It’s 5.20am on Boxing Day 2018.
I jerk awake, still in my Christmas Day dress, saturated in a pool of sweat in the spare bedroom of the townhouse I share with my husband, five-year-old daughter, and six-month-old baby son.
At first I'm confused. Why am I not in bed with my husband? The bed next to the bassinet my son sleeps in.
Suddenly, a crippling dread envelopes me as flashes of the past 24 hours start flooding in. I see myself, drunk and belligerent in front of my whole family. A big fight with my husband. Running down the street barefoot to get an Uber to my friend’s BBQ. Falling over and breaking her front fence. Being sent back home in an Uber for being too drunk. And then… blackness.
I scratch around the floor for my iPhone to check my missed calls and messages. The screen lights up with an alert I haven't seen before. It's from Uber: ‘YOUR ACCOUNT HAS BEEN DISABLED, CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION’.
My heart jumps into my throat. What the hell did I do?!
This was not the first time I had woken up this way after a blackout; confused, anxious, and terrified of the repercussions of my drunken debauchery. But for some reason, this time felt different.
I was a 35-year-old wife and mum of two and I’d just been banned from Uber for reasons I was too drunk to remember. I had children who needed me, I had ruined Christmas Day, and it was pretty clear in that moment that I was falling apart and something had to change.
Tears streamed down my cheeks as I looked in the mirror at my face; so bloated, so lost, and so sad. It was the face of a woman who I had officially lost all love and respect for.
I should never have been an alcohol drinker.
I was a messy, blackout drunk pretty much as soon as I started drinking at age 14, and I stayed that way until my last drink on 31 December, 2018.
I binge-drank through university, through a successful career as a marketer, through marriage, home ownership, and having children. More often than not, it ended in a similar way: crying, blacked out, and doing really stupid things that I would regret and beat myself up about, for days and sometimes weeks to follow.