I don't know how to start a blog. So I'm just going to jump in and let it be what it is.
I have been concerned about my drinking since the night I decided that I would take a bottle of wine to bed with me every night, when my father died. My father was an alcoholic and a gambling addict who died in a room all alone. His body was only discovered because it was summer and he had started to smell. He abandoned me and my sisters when he left my mother when I was two years old. I obviously can’t remember and I have learned that it is wise not to believe anything my mother tells me, particularly with regard to my father.
None of my friends at the time were really equipped to help me with coping with his sudden, totally unexpected death. We were all so young and all messed up in various ways.
What really killed me and still does sometimes is that he died before he could show me he loved me. In all my 20 years I did not succeed in making him love me. I think he tried to call me once, not long before he died and I hung up. I was scared. I didn’t know what to say. I had so thoroughly convinced myself that I didn’t love him. When he died I just fell apart.
The night after I found out my father had died, I drank 2 bottles of wine on an empty stomach and took a taxi to my friend Paul’s house. By the time I got there I was blind. Blind drunk yes but also actually blind. I couldn’t see. I stumbled out of the taxi into the street screaming Paul. He came out. He found me. He held me all through the night while I sobbed and shook and screamed and moaned. That is all I can remember from that night. His arms, always there, around me. It was only in the morning when I woke up that he was able to ask me - what happened Cath?
I was working in a Pub on William Street – in those days it was still a red light district and populated by street sex workers and drug addicts. My boss was a classic asshole. I think the girl that worked the day shift was prostituting herself at night. She told me that she often spent the night upstairs with one of the men. She said I should try it some time, that it was fun. I didn’t think so, so I didn’t. It only occurred to me years later that the only reason for staying overnight in a room in a pub with an angry old alcoholic would be for matters other than sleeping and definitely not fun.
I didn’t tell my boss or anyone other than my closest friends that my father had died - for a week. When I did tell my boss, he didn’t believe me. I didn’t know how to deal with any of this so I did the only thing that I could think of and numbed out with alcohol. Maybe I was trying to understand my Dad and his choices, feel close to him somehow.
It was at this time that I met my first “boyfriend” Steve. Steve was a handsome, shaved headed, english man with the bluest, blue eyes. He walked into the bar with a guitar over his shoulder one night and asked for my number. I gave it to him. He called me the next day and invited me over to his place to hang out and play some music together. I said yes, sure. He then asked me to pick-up a packet of sugar on the way. I remember thinking, did he just ask me over so I could bring him sugar? The answer was yes. That and sex and a little music. I had only ever had sex once before, with somebody else's boyfriend. Steve had the bluest eyes.
I went to my fathers “Funeral” service from Steve’s place. Somehow, having a “boyfriend” that I was having regular sex with made me feel much more grown up. The “Funeral” was awful. There was hardly anyone there. My God Mother forbid me and my sisters from receiving Holy Communion because we hadn’t been to church or confession in years. My dad’s best friend (The Pimp) was supposed to give the eulogy but he didn’t show up. My father’s mother wasn’t there. It was decided that she could not be told for fear of the news of his death killing her. The poor woman died thinking that her youngest son didn’t care enough to visit her.
A few weeks later we took his remains in an Urn and went with my aunty Cindy to the Cemetary where my grandmother would later be laid to rest (she had bought a plot) and buried him in a hole that we dug ourselves, under a tree. It was surreal. We had to scoot off before anyone could catch us burying his ashes - illegally. I had enough time to sing “The Day you Went Away” by Wendy Matthews before we piled back into Cindy’s car and drove off.
I had 10 days off drinking about a year after that as part of a zero calorie weight loss plan. I took another 10 days off when I did a 10 day silent meditation course (Vipassana). I stayed for the whole 10 days and drank the first night I got “out”. I then took about a year and half off when I was pregnant and breast feeding my daughter. That was 10 years ago now.
About 6 months after my daughter was born what I can only describe as a tsunami wave of truth washed away everything I thought I was, who I thought I was and where I thought I had come from. A repressed childhood of horrendous abuse was revealed. I had always remembered violence and fear but it turns out it was much, much worse. Drinking became essential to me in a very conscious way. I honestly did not think that I could live without it. It was the only way that I could keep me here.
I have done a lot of therapy to work through PTSD and depression and worked very hard to be here every day of the past 10 years. I have lost everything and gained everything. The most important gift that I have gained in the past few months is the gift of me. I am still discovering who I am and that can be scary at times but actually it’s mostly wonderful.
Counting days freaks me out. It feels like I am creating a precipice to fall off so I don't count them. Let’s just say that I am sober right now and I have been more sober than not since January 2016. I am shooting for 100% sobriety and right now, that is where I am. I am on this side of sobriety and it is more beautiful and peaceful than I could have possibly imagined.