Meh. Day 6. Not such a huge accomplishment for me these days, however I will say that the last few months the booze beast (‘wolfie’ as coined by Belle) has become more pervasive to the point where I start craving wine after 3 days without it. Never vodka, never beer, never fancy elaborate cocktails. Wine. Must remember to try to work that one out.
Ah, it’s just come to me. Childhood.
Family (cousins and my parents) decided to collaborate as business partners in purchasing a liquor store back in the late 70’s. Back then the wine industry was emerging here and lots of ideas about sophistication, maturity and coolness surrounded the act of drinking wine. I identified with all of those things and there you have it, the answer to my drink of choice.
I have this really vivid memory of one night being driven home by mum, the two of us in our VW Beetle (brother and I, dad had ‘left the building’ permanently not long before this) being swung from side to side in the back seat (this was before seatbelts were mandatory) while mum gleefully whooshed round corners and zoomed down suburban roads to get us home after a night out drinking with friends. I’m glad we made it home and am here to tell the story.
Such are these vivid moments that form elements of the pissed puzzle that became my confused, directionless life for many years.
What is it about wine in particular that lures people back time after time? Maybe it is the nostalgia, the sophistication it alludes to in marketing, the stories so cleverly and romantically threaded into each vineyard’s ethos that have people connect to them.
I know a lot of these stories – I sold wine (very well) for 8 years with a prestigious distributor to all the top restaurants and bars here. I won awards for my talents. I had the knowledge, the passion and the conviction to develop a reputation as one of the best in the industry at that time.
It was a time full of thrills, excitement, popularity and great job perks (expensive wines every night of the week, dinners, travel, boozy conferences) yet the underbelly of this most successful time in my working life was that wine was controlling me. My life was planned around when I would drink, how much a cab would cost, is the company going to pay for this one? And so on.
A friend of mine was in the health industry, and told me of an opportunity that might suit me. At this point I was desperate to restore my health, and suspected that working in that industry might be the key to escaping the grip of ‘wine wolfie’.
It worked to a certain extent in that I was able to justify my drinking due to how healthy I was in other areas of my life. I’ve always exercised, eat lots of salad and fruit, perhaps a few too many chips but on the whole have maintained a pretty healthy regime.
But did the drinking stop? No. It got worse over time, to the point where about 3 years ago I had a two week meltdown of depression, tears, fear, anxiety and despair over my life and future. It was around then I heard of Hello Sunday Morning and decided, secretly, to turn to anonymous online community support. I felt so ashamed and frightened that I was AN ALCOHOLIC yet in no way did I want to walk the AA path.
Thank god for HSM – I found so much support and essentially RELIEF that I was not alone, in fact there are thousands of people struggling with controlling booze intake just like me. This was the beginning of my journey into sobriety that offered a safe environment in which I could say what the fuck I wanted and someone out there would care enough to respond to the mess that was expressed publicly by me in this forum.
Fast-track 3 years and I’ve come a looooong way from where I was, but still have the sobriety training wheels at my sides. I acknowledge there are huge gaps in my story but this personal blogging thing is new to me too, so these are the baby steps I’m taking to support myself in knocking wine wolfie square between the eyes.
Thanks for listening. More soon.
Ciao, Sophia. x