news

"I felt like a junkie." Two years ago, Yumi Stynes gave up drinking. It's changed her life.

After decades of heavy drinking and hangovers, radio presenter Yumi Stynes hasn’t touched alcohol in two and a half years.

It’s a decision she credits much of her recent success to, so the radio presenter penned a letter, published by the ABC on Wednesday, to share her own experience with alcohol addiction and offer advice to others.

Stynes began her heavy drinking at age 13 and said her only breaks came during her pregnancies, but after her children were born, “the drink pulled me back in” and she would fall back into the same behaviours.

This is what happens to your body after one year without alcohol. Post continues below video.

Video by Mamamia

Recognising a problem, she decided it give up alcohol.

Instead of spending her time drinking, Stynes rehearsed with her band, played gigs and decided to be more active.

Sobriety was amazing, so amazing that she thought she could “safely and tentatively” have a drink here or there.

“I treated each drink like I was tugging on the thread that could unravel me. So it took a few months,” Stynes wrote.

“But then one or two became three or four, and then whole bottles and bedtime beers, and I would wake up each morning knowing I had to somehow quit.”

Yumi Stynes twitter paparazzi
ADVERTISEMENT

Despite her initial relapse, Stynes tried again. After a particularly bad hangover, she took a night off drinking.

That first night turned into a second, and another, and another.

It wasn't easy. For those first few days, she felt like a "junkie". She had intense cravings and she was embarrassed, but she kept going.

Stynes wrote that if you can make it through the first two weeks, you're in with a chance.

For her, it has been two and a half years since her last drink, and she wanted others with addiction to know however hard their journey, they can do it:

"Every reward I get, every self-esteem boost I experience, I know with deep certainty would not have happened were I still drinking."

In 2017, Stynes wrote a candid essay for the Sydney Morning Herald about how her alcoholism had impacted her since she was a teen.

Stynes is not the only high profile Australian to speak out about their struggles with alcohol.

In 2016, Talitha Cummins wrote an article published on Mamamia that detailed her journey of sobriety after more than 20 years of problem drinking.

"What is an alcoholic? Is it a homeless man lying on a park bench drinking cheap wine from a paper bag? Is it a deviant who doesn’t engage in society? Let me smash those stereotypes," Cummins wrote.

"I had a good job, was high functioning, educated and didn’t wake up in the morning and reach for a drink, so the label didn’t apply to me. Perhaps that’s why it took me so long to seek help."

After decades of binge drinking, a number of hospital trips in her early 30s and a genuine fear of attending social functions, because she truly didn’t know what would happen after her first drink, Cummins' 'work façade' had shattered.

It was a conversation with her Chief of Staff that was the catalyst for change and she went directly to Alcoholics Anonymous. When she wrote the piece in 2016, Cummins had been four years sober.

Dave Hughes talks to Mia Freedman about his decision to stay sober. Post continues below audio.

Comedian Dave Hughes discussed his decision to give up alcohol at age 22 with Mia Freedman on No Filter in 2018.

The Hughesy, We Have A Problem host believes that some people are meant to drink, and others just aren’t.

"I’ve never been to AA, I’ve never been a sponsor for anyone. But I tell anyone life can be just as good," Hughes said.

"Some people have it in their DNA that they just shouldn’t drink."

You can read Yumi's full story here

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol, contact Alcoholics Anonymous here or Hello Sunday Morning here.

00:00 / ???