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Inspiring Story #2: Jenny Cowling in NSW, Australia

My story begins many years ago. I had battled severe depression for many years which lead to me drinking a lot heavier. I was married to my ex husband for 21 years and have 2 beautiful children 26 & 24. Unfortunately that marriage ended in 2012 and it was a very dark time for me. I lived with so much guilt over thinking I had wrecked my childrens lives and fell into a deep dark hole. My mental health was deteriorating by the day and I started drinking nearly every day to numb the pain.

On the outside I was the “happy” jenny everyone knew so I suffered in silence hiding it from everyone. I continued to try and be the Mum I knew I was but it became so tiring. A few years later I met my now husband and things started to improve but we were both very broken souls with a lot of baggage. I thought I could finally start to belong somewhere again but little did I know that wasn’t to be. Blended families are very hard to navigate and I tried to hard to people please so that everyone would like me. There was a lot of hurt in this time as I suppose we both drank to numb the pain. There were hurtful family arguments and I just pretty much gave up.

In those years I attempted suicide 4 times and one of those times I was in a Critical Care mental health ward for 4 days after being scheduled. This was the most scariest and traumatic time for me. I vowed I was going to make a change but 2 days after being discharged I was back drinking again and offered no support. This then lead to alcohol addiction. At the end of 2020 I was living day to day and as each day ended I would still be suicidal after drinking 3 bottles of wine a day and topping up with vodka. It got to the stage I was putting vodka in my coffee cup to hide my drinking. I would find empty bottles of wine in cupboards, drawers and I would even pull out garbage to hide my bottles.

On the 22.2.21 I was waiting for 10am to come around so I could go to the bottle shop and when I got home I started drinking at 10.30, 3 bottles later I thought to myself I can either end it completely today or finally get help. I had hit my rock bottom that day. I remember picking up the phone to call my son and ask him to come and get me and take me to hospital. I was admitted back to the public mental health ward where I stayed for 2 nights before a bed was available in a private rehab/mental health unit. I was admitted to a 28 day detox programme where I ended up staying 7 weeks. The 1st night I cried all night just wanting to get out and drink. Little did I know this was going to save my life. The day I was discharged my daughter came to pick me up and was there for my final morning group. In this group I stood up and thanked the staff and Drs and I said “ I came in here as a jigsaw puzzle in 1000 pieces and I have now finished the puzzle by putting all the pieces back together” There were tears from everyone. I knew that the hardest part would be walking through those doors to the outside world.

While in rehab we had a yoga teacher come in and teach 3 times a week and my love for yoga developed. I had done yoga before over the years but this was different. I was connecting to my inner soul while in practice. The day I was discharged I went and enrolled in the nearest yoga studio where I practiced 3 times a week.

Throughout my recovery I joined many sober groups online and I came across Alex and The Mindful Life Practice in August of 2021. I started doing the sober curious yoga class first and was amazed at how welcoming a space this was. I then started doing other classes on the schedule and started to meet some lovely people. I was also studying to become a Recovery & Wellness Coach in this time so I was really embracing my recovery in many ways. I started talking a lot to Alex and when the email came for yoga training programmes I jumped at the chance to do this. I enrolled in both the Sober/Sober Curious YTT and also the 200hr YTT and started them both in January 2022. This has been the most amazing opportunity for me to be involved in such a caring, supportive community.

I now do between 5-7 classes a week as well as my training and have met the most beautiful people through this. Genuine people who really care. We are all there for each other and support each other in the bad times and good times. Sharing in a sober circle is a magical experience and helps you so much in your sobriety. Everyone has challenges along the way and we are all there to support each other in this time. You can say how good your week has been or how bad your week has been and no one judges. This is so important in your recovery. Being able to express yourself authentically is a wonderful feeling.

This week I have been planning my 1st yoga class to teach as part of my 200 hr training and honestly I cant wait to do it. Yes I will be nervous but also so excited to be able to be present and doing something I never thought I could do.

Looking back on my nearly 365 days of being alcohol free I am grateful for what it has brought into my life. I no longer have to wear a mask, and I can be just ME. Its been great to get to know the real, authentic me that was hidden for so many years.

I now belong somewhere, I am loved and worthy of love. I am enough. I am home.

The Mindful Life Practice is a community that envelopes you in its caring arms.

I am now so excited for my future and I cant wait to start teaching classes and being able to help other people like me on a journey to rediscovering themselves.

Yoga has brought me so much peace and I cant wait to share that with everyone.

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1 Comment

Donna Breet
Donna Breet
Feb 18, 2022

Thank you for sharing you story Jenny - very inspiring <3