Through the mill

I often read blog posts where people bemoan Day 3; and it is true that the Day 3 feeling is a tricky one. You’re feeling better from not having drunk any alcohol for a few days, and the scratchy voice starts picking at your resolve. I am so glad that I have the addiction counselling session in place, as it makes the whole sober thing seem much more real than before.

That said, I still find the day to day stuff quite difficult to manage, even after a year of stop/starts, or perhaps particularly because of that pattern. Tomorrow evening I am going to be here with my two daughters, while my husband and son are out. Old Annie would stock up on miniature bottles of fizz or wine – small bottles made me feel I had some sort of control, though I ended up drinking loads of them – and proceed to guzzle them as I wanted to, without my husband realising. New(ish) Annie needs a concrete plan of action to get through tomorrow evening, and I’ve already decided on an almost timetabled series of tasks. I’m going to a meeting earlier that day as well.

So, as the familiar feeling that I am overreacting starts to nudge at my sober intent, I am forcing myself to remember in detail the last time I drank. Three days ago, on a supposedly dry night (that my husband and I had agreed on), I opened a bottle of wine, hid a glass in a cupboard, and drank the wine through part of the evening. When that became difficult – and for the first time ever – I poured some into a small mug and took it upstairs with me to read to the children, disguising it as camomile tea.

Writing that down is important for me.

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The Dappled Path

I appreciate everyone’s comments, and am humbled by the warmth and concern I find here. I am sure everyone who writes a blog, reads any comments they get with interest, but if you could see me here in my kitchen, poring over them, I think you’d be amazed. Especially when I’m feeling low or doubtful, I turn back to the comments, re-read them, think about them, and try to act on them. I didn’t always do this, but now I try to listen more, and to take advice, because people ahead of me in this struggle show me the joy and peace that awaits me if I do what they suggest.

And so it is that I have brought forward my appointment with the counsellor, and am going very soon, much sooner than I had originally thought. You will understand, I hope, if I don’t write about these sessions; I like being open on my blog, but I need to work through some stuff outside of it, too.

Even though it is officially only Day 2, I feel imbued with a kind of strength which I haven’t always felt before. Do I always say this early on? Do I always write this? I’m not going to go back in my blog and look now. But it does feel different, I feel different.

I still have to deal with the practical stuff, of course I do. I know that later today, I may feel cravings. I still have to be super-vigilant about that or else, as Anne commented yesterday, I will talk myself out of it. While I was on holiday, I fixated for a few days on the supposed elegance of old wine bottles with their sense of history. My father doesn’t drink very much, but he is interested in wine, and the stuff they drink isn’t plonk. At the time, I felt a nostalgia for the ‘intellectual’ side of drinking. Yesterday, and this morning, I thought more carefully about this, and mentally tried to destroy this idea of sophistication in my mind, knowing that however expensive the wine, drinking a whole bottle of it is never going to enhance it. That world is closed to me now. On a similar vein, we are thinking of visiting California next year – I’ve never been to America! – and people have suggested we visit the vineyards. Maybe not. But that’s next year; I need to get through today.

My dappled path continues, but the darkness is receding.

Picking up the pieces

Yes, Day One again, but I’m not feeling sorry for myself; rather, I feel energetic and determined. The children go back to school in the next day or so, and that gives me greater flexibility to get to meetings. I have also contacted the counsellor who I met last year, and whose sessions I kept manically cancelling. First session in a few weeks. I put the sessions off in the past, because I kept convincing myself I didn’t need them, that I was overreacting. Well, I need them.

One of the comments yesterday made me think about my triggers. You’d think I’d be familiar with these, but oddly, I don’t think I’ve ever tried to form any kind of list. We all love lists, so here goes:

Triggers:

  • ┬ápost-holiday blues (see yesterday)
  • any time between 5pm and 7.30pm, but particularly 6pm
  • sunny mountains, sunny beach or similar holiday vibe
  • talking to my friend about her marital strife
  • dinner with my husband (if kids aren’t there)
  • pretty much any social situation
  • films with alcohol in them

I’m sure there are others. So, quite a lot for me to avoid, or to tackle with AF alternatives. Yesterday, sunk in a chair around 6pm, begging my husband to have some wine with me, I could feel the craving consuming me. It was a physical sensation. Awful.