This post discusses alcohol addiction and suicide and may be triggering to some readers.
For years, Shanna Whan lived a double life.
From the outside, Shanna, who lives in northwestern New South Wales with her husband Tim and their dog, Fleabag, looked like any ordinary rural businesswoman.
"I ran and exercised. I worked 12-hour days and I could stand in front of a group of people and be an amazing public speaker," Shanna told Mamamia.
"People who didn’t know me well thought I was confident, outgoing and successful. But people close to me increasingly knew that there was something very, very wrong.
"I was literally living a double life."
Shanna Whan opened up about staying sober in the country on Australian Story. Post continues after video.
For years, Shanna slipped through the cracks of Australia’s rural health care system as an undiagnosed and untreated alcoholic.
Initially, Shanna’s relationship with alcohol began "as a harmless thing".
But after being assaulted on four separate occasions in the space of one year, it soon changed dramatically.
"My story, my traumas, are completely common. There is nothing unusual about what happened to me at all," Shanna explained. "There is a very, very profound link between addiction and trauma.
"When I speak about the period of my life where there were multiple sexual assaults, my relationship with alcohol changed dramatically after that because I was very young, very naive, very isolated and it just shook my foundations to my core. It destroyed my sense of self and my sense of self-worth."
Alcohol became a place to hide from her trauma and a source of social courage.