Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The Edenland Cocktail.

I just received an email asking me .. in this busy Christmas season, how do I create my favourite cocktail?

Ok. Let's do this.



Firstly, the most important thing is *plenty* of alcohol on hand, to drink before during and after you create your perfect cocktail. I would choose two bottles of Stoli vodka, a case of Corona, a case of Grolsch, and three bottles of Wolfblass Black label. No I will not share.

For the actual cocktail, mix some crushed ice, lime slices, Schweppes Lemon Lime and Bitters, and a healthy, healthy serve of that Stoli vodka. Swizzle it round with a fancy straw. Get some cool garnish on that, pour into a really fancy glass so that you feel all important and completely ok.

Scull. It does not even touch the sides. Realise you've been born three drinks short and if only you could walk the earth feeling the way you feel with three drinks in you, everything would be fine.

Crack open your Coronas and your Wolfblass. Nothing in this world could stop you from drinking more at this point. You've awoken the insatiable beast that lives within .. only somebody else like you can understand. Put some cool music on and dance. Call your friends on the phone and tell them you love them. Think nostalgically of your shattered childhood. Drink drink and drink.

It's now time to go out ... you have no say in this. You are the girl in the red shoes. In my twenties I lived in a terrace house with some friends and they would all laugh as I slid my sunglasses in my pocket on Friday night. We all knew I would not be home for days.

You're off. Talk to everybody - feel alive, feel free. Feel AMAZING. Drink as much as you possibly can. Bat your eyes at guys and drinks will arrive. Go to the toilet and vomit ... makes room for more drinking.

The world swirls you around. Come-to, out of blackouts and you're talking to complete strangers who know your whole life history because you've just spent five hours telling them but you freak out and run away. Stuff that unwelcome feeling down with more drinking - or at this point, any substance that can get you as far away from yourself as possible. You're not fussy!

(That unwelcome feeling is called "conscience" ... trust me, you'll need it later.)

Mix the grape with the grain and back again. Do not care. You know you are somehow different to the people around you because they can stop and you can't. Go find different friends. My suggested tip is the more hardcore new friends, the better. They will make you feel normal.

Days later you arrive home to a kitchen littered with empty bottles and mouldy lime. Angry flatmates and a horrible heart. You are the worst person in the world, and the only thing that can make you stop feeling this way ... is another drink.

Welcome to hell.


This post has been sponsored by a heady mix of anger and rage. I am not dissing Schweppes .. I'd love to win this competition of flights and accommodation to Melbourne. I hear Melbourne has *great* recovery meetings, and my true cocktail is this one from a post I wrote last year called How to Fix a Drink for the Alcoholic This Christmas. Using Schweppes Natural Mineral Water of course.

I'm no prude, but I'm worried about the young kids I see on the news, bloody from bar fights and so drunk they're getting hit by cars and doing STUPID things. I worry .. alcohol is such a socially-acceptable drug. A lot of people can have fun and maintain it and know their limits, but a lot of people can't. People die from stupidity and loss of hope. You gotta go low to know.

I live near a town in the Blue Mountains called Katoomba, and the finishing touches are being made to the third huge bottle shop within a 1-km radius. That is one of the most dumbest things I've ever seen, but it's too late for people to do something about it, right? Every time I drive past it I want to start a picket line. I worry for my boys growing up in this world.

If you'd like to do a quick quiz on whether you think you're an alcoholic, try these 20 questions HERE. They're from the Minnesota Recovery Page ... Minnesota has drunks too, you know. There's drunks everywhere, all across the world. Beautiful, amazing ones.

Is it just me, or is Christmas all about the drinking? For those of us who struggle or have problems, it's like Run D.M.C. said - tricky. I'll be spending time with my sisters at my aunties houses - hopefully I won't be too much of a killjoy. I'll be going to meetings and hearing people talk about things like strength and courage and how to live in this crazy world with no edge-taker-offers. And at the end of the meeting I will feel how I always feel ... incredibly blessed that I have a place to go to where I can be honest and free and myself. And laugh ... my goodness, the black humour. It sustains me and keeps me going. Recovery meetings give me awareness I did not have before. They help me evolve and teach me things. I need to remain teachable.

You feel sorry for me that I can't drink? I feel sorry for you that you feel you have to.

So, I won't technically be mixing any cocktails this Christmas. I'd like to keep custody of my children. I like walking the earth with my head high, nothing to be ashamed of. I like being real ... crazy and all. It's hard and it hurts, especially going through really tough times with no buffer. But my feelings will not kill me. I keep hearing my angel wings unfurling ... you can too, if you want. I'm like an athlete. An endurance runner. A goddamn torch-carrying lunatic of Hope.




  1. I hope you enter this in the competition.

  2. You are amazing. You make me realise I still have time and the chance to change. I will not waste that. Because I want to change. I do not want to wake up with that sick feeling, not quite remembering what happened but feeling ashamed and knowing I have done something terrible. I draw on your strength, your hope, your fearlessness. And slowly, I know I'm getting better. And I'm proud. Thank you xo

  3. Eden I wish you the merriest Christmas ever.

    Love & stuff
    Mrs M

  4. Powerful writing as always, takes my breath away... Was with you there every step of the way...

    Enter the comp, they need to see this x

  5. "You feel sorry for me that I can't drink? I feel sorry for you that you feel you have to."

    I couldn't agree with you more.

    I can't drink. Well, I can, but I choose not to, because alcohol + me = major (more major than usual) depression.

    Christmas and New Years used to be a time for me to get absolutely wasted. I remember Christmas Eve used to be a particularly "big" one at our local pub - cleverly named "Cans by Candlelight". I'd be the last out of bed on Christmas morning, eyeballs hanging out of my head, unenthusiastically opening presents while giving off the impression that I really couldn't give a shit about life in general.

    Lovely. Not.

    Now, Christmas and New Years (and every other day of the year) is completely alcohol free. I feel sorry for those people who wake up with hangovers and have to go to work the next day, I feel sorry for those people who wind up in a domestic because of too much alcohol on Christmas Day, I feel sorry for those people who miss the countdown to the New Year because they are too busy hugging the toilet bowl...

  6. And as Glowless says, pleeease enter this in the competition.

  7. A killjoy? You kidding me? How could you ever be a killjoy? One of the talented, funniest, thought-provoking bloggers I know. Pass me that torch, you lunatic of Hope. I want what you're on. You are an inspiration.

  8. This post is one of the best things I have read online in a long time.

    I am amazed at how much people out there drink, not only during this Christmas season, but just generally to deal with life and kids.

    I can count on one hand the amount of hangovers I've had in my life on one hand and while I can enjoy a glass of wine I usually stick to that one.

    Alcohol has become way to much a part of our culture and I too fear for my kids thinking getting drunk is a normal thing to do.

    You are amazing. x

  9. My dad is an alcoholic, drug and alcohol abuse helped to destroy my family. Fuck I'm hosting two family Xmas parties at my place this year, I'd love to get wasted to help kill my anxiety and loathing of small talk, but that being said I'll be spending Xmas mostly sober. I've been to AA and Alanon meetings as a kid, pretty sad stuff. Thanks for keeping it real Eden :)

  10. I love this post Eden. I don't drink either....I used to enjoy it a little too much. At our Christmas party I mix up one type of drink then socialize with an ice cold coke!

  11. In the absence of alcohol, I've taken to making Christmas all about stuffing as much chocolate down my gob as is humanly possible.

    Also, hugs to you, woman.

  12. How is it fucking possible for me to be MORE in awe of you?

    Seriously woman.

    It is funny for all I talk about drinking and margaritas and wine I probably have a couple of glasses a MONTH. And this is the problem. It is socially acceptable to say I am going to get drunk tonight I have had such a hard day... we celebrate with alcohol... commiserate with alcohol but if someone ends up relying on alcohol to get through their day we look down our noses at them while sipping our fucking chardonnay and scoff at them.

    Bravo my love. Bra-fucking-vo.

  13. We may splurge and buy a bottle of wine for xmas day...........we may............or maybe not.....

    BTW did you know our kids go to school together??


  14. I read this post at the rate at which you wrote it I'm guessing. Fast and furious. Frickin' amazing writing. This needs to be published somewhere.

  15. I'm still trying to find the happy medium...I don't think I have one.
    Our family had a punch that used to be made every christmas. It was non alcoholic and is yummy! 2 bottles of lemonade, 2 bottles of lemonade, 2 tins of sunshine punch and a shit load of tinned fruit. It's bliss, especially when it's a hot aussie christmas day.

  16. I've never had a full drink in my life. I've always felt sorry for people who drink any alcoholic beverage- it stinks and tastes bitter. How can anyone stand it?

    Christmas has always been about the food for me- crap party food, cookies, pumpkin roll, and spiced apple cider. Yuuuum!

  17. You MUST win and go to Melbourne and be your fucking crazy self. Shake that shit up Eden, in the way only you can xxx

  18. It's like I said, we all have your vices, our addictions.
    Some of us, it won't be drugs or alcohol. Some of us it will. Some of us will trade that addiction in.

    I agree though that life is far too much about drinking and it being acceptable, it being a "given" for a party, even if it's just a backyard barbie. That's sad. That is what we are showing and teaching our kids.
    Besides all addictions start small, a choice, until one day you find yourself craving and unable to stop your actions from making that choice.

    I have always been curious about AA meetings. That they would piss me off, be all about finding god, and walking the path he intended. About having to open up when you just might not feel like it.
    I would love if YOU could blog to us about just what it's like to go to a meeting. What people can expect. Maybe from a reluctant perspective. I think it would be a very interesting read.
    I know there are many people out there who know they have problems but do not have enough strength or will to take those steps to help themselves. They find comfort in the recklessness they know, even if they know it is damaging them. Killing them. They fear having to talk, to open up, to show their weakness, but they don't understand that we can see it all already.

  19. I read that email and thought similar things. My DH is a recovering alcoholic, as a result I now don't drink. At all. I am sick to death of the crap I cop at Christmas - the 'come on just one won't hurt you' bull shit from family or so called friends, 'your not the one with the problem' they tell me. Fuck them. Living with an addict can really turn you off the stuff and I actually don't WANT to drink and the peer pressure from every angle is just plain insulting.
    Sorry, I'm done ranting - thank you for writing this xx

  20. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

    Many people I know think I'm weird for rarely drinking. I think they are weird for having to drink everyday.

    I have seen what alcoholism can do. I wish more people understood that just because it's legal doesn't mean it's safe.

  21. Wow, this is a really powerful post Eden. Thank you for sharing it - I cannot agree with you more.


  22. I am on a self-imposed ban from the booze. It just messes with my head waaay too much.
    I don't know if I'm an alcoholic, certainly a glutton most of the time when I start drinking, but I really just don't feel like it that much now & I'm glad about it.
    If I'm deemed a social pariah because of it, so be it, I'm in good company with you & Nietzsche.

  23. Terrific Stuff Eden, just a tad preachy but it certainly hit the spot! I agree with most...enter the Schweppes thing and show 'em how it's done.

    This of course means it is our 1st Anniversary - a year since I have been reading your Blog. One of the first posts I read was the 'Cocktail' post.

    I'll be having a quiet Christmas with my older kids and The Git as Mum and Dad are in Oz with my brother and Sister. But I will be letting my hair down on Boxing Day...without shame, as I do every year after I have cooked and washed up for the 5 Thousand!

    Merry Christmas to You and Yours xxx

  24. Your opening list made me laugh, inappropriately or not.
    In that kind of been there, done that way.
    Not me personally, you understand (pot was my drug of choice for many years, and mostly I just talked crap, ate everything, and went to sleep) - but my dad ruined every family event and gathering I can ever remember.

    It's only recently that I've begun to understand, he couldn't cope with the pressure without grog.

    Eden, sometimes your light blazes like a frikkin' beacon. You know?

  25. Your writing always leaves me a bit breathless & in total awe. I know you are strong enough to do anything.
    Please please please enter this in the competition.
    Hugs, & happy Christmas to you.

  26. This makes me happy. This is called integrity. Imagine the world if we were all true to ourselves like this.

  27. My favourite cocktail contains tea leaves steeped in boiling water, milk and sugar. Taken hot with a good book, if I can find five minutes.

    I'm hearing you. I skimmed the email and went, yeah, nah. Great prize and all, but no.


  28. I love the line about how you would rather keep your kids. I might use that one day. Your post is amazeballs.

  29. I'm a woman of contradictions and therefore I am both sorry that some lame bastard sent you that email, and grateful that they did. If they didn't we wouldn't have that post. But in order to have this post, you had to suffer.

    But then again, I think you live the words of Buddha, "pain is inevitable, suffering is optional". You work through it all, and through this process all pain and suffering is obliterated.

    Om mani padme hum.

  30. Everything. But especially this: "my feelings will not kill me." I almost want to apologize while telling you I am one of those who can have 1/2 a glass of wine and walk away. Lucky bio-chemistry. But I have many other things I do to surf away from my feelings. Thank you for being a truth teller. Thank you for helping us all to see.

  31. Per usual, Eden rocks!

    I may not remember again, so: all the best to we too-knowing ragamuffins over the Xmas-New Year break. We've got through all the others, huh...

    Love ya, Eden.
    Paula. xo

  32. "You feel sorry for me that I can't drink?"

    Never. nope, not sorry. Pity is something you will never attract Eden, ever.

    I love a woman that does not need to drink. And you don't.


  33. With your marriage off rails...and the amount of women (above) who love you thinking you should become a lesbian,,,receive a woman's love ..then write about your oncoming gay marriage on very popular blog.


  34. Never said my marriage was off the rails. Said it was tricky - focus, anon. Focus!

  35. Everybody else who has commented on this .. 'very popular blog' ... thank you. For the emails and tweets and love. Mostly, this blog has nothing to do with me.


  36. What the anon?...anyway...I want to say I love you too!! You rock sisterman, no pity here.

  37. Eden, agree, agree, agree. I grew up with an alcoholic parent and let's just say it was not fun and games. I hate alcohol. I hate what it does to people. I don't want to have to drink it to take the edge off, personally (but each to their own). Our culture is so lax when it comes to alcohol, and that commercial with the kid grabbing dad's beer and growing up to know no different makes a valid point. It scares me.

    I don't mind others drinking it, I just don't want to. After my dad was finally reformed he tried a beer one time and couldn't believe he touched the stuff. As a kid I used to wish he wouldn't.

    I'm so proud of you, you are a brave force to be reckoned with Eden Riley.

  38. Thank you for making us think, think hard about the message we are sending our children.
    Wishing you strength and hope.

  39. I love it. I love that you've taken a brand laden press release and turned it into a story with humour morals and reality. I love you Eden.

  40. I too worry about the future for our kids.

    You are magic. Your energy is huge. You passion is massive. Your truth is life changing.

    Alcohol is a nasty drug. Same as as all of them. Altering your state of mind.

    You can breathe life in clear and crisp and real.

  41. Never would I feel sorry for someone who isn't drinking. Actually quite the opposite, for they are the brave, the strong, the ones who are winning. I love a glass of wine, but I rarely make it two.

    It is easy for me not to drink, but for you Eden, it is something I will never understand, all I do know is that while it may not be easy, you are, day by day, winning.

  42. Fantastic - amazing - the best post I have read all week.

    What are we truly traching our children? Everyone I know is obsessed with drink being involved in every single part of their lives. Taking my children to their friends birthday parties inevitably involves explaining that no we didn't bring drinks, because IT'S A 2 YEAR OLD'S PARTY FOR CHRISTS SAKE!!

    And they look down on us, and don't invite us back.

    We too, are the killjoys, or rather the envied, as those who may be able to enjoy an event without alcohol.

    It's been a long road though, and took a near violent episode from the hubby to trigger the change.

    You rock Eden.

  43. What Clairey said. She's a wise one.


  44. OMG could I have anymore of a girl crush on you?? You are such an amazing blogger (I'd say awesome but that's Kel's title).
    As a former heavy drinker & addict I think more people need to read this. and I agree with everyone else - enter that damn comp girl - hell I'd give it to you (the prize that is lol)

  45. Upcoming gay marriage?! Hahahahahaha!

    Ahem. Anyway, I'm glad you're here to speak for those for whom the word cocktail is the start of a very slippery descent. While not everyone will go down that slide, everyone should be aware that it's people who make a celebration - not the alcoholic beverages.

  46. We would sit and be amazed by everything forever, if we were together.


    Love you always.

  47. BEST description of what it's like to drink EVER.

  48. Before I forget:

    Dear beautiful Eden:

    the holidays are such a bitch.

    The awareness of alcohol's effects must continue.

    I am a caterer, and we had a funeral last weekend for a 24 yr old boy.

    He shot himself...he was caught for his 3rd DUI...and , here, in the states, that means jail time.

    His mother picked him up , took him home to get his clothes, and while she waited in the car, he shot himself.

    He wanted to stop drinking. but couldn't.

    At the funeral the mom talked of the multiple times in rehab, and how he wanted to stop. How every day he'd announce, I'm not touching a drop today.

    And he'd have one, because it felt good. And then he'd be drunk. And then the fight at home would start, and then he'd go out and have more.

    And he always had a good time as long as he had the alcohol in him.

    The trouble is, the alcohol would wear off: so he'd drink more, and then he'd start all over again.

  49. The line that slayed me, BORN THREE DRINKS SHORT. That could be the title of your memoir.

    That cloak of invincibility, the total belief that you are amazing and can conquer all ALWAYS comes with the 3rd drink, if that could be bottled into a non alcoholic format, we would all walk the world 10 feet tall. Because it can't some of us have the 4th, 5th ....followed by memory lapses and hangovers heavy with regret.

    have you ever read Augusten Burroughs book Dry. if not its worth a read

    Take care of yourself xox

  50. Your generosity in sharing yourself utterly destroys me. I pray to someday have your kind of courage. Merry Christmas; sending you love and luck and whatever you need to transcend the trickiness.

  51. A few years ago Skip & I drove around Oz. WE came into a remote town in WA and from the distance saw a huge Woolworths sign. We were amazed that this tiny town had a supermarket and such a big one. We got closer and discovered it was a Woolworths Liquor. No food, just grog. The building shadowed the town - literally and figuratively. Mad me so sad.

    I'm finding this Christmas a little tricky with the booze. In the past I have liked it a little too much. After a year of not drinking, it's trying to find that balance.


  52. Wow- you are such an amazing inspiration to so many people. Your words just JUMP off of the page. And make me read super fast! So, how was Eminem???

    Can't wait for that post...... Lisa

  53. I heart this post Eden. It's so you, not so Schweppes. And I worry about all the drinking-is-cool messages too ...so many pop songs at the moment (that horrid Rhianna Cheers song for one). Why have we started celebrating binge drinking in popular culture? It's certainly not what I want my kids singing along to or thinking is acceptable.

    I LOLed at this question when I went to see if I am an alcoholic though (I'm not) "Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking?"
    Lower companions indeed!

  54. Dude, Christimas is so about Eating. (also.) Right?

    As an ex-problem drinker what I now nick out of cupboards and drawers in other people's houses is the chocolate. As a friend in recovery once said, "There's just not that much out there left to me now."

    Sugar is my first drug. Which is prolly a big part of why I started drinking.

    Awesome blog. x/G

  55. It is a drug. I'm a shocking drunk too. The beast within, indeed.

    I think teaching kids how to have a wild night without drinking a litre of Bacardi should be a top priority. x

  56. I got the invite to enter the competition and I thought how saf it was that the assume everyone drinks alcohol. And I deleted it. I love what you did with in Eden. Only you would have the honesty, creativity and guts to write something like this. And I hooe you DO enter it, because like Schweppes your writing is truly refreshing. No alcohol required.

  57. I hear you and what you are saying.
    I ended up moving states to get away from days long drinking sessions. Always losing the battle to stay sober.
    It was an entire life change for me and took strength I didn't know I had, and still society wants a reason every. single. time. i say no to 'just one drink.'
    Looking from the other side. It still seems like most things social revolve around drinking and/or getting drunk.
    So easy to fall into and so hard to get out of.
    Your truth makes me feel less alone.
    Thank you.

  58. Sitting on the train reading this post on my way out for a Christmas party ... It has given me the guts to just have the one cocktail not let the peer pressure get to me and just have one more ....
    Then I pick up the MX paper and the first article to catch my attention is on a new anti hangover detox drink it claims it is a hangover preventer that hastens digestion eliminating toxins and speeding up the metabolism
    The retailer undoit advises Party goers to down the drink before bed after a big night out
    And you will wake up hangover free
    What is the world coming to ??? How many easily influenced kids are going to buy this and drink more and more as there will be no hangover
    I am actually disgusted at the world right now
    But you rock Eden
    And thank you

  59. Your writing is so powerful and raw, and it gets me right in the gut. You go, girl.

    Loved the line: "my feelings will not kill me" - yes, it's so true, even though we might not always believe that. At times I'm so afraid - terrified - of my own feelings, and build them up and push them away until dealing with my fear of them is far worse than dealing with the actual feeling itself. Kana Tyler, herself a recovered alcoholic, wrote a great post lately about dealing with difficult feelings: http://kanatyler.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/sailors-knot-compass-rose/

    Out of curiosity, I followed your 20 questions link, thinking "hmm, so what makes someone an alcoholic?", and to my complete horror it would appear that I am actually an alcoholic myself - a typical SAHM who looks forward to pouring a escapist drink the minute the kids are asleep... and will do so even if there's no one else home... and will rarely stop at just one glass... THANK YOU for making me aware of the slippery slope I didn't even realise I was on.

  60. You are strong Eden. Stronger than me. I still need a drink to take the edge off. I actually look at you in awe. One day I will hopefully be saying I won't be drinking over Christmas or anytime for that matter. But right now is not the time for me.

  61. I could be wrong, but this might be one of the times I love you most. I hope you enter it too. I really, really do.

    From one non drinker (and worse - NON Christmas celebrator - ZOMG! {the two are completely unrelated}) hoping you enjoy the end of the year and have fun without people being too much of a pain about it.

    And I come from a town in the NT that had less than 3000 people, but something like 5 pubs and two bottle-os.

  62. I dont feel sorry for you that you can't drink. I am amazed at how hard you work not too.

    I don't drink. Never have. I get tired of people making comments and asking me why. Sometimes I just reply "because my dad is an alcoholic." What can they say to that.

  63. Chakalakadingdong my red-shoed-sober-sistah!!!

    Well written my friend, honestly you brought me back and I find it a trip that we would have been tight friends when we drank and in sobriety. How could we not? You were also a high-label drinker and I assume your stash and mine would have been clearly marked.

    I applaud you xo

  64. Thank you. Incredibly well said. The holidays can be an awful time for those in recovery, and an awful time for family members of alcoholics. My father is an alcoholic, an actual honest Minnesotan alcoholic (yes, there ARE alcoholics everywhere, even in snowy Minnesota) and it's taken almost all of my adult life and moving hours and hours away from him to get my head on straight and start living my own life - a life where I'm not in charge of fixing everything for everyone and worrying about everyone other than myself. The holidays are always so hard, not only because I go home and I see the man he is, the man I wish he was, and feel so incredibly sad that I don't get to have a father. Oh how I wish that would be my present, it could be my gift for a million years - to just have a sober father. You are giving yourself and your beautiful boys the best gift ever - the gift of your true self. Thank you from your boys - I hope they never understand how much of a gift it is.

  65. We were talking about this in my last meeting...how holidays are just an excuse to get drunk.

    Oh, and how fun it is to wake up 1) not hungover 2) not afraid to check your text messages and 3) not in bed with someone who keeps calling you Rebecca. When your name is Rachel.

  66. Haha you have the best anons.

    Meanwhile, I hate the drinking culture in Australia. Everything needs to be celebrated by getting wasted. I love that three-drink feeling (man, hit the nail on the head with that one!) but I don't like that alcohol has to be everywhere. I didn't even know you were supposed to go out weeks after giving birth to "wet the baby's head" by getting trashed. Is it wrong that it disgusts me? I like a good party, a good dance, a good D&M and over-sharing session and a wild makeout after too much wine... but I hate that people are getting drunk at kids' first birthday parties, winning football teams need to wipe themselves out and celebrations call for shots. I have and do party for occasions, but I wish it wasn't mandatory. Thanks for giving me a warped, killjoy view of the world, alcoholic parents!

  67. That Minesota page should have all kinds of psych tests too- depression, personality etc etc.... That's where they all come from.
    You're an angel my dear!
    Keep on hip hoppin on....
    Tara xxx


Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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