In August 2010 two miracles occurred: I stopped drinking and started believing in God

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In August 2010 two miracles occurred: I stopped drinking and started believing in God.

At the age of 27, it was’t how I predicted my life would be.

If you’d sat me down as a 21 year old pill popping drum n bass DJ and said to me, ‘In six years time you will quit drinking for good and start believing in God’ I would have laughed so hard I cried.

In fact, it happened despite my best efforts. Prior to this I had been an atheist, an agnostic – anything I chose to be at any given moment – so long as it didn’t involve believing in the G Word.

I was extremely against anyone who expressed any religious or spiritual beliefs, thinking myself superior. I saw religion as weak; something people turned to when they needed something to believe in. I was self-righteous in my judgement of others, never taking the time to listen, and always believing I knew best.

I wasn’t aware that there was a difference between religion and spirituality.

Probably because I wasn’t open to hearing people talk about it. I was a closed book when it came to any conversation about God. It was is if I heard the word and my mind shut off, shutting out any ideas, beliefs, stories or ideologies coming my way.

Working in an academic environment for 10 years also made me prone to believing that if something didn’t have numbers, evidence, theories and statistics to back it up it didn’t exist.  I was completely convinced that my intellect and my knowledge of the world and how it worked was better than any spiritual concept – a grandiose and somewhat egotistical viewpoint.

While I had this ‘I know everything’ stance, doing it my way had led me on a 14 year binge drinking spree and what started out as fun eventually led me to a place of hopelessness and despair that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

After many years, drinking became a chore. I was drinking despite loathing it. I was acting in ways I despised. I was turning into a person I couldn’t stand and I couldn’t see the way forward.

All I could see was a dense black mass. No stars. No twilight. No sunshine or rain. Just a long dark night of misery and gloom.

One particular day stands out from the rest. It was early 2010 and I was was slumped in my seat on the train heading home, having got absolutely hammered the night before. An all encompassing dread had set in. Moments from the night before sporadically jumped into my consciousness; blurred snippets of memory, tainted with angry words, embarrassing behaviour and gut wrenching shame. For the most part, though, the night was gone.

I got home and crashed on my bed, tears falling like insects fleeing their nest. I felt mad. It was then that I said out loud to something, somewhere ‘Help me, I am so hopeless.’

I was so desperate that I just wanted something, someone, to help me because I knew I could no longer help myself.

I never thought I would believe in God. It was simply the only option left.

It wasn’t until several months later, after I had moved to Melbourne, that my life took a completely different turn. I stopped hurling myself at wine bottles and instead turned to spirituality and love. Rather than go into how the next few years have been, as this is something I have written a lot about, I urge you to read some other posts I have shared on my healing journey thus far if you are curious. I have written about pain, and gratitude, grief and love. I have written about vulnerability and self-compassion and so much more in between.


What is spirituality and God?

Instead of running away in fear and numbing the pain, I began accepting the love, generosity, and kindness from others who were willing, and eager, to help. I started practicing self-kindness, meditation, and love. Most importantly, I created my own version of spirituality that worked for me.

To me, God is love, kindness, contentment and peace.

God wants the best for me in any given situation. It is not of any religion, nor is it something I could clearly define.

It lives within each and every one of us and shines in the trees.

God is nestled deep within my heart and allows me to be open to life with whatever it brings.

It is the sun, the universe, the ocean and the stars.

It is everything, and nothing, and to me this is beautiful.

What is spirituality to you, I would love to hear?

With love,



3 comments on “In August 2010 two miracles occurred: I stopped drinking and started believing in God

  1. What a beautiful post Tess. So beautifully put. Our experiences have been so similar, yet I don’t think I could’ve written about my own so clearly. Maybe I need to do this.

    Spirituality to me is believing there is a force for good that operates in my life that is simultaneously within and outside of myself. I also cannot define it. I do choose to go to church as I find it reinvigorates me and reminds me of what is really important, it is also lovely to be surrounded with generous loving people. But I do find religion challenging and I constantly grapple internally with certain core beliefs I’m told I ‘should’ have by some. Faith is a journey, it waxes and wanes, builds and recedes, it is always always waiting for me to return to it and ask for help… admit I don’t know… there is magic in not knowing.

    • Thank you Jess, what a lovely comment. I wasn’t sure I could write about it clearly either, and then one day it just popped out 🙂 I’m glad it resonated with you.

      I love your concept of spirituality, knowing that it is both inside and outside of ourselves. It is a hard one grappling with the different ideas associated with certain religions, knowing that you are connecting with others and surrounding yourself with loving people is a wonderful gift though. It is magical indeed.

      Much love,

      Tess xx

  2. Pingback: How to transform burn out to intentional rest | Tess Bartlett AU

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