Confessions of a not alcoholic

I am a party girl.

I have drunk myself into oblivion more times than I can, or should I say, can’t remember.

I grew up in central Victoria and took my first drink down on an oval at the age of 13 years old. A group of us passed around a bottle of Malibu rum that we had gotten from a friend’s sister, acting as though we had done it a million times before but gingerly swigging the foul coconutty tasting drink.

We got a bit pissed, carried on a little louder than we usually would, probably kissed a boy or two and woke up the next day feeling pretty bloody impressed with ourselves. We had an edge. We were a little bit bad arse. And the next weekend we did it all again.

Over the years the drinks changed, the amount we drank changed, and what started as seemingly harmless experimentation was the gateway to decades of binge drinking, embarrassing and questionable behaviour and a downward spiral into self-loathing.

I am an all or nothing type of girl.

I have never been one to leave food on my plate or a glass in the bottle. In my 20s I thought people who would just have a drink or two were boring party poopers, but by my mid 30’s I had begun to envy them. How do they do that? I had years of stop/start drinking or cutting down to “just two glasses”. I always managed to handle this for a few months but before I knew it I was guzzling way past my 1-drink-per-hour limit and finding myself waking the next morning not remembering how I got to bed.

Oh the dread…waking up with the dry horrors is nothing compared to that feeling of “What the fuck did I do last night?”, “What did I say?”, “Who did I offend?” or, worse still, “How did my kids get to bed?”. My heart would race as I tried desperately to piece together the night before. Weren’t we all just having a good time? That’s the thing when you think you are having a good time, you don’t ever realise who you are hurting in the process. It always starts as fun, and it probably is fun - until it’s not.

I would swear off drinking, then convince myself I could learn to just have a couple. And then the spiral starts again. This went on for years. I believed it was something I could get on top of because I didn’t have a "real" problem. I didn’t get up in the morning and drink. In fact, I could go weeks without a drink, but somehow I knew that binge drinking was a problem and it was just getting worse.

The gaps between drinking became longer but the blackouts became longer also. I was starting to forget entire nights and felt scared every time I woke up wondering what I had done. I desperately wanted to stop.

And one day my best friend and fellow drinking buddy called me to say she had had enough. She was going to quit drinking for one year. That was all the convincing I needed.

One whole year without that monkey on my back.

One whole year without having to wake up with that feeling of dread.

One whole year with my self-esteem healthy and intact.

One year to learn how to just have “one”.

And so it was decided. On January 1st 2018: things were going to change.