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An Alcohol Addiction Counsellor who walked the walk

Updated: Mar 30

My name is Marie. I'm from Montreal, Canada, and I've been living in Perth since 2009. I am a mom and the partner of a FIFO worker. I am a qualified registered counsellor. I do not identify myself as an alcoholic, but I did question my relationship with alcohol enough to end up breaking up with it. I haven't looked back since then. It was one of the best decisions I've made in my life, equally significant as becoming a mom. A few years ago, I was trying to find someone to talk to about my struggles with alcohol addiction and those binge drinking sessions. I had many questions related to alcohol: "Am I normal, or am I drinking too much?" I was stressed, anxious, tired, and unhappy, and alcohol was taking up so much space in my head. I was always negotiating, planning, making rules, breaking them, and then feeling awful and ashamed of myself. It felt incredibly lonely. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma and shame surrounding this issue, so I kept it to myself for years. During my personal quest for help, I noticed a huge gap in accessing mental health professionals to discuss our relationship with alcohol, especially in the gray area of drinking, where one feels there may be a problem with alcohol without hitting rock bottom. I just wanted to be a normal drinker and to be able to moderate my alcohol consumption for a healthy lifestyle. To prove to myself that I was a normal drinker, I did a lot of Dry July and Alcohol-Free periods. And I was... probably just more festive than others at times. Maybe I was only more obsessed with how bad it felt to have alcohol in my life than others. Then, I became fed up with constantly thinking about alcohol and creating strict rules for myself like limiting drinks to weekends, allowing only four glasses on a Friday, starting after 5 pm, not drinking at home or alone, and switching from wine to beer, and so on. It was an endless cycle, and I often failed to keep these promises, leading to self-loathing and feelings of failure. The anxiety and depressive feelings were always looming over me. Life felt small, cold, and gray. In short, I either felt too ashamed to discuss this issue with a mental health professional, or when I did find the courage to open up about it, it was simply dismissed. Eventually, I gave up on seeking help from a therapist. Interestingly, this was around the same time I began my studies to become a counsellor. So, I decided to delve deeply into the topic of alcohol addiction. I started reading a lot of 'Quitlit' (lived experience stories) and psychological/neuroscientific/counselling books about addictions, depression, anxiety, trauma, etc. I also began taking trainings related to mental health, addictions, trauma, counselling, and various modalities related to counselling practice. Now, my struggle with alcohol has become a true learning passion and a mission to help others. My personal goal is to support and assist men and women who feel trapped in their relationship with alcohol.


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