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I remember my first drink. I drank a bottle of champagne when I was 15 and blacked out. My girlfriends had 2 Lemon Ruski's each. There was a difference in how and what I drank from the start. 

I had an eating disorder. I started to control what I ate when I was 15 - and it made my life feel fabulous. I cut out junk food first, and hit the gym as soon as I was old enough. Everything was okay to begin with, and felt balanced / manageable - not out of control. When I started to see results - I ate less and less. Except when I drank on the weekends. That's when I "let myself go" and ate everything I could find at the party or in my kitchen cupboard when I got home. I later developed bulimia to "assist" with those times. 

I drank to blackout most weekends. I was always the one at the party that was a mess. Crying, drunk dialling, falling over. My parents and my ex boyfriend came to my rescue most of the time. I think my girlfriends thought it was all pretty entertaining, and not a big deal, but I've never really asked them. I was too ashamed - I don't think I could ask them now. 

I have to force myself not to think about what could or did happen to me in black out. I would honestly prefer not to know. I was a 15 year old woman / child and put myself in some pretty scary situations where I had no control. 

As I grew older, my drinking got worse. It continued to progress and changed from weekend binge drinking, to daily drinking, to not showing up for work so I could drink at home all day. That's when this photo was taken. I'm definitely drunk here. I think I had been out all night, not eaten for a while and was feeling pretty high on adrenalin, and kept drinking at home to avoid the hangover and let the good times roll. I remember it was a Saturday and I remember taking the photo. 

By the end of my drinking, I was drinking 24 hours a day. I pushed it pretty far until I went to rehab when I was 28. 

Ten years later, I started Etota. A family of non-alcoholic - and soon alcohol products - with a focus on mindful drinking. I can have a drink now after four years of abstinence and ten years in recovery, but I choose to drink less. I hope sharing pieces of my story helps others share their stories too, and people who are currently struggling with alcohol to feel less alone. 

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