Please note that we no longer have a women’s program.

My last chance with the disease of alcoholism

Kim started the Living Free program in December of 2012 and completed the year with nine months of re-entry. Read about Kim’s story and her experience with alcoholism:

I was blessed growing up. I have two older brothers and a mother and father who have been married for 48 years. They had a lot of time for me when I was a child and sent me to a private school from reception to year 12. Alcoholism was a big issue on both sides of my family history. It was something that really affected us.

Throughout my schooling, I found it very hard. I had a learning disability and was in special education classes. This meant that the students were mean to me. Due to this, I had problems making friends, so I just made friends where I could. It wasn’t until I left school and found alcohol that I found the one thing that I thought made me happy.

My first drink was on my 18 birthday and I drank all night. I loved the way it made me feel! This continued every weekend. It wasn’t long until I left home at the age of 19 with the man I was going to marry. However, this relationship didn’t help me and I found myself drinking most nights. We found ourselves arguing all the time and I would drink to cover up the mental, emotional and physical abuse I was going through. Needless to say, this relationship was very dysfunctional.

At the age of 22, I walked out of that relationship as a full-blown alcoholic. I found myself drinking to try and block out the pain I was feeling. I was very lonely. When I started drinking I didn’t know when to stop and, to be honest, I didn’t want to.

“I am now studying at TAFE, which is so refreshing after growing up with the belief that my learning disability would limit me in my future. Eventually, I want to study aged care. I now understand that yes, I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13), and that as long as I have Jesus Christ and good people in my life I am no longer lonely.”

Alcoholism felt like a long uphill battle. I was screaming inside for help, but I didn’t know where to turn to or what to do. I spent many years following this looking for help. Lots of trips to the hospital, and just as many to rehabs to get sober. I also started many relationships with men to try and make me feel better; however, these men would become the centre of my world and eventually I would push them away.

Did I really want to face the ugly truth that was inside of me? Or even begin to uncover the pain that I was covering up with alcohol? No. I just wanted to get drunk, not think or feel. I just wanted to blank my thoughts and emotions out. I was so miserable and lonely! I was desperate for a solution to stop the drinking, but I was not willing to take the consequences when they happened. I wanted everything my way and I didn’t really want to give up my one true friend: alcohol.

This mentality stopped once I found myself knocking on death’s door. I had no real purpose in life. Even my relationships could not fill the hole in my heart that was weighing me down.

Lost, afraid and slowly losing my loved ones, I had to do something! My last trip to the hospital found me desperate for answers. I was feeling very messed up and confused because of the alcohol and the abuse that my body and mind had endured.

In my heart, I knew that there had to be an answer and, yes, finally, Teen Challenge came to my attention. I had many concerns about it, though. It’s a one-year program; could I last one year? Would they even take me at 34? I didn’t know, but I knew I had to try.

Twelve months down the track, I can happily report that I am delivered from smoking and alcoholism. I was immediately delivered from my smoking habit after Molly, the Living Free women’s program director, prayed for me on the first day. Praise the Lord! Having grown up a Catholic, I did have a belief in God, which did help, but I have learnt so much about him since being in the program, my whole attitude towards God had changed.

The program, to be honest, was very challenging but very rewarding. God used the program to bring me to my knees and made me look at my faults and things I needed to grow in. This is a daily task with my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

I am now studying at TAFE, which is so refreshing after growing up with the belief that my learning disability would limit me in my future. Eventually, I want to study aged care. I now understand that, yes, I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13), and that as long as I have Jesus Christ and good people in my life I am no longer lonely.

Thank you, Jesus, and Teen Challenge.