My name is Deb and I live in Australia.
My adventures with Alcohol started when I was 16 and at boarding school with a bottle of Tequila and ending up with everyone covering up for me and throwing up in my shoes. Not the cleverest of things to do.
I could not wait to do this all over again despite the obvious not-so-great throwing up and feeling ill for days afterward. I had managed to convince my grandmother to take me out of school and let me do what I wanted. Whenever I drank it was always too much and I could not understand why anyone would sip on a glass of wine or would even want to stop at one glass.
Teenage Drinking Years
I spent a lot of my teenage years crying after drinking, wondering what was wrong with me, that I felt that way. I had often felt that way without alcohol, thinking that something was missing or that I had some great mental affliction or disease. I felt like I didn’t fit in despite the fact that I had lots of friends and was apparently in the cool group at school. The square peg in a round hole. Hole in the soul feeling.
Nothing ever felt like enough to me. I got married, had a son, earned lots of money and that was still not enough. I had some idea that if I didn’t start drinking that I would not have to stop because I had lots of practice with this over time. I rolled a car with a lot of people in it when I was 19 and my Dad was quite influential in the community so nothing was said about it at all.
These days I would be arrested. A group of us started a restaurant in Sydney in the early ’80s when my son was around 6 months old and my then-husband ended up with a broken leg and in hospital, so I was left to help start this up. We all had the perfect excuses to drink because it was there all of the time.
Leaving my Husband
One day someone even stole our cash register and none of us even noticed. I decided to leave my husband when my son was around 2 because I decided that he was an alcoholic and all of this must have been his fault. Surprise! I moved back to Queensland and the same things happened to me, I still didn’t think that I was the problem. My life – no wonder I drank
I sort of knew that alcohol was with me every time that I had a misadventure but some of it was fun and totally crazy. People also told me that it was the amount of alcohol I drank that was the problem, not the alcohol. A story that I clung to when I had difficulty controlling my drinking later on. I would have those cravings and I needed to drink to remove them.
My son ended up with drug issues so that was my perfect savior complex to fix him so that became my new quest.
I had by this time remarried and along with my brother-in-law, we had a vineyard and pallets of wine – so easy to drink because once again we all did so, with an endless supply.
The 40s and a Midlife Crisis?
I started to get really restless about what my life had become when I was in my early 40’s. I could not fix my son and I really was not comfortable in my own skin at all. My husband went to visit his son overseas and I didn’t want to go.
I visited my grandmother and her husband was not happy with her behavior. She didn’t drink but was a challenge. They were both in their late 80’s and he made this homebrew of lots of different fruits. I was in my element – didn’t have to think about a thing, on a farm drinking.
One day both of them decided that I could drive them to Toowoomba where my Nan had a house. When we got there, I was handed a letter and he left. Apparently, he had been talking to me about this and I had agreed to look after her. Thanks, blackout drinking!!
Anyway, I kept my drinking career up for a few weeks, while my life rapidly fell apart.
My Life Fell Apart
I went drinking with my cousin and Toowoomba was where I had begun my drinking so that’s what I needed to do there. So, I thought. Life had other plans
A hospital in Melbourne rang me and said that my son was on life support and I had to go and turn off his life support. I was like,”you really have to be kidding, I can’t do that. He will get up and walk out.”
Anyway, I got off the phone and said to myself, “If he lives, I won’t drink again ever.”
A few hours later, my son rang me. One of his friends had let the hospital know what he had taken and they had given him something and it worked.
Enter the AA
So here I am thinking!! What do I do now? So, I had a good idea to go to an AA meeting but I had to be 3 days sober because they might trick me into something. This was in 2004 and I have not had a drink since then – to my amazement really. I had no real intentions of stopping drinking other than my promise to whoever.
Back then, there was not that much around like there is now. My family was horrified that I went to AA. I was simply not brought up to do that, apparently, which appealed to me – really to horrify them more. They all drank as well and my grandmother’s brother told me that there was a huge family history of drinking which I really had not noticed, and he was 40 years sober.
My recovery began from that first meeting when someone said to me was, “I am going back the next day.” I was like, really, is that what I have to do? They said to me that I might get lucky and get hit by a bus and not have to come back.
Recovery is a Lifelong Process
Recovery over the years has been an interesting journey for me. I did spend a lot of time in AA meetings groaning about some, and also met some amazing people. I have worked in Rehabs and done lots of personal development. Stopped listening and believing the stories I told myself with my limiting beliefs and guilt and shame.
I have collected a lot of pieces of paper studying, over the years, and have not managed to fix my son. But I have had custody of his daughter, who is now 17, since she was 2.
I am still a work in progress I joined this group because connection is what has kept me sober over the years. I don’t really align with how some AA meetings are run these days, and it is not one size fits all for recovery. Personal development is a lifelong quest of mine. I love that all of us who have had issues with Alcohol somehow get each other without having to say much at all. Tribe Sober is a great name!!