I remember the day, the very first day I fell in love. My very first, true love. I was 14 years old, it was my Dad’s 50th birthday party and it hit me like a freight train.
I was standing in the front garden at home (pictured), dressed in my new shirt and wide legged pants which had been purchased especially for the occasion and this feeling just swept across me, like a wave of relief, a beautiful, peaceful, numbing wave of instant, intense love.
I imagine Mum and Dad had let me have some champagne, a little bit, just to celebrate Dad’s birthday. They were not big drinkers and were always cautious when letting me have ‘a sip’ but on special occasions, there was always wine, champagne and beer in the house for friends and it was easily accessible. Why wouldn’t it be? I don’t suppose they ever thought their teenage daughter would be taking advantage of the situation!
Christmases, birthdays, Grand Final Day and the like were always a fun time in our house. Friends and family would gather and laughter and excitement would ensue. There was always plenty of food and a well stocked esky or laundry sink filled with ice and grog. From the day I fell in love, these days were even more exciting for me. You see, from the day I fell in love, my focus shifted. It shifted from normal teenage things to wondering when I could be with my new found love and escape from my reality.
An escape from reality was certainly what it was. Suddenly I was no longer fat and ugly or the girl who’d never kissed a boy — suddenly, I was beautiful, creative, thinking deeply and FREE. Suddenly, the pain of teenage angst mixed with undiagnosed depression, was gone. Suddenly, I had found a way to live. On that day, in 1989, I remember making a conscious decision that this new found love must become a permanent fixture in my life. Oddly, 20 something years later, I remember the moment vividly. It was an epiphany. This was IT. I had found the remedy, I had found an out, I had something that nobody else could possibly understand and I had no intention of letting it go.
For 26 years, I didn’t.
If you are struggling with alcohol or drug issues, please contact your GP or reach out to the wonderful people at Alcoholic’s Anonymous Australia or Narcotics Anonymous Australia and please remember, you are not alone.