Reformed 'party girl' alcoholic mum on ditching booze for good

‘Party girl’ and alcoholic mum-of-three who lost a FINGER on a night out reveals why she ditched booze for good – and how its turned her life around

  • Victoria Vanstone is a reformed ‘party girl’ who has finally ditched booze forever
  • Victoria, 45, from the Sunshine Coast was a good time girl who loved a night out
  • But she found herself struggling with anxiety and panic attacks after drinking
  • It also impacted the parenting of her three children and made her decide to stop

A reformed ‘party girl’ who once lost a finger on a drunken night out has revealed why she ditched booze, and how her life and her parenting have been transformed a as a result.

In her drinking days, Victoria Vanstone did not feel she belonged to the category of alcoholic or ‘problem drinker’ as she could go days without touching a drop.

But she came to realise she was in the ‘grey area’ as her mental health became increasingly fragile every time she went out drinking.

‘I wasn’t an alcoholic in the conventional sense of the word; I didn’t need alcohol to function and certainly didn’t drink every day,’ Victoria, from the Sunshine Coast, told FEMAIL.

‘I was just incapable of moderation when I went out, and then I would wake up with the fear, anxiety and shame of being too hungover to care for my children.’

A reformed ‘party girl’ who once lost a finger thanks to her drunken antics has revealed how and why she ditched booze, after falling prey to dark spells of anxiety and panic attacks (Victoria Vanstone pictured)

Victoria, 45, began drinking at age 13 after observing her outgoing parents entertaining and drinking with big crowds.

‘My family is incredibly extroverted and my house was the centre of everything,’ she recalled.

‘I grew up thinking that drinking was how to have fun and my squishy little child brain never saw that it had any negative effects.’

By the time she was old enough to be allowed to drink, Victoria said she had already spent years ‘stealing wine from the garage’ and breaking school rules to drink with various friends.

‘The hangovers weren’t bad, there were no consequences to my drinking,’ she said.

‘All drinking did was add to my large repertoire of stories and give me some kind of power over people. I became a party girl, the sort of person people come to to have fun.

‘I never questioned: Is this right? Is it wrong? It was just expected of me to be the person with the backstage passes and a great story every morning.’ 

Victoria (pictured with two of her three kids) said she only decided to quit alcohol when it started to have a knock-on effect to her parenting

Before she knew it, Victoria’s party lifestyle began to include recreational drug use and her nights out were becoming more and more wild.

On millennium night when 1999 ticked over to 2000, she blew her finger off with a firework in Thailand and she was once arrested and put in jail for a night.

On another occasion her husband had to hose her down in the shower after she vomited over herself in a taxi after a night out. 

But it was not until she had her first child that Victoria really started to reflect upon the damage that her drinking could do.

‘Drinking would give me anxiety because I couldn’t look after my son the next day,’ Victoria said. 

‘I felt lost. I’d gone from glitter boobs at Glastonbury to nappies and the mundanity of motherhood. 

‘I thought the only way to find my old self was on a dancefloor, but then I couldn’t shake the overwhelming anxiety it gave me the next day. I was stuck.’

She said she has absolutely no regrets about giving up drinking and now is much ‘more present and available’ as a mum (pictured with her family)

When she first became a mum, Victoria (pictured) said she had a bit of an identity crisis as she desperately tried to remember who she was on sweaty dancefloors

Victoria moved between brief periods of feeling great and being sober when she was pregnant with her subsequent two children, and falling back into her old drinking habits for several years.

This was the pattern until one final night out in March 2018 convinced her that she  could no longer cope with the panic attacks and anxiety, and that she needed help.

‘I contacted a local therapist to help me because I knew I was incapable of moderation and would need help if I was to break free from this habit for good,’ she said.

‘I had to come to terms with the fact that it was alcohol that was causing my panic attacks and anxiety. I wanted to become a better mum.’

The mum-of-three (pictured) hasn’t touched a drop of alcohol since March 10 2018, and now says it has been such ‘a relief’ to get to the understanding that she doesn’t need to drink

The mum-of-three hasn’t touched a drop of alcohol since March 10 2018. 

‘It has been such a relief to get to the understanding that I don’t need to drink,’ Victoria said.

‘It took time to learn who I was socially, and everything becomes very raw and real, but I now know who I am. I can hear my own voice without having to get the punchline in every time.

‘I used to walk into a party and feel I had the responsibility to make everyone in the room happy. It’s such a relief to be free from this.’ 

Not only this, but she eats, sleeps and exercises better than she ever did when she was drinking. 

Now, Victoria hosts a hugely popular podcast called Sober Awkward, with her friend and fellow dad Hamish (both pictured)

‘I wasn’t a perfect mum before, and I’m not a perfect mum now, but I feel so much better and am more present and able to lead by example,’ Victoria (pictured) said

Now, Victoria hosts a popular podcast called Sober Awkward, with her friend and fellow dad Hamish.

She also runs a free social network for those abstaining from drink and the ‘sober curious’ called Cuppa Community.

‘I wasn’t a perfect mum before, and I’m not a perfect mum now, but I feel so much better and am more present and able to lead by example,’ Victoria said.

‘There are many men and women like me who fall into this grey area of drinking. They don’t drink every day but routinely drink too much. 

‘They are living for that high off two glasses of wine, but are never able to recreate that feeling of when they first drink. 

‘They are falling between the tracks and don’t realise that alcohol might not really be working for them.’ 

She said those are the people she is trying to reach, and urged them to seek help.

‘Sober people aren’t people you should hate, like I used to. They are the more interesting people and they’re never racked with guilt and shame.’

According to an Australian study published in the Drug and Alcohol journal, around 21 per cent of women aged between 45 and 60 are drinking at ‘binge drinking’ levels.

You can follow Victoria Vanstone, who blogs at Drunk Mummy Sober Mummy, here. You can also join her Cuppa Community here.

For support for alcohol-related problems and addiction you can contact one of the many services available, speak to your GP, local health service or call a helpline. There are trained telephone counsellors available in every Australian state and territory. 

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