Hey, my name is Kat.

My first day living alcohol free was November 25th, 2017. To say I ‘gave up’ alcohol would be a lie. What I gave up on was a way of life that just wasn’t serving me anymore and what I gained was so much more in return.

The process of releasing my dependency on alcohol wasn’t just to refrain from drinking actual alcohol, but all the other elements that went into understanding why I drank in the first place. I fought and I fought myself for months after the initial decision was made to never drink again. Because that would mean, for me, I would have to take a real hard look at my life, my behaviors, my trauma, my pain, my relationships & friendships – basically everything that made up “Kat Black” up until that point. Until I was ready to face all of that, I wasn’t ready to release the hold this substance had on me.

Looking back, I started to get symptoms of ‘depression’ around age 14 or 15, just as I was entering high school. Funny enough, that was around the time I started experimenting with alcohol. Coincidence? I think not. That’s also around the time I created my mask, one that I would continue to live under for decades to come. To the outside world I was charming, funny, up for a good time no matter what the cost, resilient, kind, happy. On the inside though, oh on the inside I was so incredibly broken. Dying to just been seen, heard, understood. Many nights were spent alone, fighting between these two completely polar opposite versions of myself, a constant turn on the hamster wheel of life.

My first cry for help was in my early twenties when I decided to take 20 Advil and down a mickey of vodka. Soon after that was my first experience on anti-depressants. If it were possible, they actually made me feel even more disconnected from myself, and that really scared me. So, I stopped taking them within two weeks of being prescribed. It would be another two decades including a second short stint on anti-depressants, continued alcohol dependency, 2 career changes, a devastating breakup, and many more heartbreaking moments before I realized that I needed to find another way to live naturally, or risk dying.

My healing began the day I decided to stop drinking for good. Not the actual day I stopped, the one where I chose life over death. It was about 4 months before my last swig. How was I able to stop drinking in a society where the ‘norm’ is to drink over not drink? I was never one to just have ‘a glass’ of whatever. No, I was the one with no brake pedal. I drank most nights until I blacked out, waking up the next morning with a massive shame spiral the size of a major tornado over my head. To say I took on major shifts & behavioral changes in my life would be an understatement. I had to literally stop living the only way I had known since my teenage years. Messy? Uncomfortable? Um, yeah. I think that’s why many people struggle to maintain living an alcohol-free life. It’s fucking hard. No one, not one person explained to me how bumpy the road would be in relation to picking apart my life and piecing it back together. But the rewards, oh the rewards are greater than anything I could have possibly imagined.

The first few months of living alcohol free were actually focused on truly releasing the poison from my body, organs, tissue, brain, etc. All really on a physical level. When my body started to feel healthy again, that’s when the real work began on my spirit & soul. From there, I got my hands on any book I could possibly find on brain function. I had a need to understand why my brain wanted this poison to coarse through its body when everything else inside was screaming at it to stop. I listened to podcast after podcast on ‘sober’ women and sourced them out on social media and through books they had written. I had a need to know that I was not alone in my struggles. I spoke to a therapist who, for the first time in my life, helped me recognize and dissect past traumas which lead me to start using a substance to protect me from my pain. I had a need to know on a deeper level what the fuck was going on. I created a website, social media site and started to write blog posts to hold myself accountable, and also, allow for others to know they weren’t alone in their struggles. Every single one of us is constantly up against something in our lives that is difficult. I believe it’s crucial to tell my story in hopes to inspire and help others do the same.

I still have some difficult days when I feel as though the world is crashing in around me, and that’s OK. It’s going to happen. And those days are just so much easier to sit with when I’m clear headed & hearted. And to ask myself – What am I to learn from this? What is this teaching me? I also have some pretty epic days where I just feel so appreciative at how far I’ve come, and how lucky I am to be alive.

Here’s what I’ve learnt so far:

  • It’s OK to ask for help. And within that, I have found true love & support.
  • Sitting in my anxiety, fear & doubt is really uncomfortable. But so is living in the comfort & familiar land of denial, repression & falseness. And there are no rewards to living that way. I sit in the shit knowing I have made it through before and will do so again, even stronger and more resilient.
  • Everyone on this planet is struggling in some way or another. I try to find compassion and kindness in my words & actions.
  • Finding my people has been key. Finding those who support me, listen to me, see me, hear me, challenge me, and love me no matter what.
  • The language I use to communicate is immensely important. I have begun to practice with those I care and trust around me as often as I can.
  • Talk about my experience, struggles, joys & triumphs within living alcohol free as often as I can. It takes the charge away from what could be a super intense subject and holds me accountable for my actions.
  • I AM NOT A VICTIM. I accept & take full responsibility for my actions in the past, present & future. I acknowledge & accept my past actions and know they do not make up the present ‘Kat Black’.

And so, what’s next for me? What do I continue to do to add to this beautiful life? I continue to do all I can to help strengthen myself, others & my community. From all of this soul searching, I have found a purpose in life. I am here to inspire other women to realize their best life through the actions that I take. I now live a pretty healthy life mentally, physically & spiritually. I am deep into and trust in the power & community of those who practice meditation, yoga, Ayurveda, and are just on a clean life track. I am a powerful human being with a lot to say and share and am beyond excited for how the next chapters of my life will unfold.