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Tug of war

MAIA: There was always that choice: do I drink, or don’t I? You had that. I did drink. I’d have hangovers galore.

INTERVIEWER: But, you felt you had a choice?
MAIA: I had a choice not to.

Then I met my husband and he drank. They were in the pub at 11 o’clock on a Saturday because they didn’t play sports. They didn’t have anything else to do.

If I look at my life right throughout, there were choices to be made. I always remember my father and “You make your own choice.”

I think the last straw (and I remember this very clearly) was when we had a party at my father’s place. All my brothers and sisters were there. It was great to see everyone. Somehow or other I thought, “I don’t want this anymore. I don’t want to follow this path. I want to be able to go to a party and not drink.”

The first person who noticed was my father. He noticed that I wasn’t. He said, “Oh, you’re not having a drink with us?” I said, “No, not at the moment.” They were out in the shed and I was in here with the kids.

So, that was my first real tug of war, a tug to actually pull myself back. I said, “I just don’t want any more of it, dad.”

When you’re in that situation at a party, when you’ve got your mates around, it’s very hard, even though you know that’s the wrong thing to do, it’s very hard to say no.

Like going out and meeting my brothers and sisters and they’d say, “Oh you’re not drinking?” and I’d say, “No, no, I’ll just have an orange juice, or I might have a shandy or something.” And, “Oh gosh you’re boring!” That’s what I heard all the time: “You’re just bloody boring.” I would think, “Oh well, too bad!”

That was another thing: do I want a spiritually filled life, without the hangovers, without the worry of having alcohol in the house, or do I want to go to the pub with my sisters? My sisters loved their drink as well. It was a matter of me making my choice about, what am I going to do?

I felt it set me apart from the rest.