My name is Dee.
I'm a country girl with roots deep in the Australian bush.
I am a mother, wife and one-half of a road-train contracting business.
Aside from that, I am 'me' - a striving, thriving 40 year old woman with a passion and a drive to help and support rural communities.
We currently live in Goolgowi, north of Griffith in NSW. It's an amazing small community that is fabulous and really connected in so many ways. I have lived in many rural communities but this one is special.
I'm a member of the SES and an active Community First Responder, Secretary for the local CWA and also involved in our local P&C.
I believe the only way we can see and implement change is by being involved.
I would love to see a change in the way alcohol is perceived in the world, and am a big fan and advocate of SITC as our rural mates need all the support they can get. We tend to be forgotten out here.
So thank goodness we have Shanna and now the SITC charity representing us.
I'l add my voice, too ...
60 days in, with Dee.
For far too many years, my relationship to alcohol was that wine had been VERY present in my life and my everyday existence. I couldn’t imagine my life without it. I would picture not drinking and it terrified me. I would run lines through my head like “but I enjoy wine!'' .... ''I enjoy having drinks with friends... ” and the big one: “but everyone drinks!”
These lines that constantly ran through my head had me convinced my drinking was ok and I honestly believe it had me tied to a bottle of Sav Blanc.
Our society gives such a big fat tick to drinking alcohol that we have no idea that there is another way. I would look at non-drinkers and think “how do they do that, don’t they want a drink?”
The truth is not everyone wants to drink and not everyone has an issue with saying NO.
Alcohol is an addictive substance ... and for some of us we become addicted to that addictive substance.
I am not ashamed to say that I needed my wine at 5pm.
Many people who quit have a huge 'bang' moment or a hungover exit; but for me it was a gradual “I don’t like what I’m doing, I know it's wrong to drink so much, and my body is suffering.”
But the big one for me was over years (and years) my now seven-year-old daughter watched me go to the fridge every night. Monkey-see-Monkey-do is a phrase that I had quoted a lot without ever applying that to my own drinking. I realised that I wanted my daughter to grow up knowing that she doesn’t need alcohol, and that if she chooses to drink, she can make that choice safely from a place of education and knowing.
I also want to be 100% present in the moment for her, and not waste her childhood years in a wine-filled blur. She is an awesome human that we created and I want her to be able to rely on her mother completely, always.
And so it was that 60 days ago - with a wine headache - which if I am honest was present almost every morning, I signed up to participate in Dry July.
I went through emotions, questioned if I could do it, and thought about not putting my challenge online so I could sneak a drink ... but eventually, thankfully (!) I squashed all of that banter and I went ahead with putting my challenge on Facebook for personal accountability.
I love a challenge and I NEVER give up and I NEVER don't finish a task - so I knew that no matter what, I'd complete the 31 days.
For me, not drinking has been relatively easy. Perhaps my body knew that I needed a break and went easy on me? I finished the 31 days and felt so different ... like something had lifted and changed in me. I simply knew I wanted that feeling to continue, and so I have decided alcohol is no longer for me.
That decision has been the best of my adult life. Not drinking has given me so much clarity along with happier mornings, calmer evenings, weight loss, clearer eyes, a great memory - and the most delicious sleep!
When I was drinking, I honestly felt I could not relax or feel a buzz without alcohol. I hated that…. Because I am fabulous…. I know now that I CAN laugh without alcohol, I CAN relax without alcohol, and I CAN talk to anyone without alcohol, I CAN exist without alcohol!
My secret plan for making this a sustainable and positive change is simply education. I have read, read and re-read books on alcohol and books about people quitting alcohol.
Knowledge is power. And once you educate yourself and know the terrifying facts of what alcohol does to you, you are armed with power, power to say never again, power to say I don’t need it, power to say my life is better without it
I am proud to be go forward as a ''Non-drinker''.
I am proud that my daughter has seen her mother have the strength to walk away from an addictive substance and that she can now always have a drink safely out of mummy’s glass. I am proud that at the age of 40 my body is free of the toxic substance that is alcohol and that my mind is clear and my heart is honest and full of genuine love.
My journey continues, I don’t kid myself that everything will be perfect and easy BUT I feel free and full of hope.
Bring on the next 60 days and beyond!!
If you are a busy rural man or woman who resonates with Dee's story - and you'd like to cut back or quit alcohol, but you're not sure where to start or what to do ... feel free to visit our Bush Tribe members platform where a whole bunch of us are doing that together.