In the 37 years I’ve been alive I have generated so many memories and so many experiences and so many of my memories are suppressed by drinking, whether they are memories from drinking, or memories I’ve tried to erase with drinking. Today, I went to a local bakery to grab a loaf of bread, I took a quick glance in their pastries cabinet and saw a pie called the ‘Ned Kelly’.
These days I don’t eat much junk food, nevertheless a meaty pie, but once upon a time I did, and in fact I ate the ‘Ned Kelly’ from this very bakery.
In my early twenties I dated, got engaged and married a not-so-nice man, every weekend we would get up early and drive to the sunshine coast so that he could surf. Every time we had finished at the beach, we would drive to this bakery for a ‘Ned Kelly’ pie before the drive back to Brisbane.
This man was a misogynistic, chauvinistic pig who only wanted me to be his 1950’s style wife. I let myself ‘go’ when I was with him, I gained weight, I stopped taking are of myself, he garnered control over me and was isolating me from my family and friends.
After I was diagnosed with a tumour in my neck that required surgery, my father encouraged me to move back home, to which I accepted. I had my surgery, but one of the side effects of the surgery is that my face would be partially paralysed and swollen for months whilst I recovered, this meant that I couldn’t smile and that one side of my face looked like a watermelon.
Whilst the surgery allowed me to loose some weight, my face looked bad and my confidence eroded even further. The combination of the shame of a bad relationship, the low self-esteem from both the relationship and the surgery and the stage of my life was the beginning of another dark period.
Because of the shame I was burdening myself with, I started to turn to alcohol. This was a great social lubricant, my fears and insecurities disappeared when I was drinking, and before I knew it my weekends consisted of alcohol induced binges. I can’t recall how much I drank through the week, because I was holding down a job and studying part-time, but I do remember waking up after blackouts on many occasions. There was so much shame in my life that I suppressed memories by drinking. When I drank, I wasn’t ashamed, it was only when I sobered up that it all caught up with me.
With the benefit of hindsight, this was a pivotal point in my life, in so many ways I needed to go through this experience to become the person I am now, but in other ways, this may well have been the beginning of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.