I was 15 when I took my first drink. By the end of the night I was drunk, being compared to my older sister (who overdosed January 1st, 2002). I remember the feeling of being out socially and feeling so happy, and freer than I had ever been. But when my friends were telling me that I was going to end up just like my sister and mother, who both had alcoholism… the fear set in.
I was so fearful of that outcome that I didn’t drink again until years later, when the pressures of prom night were too much. I did what all of the other cool kids were doing, and I drank… and drank... and drank.
I found myself drunk more often after that night, because it was such a fun night. The alcohol was a way to release, to flirt, to become “The fun Eden,” and feel accepted. I was always longing for someone to love me, to make me feel less lonely. That was the beginning of “Eden’s Love Story,” which I am still writing at 43 years old today.
Growing up a Sassoon, daughter of a beauty icon, I was under a lot of pressure. Mostly, I was constantly reminded that I needed to be beautiful and skinny. Alcohol gave me a chance to stop thinking about the fact that I wasn’t living up to my dad’s expectations, or those of any man for that matter.
When I was 30, I was in a serious relationship with my now ex-husband. I knew that for our relationship to move forward, and for us to start a family, I needed to be sober. I was sober for the first year during our marriage, and for the birth of our daughter Olivia. After having my first child, I couldn’t stand the pressures of my marriage, and the leftover baby weight that I couldn’t get rid of. It brought me back to my childhood pressures of looking my best; and as easy as that, I picked up the alcohol.
I think the problem with my drinking, and why it lasted so long, was that others weren’t telling me to stop. They liked “The Fun Eden!” I was a very highly functioning alcoholic. I started my Pilates business; I was working out every day…. But underneath that exterior, I was dying inside. I knew how I felt. I knew that I was using this substance to mask my pain.
It wasn’t until my dad passed away that I knew I needed to grow up, and I couldn’t grow up if I was still drinking. I felt deep down in my bones that I was meant for something bigger; I had a bigger purpose in life.
I decided that I was going to make a difference. I was going to use the name and legacy that I was given to help other people. Today I own two Pilates studios, a salon, and a nonprofit that unites the beauty industry while helping to end the water crisis in developing countries.
It has been exactly 4.42 years since I had my last drink!
There is no key to quitting your addiction. At the end of the day, until you can acknowledge your true self and love yourself fully, you will reach for your vice to help. But I will say, if you can live in the present, and make the active choice to live every day to the fullest, you will find the deeper meaning in life.
One thing my dad did leave me with was that whenever I was feeling bad about myself, or feeling that something was unfair, he would tell me to go do something for someone else. Living a selfless life has helped me immensely, and who knows, it may help you too!
You can follow my journey, and chat with me about my experience (and share yours!) on Instagram: @EdenSassoon