I became aware that I was trying to cover up pain. And, once I became aware, the drugs and alcohol couldn't cover up the pain anymore.
I was also reaching for something deeper, and realized I no longer found it through drugs and alcohol. A deeper connection to people and, although I didn't know it at the time, God. When I first discovered drugs and alcohol it seemed like I found the secret to "deep" connections, but soon I came to the realization that that was not true... But I kept using, thinking that it would happen again, because, at first, it had worked. I fought to make it work again for years.
Before I got sober, I knew that I was a using addict who was letting her disease "win." Now, 9 years sober, I see that that awareness was really an acknowledgement of something deeper. I intuitively knew that I had deep pain from years of trauma that I was avoiding by using. I sought connection. Slowly, through sobriety and a strong spiritual practice, I've been able to peel back those layers of the onion. Now, I see when I am trying to use things (TV, food, people) to avoid doing potentially uncomfortable work.
Progress, not perfection.