The Pink Lemonade Girls is what my two sisters and I called ourselves growing up.
We were the three little blond-haired, blue-eyed girls - aged between eight and eleven - who sat propped on stools parked at the public bar and got supplied unlimited pink lemonade and packets of chips.
We stayed at the bar and sometimes we were placed in a dark corner of the pub to sleep while our father drank his wages away.
That was life as I knew it in the mid-seventies and into the eighties. We were raised by our alcoholic father. He now lives in a nursing home with early onset dementia and has no memory of me or my sisters all because of his abuse of alcohol.
I thought life in pubs and drunken scary drives home by our intoxicated father were normal.
My mum passed away when I was 8 years old and life was very different.
I have witnessed alcohol violence and I have lived it as a child.
I left home at 15 and drank always to get “written off” because I could use it as an excuse.
I have lived in so many parts of Australia as a child from the remoteness of the Northern Territory to the city of Adelaide and countless places in between.
My whole life as far back as I can remember has been about alcohol and addiction to alcohol and all the horrors you can imagine that go with alcohol.
I have also had a wonderful career as a Police Officer and now a Paramedic. I have seen it all.
I slowed my drinking down once I had my only child (at 18) because I promised myself she would not experience a life like mine. I am so proud of her.
A colleague told me about SITC about four months ago and how he had completely stopped drinking.
I wanted to learn more - and here I am writing this short story.
I'm now alcohol-free now for 3 months.
Now - I just 'see' so much truth - and I just want to show my sisters, my husband, and my loved ones that life alcohol free is pretty bloody damned good.
It’s a work in progress but a challenge I am willing and ready to accept.
Thank you for your commitment to rural Australia.
Thanks for reading,