On my way to the meeting yesterday, I walked past a group of people – 2 men and a woman – drinking wine and beer on a bench. I never want to be like that, I thought. But at the same time, it was oddly triggering. And then in the meeting, people’s stories of their drinking days, especially the recently sober ones, also got me thinking more about drinking than I wanted to. The hiding bottles, the drinking on waking, the rehab treatment programmes – these were cautionary tales (though I’ve definitely hidden bottles) – but the everyday tales of drinking too much at parties, drinking alone, the drinking creeping up so that suddenly you discovered that you were drinking far more, and far more often…these stories were more familiar. I didn’t say a word; I felt worried.
And so what did I do, to try and prove to myself that I didn’t have a problem? I rocked up at my daughter’s open air concert that evening and took the first paper cup of fizz that I was offered and gulped it like there was no tomorrow. And there will be no tomorrow if I carry on down that route. Then I eagerly looked for more. Look at me! I’m fine about drinking! Nothing to see here, folks! At home, I poured generous gin and tonics for me and my husband, topped mine up a second time when he wasn’t in the room, and then had wine. I ranted to my poor sister-in-law for 47 minutes on the phone, when what she needed was quiet, calm marital advice, not drunken talk.
Bedtime, I listened to a podcast that a lovely friend had sent me earlier that evening. And I spoke to my husband. I asked for help. I told him about the meeting, and I asked if he would give up drinking as well, for the next few weeks at least, so that I didn’t have to watch him drinking. And he said he would.
Day one again, in a long line of recent day ones. Things have been progressing. I think my drinking is the worst it’s ever been. So I start today, and my husband will be with me this time.