"My name's Shanna. I am an alcoholic."
This realisation and phrase I'd previously thought of as a ridiculous and recycled Hollywood movie cliche saved my life in 2015.
Because saying these words and facing the destruction of my double life as a "successful business woman" by day and virtual derelict in my home by night, allowed me to finally move from alcoholic denial and into a life worth living.
As we head towards 2020 I am what you call a "recovered alcoholic", living a healthy and happy life free from the want or need for alcohol.
A while back I decided to come out publicly to try and be of service to others like me in the bush who cannot access adequate help locally.
This is a snippet of my rock-bottom moment.
Twisted and broken: I thought I was dead
It was Christmas Day 2014, and the feeling that I no longer wanted to live tormented what was left of me in vicious little bites.
I will always remember it. My beautiful, loud extended family perched in the shade sheltering from the summer heat, telling stories, egging each other on and soft country music played in the background.
Everyone except me nursed a cool beer or wine.
I sat among all these people I loved and felt nothing but vacant, brittle and hollow — like if somebody hugged me too hard I might just shatter into a thousand pieces.
I didn't drink that day. I "white-knuckled" it. Somehow, I made it through.
But the next hurdle — our traditional family-and-friends Bush Boxing Day — would bring me unstuck once again.
Barefoot kids were playing backyard cricket, the bar table was filled with dads clutching beers and talking about the drought, while mums, grandmothers and the youngest kids clumped under the shade of the trees.
As everybody settled into these groups I found myself once again mentally isolating.
The peripheral noises grew dim and the voices in my head began to once again scream at me: "You do not belong here with these normal, healthy fertile women and their happy families. Look at your beautiful husband with his nieces and nephews. Look at the pain in his eyes behind that smile. This is your fault."
My husband and I had been told previously that we couldn't have children.
The hollow displaced feeling I'd carried since I was a 12-year-old overwhelmed me — and that day I was so filled with self-pity, self-loathing and despair that something snapped and broke inside of me.
I simply got up and walked away from the crowd on auto-pilot and drove back to town via one of our bottle shops and home to my familiar destruction in the bottom of a "Don't miss out! 3-for-1" wine special.
The following morning, when I came to in the emergency department of our local hospital, a kind-faced nurse saw the panic, confusion and mortification across my battered face and said "It's OK — you are safe".
To my left, in slow focus, came my husband.
All I could think, over and over was: what have I done this time? We still don't know.
What we do know is that Tim had come home to find me at the bottom of a flight of concrete stairs, my face covered in blood.
I was twisted and broken, and he thought I was dead.
I did not get my wish that day. I didn't die. Instead, I got a miracle.
You can't be anonymous in a country town
What happened next was a series of events that began with me recognising this was rock bottom, acknowledging the truth of my horrific illness and choosing to ask for help.
A conversation and a connection with a vibrant professional rural woman and a successfully recovered alcoholic would change my life.
Until that day, I was honestly convinced that you had to drink from a brown paper bag at sunrise to be "an alcoholic".
As someone who was active, ran a business, only drank after 5:00pm, I was offended by the mere suggestion I might have a problem.
In early 2015, with the endless encouragement, faith and support of my husband, we rebuilt our lives, together, from ground zero.
In the process of recovering in the outback without access to anything except a few books, I soon realised the truth of rural Australia's horrifying lack of adequate services, support and relatable information or options for people like me.
People whom society, professionals and even peers readily dismissed as not having a "problem" because we had good haircuts, mortgages, and jobs.
Over the years I tried and failed many times to see how I could perhaps be part of a solution or be of service in some way to others.
This would include starting up a recovery group locally. I gave up after two years of mostly sitting alone waiting for somebody to walk in.
I now understand that the idea of an anonymous support group will never be very effective in an environment where being "anonymous" is not even possible.
But I knew I wanted to help others. I knew that with every cell in my body.
In the end, that's why I chose to stop operating from the shadows, in secret, anonymity and fear.
I simply decided that the best way I could help others was to just speak truth.