Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Lush...

Right.

Grog.

Booze.

Turps.

Plonk.

Vino.

Pop.

Alcomohol.

I used to be a lush.

There, I said it.



From the age of thirteen, I could swig back a lethal mix of lager and cider, and hold myself well.

(Or Cinzano mixed with soda. Or Pimms and ginger ale. Or dark run and coke. I was not particularly choosy, evidently.)

I partied hard as a teenager, and I look back in wonder and amazement and disgust almost, now, to realise what I drank, how much I drank and where I drank. The relief I feel that I came to no harm is even more palpable.

I garnished a reputation for being able to drink strong English bitter in pints in the pub from the age of fifteen.

I am shaking my head, now, as I recall all this. In disgust? In shame? In bewilderment, perhaps?

As a student at uni, away from home, my mission, aside from pulling blokes, was to drink. To get pissed. To get legless drunk.

My best friend Susie and I, we were indomitable drinking partners.

We were party girls with the ability to sink a whole lot of booze and stay standing. I made it look easy.



Working, in hospitality, made my drinking ability thrive alongside with my managerial rise.

As the only female in crews of blokes, in the harsh conditions of thriving commercial kitchens, being a heavy drinker (and smoker) was a form of armour. I stayed alive through the talents of my wit and my ability to drink chefs under the table......

My ex-partner was an alcoholic. A high functioning one, but an alcoholic none the less. I didn't realise this when we first got together. But it became quickly apparent, despite his continuing denial. I suspect that part of his attraction to me was based around my hard drinking party girl persona - my habits totally enabled his. I certainly was always faced with this whenever I broached his alcohol consumption levels with him. His standard defence was always "Well, what about you? You certainly can work your way through a bottle of rum." And he was right, I could.

It was just what we did. Our social life, around the restaurants, was booze. Our nights off, a blur of clubs and haze. Our days off, dope and recovery.



Add then stuff happened in my family, stuff I had to deal with, come to grips with.

My Dad's death, and my mothers failing ability to cope,  bought home to me, very quickly, that booze was the root of most of the ill health (mental and physical) that I was confronted with.

And certainly that the lure of the bottle was damaging me and my self esteem, through the tolerance of it within my relationship.

So it ended.

For so many sad and pitiful reasons, it ended. It was a long and drawn out process for him.

Not so for me.

With the speed at which I let go, I sometimes wonder if I ever loved him at all. Or whether the love had simply drained away leaving only easily discarded dregs.

I moved jobs, left him behind. Lit numerous other flames, and revelled in burning them all at the same time. And I stopped drinking. Just stopped. It was delicious to be free of the habit and the hangovers.

Alighting to Australia, it was so civil to have a couple of Friday night drinks. Literally just one or two.  And to wake on a Saturday mornings feeling OK, not obliterated. Oh, blissful heaven of real life.

The beautiful man who has since become my lovely husband - we flirted and got together via Friday night drinks. I cannot knock the tradition.

But he is a man who instinctively gets that moderation is key. He has a few beers, then cabs it home, un-drunk, because cricket tomorrow is more important than getting legless. And sober love in between, with me, is more satisfying that slurring, apparently. (I agree.)

We have partied together, he and I. We can. We do it occasionally. Once a year? Paint the town red and regret it the next day? Yes. Occasionally. Let our hair down with glorious abandon and get a bit messy? Yep. Memorable. Very intermittently. Especially since pregnancies and children.

And now,  I can go for months and months without a drop.

Some have suggested, myself included, that I have a "fucked up relationship" with grog. That I am obsessively sober as a result of being paranoid, and perhpas fearful of turning into my mother. Maybe. Maybe not.



Here's the thing:

 I truly do not hear the call the chilled wine in the fridge.

We have boxes of spirits left over from our wedding five years ago. Stacked in our garage, untouched.

I regularly forget to pick beers up from the bottle shop. Shrug. Who cares?

I see tweets and status updates proclaiming "wine time!". I can relate. I know that feeling of "ohmygoddesstodayhasbeenashockergivemesomerelief". But grog simply doesn't do it for me.

I am not "dry" or "on the wagon".

I am not an evangelical teetotaller. I am empathetic and tolerant of anyone else who wants to have a glass, or four. I am not sitting on my hands in an attempt to deny myself, I am not secretly craving, but determined not to indulge. I am not "abstaining". I am just not fussed.

My seventh sense alerts me to alcohol issues in others. I can spot a drinkers veins and their smell from a mile off. I am canny to the myriad of "issues" that arise the moment another person chooses the bottle over other healthier pursuits. I sense their focus, their drive, their need, straight away. I do not judge. It just makes me sad and heart sore.



But for me, I just do not need it.

And I am so so so glad.

An addictive personality, that I have.

A dependency on alcohol, in any shape or form, I do not have.

And thank goddess for that.


60 comments:

  1. Louisa CowanOctober 01, 2010

    Great post. See I'm not a huge drinker, I can go for weeks without, but I definitely feel the pull of the cold wine in the fridge. I think I drink more now I've had a baby. What you have made me think about is whether I actually want to or whether I think I now have the excuse to? Not sure, thank you for making me think about it though.

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  2. Thank you Louisa. If I have made you think about it, then that's a good thing?

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  3. Curvaceous QueenOctober 01, 2010

    It's rather freaky reading your posts and thinking get out of my head. I'm another who revelled with the best of them with the dubious distinction of being able to drink my body weight in alcohol and remain mobile yet haven't drank more than 3 in a sitting for the last 5 years. I sometimes think about having a drink then go Meh can't be bothered.

    All I can say is Thank God it's not an issue because the food addiction is more than enough to deal with!

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  4. I know. Utter relief that it is not an issue. Phew.

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  5. Claire MarieOctober 01, 2010

    What a great insight. Thanks for your honesty and for invoking thought.

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  6. Catherine F.October 01, 2010

    As I've said before, addiction comes in all shapes and sizes and regardless, can be a challenge to deal with. Be oh so thankful that you overcame that particular attachment so easily ..... and look what you now have! Beeeeuuuuuuddddddiiiiifulllll

    Me, food and blog addiction .... the final frontier (in the words of James T. Kirk)!

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  7. Maggie @ Looking For My FeetOctober 01, 2010

    I spent an entire summer not long after my son was born, drinking at MINIMUM 2 bottles of wine a day. I'd start early. My husband would come home around 5pm and couldn't even tell I'd been drinking. So I'd have some more.

    Every day.

    I woke up one morning and had a temper tantrum because there was no wine in the house and I it hit home to me that I had a problem.

    Now, we don't keep alcohol in the house as a rule. If hubby wants some beer, he goes and buys a 6 pack and it's gone in a few days...and he buys a kind I don't like.

    I can drink, and I do on occasion, but I know that if it's in the house, I drink it. Copious amounts of it.

    I have an addictive personality. When I quit drinking, I replaced it with food.

    *I* have an unhealthy relationship with booze. You, not so much. I'm proud of you!

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  8. Maggie, you should be so proud of YOURSELF that you nipped it in the bud and dealt with it so quickly. xx

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  9. Don't give up the blog addiction - it's a healthy habit!

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  10. Gosh, the more I get to know you the more I just love you. You are an amazing and inspirational person and I can't wait to meet you at the Bloggers Conference. A brave and important blog post. You really are amazing. xxx

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  11. That's a very brave post Lucy, thanks for sharing.

    I've lived with an alcoholic, and have seen the damage that alcohol did to both he and his partner. It's an insidious thing. I'm glad you've found your balance.

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  12. Oooh this is a real thinker. Very contemplative, thank you, Lucy. I echo everything in Louisa Gowan's comment..... I can go without for weeks. But buy a bottle and you'll have to fight me for it. My simple answer is (like with chocolate or ANYTHING, for I too have an addictive tendency towards a lot of things), don't buy it if you don't plan to have it. I am terrible like that. So I have curbed this by knowing that, like with the block of chocolate that cannot remain half eaten in the fridge, if I feel like a drink, I get a small single-glass bottle. It's worked for me so far. But I know that if I didn't abstain or keep myself in check, I could easily be alcoholic. It is this reality that keeps me sober.

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  13. What an amazing post, Lucy! So glad you did hit the Publish button after all.

    Like many here, I've struggled with addictive behaviours (and family patterns) over the years. I was one of those teenage binge drinkers, too, who seemed to have a bottomless capacity for alcohol. Luckily for me, my kidneys decided to point out that this was, in fact, incorrect, and one serious bout of alcohol poisoning and a couple of kidney infections brought the party to an end.

    I didn't drink at all for quite a long time. In much the same way - because I felt no pull to do so. Didn't miss it, didn't care. Recently, I've enjoyed the occasional pleasure of a glass of red wine as I cook dinner - I'm probably one of those you see calling wine o'clock, but I say it more than I do it (perpetrating the drinking culture - maybe I should look at that?). ;)

    I hope that someone, reading this post, recognises this for their life. And saves themselves, because of it. xx

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  14. Mrs. Happy PantsOctober 01, 2010

    Obviously, I have an addictive personality. So obviously this speaks to me.
    But also? I gave you an award on my blog :)

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  15. Mrs. Happy PantsOctober 01, 2010

    Oh, and I like the word "obviously" :p

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  16. gill@ourparklifeOctober 01, 2010

    Wow...This is truly a fantastic post! You have covered so many of the different "feelings" about drinking....I used to work in hospitality too and I understand the call of the hospitality "drinking culture"

    Thanks for sharing and glad you hit "publish"...

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  17. Brilliant post. You are indeed a goddess. I don't drink, not for anyparticular reason, simply that I don't really enjoy the way it makes me feel. I'm not what you would call a happy drunk, more an emotional one, so I probably have two or three glasses of wine a handful of times a year. My Mum on the other hand - grew up with an alcoholic and doesn't drink at all, purely from that experience. Which is kind of like me - grew up in a family of smokers and never took up the habit. It all stems from somewhere doesn't it?

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  18. Jodie at Mummy MayhemOctober 01, 2010

    Oh, great post, Lucy! Thank you so much for sharing.

    I got in to the habit of drinking most nights with dinner. I found myself starting to really almost crave a glass of wine, and I didn't think that was very good. Perhaps the start of something?

    For the last couple of months, I've stopped drinking during the week (unless a special occasion, eg friend's b'day or something) and just enjoy on the weekends. Funny though - even then sometimes I don't bother anymore because I'm not in the habit of having it each night!

    I feel better for it, and I think I look better for it.

    No wonder you're gorgeous! :) xxx

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  19. Great post Lucy.
    I'm the same - i was never a heavy drinker at all but i just dont feel the need to drink. My DP has half a dozen beers on a Friday and Saturday night ( thats just the way he is ) but i never feel the need to indulge. Once in a while if we go out for dinner i'll have a Midori and lemonade, but usually i'm happy with a Pepsi or a LemonLimeBitters.
    I also have friends who have " Friday Nite Wine Nite " or a few bevvies with their dinner, i just feel that pull...

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  20. Bless you Lucy. What a bloody fantastic, brave, open,honest post. (And I love that you use the word lush in this context, so few people know what it means!).

    As someone else with an addictive personality who was bitten hard by the bottle in her younger years, i totally understand the point you are at now. it's where i am. Alcohol doesn't tempt me, at all. It can sit here, in the fridge, and I feel no need to touch it. I can have a drink, or two, very occasionally, and know that's it.

    It's a very good place to be.

    (And I will have to feature post on AMB soon, mmmkay?)

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  21. B ravo! Brilliant, honest, insightful, necessary post, dear Lucy.

    I can 100% relate.

    x

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  22. Thanks Claire Marie - I feel a little vulnerable putting this out there. But cathartic also.

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  23. Such a brave and honest post Lucy, so glad you did publish.

    As someone who likes a drink, and has someone close to me with an addiction to alcohol, I am constantly aware of the effects it can and does have on me and others. So well written. Thank you. xxx

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  24. lifeinapinkfibroOctober 01, 2010

    Great post Lucy. I have always enjoyed a drink, but the older I get the less I drink. I am also married to Mr Moderation, and it's been good for me. Happy to drink a couple of glasses of wine once or twice a week. Happy not to. Happy to go out with friends and have a great time - with ensuing hangover - occasionally. It's all good. Am glad you won your war - because it is definitely a war for a lot of us.

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  25. great post. i have always known alcoholics in my life, so i did not drink until very recently. not a drop. it never seemed worth all the mess that it made, not to mention i cleaned up after many others, including an ex in denial.. for years. i am now indulging to very rare drinks and have actually been drunk, like..twice? i'd say because i feel at this point of my life i have the control (and the partner) to do so.
    congratulations to your insight in time and to your new relationship - with your husband and with alcohol. :)

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  26. I'm so glad you hit publish on this Lucy. A really brave and important post. xxx

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  27. Great post. A lot of this hit close to home for me.

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  28. Gosh, another past binge drinker here. One of the reasons my hubby hooked up with me was due to the fact I could keep up with him. He was an ex bouncer, so could really drink. I remember the weekends where I would just get over the hangover by the afternoon, then that evening we would do it again. The tables stacked over 50 cm high with glasses from happy hour. Counting out the coins for a friend who was too drunk to count, just so she could get another drink. The working "till stumps" at the pub, locking the doors and the manager opening the bar to all staff. Could go on and on.

    I was not into the drink every day, in fact if I was not able to get drunk, then I could not be bothered with alcohol.

    Don't know why, may be it was money, or the fact we no longer recovered from hangovers very well, but we stopped. I still enjoy the odd drink, but have no desire to have one every night. My mum was like that, get home and "need" to have a drink. As a teenager I found that a turnoff.

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  29. Thanks Tenille. I'm sorry you have been faced with the insidious nature of alcohol. x

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  30. The fact that you are so aware will surely stand you in good stead? xx

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  31. Thank you Tracy. It is such a frightening and common issue. Alcohol poisoning and a couple of kidney infections......eeeek!

    xx

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  32. It is a culture, isn't it? I thought it was so cool for ages. Then it was all I knew. Ick.

    Thank you, for commenting. xx

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  33. Ah Jodie, you're a flatterer. But I realise I agree with you - my skin - it glows, thanks to the fact that I don;t drink grog, Just water. Ahh, small things like that make me happy.

    xx

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  34. It sure does stem from somewhere. I am grateful I can pick it, and kick it into touch, My children, I pray, will never have "issues" of this nature stemming from me.

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  35. Feature me, with pleasure!

    Thank you Lori. I kind of sensed you would know where I was at. xx

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  36. I'm sorry but glad you can relate. xx

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  37. Huge hugs sweets. xx

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  38. Ah, Al, these Misters of Moderation....how glad I am we found them. It makes life so much easier and nicer.

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  39. Kay, thank you.

    I am so sorry that you have been having to deal with alcoholics too much. Me too. It sucks. It is too common.

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  40. Thank you. I felt brave, now I feel touched by all these comments. I am lucky. xx

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  41. Echoes. Thank you Astrid, for sharing, xx

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  42. Melissa @ Suger Coat ItOctober 01, 2010

    Ha! Great minds think a like. Look at us both, posting about booze on the same day.

    I just love you for sharing your tale. There is an access there for me here. You see I am from a long line of addictive personalities. Both sides. And so my parents in general are abstainers from most addictive type things. However food and control are their things, respectively. I guess in some way, I just didn't want to be like them. Strange how that happens.

    Thanks for the heads up to this awesome post!

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  43. Ha!!! Me too!! I thought I was reading my own story. Derek and I met as drinking partners. We were party people. I grew out if it. It took him longer. Am spending lots of time trying to get my hubby to see the light as well ..... it puts a strain on things .... but we're getting there. If I had my way there would be no need for alcohol at all ...

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  44. Thank you for such an honest post. It comes down to what you said - using moderation. I'm glad you found your balance where you can enjoy a cocktail - or leave it.

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  45. Fresh MommyOctober 05, 2010

    This is awesome Lucy! So real and honest, and I can feel your heart in this post. Moderation is key and I love your bravery and strength!! :)

    ~Tabitha

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  46. I love your honesty, Lucy. So amazing that you managed to turn your life around. xx

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  47. Can I just briefly sqeee that disqus is working for me again?

    I'm not a drinker, my body doesn't like alcohol and a week of vomiting is rarely worth the time drinking. But when I do drink, I drink to get sloshed, because well, f*ck, I'm going to be sick no matter what.

    Brilliant post.

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  48. Lucy, what an honest and hopeful post. You have such strength and integrity. xx

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  49. I read this post when you first wrote it. Awesome stuff and something to make us stop and think. Thanks Lucy.

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  50. drinking never gave me any happiness so I stopped. I have not had any alcohol for over 10 years now and have not missed it at all! One of the best decisions I have ever made. Love your post and your honest accounting of your experiences.

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  51. ACajunDownUnderNovember 08, 2010

    Great post! I admire your resolve.

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  52. MuffinMonsterBBNovember 08, 2010

    I don't drink very often anymore, not since having kids. But I have a problem of trying to drink my anxiety away, Thinking I will enhance my social skills, but I drink too fast, and then too many. Usually when there's strangers involved.

    (Note to people going to Aussie Bloggers Conference, I warned you, I might get messy)

    Good on you Lucy for knowing when enough is enough, and staying away from that previous relationship for both your's and their benefit.

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  53. Brilliant post! I think many of us drink a lot when we are young to make ourselves feel more confident. I do still drink quite a bit but never to the point of binge drinking ..as for alcohol as stress relief i find sex is more effective and the other plus is no hangover!

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  54. What a wonderful post. And so brave Lucy. I have to admit to only having 5 glasses of wine in my life. My husband dosen't like it and it usually makes me feel sick so I've never had a problem in that area. But drinking is not only addiction. I've had many other addiction that I'm still dealing with and I appreciated your post no end.

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  55. great words. I can so relate having worked in hospitality for 20 years when I was younger, easy trap to fall into

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  56. What a beautiful ending to a rough journey. There must be something about hospitality and drinking and smoking! I used to do both to such extremes and now I do neither! Loved reading this.

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  57. This describes me to the T!

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  58. The piece was awesome! I can really relate to this on so many levels. Loved drinking, managed to quit, now I don't miss it at all. Now I battle with stress :)

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  59. Hello Everyone here i am Lucy by name and i just want to share with you on how i was help by Dr Gboco Email: gbocotemple@yahoo.com after all i have been through trying to get back my relationship with my husband i lost so much money and i did not get the result that i was looking for i cry all day and night because my husband ask me out of his life after our 3years marriage so a friend of mine in my office told me about much about Dr Gboco on how he help her with the job that she is now and how powerful the Dr Gboco is so i contacted him for help and ask me what need his gods to help me with i told him and he also told me to do some prayers which i did and after 1day i received a call from my husband asking me forgiveness i was so so surprise it was all like a dream as everything happen just the way Dr Gboco told me it was going to happen and now we are both together again and he even show me more love than even before.....thanks to you Dr Gboco.

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