The party girl days have to end eventually. For Angela, it took giving herself permission to forgive and heal to bring her freedom.

party girl

My Story

I’ve thought a lot about “my story” – this drinking path. And I find that the longer I am alcohol free, the clearer it all becomes. My parents divorced when I was 6. My father, a violent alcoholic, moved away and my brother and I stayed with my mother and her “new man”. Mother was what is sometimes called “the emotionally absent mother”. I never had the type of relationship with my mom that all my friends did. She barely talked with me. She was incredibly strict. I don’t remember being hugged or kissed – ever. I never was without the “things” I needed…but the love, care, interest in and for me – was never demonstrated. She was closer with my brother, James. She adored him.


I grew up thinking this was “normal”.  I sought attention and always received rejection from my family and my friends. The only person in my life who was a constant confidant was my brother. When I turned 16, I grew out of my “ugly duckling” phase and kids from school started to notice me. Kids from school also went to parties and binge drank. So here I was – the girl who was always rejected – getting noticed by way of introduction through binge drinking at parties. AHHHH – finally – acceptance.

Party Girl Life

I left home at 17 and lived a life of constant partying for 5 years . I slept on couches, in backs of cars, sometimes had a home, sometimes didn’t. The party girl life was always on. During this time – I forged a bond with my alcoholic dad – herein again – acceptance through alcohol. My mom and I became barely aware of one another. The detachment with her grew. It wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I realized how cheated I truly was by my mom. Yet, I didn’t say anything or do anything about it.

Party Days End

I became a single mom YOUNG. I had my son at 22 (1993) and my party girl days were behind me. Well – at least to the point where I was really only going out once or twice a month. But when I did – it was to drink and drink hard. This continued for several years – 13 years actually. My mother and I had a relationship – strained – but it was there. I never had alcohol in the house. Therefore I was a true occasional binge drinker – up until the age of 35.

Struck By Tragedy

In the summer of 2006, my brother, James, was murdered in Victoria, BC.

The only person in my family (besides my children) who I had a loving relationship with was brutally taken from me. It almost destroyed me. I found myself thrust into a world of madness. And alongside of it – a grieving mother who drank. So I began to drink with her. Wine became the norm. Wine in the house was always there. I couldn’t handle the pain. The pain of losing my brother, the pain of my mother verbally telling me she wished it had have been me and not him. So I drank. Never to the point of black out. Maybe 2 or 3 glasses a day…. more on weekends. My party girl days were back, but subdued.

Drinking On

I met my husband a few years later. He’s from the UK and drinking there is completely normalized. My drinking did not seem strange to him at all. A few months later – my father died of complications from alcoholism. More pain. More wine. My relationship with my mother grew more and more strained. I stopped talking with her for several years. It was always my fault.

Grey Area Drinker

I became that “grey area” drinker. For 11 years I drank regularly ( every day) often more than I wanted. I was always waking up with a hangover, fuzzy head, and puffy face. I stopped pursuing all of my dreams. I was a classically trained pianist and I completely stopped playing. My degree was in Anthropology – I did not pursue my Masters. I workedg hard at jobs and drank hard when I wasn’t at work. It was madness. I was too old to keep being a party girl.


Last October (2017) I looked in the mirror and saw my dad looking back at me. That scared me. I knew I had to do something. I found the book “Drink” by Ann Dowsett Johnson and read it in one day. That got me on Amazon and This Naked Mind came up. I finished it in 2 days while on a business trip to Chicago. I quit for 3 weeks that October. Then justified that I must not have a problem, so started drinking again. I tried to quit again 2 or 3 times early 2018, but it never stuck. I never made it past those initial 3 weeks.

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Finding Strength

In May I was asked to provide a Victim Impact statement to the parole board of Canada. The man who killed my brother was up for day parole in August. I wrote, rewrote, rewrote, and rewrote my statement. It never felt right. Understand that all of 2018, I was voraciously reading everything I could get my hands on about alcohol and addiction. I was growing and learning things about myself. I was rethinking my grief over James and rewrote the statement one last time, speaking of my pain and of my loss. At the end, I gave forgiveness. I knew I had to. I felt I would never be able to tackle the loss in an impactful way, sober up, and deal with the emotions until I forgave. So – I did.

A Beginning and An End

On August 22nd – I got the call from Corrections Canada. His parole was granted.
On August 27th – I poured what was left in my bottle of wine – and toasted my brother.  That’s been it.

What I’ve come to discover is that, as sad as my grief was over James, it was only a catalyst to throw me FURTHER into alcohol. I was already in it, numbing the overwhelming grief of not having the mother I truly deserved. Hiraeth – a longing for a home that never was. That’s my Instagram name. I feel an enormous hole in my heart – but not from the loss of my brother anymore. I embrace the gift his life has been to me. Rather – the hole from never having the love of a mother.  That is the pain I deal with today, without numbing it with vast amounts of wine.

The Party Goes On

48 and 66 days sober – I have never felt better. I have started my classical music again. I am rediscovering me, rediscovering the girl from before the booze, before the party girl and therein, finding the pain of my absent mother. I’m thinking of journaling it, of writing about that. For now – my recovery is the most important thing in my life.

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That is my story. If it can help – even one person – it’s worth telling. Please share your story to help others!