On Monday, January 31, Brigette Lacquette took to Facebook to write a candid and emotive post about her journey in sobriety, while offering support to those that are on similar journeys.
“Today, I have been five years alcohol-free,” she wrote. “I am not going to lie – this past year has been the hardest of them all.”
“Throughout my life, I was able to use hockey as an outlet. Everything that has ever happened, I could always hit the rink and forget it all by skating, shooting and stick handling until I was too tired to think about my problems. That’s why I spent so many hours out there. I always thought I had a fairly normal life — my parents gave my siblings and I the love and support we needed, and they found a way to make our hockey dreams come true. They did everything for us. Hockey was my way out of Mallard, because anyone who knows Mallard, knows that it’s a pretty boring place (to put it nicely),” she wrote.
“As I got older, I started turning to alcohol as a way of coping with all the stresses in my life. It took some years to realize that I’d been doing myself more harm than good. I feel emotions intensely, and anxiety is one I felt most intensely. I’ve always felt the shame of not making better choices, which led to frustration and anger, and always had low self esteem because of those choices.”
“The day I stopped drinking was a long time coming. After years and years of neglecting my mental health and coping in unhealthy ways, I felt very alone, sad and ashamed. I blamed the alcohol for the person I had become. I knew that I needed that change, in order to be a person my niece and nephews could be proud of. I needed to focus on achieving my goals.”
She coined the date of January 31st in 2017, as the day she changed her trajectory.
“The day I decided to stop drinking. I had hit rock bottom. I thought, ‘okay, well, this is going to be hard, but it’s definitely do-able.’ I surrounded myself with the best people, and found ways to keep myself busy, like trying new things. I thought that, once I quit drinking, I didn’t have anything else to work on. I was good,” she wrote.
“Fast forward a few years. After losing a loved one and not making centralization for Team Canada, I started slipping back into unhealthy ways of coping. I hit a point where I was completely broken. The lowest of all lows. For months in 2021, I found myself having the urge to have a drink. Instead, I would start taking edibles, substituting one unhealthy form of coping for another. Soon, I realized that I had a new problem.”
“Finally, in November, I decided I needed to go home. Two nights before I decided to leave, I was overcome with an intense urge to drink. I had felt this before, but never this bad. On top of that, I felt like I didn’t care if I was dead or alive anymore, and that frightened me. I reached out to my agent, my parents and a couple of my good friends to help me through. I survived, and I am forever grateful to them for their support,” she wrote.
“At the end of October 2021, I finally reached out for a psychiatrist’s help. I thought there’s no way that life should feel THIS hard. I needed answers – why am I the way I am? After years of shutting out my trauma with alcohol, then trying to cope by exchanging alcohol for marijuana, I realized that I had never learned how to cope with my emotions. I couldn’t shut out what I was feeling, which is why I had to get myself home, and surround myself with friends and family, people that made me feel safe.”
Lacquette wrote that she was diagnosed with ADHD, an explanation for her anxiety, and elements of Borderline Personality Disorder as a result of childhood and adolescent trauma.
“I know the road to recovery can be long, and my healing process has only just begun. I know I need to surround myself with people who bring out the best in me, and I have been doing just that. Asking for help and not trying to battle this alone has been the best decision I’ve made. I promise myself I will try my absolute best each and every day to get better.”
“I am not going to let this define who I am. While learning to accept that I am not responsible for the trauma I have been put through in my past is my number one goal, finally understanding that there are ways to heal from all this anger, shame and frustration is what keeps me hopeful. It’s what keeps me going.”
“If anyone is ever going through something like this, don’t hesitate to reach out. I know how lonely and hard it can feel sometimes,” she wrote. “Five years alcohol free. This new chapter is just the beginning for me, and I’m excited for what the future has in store.”
With her post, Lacquette has garnered national support and words of encouragement and inspiration across Turtle Island.