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Jennifer’s Journey: Overcoming Alcohol Dependence, Finding Hope

04/11/2024
Jennifer’s Journey: Overcoming Alcohol Dependence, Finding Hope

I have been alcohol-free for 19 years now.  

I openly share my experiences with alcohol dependence and my journey seeking treatment so that we can start conversations, stop stigma and so that folks know they aren’t alone. 

Redefining Self-Worth Beyond Addiction Struggles 

Individuals struggling with various stages of addiction so often feel like they are the only ones; that if people knew about these struggles, they may think less of them.  

Having conversations about the physical, emotional, and social toll that problematic substance use or dependence on alcohol has in our lives can delay getting the much-needed support and relief we find ourselves needing. 

The Role of Shame in Delaying Addiction Recovery 

It’s been 19 years for me, but I would have benefited far sooner if I had freed myself of the shame that was unfairly self-directed.  Addiction can be debilitating.   

The stigma that comes along with it can be a huge barrier for a life of recovery work (work that never ends by the way but is incredibly worth the effort).   

Once I personally opened up about my struggles, started conversations about my desire and inability to stop or control my drinking, and allowed myself to be vulnerable to my friends and family, only then was I finally able to begin the process.  I share openly to help fight this stigma that still exists-to show others they aren’t alone. 

Finding Support in Alcohol Recovery 

I encourage anyone who thinks they might struggle with alcohol to open up to someone about their challenges, whether it be a personal supporter or the formal support of a treatment provider.   

I can assure you that there are listening ears ready to begin this conversation with you.  I wish I had sooner than I did, but it is never too late.   

I encourage family and friends to be that non-judgmental ear; that listener, that navigator.  Let’s have open conversations that cut out the shame, the moral myth that is so prevalent in our society.   

SouthLight offers substance use recovery and mental health services. If you or someone you know is ready to get help, please give us a call or contact us here to learn more.  

Let’s bring awareness during April Alcohol Awareness Month! 

Jennifer Whitfield, SouthLight Senior Director of Operations

In my personal life and as a director at SouthLight, I’m passionate about reminding folks that they are not alone, and to normalize the conversations, to show that there are others out there (most of us if we are honest) that struggle to take steps to address our mental health wellness.

And most importantly, to let people know that it’s ok to share and seek support.