My heart has hurt this week for Grant Hackett, actually hurt. Tears have stung in my eyes as I’ve read with trembling hands, holding my breath.
I read he’s now tucked safely in a hotel, away from the prying eyes of the media – and a chattering family.
I know many people are saying, ‘leave him alone’ and they’re right. We all want him to be given the headspace and unthreatened peace to get the help he needs.
But, it’s natural when one human being’s experience overlaps with your own to feel empathy, sympathy and anguish all at the same time. It’s not judgmental to want the best for someone.
I can relate to the rollercoaster of despair. I can feel the sickening dread. It churns my stomach.
There were four little words that helped me when I was drowning; I want to share them in the hope they can help someone else.
I tried for many years to do deals with alcohol, which I used as a Band-Aid for crushing depression. I tried to tell myself I’d ‘just have one or two’, I tried to pretend I could drink like other people and that I could slam on the brakes if I wanted to. Truth was, I couldn’t.
When I looked at photos of Hackett with a glass of red wine in his hand with his new girlfriend last July I felt nervous. And there’s a big difference between nervous and judgey – which I didn’t feel at all. Only he truly knows what his relationship with alcohol is like. He’s talked bravely and honestly about rehab and therapy.
All I know is my relationship with alcohol became dark, horrendous and terrifying, and I hate to think of another human being suffering the same way.
LISTEN: Kyle Sandilands shares stories from his childhood, which was marred by alcoholism. (Post continues…)
There are some people who can pick up a glass of wine and have three or four. They may have a few glasses of bubbles if they’re celebrating.
There are some people who have to look in the mirror, cut the crap, get real and admit it’s the first drink that does the damage.
That was what I had to accept and surrender to.
After the first drink, it was a gamble. Sometimes everything would be fine, sometimes not. Sometimes you have three glasses of red wine, head home and call it a good night.
Other times, you find yourself waking up and piecing together the night before, grimacing. There has been a long list of bizarre incidents Hackett’s found himself piecing together. The thing they all have in common is that first drink. After that, it’s potluck.
When I hit a wall with my drinking, and genuinely wanted my life to be over, I walked into AA hoping to find some hope. A tiny voice in my head piped up, and said it was worth putting one foot in front of the other to see if I could equip myself with answers that would enable me to stop drinking. It wasn’t for me long term, but the toolbox I was gifted in there was shiny, aspirational, sparkly and jam-packed full of gems. I carry it with me every minute of every day. I can’t imagine managing life without it.
“Not any, not ever,” one man said.
Finally. Those words went in through one ear and stuck in my head rather than falling out the other side.
I wrote those words down.
I read them to myself at night, in the morning, at lunchtime, every single day until I saw them when I blinked. They became part of my heartbeat.
I repeated them to myself as I paced along the sand, I hummed them in the shower, I said them in my head as I walked past bars. I yelled them to myself on stinking hot days when people in pubs laughed, holding frosted glasses of heaven.
“Not any, not ever”.
“Not any, not ever”.
These are four little words that have changed my life.
As I keep on trucking towards two year’s of sobriety I wonder, with hope, how many more lives can they change?
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If you or a loved one has battled alcoholism, Mamamia urges you to contact Beyond Blue.