Old me Hi.

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My friend sent me this photo today, with the accompanying text “Just found this on my old phone! Remember this day? So much fun!”

How could I forget.

This was snapped while I was in the throes of my addiction. On the outside I was doing great—life was good—but on the inside I was rotting away.

In 2014 I went to work as a journalist in La Paz, Bolivia for three months. It was a gig I was shocked to land, and one I didn’t believe I had the talent to fulfill. I was already having a tough time with my drinking, and my low self-esteem, combined with access to high-quality, cheap-ass wine, sent me SPIRALING into my addiction.

This photo was snapped in Cuzco during a two week excursion to Peru for an article I was developing.

I remember shortly after the photo was taken my best friend, who flew down from Tahoe to join me in Peru, decided she would retreat back to the hostel for the night, while I opted instead to go out and party by myself, because that’s what people do on vacation, right? Who goes to Cuzco without partying the night away amongst sexy backpackers and pisco sours?

I ended up never coming home that night. Oops. Needless to say my friend was pissed and I was WICKED hungover.

After she flew back to the US I returned to La Paz, where I remember counting down the days until my contract was over so I could fly back to the US and stop drinking so much.

Crazy, right? I was living in an AWESOME spot in an AWESOME country for an AWESOME opportunity and I was desperate for it to be over because I couldn’t stop drinking.

The worst part was I blamed my drinking on everything around me. The work. My coworkers (all British, all heavy drinkers), the location. I figured when I got back home to structure and familiarity I wouldn’t drink so much, right?

Wrong.

You see, alcohol took away my ability to enjoy life experiences that should have been, by default, absolutely amazing and filled with childlike wonder. But no matter where I traveled or what I did, I was followed by my own ominous cloud of fear and pain.

It wouldn’t be until this year that I would discover hope, joy, and confidence through recovery.

I want to hug the girl in this photo. I want to tell her it’s going to get better. I want to tell her there will never be a ‘right time’ to quit. I want her to know that it’s worth the struggle, to NEVER GIVE UP despite constant relapses, and that a life that’s better than anything she could have ever imagined awaits in recovery.

But that’s ok. She knows now.

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