I still associate drinking with a kind of hazy, romantic ideal; my art gallery debacle yesterday, which sent me into a spin, reminded me of this. Watching certain films, often old-fashioned ones, can also stir up the desire to drink. I need to separate this notion of elegance, sophistication and beauty from the reality of my drinking; the way in which I needed to drink daily, the amount I drank, what happened to me after I’d drunk too much: these things were in no way elegant or refined, but tawdry and sad. So why the pull? Why am I so easily seduced by the IDEA of the drink?
Meanwhile, it’s Day 12. I’m still here, and I’m so grateful for all your support. But I’m still finding it really difficult.
I was fine this morning, beginning a new week feeling good and on track with my sobriety. But within a few hours, I was planning my relapse. Here’s what happened. I joined some school mums for a trip to an art exhibition, really nice thing to do, and I’d been looking forward to it. Wandering round the exhibition on my own, listening to one of those audio guides, I found myself wishing that I was drinking again. Not just a fleeting thought, but a deep-seated thought. One or two of the pictures in the gallery were scenes which included someone holding a glass, images from a hundred years ago: elegant, civilised dining rooms, beautifully dressed women cradling tiny glasses of ruby liquid. It looked so enticing, so measured. It was a startling, unexpected trigger for me. I left the exhibition deep in thought: I wasn’t going to do my 100 days anymore, I wanted to be like the lady in the picture, elegant and civilised, I was going to ease myself away from the blog and drink little glasses of ruby liquid again.
These thoughts persisted through the afternoon. I texted my husband and told him I was going to drink again. Not today? he suggested. But once I got home, the sense of possible sabotage was waning, and I took the dog out, plugged myself into a sober audio and stopped. Well, I kept walking, but I stopped mentally sliding quite so fast.
And then a text arrived from my sober friend, asking how I was. I hung onto it, and immediately replied, admitting that I had slumped into a muddled thought process. Her kind suggestions reminded me that I was not alone. But I am frightened by today.
Day 10. Yes, I made it through the party, and it’s now lunchtime on Sunday on what is a really nice, sunny day in this part of the UK.
I can’t tell you how important the blog comments were to me as I set off for the party, and when I got home. And I took my phone with me, in case I needed to lock myself in a small room to text my sober friend. When I arrived at the party, the lovely hostess (she really is lovely) offered me prosecco, wine or gin. Soft, please, I said, I’m driving. So then it was coca cola (yuck) and fizzy water with ice and a slice from then on. A few people noticed and commented on my not drinking; one or two were openly disappointed, rolling their eyes despairingly. Not that again, they said. I didn’t like making a fool of myself, was my response. I definitely get the feeling that these guys prefer the drinking me, that they don’t like this sober me, and that made me feel sad last night. I felt left out, distant from it all somehow, and instead of chatting to people, I was lost for words and a bit bored.
The other thing I noticed is that it is difficult and feels stupid holding a cold glass of water all evening. I kept trying to put it down, and then I didn’t know what to do with my hands. I realised that usually I hold a glass of wine so that I can sip it regularly, but there’s only a certain amount of water one can drink.
But it was good not drinking. By the time we left (we were the first people to leave), many of the women (I didn’t notice the men) were really drunk. It’s not a pretty sight.
I drove home wondering if I’ll ever be able to enjoy a party again.