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Georgina battled excessive drinking until she found weightlifting

It is March 2022 and I am being admitted to a rehabilitation hospital. 

My bags are being searched. A nurse takes out my clothes and shakes each piece, folds it again and starts a pile on the single bed.

There is a small desk, and a cupboard with three drawers. A bathroom with rubber hooks for towels that give way when you pull them with a finger. A shower curtain hanging from a rail designed to collapse, should you pull down on it with any weight.

My toiletries bag is opened. A tray of tablets is waved in the air.

I forgot that was in there. It’s Panadol, I tell them.

They take possession of the Panadol and my medication. Lexapro for depression and anxiety. Thiamine tablets. The GP said it would help save my brain from the wine, should it come to that.

“You can come and get your medication from us when you need it,” one of the nurses says.

“There is a safe, you should use it.

“You don’t know who is walking around this place. Everyone is an addict”, she says, and rolls her eyes.

I am here because my doctor found out that I drink more than one bottle of wine every evening.

Georgina Hibberd was admitted to a rehabilitation hospital earlier this year.(ABC Sport/Siren Sport: Lyndal Irons)

The hangovers aren’t savage, but it wasn’t hangovers that led to my confession at the GP. It was the voice in my head.

“You’re an idiot,” it said.

“How have you done this AGAIN? OK, you’re not going to drink tonight. You’re going to have a night off. Just one. It’s not impossible.”

The nurses leave the room.

I take my shoes off and lay down on the single bed with the blanket pulled over my chin.

Someone is going to take over now, I thought. I can let go.

I spent six nights in the hospital. I was scheduled to be there for three weeks. I don’t feel this was a failure.

I have ruminated on many failures in my life because it is one of my favourite topics – things I messed up again – but this was not one of them.

On the seventh day of my time there, I was suddenly determined to go home.

The end, and then the beginning

The day started badly. I had the usual breakfast in the hospital dining room, sitting alone.

There were three sessions a day at which attendance was compulsory. The material covered in each differed. Mindfulness, the recovery ‘journey’, how to deal with cravings, a reflection, art therapy. I was suspicious of most of these and told the therapist so.

I probably began on the wrong foot.

On this seventh day, the first session of the morning did me in. For the sake of the privacy of others at the hospital and those who work there, I won’t detail exactly what was discussed in this session.

What I will say is that by the time I walked out of that room, I was done. It was another meeting that seemed to emphasise being prey to something, rather than an active participant in a complex life.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-11-27/georgina-hibberd-weightlifting/101664704 Georgina battled excessive drinking until she found weightlifting

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