Here’s what happened: earlier this afternoon, I started to anticipate a relapse. I wrote one or two comments on a couple of blogs which I think may have sounded glum, and as though I was about to fail. I then started to plan my relapse. My husband has got a bad cold, and when I picked him up from the station, I told him there and then that I was going to break my sobriety, stop writing the blog, and drink drink drink. I was fed up, I didn’t want to do this anymore, I wanted to be free, to do my own thing, not to be responsible. He suggested I wait for him, as he wouldn’t be drinking tonight because of his cold. My idea was that he go to bed, I could then have supper with the children and have my longed-for gin and tonic, and then some wine and watch television by myself and revel in my old life. ‘Just as long as you don’t sit downstairs and have 3 glasses of wine on your own,’ my husband said.
And that was it. Plan scuppered. Of course I can’t do all the above. I would have those drinks and IMMEDIATELY my 41 days would be forgotten and I’d be back where I started, responding to the urge to drink and drinking too much on my first night back in the dark.
So, what am I going to do instead? Well, I’m going to prepare the supper, eat the supper with the childen, take my husband his supper in bed (nice wife!), put the kids to bed, then make a large pot of herbal tea, find an old film and watch it, while not bemoaning my shattered sobriety. In order to achieve this, I have literally had to force myself to sit down and write all this, to type the temptation out of myself.
Thank you to everyone for your wise words yesterday. I can’t tell you how much they mean to me. I pore over them, and really think about them.
Today is my Day 40. I know for some people this is a drop in the AF ocean, but it still feels like a major milestone for me.
A couple of bloggers reached out and emailed me – thank you, my friends. One of them was advising me to stick with it, as I already had quite a few sober days behind me and that that was something to hold on to. Drinking again just wouldn’t be worth it. With this in mind, I thought it would be salutary to jot down some of the less good things I did when I was drinking: not major confession time, more a reminder of what I might be going back to if I were to go back:
* hiding half bottles of wine behind the large rice sack in the larder
* drinking several glasses of wine (or other alcoholic drink) while cooking but hiding the glass so the children wouldn’t see it
* lying to the children when they asked me what was in my glass (if they did spot it)
* being unable or unwilling to read them a story without a glass of wine in hand
* buying and consuming teeny tiny bottles of wine before opening large bottles with my husband
* shouting at a friend at a party when I’d been drinking for about 8 hours straight
* stealing my husband’s lethal miniature bottles of schnapps when on holiday and drinking them secretly (I’ve told him about this!)
* making sure there was no alcohol in the house on a previous sober attempt, then panicking and raiding the larder for liqueur chocolates. Desperate!
I could go on, but now I feel depressed and wish I hadn’t written the list 😦
I’ll publish this post before I think better of it and delete it.
Day 39. I was going to wait until tomorrow to write, but am feeling so out of sorts and anxious that I’m writing now. You would think that having got this far I’d be grateful and calm. I’m not. I feel knotted inside, and as though I don’t want to be doing this. I remember feeling this sort of thing around Day 5 – what am I doing back here now?
I have read some really helpful posts today about the dangers of moderating, and yet that’s what I feel I want to try and do. Even though I’m nearly at Day 40. This day counting is beginning to make me go mad.
It’s nearly 6.30pm and, unusually, I’m on my own – children out, husband on his way home from work. In fact, he’s just texted to say he’s stuck on a train. And about 10 minutes ago, I seriously considered making myself an alcoholic drink and just being done with all my sober work. Because I feel tired of it, tired of the pressure I feel, tired of thinking about it all the time, tired of the energy I feel I’m putting into it.
I love writing my blog and I am still amazed and humbled by the support I’ve found here, the friends I’ve got here.
But I’m tired.
As I say, Day 38, and yet… I’m still wavering. On the positive side, I’ve started to get used to my sober life, and am enjoying all the benefits: better sleep, more patience, being more productive.
And yet… I still hanker after something. I think it’s the idea of a really nice glass of wine with my husband. I don’t want to go mad, I don’t want to drink rubbish at parties, I don’t even want a cocktail (and I used to be all about the cocktails); I just want to sit down with my husband once the kids are in bed, and sip a glass of wine.
SIGH. It is difficult. I know that 38 days is good, and that my day by day tackling of this is working well. But I still have this feeling that I don’t want to continue in this way.
I am not sure yet what I am going to do. For the moment, I am going to carry on soberly, but as we near the weekend, I’m not so sure. I think that’s why I haven’t written for a day or two, as I had these unsettling thoughts and didn’t want to upset you all!
Again, a post early in the day, as I wanted to tell you about the dinner party last night. I had been worrying about it, as I thought my not drinking would be greeted with disappointment by the hosts. As I got ready for the party, I found myself playing the I think I’ll start drinking again game with myself, and with my husband. ‘Are you driving tonight?’ I asked him. ‘I thought you were driving,’ was his reply. ‘But what if I’d like to have a drink?’ ‘Is this dinner party the moment when you want to start drinking?’ he said. And so on. But as I was saying these things, I knew that the dinner party was not the moment in which I wanted to start drinking, indeed I began to think, a teeny tiny thought in the back of my mind, that I really didn’t want to drink. Didn’t want to!
Earlier this year, when I was doing my 60 day sober stretch, More to Me Than This suggested that I make an effort to look nice going to a party, and last night I found this really helped. I focused on what I was wearing, and tried not to think about the amount of fizzy water I’d be drinking. We arrived late to find the other guests on their second glass of fizz (not water) and I had some ginger beer which I’d brought with me. Ate about 1000 olives in a nervous fashion (drinking used to take up that olive eating time), then had a very nice dinner and tried hard to chat and be funny while everyone drank lots of red wine and seemed chattier and funnier than me. My husband was able to drink because I was driving and I realised that in our 17 years of marriage, I could count on one hand the times I’ve driven to a party; he had always been the driver. He seemed more relaxed and vocal than usual, though he later said that he’s always like that at parties (he’s not!).
So, it was fine. I was glad not to be drinking, particularly as I noticed that my host – a lovely lady – tucked into the white wine as though it was the last liquid on earth. It seemed pointless, but I know that’s what I would have done too, if I’d been drinking. And it struck me how much I probably drank at these events: much too much. But I also have to say that I felt a bit separate from the party, and as though I couldn’t quite relax and enjoy myself. I think the other people were disappointed that I didn’t seem to be my usual self, and I’m worried about that.
Back at home, I’m afraid to report that my husband breathed alcohol fumes on me and I could barely sleep. Yuck!
Only 9.30am but I thought I’d write early today to let you know how I got on last night at the drinks party. As I drove to the event, I tried to imagine myself drinking a glass of prosecco; I even wondered if I could sneak in a glass before my husband arrived at the party as he was coming straight from work and would be arriving separately. See that word ‘sneak’? All at once, I realised that I was beginning to hide what I wanted to do about my drinking, and as I walked into the party, I had a moment of clarity and knew that I wasn’t going to drink. I went over to the makeshift bar and picked up a glass of elderflower, and that was that. No prosecco, no desire for prosecco. I chatted to various people and when my husband eventually arrived, he had a beer and shortly after we went home.
The other plan which I’d been brewing in my mind all day was that post-drinks party I was going to celebrate my sobriety by opening a nice bottle of wine. It’s time to stop all this sober stuff, I thought, and go back to normal. But when we got home, this suddenly seemed like the worst plan ever. We didn’t open the wine. We drank some AF fizzy stuff instead, had supper, and watched a film.
I didn’t want to drink. And I didn’t drink. And here I am on Saturday morning, Day 35, and with an unexpected determination to continue on my sober way, even though I spent so much time yesterday planning its destruction. Dinner party tonight seems less of a hurdle than before, as though I’ve mentally shifted into a new place. Don’t want to sound complacent, and 9.30am thinking is always very different from 5pm thinking, but I do feel different today.
I’m sorry if I’ve worried you. I’m still here! I didn’t write a post yesterday – I’m not necessarily going to write every day – but I won’t just disappear, and I will keep writing. Thank you for your concern. I also always worry when people who’ve been writing regularly suddenly don’t write.
Day 34 today. I’m still struggling with cravings and a ‘will I won’t I’drink thing, but I’m still ok. I’ve had a strange behind the eyes nagging headache for a few days, and I think that’ll help keep me from drinking at this drinks thing this evening. I’ve been going backwards and forwards in my mind, trying to decide what to do. I appreciate and listen to people’s comments about carrying on the sober momentum, as well as those comments which suggest trying to moderate. Certainly, the idea of going back to Day 1 is not appealing, but I just can’t quite decide how I want to go forward. Whatever I do, I won’t hide away from you all, and I will keep you posted.
Drinks party tonight, dinner party tomorrow… I know a few of you have suggested I don’t go, but unfortunately I am tied, for various reasons too boring to relate here. I will let you know how I get on.
So there I was, bowling along feeling just a little bit pleased with myself that I’d achieved my 30 days and was moving slowly beyond that… and BAM! I start to have bad cravings again, as though I’m back in the first week. Yikes. My thoughts have started wandering to the idea of sinking my head into a huge glass of wine again. I think it’s this drinks party which is looming on Friday. I need to be able to resist the glass of prosecco which will be waiting for me, along with all the other glasses of prosecco, all lined up in a neat row as they are at drinks parties. It’s a parents’ event at my youngest daughter’s school, and in the past has been quite a jolly affair. If I don’t drink there, it’ll be the first time I’ve been to this party without drinking, and I’ve been for many years. So I guess it’s on my mind a bit, and I’ve been flirting with the idea of this being the moment when I ‘relax’ and drink again.
I am torn. I like my new sober life, and I think it works well, but I do still miss parts of the other life. I want it all: sober and… well, not sober, I suppose.
Sorry, I wanted to keep an upbeat note after yesterday’s post, but today I don’t feel so upbeat.