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Dear Ninakaye (Guest Post)

June 3rd, 2024 Mrs D's Blog

Kia ora and welcome to my final of three blogs for Living Sober. For this blog I have chosen to go with a wonderful idea from Lotta, which is to write a letter to my younger self right before I entered recovery. My earlier two blogs are here and here, and you can watch my Sobriety Chat here.


Dear Ninakaye

You don’t know me (yet!) but I know you and love you dearly – I am your Future Self.

This will come as a surprise to you, but currently I am 50 years old, a healthy, loving grandmother of one and mother of 3 and I have just celebrated 23 years of sobriety. 

The reason that this is a surprise to you, is that you are 24 years old, and don’t believe you will live ’til you are 50, or that you can one day be a mother. I also know that you are struggling to believe you can be sober for a weekend, or even a week, let alone for 23 years.

Ninakaye, I recall the first time you got drunk on alcohol, you were only 15 years old. You were with your best friend Ash in Christchurch central, and she had stolen some wine from her Mum’s kitchen. The two of you sat on the side of the Avon River with some of Ash’s streetkid friends and got so drunk and legless, you ended up getting a ride home from the police. 

That night was the beginning of a crazy journey of alcohol and drug chaos with your punk boyfriend and friends, until you fell into the sex trade, where your drinking and drug-taking eventually escalated.

Right now, you are four years deep into the sex trade, going between the peep shows and the strip clubs in Auckland and Christchurch, working 15 hours a day, 6 days a week. You are working in filthy and dangerous environments and conditions, have experienced sexual abuse, undergo regular sexual harassment and coercion from your employers, are illegally underpaid (if paid at all some shifts), have developed drug and alcohol addiction to get you through and are disconnected from your family. 

Your life swings between working for hours on end during the day, exposing yourself to anonymous voyeurs in complete isolation in the seedy private peep shows; to working the nights ’til early morning, exposing yourself to alcohol fuelled men full of entitlement in loud, public stripclubs. Most days you work both realities, and drink your way through your night shifts, then snort your way through early hours. 

At the end of your shift, you hit the underground clubs for more alcohol and drugs, until finally, after dawn breaks, you crash out somewhere; wasted and exhausted. Hours later, you wake up with your head still reeling, maybe even unsure of where you are and who you are with, and make your way back to the peep shows to repeat the whole day and night all over again. 

I know that you suffer deep depression, and question your ability to do anything differently than what you are currently doing.

I know that whenever the alcohol and drugs clear enough for you to think straight, you are wondering what more there is for you in life. 

You’re not fully aware of it yet Ninakaye, but very shortly you will embark upon a journey of absolute magnificence, a journey of immense strength and liberation. It will be activated when you hit a point of deeply wanting something to change.

You will make a call to go outside of all the crazy things that keep you comfortable, and for the first time in four years, you will tell your bosses you are taking the weekend off. You will jump on a bus down to your fathers ancestral lands and people in Waitomo, and while down there with your grandfather, a catalyst of sorts will take place. That catalyst will result in you returning to Auckland a few days later, immediately giving your resignation to all your jobs in the sex industry, and quitting drugs, alcohol and smoking cigarettes.

It is going to be scary, terrifying even; wrestling with all the deep cravings, urges and memories. But you will stay strong no matter what comes up, and no longer turn to alcohol and drugs as a hiding place, as an escape – you will make that non-negotiable. 

You will discover that through your commitment to your sobriety, you will begin to unravel feelings of shame, disappointment, guilt, regret and anger. Every time you ride those out, and you work through the truth behind them, you will eventually be rewarded. Feelings of happiness, joy and peace will start to visit you, and will stick around for long periods of time. Some days, you may even experience exhilaration, greater than any high you have ever experienced from alcohol and drugs.

One day soon, you will meet someone who wants to love you deeply, eternally. Someone who proves to be so committed to you, that they believe with every single cell in their body in your potential to be everything that you desire to be. 

You will enter into a relationship with them, and they will support you to be the sober, loving, safe mother and grandmother that your spirit has always desired to be. They will hold space with you to work with your shadows, and will back you to manifest every vision you can possibly dream up, of service towards the wellbeing of your people. 

And while doing that? They will ensure that they keep you safe, healthy and well in the process. 

Do you want to know who that person is?

That person… is.. you.

I am so proud of you Ninakaye. I know that right now it is hard to see, but trust me when I say, you are powerful beyond measure. 

Ko taaua taaua e te tau. E kore e mutu taku aroha ki a koe. Kia kaha, kia maaia, kia manawanui. xx

Ninakaye 'strong sober indigenous'

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