For so many years of Jacintha Akkerman's life, she felt lost. She drank. A lot. She partied. A lot. She was single for seven years. She had no idea who she was and she had no idea where to turn. She knew life had so much more to give, but she just didn’t know how to get there. When she decided to give up alcohol, it changed her life. Here, she shares her inspiring story...
I used to have the motto, “I’m here for a good time, not a long time”, and my golly I have had a good time. But did it make me eternally happy? NO! And in hindsight, how awful was that motto?! I used to drink a lot. I used to party a lot. But I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. To escape life, I drank to build my confidence. For me, alcohol was a release. I didn’t have confidence in my own abilities so I thought I needed a lift to make my personality shine. And for that moment in time, yeah it did lift me, but unfortunately, the days after took me on a huge emotional roller coaster ride. One which made me depressed. Despite how I appeared, I was not in a good place. Every Sunday morning for years and years, I would wake up, extremely hungover, wanting a better life for myself, but I just didn’t know how to get there. This wasn’t the life I envisioned. This was not who I wanted to be.
I was sick of saying “I want to do this” and “I want to do that” and never acting on it because I was too busy being hungover. I wanted more from life. And I knew I needed to slow down. For me, many of my issues started from drinking. They started with that very first sip of alcohol. I was an extremist. I was either drunk or sober – I didn’t have an off switch. I drank to get drunk. When alcohol was in my system, the downhill spiral effect started. I would get drunk. Then I would eat bad food. Then I would have broken sleep. Then I would get grumpy. Due to lack of sleep and poor nutrition, my skin would break out and I wouldn’t want to go out in public because my face resembled a pizza!
I spent most Sundays curled in a ball on the ground stuffing my face with KFC (chicken fillet burger combo, upsized, with extra salt, and a bottle of water – you know, for balance), promising myself that I would never drink again. But come Thursday, I started that process all over again, repeatedly. I loved drinking because I loved being social but I suffered the after-effects badly. And to be completely honest, I actually don’t like the taste of alcohol. I get a hangover from two glasses of wine and lose my memory. So why drink?!
When I became pregnant with Axel (now almost three), I truly believed this was the blessing I had been asking for. How many signs was the universe sending to me!? I had a vision to live an authentic, happy life and this was the perfect time to make the leap. Although for years previously I did start to settle down my drinking ways, I knew I needed to make a major lifestyle change, and becoming pregnant (therefore stopping drinking altogether) was just the motivation I needed.
Since having Axel I haven’t had much to drink, only on a few nights out in the past three or so years. One of the most memorable (hmm probably not the right word) nights out was when Axel was about 18 months old. I guess I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing out on life. So Jesse (my fiancée/baby daddy) and I had one of our first real date nights. Ohhhhh we had the best night.