunity to begin a new day sober and live an authentic life, all while showing women around the world that what is possible in sobriety is motivation.
I have been sober for three years and counting. Today, I am the owner of a few successful businesses that are birthed from my sobriety: Queens of Sobriety Club, which mentors women in sobriety or seeking sobriety to live an enriching life to recover, rebuild and thrive in sobriety; Cocktails with Chocolate, a professional non-alcoholic beverage service; and Bottled Mocktails, which helps to continue to spread the message of sobriety using our slogan "Have a ball without alcohol."
It is my desire to share my story all over the world in hopes of inspiring others to fight for their lives and live out their God-given purpose.
East Orange, NJ