Warcry: I couldn’t do it on my own
Ally Wardle tells how she found sobriety and peace at Dooralong Transformation centre.
I grew up in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley (NSW) area with my mum, dad and older brother and sister. I attended three Catholic primary schools, so I was aware of God and the story of Jesus, but didn’t really understand what it was all about. My parents occasionally took us to church, but I never liked attending.
From an early age, around eight, I started experiencing anxiety and depression. I was very shy and insecure and I recall feelings of not belonging in the world, and never being comfortable in my own skin.
I started drinking alcohol in year eight, smoking cigarettes and started rebelling. I loved the feeling alcohol gave me, it seemed to take all my worries away, so every chance I could, I drank.
My parents sent me away to a private boarding school in Sydney the next year. But this didn’t stop my rebellious behaviour.
I also experimented with marijuana, but alcohol was my favourite drug.
Drinking got me into all sorts of trouble throughout high school, and I let my parents down a lot. However I successfully completed year 12, then went on to university and completed a Bachelor of Commerce. My drinking became more frequent and heavy while at university, and I did things while I was drunk that I would not do sober.
After uni I worked with Dad in his accountancy firm. I got married when I was 22. The marriage wasn’t right and during those years my dependence on alcohol became worse and worse. I started drinking alone and became isolated from my family and friends.
My husband and I moved to Brisbane and at the end of the marriage I hit my first rock bottom and attempted suicide. I was 27 and found myself in the psychiatric ward at Redlands Hospital, Brisbane, then went onto drug and alcohol rehab at Northside West Clinic in Sydney.
This was to be the first of five suicide attempts, three psychiatric admissions, and six rehabs over the next seven years. Over those years alcoholism took me to some really dark places.
There were countless times I wanted to stop drinking; I did manage to stop for a period of time when my mum was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but I only found myself becoming addicted to valium. Sadly, mum passed away when I was 30, she was 55.
I could not stop drinking by my own willpower. I tried all the medications, therapies, and AA, and in the last two years of my drinking I became addicted to marijuana in a vain attempt to slow down my drinking.
I still managed to work as an accountant and buy a house and it appeared that I was functioning, but inside I was empty, miserable, full of despair and saw no purpose in life. I just wanted to die.
Then hope entered my life—I about a lady, whose story was similar to mine who found sobriety and recovery at Selah, (now known as Dooralong Transformation Centre) run by TheSalvation Army on the Central Coast.
In January 2013, broken and desperate, my journey to recovery began. I saw a peace and joy in the staff and other Christians. They had something that I didn’t have, but longed for.
While working the 12 step program and learning about God, I discovered a hole in my soul that could only be filled with the love of Jesus. I made a decision to turn my will and life over to the care of Jesus and my life has changed completely.
I now have a new purpose, I feel joy and peace, and I love life. I was a prisoner to alcohol for 20 years; Jesus rescued me, and now I have been set free.
I am still at Dooralong, staying on as a graduate mentor. My faith is fundamental to my recovery and sobriety. I can’t do life without Jesus.
Other stories from Warcry
To read other stories from past issues of WarCry, click here.