Hello, my name is Amber and I’m an alcoholic. I’m also 33 years old, a mum, a wife and a corporate woman. I have a successful career, too. If you saw me in a crowd, you wouldn’t pick me as the alcoholic.
But a few months ago I realised it had become normal for me to reach for a glass of wine as temporary relief from pressure, stress and frustration.
I wasn’t drinking as soon as I woke up, nor was I drinking at work. I also never drank and drove. I did, however, find myself having a drink every day and thinking about how much I was looking forward to one from about 3pm (at the latest). I found myself being tagged in memes about 'mummy drinks' regularly, as well as receiving texts the morning after I’d been out asking, "How’s the head today?"
Side note... Fiona O'Loughlin talks about the impact of alcoholism. Post continues below.
I realised that my habit of enjoying a drink had become an addiction. I was becoming a little sneaky – filling up my wine glass when my husband was out of the kitchen and making sure I always had wine in the house. I knew it was a problem. Sometimes my friends would say, "I’m looking forward to a drink, it’s been a few weeks since my last wine," and I would wonder, how on earth did you manage to go a few weeks without drinking?!
Alarm bells were ringing in my head.
But how do you differentiate between a few drinks with friends and an actual drinking problem? Isn’t it strange that we glorify as a society having a drink or two with friends, but consider alcoholics to be those 'drunken bums living in doorways'? Well, guess what? Alcoholics are often people you’d least expect – parents, young women and men, introverts, extroverts, well-dressed people and even super athletic people.
The day of my last drink was just a normal Sunday. My husband and I dropped off our son to my mother’s house, and we decided to treat ourselves to dinner out. I asked my husband to order me a drink if the waiter came by whilst I visited the toilet. We enjoyed a nice dinner, then went to get an ice-cream and walked around our local wharf area. But I was desperate to go home to have another drink. And that’s exactly what I did. I was starting to choose a drink over my family. I hated myself. The wine didn’t taste right, and I wondered about the impacts grog was having on my life.
On Monday, February 1, 2021, I went along to my local Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I was greeted with the warmest, encouraging smiles. The people in that room told me they remembered what it was like to walk into their first meeting. I knew I was in the right place.