This is me aged 39 just before I decided to remove alcohol from my life. Ha ha! No actually this is me aged 17, underage at the pub.
Note the lollypop, gum, cigarettes, tomato sauce and beer on the table. Most interesting to me now is that I was drinking beer. Toward the end I wasn't a beer drinker at all. Wine, wine, wine all the way with me. I remember this weekend, it was a boozy weekend away with friends. Note also naughty twinkle in the eye. This was early days of my long and dubious drinking career.
I grew up with alcohol all around. I first got drunk at 15, loved the physical feeling, and (as I now realise) loved the way it pushed emotions away, so I kept doing regularly it until just shy of my 40th birthday. Here I am about a month before I gave up the sauce. Yes that is a cocktail. Note the clock - not quite 5pm....
Heavy drinking has always been around me. Growing up, in my line of work and in New Zealand society in general. Heavy drinking is not frowned upon round these parts.
But my drinking habit had slowly but surely become serious. A very determined, intense, obsessed and unhealthy dedication to wine.
My body clock was amazing - 5pm on the dot, or about 4.45 I'd look at the clock and think 'almost wine time!'. I would have wrestled with myself during the day about whether to buy any but always the 'yes' voice would have won and I'd have a bottle or two in the house. However much I bought that day was drunk that night. Rarely would there be any left over. I'd pop the top at 5pm and it would go, fast. I always poured a glass almost to the rim and slurped the top down straight away.
But towards the end 1 bottle wasn't enough. I needed one bottle and 2 glasses more just for myself to feel 'full'. Binging. Binging all the time.
And I was a 2nd day drinker. Have a binge, then have a hangover, so the second day is a light one, just 1-3 wines. Then the next day, no big hangover so have a binge again.
I feel like I've been working up to becoming sober for a few years now. Enough of the mindless pouring of booze down my throat. Heading in a stupid and very very serious direction with my drinking. Where did I think it was going to end up? What sort of life path are you on if you are pouring so much wine into your body?
It had to stop. And it did, on 6 September 2011. Here's me 18 months sober, at a wedding. In my wineglass - a Red Bull energy drink! Note matching lipstick and nailpolish! I had the best dance ever this night. Who needs wine? Not me!!