Deb Hopkins’ Journey
Please tell us your story
I am 46 yrs old, live in Toowoomba, Queensland, and work in a managerial role. I have been in people management for over 20 years and have been sober for 10 of those.
How long were you addicted & what? How did it change your life?
I am an alcoholic. I drank heavily from the age of 18. I was overweight during my childhood and teenage years and drinking made me feel ok about myself to begin with. It then contributed to the problem but by that time, I was unable to free myself from it. It allowed me to be extroverted, cheeky, flirty and I felt liked. At my heaviest, I weighed 124kg.
What was the breaking point for you to get clean?
I was having relationship issues. I had no respect for myself so I chose people who had no respect for me. One morning, after a drunken argument the night before, I wrote a diary entry about knowing I was going to die if I kept on this path. I then wrote about the things I needed to do. First on my list was getting to the doctor. I rang to make an appointment but there was nothing available until 3.30pm that afternoon so I worried about how I was going to remain sober until then. By the grace of god, I got there without drinking and haven’t touched a drink since.
How did you get clean and how long have you been sober for? What was the hardest part for you about recovery and how did you overcome it?
With my doctors support, as well as my employers, I took three months off work. I joined the gym, sought counselling, left that relationship and replaced alcohol with Diet Coke at first. The hardest part was loosing ‘friends’. I realised they weren’t really my true friends, we just had booze in common. I started to find who I was and how determined I could be. It truely has been an amazing journey. I can say that some now seek me out because of who I actually am and my strength and this is extremely humbling.
What is your motivation to stay clean? And how did you do it?
There’s lots of reasons to stay clean now. I like the sober me. I feel healthy and strong and I love that. I now weigh around 75kg. I am an advocate for a sober lifestyle and will continue to be. I want to influence a change in the Australian culture. We are known for our drinking and that to me is embarrassing. It costs Australians $36b to fund the alcohol crisis here. That money could go to cancer research or child protection or family structure support.
I have run marathons, ultra marathons, travelled, represented causes, none of which would have been possible. And I’m alive.
For someone in the same situation as you who wants to get clean, what would you want to tell them?
It is no walk in the park. For me, the switch in my brain sits there. It’s like I can see it and I have to decide everyday to be the ‘deb’ I have become. Join groups, follow sober warriors on social media, isolate yourself from your drinking colleagues, get out into nature, set goals. Become you!
What is your life’s moto?
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Henry Ford
I am an office manager of around 200 staff based in Queensland Australia. When I’m not working, you can find me at the gym, working on my body and mind. I have two beautiful girls who are 24 and 22. I’ve started writing a book about my journey.
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