Although I stopped writing the blog, for a while I still tried to tackle sobriety. I went to a few meetings, and though I sat silently and listened, and didn’t speak, I felt part of a wider group, of people dealing with similar issues. But because I couldn’t commit to the programme, I felt a fraud and I stopped going. I went to see a counsellor and discussed setting up a series of sessions; again, I backed away before things got going. Always on the brink, but never going that extra step towards commitment.
And so, unable to envisage a future where not drinking really worked for me, I slipped away from the meetings, from my intentions to stay sober, and slowly fell back into the old ways. And in the last month or so, the dappled path has been almost entirely obscured.
Moderation! It doesn’t work for me. And the plans I began to formulate in order to drink every day became more and more entrenched. My husband was unaware of it, and was relieved I think that I seemed to have stopped obsessing about ways to get and stay sober. And so our drink free weeks would continue, him on the sparkling water, me slugging back glasses of wine before he came home, then keeping a glass on hand in the cupboard which I could sip on all evening. And I felt ok about this. Sober doesn’t work, secrecy does… No one need know that I am participating in a clandestine drinking life, all by myself.
But I began to notice that the rituals were becoming less important – the nice glass, the sophisticated aperitif time on my own, even the quiet dinners with my husband at weekends, knocking back the red wine. What I noticed was that I barely cared what I was drinking any more, or even when I was drinking it; I simply had to have it, and I had to know I’d be drinking at some point that day or I would start to panic. And when I looked at myself queuing up in the garage to pay for teeny tiny bottles of prosecco – and no petrol – I knew I had to stop, and look, and reassess. It had got a grip on me again, it was getting worse, and I was out of control.
So, here I am, on day 2 of my self-imposed challenge, desperately trying to claw my way out of a very real hole.