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RUTH'S STORY

"I think her having time away from the constant routine of getting drunk every weekend made her realise there was a whole other life out there."

I have never been much of a drinker myself, but I would say most of my partners have been pretty heavy drinkers. This was something that struck me when I entered the lesbian community. When I was straight we drank, but the women for the most part didn’t drink as much as the men, that wasn’t the case in lesbian bars.

I wouldn't say I was ever one for the bars or clubs and so when I first fell in love with my first girlfriend I was keen to settle down pretty quickly. She was too. We were together for ten years and for the first five years we lived in the city, we moved to Daylesford to have a less stressful life and I think that's when I really noticed how much my partner drank.

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When we lived in the city we had a lot of dinner parties and friends would come over and eat and drink and I would say most of those women drank far too much, but there were times when we met for coffee or went to the movies and it wasn’t about drinking. When we moved to the country when we met friends it was always about drinking. That's partly because there wasn't as much to do, but it also seemed as if that was what was expected. It was a longstanding ritual, you could say.

My partner's drinking steadily increased, and things got pretty bad. It was our dream to run a bed and breakfast on our property, but it just never happened, and I think that had a lot to do with the fact my girlfriend was always either hungover or drinking. Of course, it wasn’t all her fault, but I just didn’t know how to help her.

"When I met my current partner, she was a big drinker too, but by that stage I had made a point of keeping away from large drinking events…"

When I met my current partner, she was a big drinker too, but by that stage I had made a point of keeping away from large drinking events - so she either had to go alone or do things with the friends I’d made for who drinking wasn't such a central part of socialising.

I think her having time away from the constant routine of getting drunk every weekend made her realise there was a whole other life out there.

We actually did start a bed and breakfast, and I think because we wanted that to do so well drinking just became less and less of a thing. My girlfriend said having her own business and wanting to be successful was so fulfilling that she didn’t want to drink as much – so I'm pretty glad about that!

Ruth – 56, Daylesford

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Supported by VicHealth

The ReThink the Drink project is part of VicHealth's Alcohol Culture Change Initiative.