I was 13 when I first started drinking alcohol. My mother encouraged me to imitate her by having one large glass of sherry before dinner and two glasses of wine with dinner, every night. Ironically, I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup until I was 15.
Christmas cocktail parties, get-togethers with neighbours, and any other social event was an excuse to open the bar for my parents, and I was always welcome to help myself to whatever I wanted. One of my father’s favourite desserts was vanilla ice cream drowned in Crème de menthe. Apart from scotch, Campari was another of my father’s favourite drinks (as well as any liqueur) - and I was invited to try everything.
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Since my early introduction to alcohol, a number of factors have played a part in what has now been a 50-year struggle with alcohol addiction.
My career really flourished in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. In the corporate world I worked in, there was a heavy drinking culture. Friday night drinks were disguised as staff meetings and as an executive assistant, I was often asked to entertain clients after hours and wasn't allowed to go home until the guests left.
In 2012, I broke my tibia and fibula. I was also made redundant. Around the same time, my husband left me and my mother passed away. It was an extremely stressful time and I started drinking very heavily.