Thursday, July 5, 2012

With a little help.

Until recently*, I hadn't lived in the same state and/or country as my immediate family for a long, long time - since 2003 to be exact. It wasn't deliberate - I mean, I didn't wake up and realise I had been transported in my sleep to Hong Kong - what I'm saying is I didn't move to escape my family. It was just a happy coincidence. 

So I've been asked to write a blog about friendship and that's the reason why I bring up my physical distance  from my family - for many years, my friends have become my family. In a very Sex and the City sense, wherever I live I surround myself with an urban family - they're a gang of sexy, fashion forward, border-line slappers who discuss blow jobs and marrying bankers and saw me through my failed relationship with Aiden the furniture designer... oh no. Wait. That actually is Sex and the City. Easy mistake to make... 

I joke, but seriously, my friends have got me through so so much. And in return, I like to think I've helped them do the same. One instance that immediately comes to mind was when my friend came to my rescue in the midst of a relationship drama. I had been with a man for about 3 years who was a compulsive gambler. In 12 months, he'd made his way through all of his money, my money, borrowed money, stolen money and all of the stuff in my house (laptops, tv, books, cds... you name it) in an effort to make his fortune at the roulette tables of crown casino. He was totally blind to how he was totally destroying our relationship and my spirit. Until I kicked him out. 

The thing about addictions is that, for the partner, it's so so isolating - it's embarrassing and hard to understand. You tend not to speak to your friends about it because you hope that one day soon it will stop and the last thing you want is your friends (read: urban family) to dislike your partner. So you keep quiet and try to do it all yourself. Until you can't do it anymore and you call your friends (read: the cavalry) in. 

After I kicked my partner out, he was mad (go fucking figure...) and tried to come to the house and retrieve "his couch" (um.. dude you made me broke?!?! it's now MY couch). When he tried to kick in the screen door, I didn't call the cops, I called my friends. And BOY did they come! My mate screeched up the driveway and walked right up to my ex who was hollering through the door at me. She planted her feet, and when he walked towards her she pushed him in the chest and just said "NO. WAIT OUT HERE" and like a puppy who was spanked he backed down. She walked through the door and, like a superhero, picked me up and carried me off into the sky. NO, NOT REALLY, but she did speak to him, speak to the police, negotiate for me and just completely take the load, the emotional load that was totally suffocating me. It was amazing and is a perfect representation of what REAL friendship is - a good friend is unafraid to stand in front of you and shove back on your behalf. Real friends have the ability to put you first when you need them to - the same way your family would.  Which is why, when your family is far away, you need real friends to get you through. 

I'm always surprised at people who don't actively seek out new friendships and/or don't have any friends at all. I can't imagine how they carry the load all on their own. And I know a lot of you out there will say that your partner is your best friend but to this I say - NO. I think it's dangerous to rely on just your partner - you NEED someone/s (is someones a word?) who you can rely on outside of your relationship. Because, trust me, it could be your relationship/partner that you need help with one day. This is why I'm so excited about Platform of Women - it's true that you can never have enough friends and I know that PoW will allow women to connect with new friends and surround themselves with REAL friends who will push back for them!

See you at the launch...
Dani x

*My sister Jess has stalked me and now lives in Melbourne. She assures me she's not leaving any time soon...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Why Dry July?

I've never really considered my relationship with alcohol before. If you had asked me a few days ago, I would have told you I didn't really have a relationship with it. I mean, I could enjoy red wine on a cold winter's night out but, surely, that was it? I mean, I date a muslim man ffs - we don't drink as a couple so it's just not something that I do. So, yeah, my relationship with alcohol is like that of a 4th cousin - there is one, but it doesn't really count and it's certainly not part of my nearest and dearest things to do. 

Which is why I'm terribly confused as to how it was I found myself sitting on my toilet at 3am Sunday morning, half dressed and covered in red wine vomit. 

How does this happen? I'm not a qualified medical practitioner, but I am able to think critically about my own actions. So I've spent the last 1.5 days eating dry toast and contemplating the REALITY of my relationship with alcohol. Here's what I've decided:
- I'm not used to it so I don't know how to handle it. When I'm drunk I'm not familiar with the point at which I should say "enough now... make the next one a glass of water", so I just keep drinking. 
- I'm easily influenced. If someone hands me a drink, I won't say "no thank, just the mineral water for me!". I'll drink it and then shout the next round. 
- I'm a fun/funny drunk and I think that the social acceptance and/or overcoming potentially awkward social situations (ie who do I know at this birthday party? nobody. *sigh*) is attractive (read: intoxicating) for me. 
- I'm getting older. My body is getting older. I cannot afford to behave the way I used to with drugs and alcohol because recovery is now a 2 day process. And it's incredibly unattractive and anti-social. 

I'm sure there are far deeper psychological issues that a professional could identify me as having. I'm not chasing a diagnosis though - I'm chasing a new relationship with the grog. So I've set myself a challenge...

I'm spending the month of July reassessing my relationship with alcohol, particularly in social situations. This month I'm going to HAVE to say no. I'm going to have to test myself to overcome the awkward moments using my own social skills, and not the type that comes from the bottom of a bottle of wine. 

I'll let you know how it goes... Feel free to click on the pic and sponsor me - all money will go to supporting people with real problems (ie adult cancer patients, not whiners like me) at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.