I’m hiding in a toilet cubicle in a popular St Kilda establishment, taking deep breaths to calm my anxiety and trying to stop the tears.
I can hear girls with perfect hair, laughing as they swap lip glosses and film Instagram stories.
I am wearing an old maternity dress because it’s the only decent item of clothing that fits my bloated body. I look down at my fingernails, chewed to the quick, and realise I have never felt this out of place before. What happened to me?
Watch: Your body, one year without alcohol. Post continues.
I had been sober for three days after finally hitting my rock bottom and deciding to quit booze.
I was stuck between knowing that alcohol was destroying my life, and not feeling ready to say goodbye to the false sense of security it gave me.
My mind was racing: “How the hell am I supposed to navigate being sober? How will I ever fit in or socialise again? What will people think, knowing I had a drinking problem?”.
The internal voice of my Wine Witch was so loud as she tried to persuade me: “Just have one drink to calm these nerves; one isn't going to hurt!”. But I knew it was never one drink.
I imagined myself waking up the following day, an anxious mess, knowing I had broken the promise I had made to myself so soon. I pushed through the craving, went home sober and cried myself to sleep.
As I sit here today three years later, I think about what I would love to tell that woman in the toilet cubicle. She had no idea that she was on day three of her brand new life. One that would bring her more joy than she knew existed.