Weak

I am ashamed to say that I drank last night. I feel disappointed and useless. The trigger was silly really: we were looking through some holiday photos, and I remember thinking that I looked well and happy, that I’d been drinking then, so what was wrong with drinking now? So stupid of me. And I went completely mad.  Even when my husband said that one glass gave him a headache these days, I forged on, drinking the rest of his and looking for more.

I woke up this morning, heavy with guilt and fed up with myself. But I am not going to stop trying.

I am about to ring the addiction centre, I am starting again today, I am trying to learn from what happened last night, and to build on what I gained last week.

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Still tired

I made it through my son’s party. That sounds ridiculous now I write it, but I hope you know what I mean. When my parents arrived in the evening, they and my husband had prosecco, and I had an AF alternative. It wasn’t ideal, as I think it’s really too close to the alcohol experience for me, and there was a slight muddle with the glasses (though I didn’t sip the wrong one) AND I haven’t yet had a conversation with my parents about what I’m doing. But apart from that, it went well, and I didn’t drink. So now I’m on Day 5.

A slight weariness has descended upon me today. By weariness, I mean a kind of depression. I know the perils of romancing the drink, but I’m finding the Christmas bloody spirit taunting me from many angles. But my husband is helping. The case of wine he is usually given from clients is going to be used as presents for friends; he is anticipating the boozy office lunch which I always go to by phoning the restaurant in advance and discussing a really good alcohol-free alternative drink, ie. not orange juice.

In last week’s episode of The Bubble Hour, Amanda was describing the image of a backlit bar, with glistening drinks, and how different this idea of drinking is compared with the reality. When I was on holiday a few weeks ago, I walked past just such a bar every evening, and the idea of it stuck in my mind like a dead weight.  I’m still finding these sorts of images difficult to manage.

So, weary, and a bit down, but glad to be on Day 5.

Hope

I’m here, Day 4. I nearly drank about 1000 times last night – it was ridiculous. But I kept checking back into the blog, and your comments and the thought of starting again today kept me from the bottle. Thank goodness, although I still feel horrible today and tired, and no pink cloud remotely in sight. I think I’ve really punished my body in recent weeks, and it’s going to take a long time to feel good again.

But something happened this morning: I got a call from someone I’d met in a meeting (not the striding away lady),an actual call, a real voice. So far, I’ve only been able to text people, and even then I worry when they don’t reply. I worry too much about what other people think, I know that. I had texted this particular lady last night, in the midst of my panic, and when she didn’t reply I was anxious about it. And then, this morning, she rang me, and asked me to describe what was happening, and we had a really good, helpful discussion about it all.  She suggested I go to more meetings if possible, and that I make an appointment at this addiction centre where she said you sit in a group with other people and fill in some sort of form.  It sounds quite scary, but I’m going to do it.

One of my issues has been that when I hear other people’s stories, I feel that I’m overreacting about my own.  But talking to this lady today, she made me realise that I am tackling my problem before I hit the dark zone.  It is almost as though, in recent weeks, I have been trying to become a ‘darker’ alcoholic, one who drinks in the morning, or who buys brandy and pours it into her tea, or who hides bottles.  Dabbling in that area is a dangerous process: I don’t need to wait for someone to stop me, I have to be responsible for myself.  Yes, I can get my husband on side, but I can’t expect him to stop me drinking.  I have already seen that he is willing for me to start drinking if I want to, and willing to support me if I stop; in other words, I have to do this, he can’t do it for me.

I am rambling.  Today will be challenging: my son has a birthday party, and a group of 14 year old boys are coming here to make pizzas.  I would normally use this – oddly – as an excuse to crack open the booze and ‘celebrate’, so I need to be extra alert.  Because every morning I am fine, but every afternoon I slide into a self-pity party where I justify all the reasons why I should be able to drink like everybody else.

My friends, I need you, and I am grateful you’re here.  I tap into the blog every half hour or so at the moment. In a recent comment on my blog, FitFatFood described the ‘little lights of hope’ and harnessing my ‘silent support network’.  This image keeps coming back to me.  Thank you for being here, little lights.

 

 

 

 

Friday

I am panicking. It’s Day 3 for me, and this morning I stocked up on all sort of AF drinks, and good snacks which I know help fill the craving gaps. I was feeling positive. But the meeting I went to this afternoon completely threw me. I listened, and also spoke – and I don’t like speaking there, I still feel frightened and stupid – but as I left, the lady who had been helping me a bit in the past walked out without speaking to me. I ran after her and asked her if she could help me, but she rushed off, saying, ‘Go to loads of meetings.’ She is probably right, but I felt small, and as though she is fed up with me, that she thinks I’m a lost cause.

So what did I do? I texted my husband to say that I didn’t fit in at the meeting, and that I wanted to drink only at weekends. He replied – sensibly – saying that I may not feel as ‘bad’ as some of the people I hear there, but that I still shared some of the characteristics and the lack of control. He suggested we discuss it again tonight over a mocktail.  And so what did I do then? I drove to the supermarket and bought various alcoholic drinks ‘for the weekend’. And now I’m sitting here, hating myself.

I haven’t drunk any alcohol yet. I want to, and I don’t want to. Can you hear me?

Being kind

I’ve made it to Day 2. I’m ambivalent about day counting, but I think I need it at the moment, to try to build up some momentum. I’d got into such a spiral of waking vowing I’d never drink again, only to open a bottle as soon as it got dark; I thought I’d never escape, and I began not to care, that’s the scariest thing of all.  Building the days slowly and thoughtfully feels important.

I went to a school concert last night, and in the interval I bought fizzy elderflower for myself and a friend. At home, my husband asked if I’d bought wine. I guess it’s not surprising that he hardly believes the conversation we’d had that very morning, and he still thinks I’d start drinking again all too easily. It made me feel slightly nervous; I need to prove to him, and to myself, that I mean it. But I know it’s a familiar mantra to the problem drinker: I will stop drinking, I promise. And these words mean nothing unless they’re accompanied by action.

In the meantime, I am paying attention to the comments about kindness – something I’ve often been puzzled by in sober blogs, the idea of ‘being kind’ to oneself. But after many many many attempts to get sober, I think it means that I need to move slowly and carefully through these early days, not taking on too much, not giving myself opportunities to fail. As Angie says on her blog -itstimetogetsober – it is easy to be motivated when you’re feeling rubbish and can’t bear the idea of drinking, less easy when those memories start to fade. That’s a danger point for me, when I start to feel better and think I’ve been imagining the whole problem.

Some people have suggested I look into rehab. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I don’t think I’m going to do that; and if I’m not going to do that, I need to make sure I’m doing other stuff to support what I’m trying to do here: I’m going back to my meetings, every day if I can, even though they partly terrify me, and by turns make me scoff at myself and think I’m being ridiculous. This time, I’m planning to listen, not freak out and go and buy wine on my way home in some weird attempt to ‘cancel out’ what is happening, and maybe, just maybe try and see if the meetings, and the people there can help me. The counsellor? Not sure what I’m going to do about that yet, as I kept cancelling, even when I paid up front.

Achingly slow, but tiptoe-ing along.

I begin

I want to do this; I need to do this. I have 100% had enough and am worn out. I’m starting today: no alcohol at all. I am putting all my strength, hope and determination into this.

I’m in London this morning, trying to recover from a ridiculous party last night. I sat having breakfast with my lovely husband, barely able to eat, and we made a plan of action: a plan which will give me the best chance of success. And I am so so glad that I have been honest with him. I told him about my throwing wine down the sink in the mornings, only to buy more later in the day. He told me that he had been pouring wine down the sink too, to try to stop me drinking – I hadn’t even been aware of that.

I am here.  I am ready.

Excuses

It is raining,  I am sitting in the kitchen, and I’m not sure what to do.

Not being sure what to do has become my new thing. Well, not really new; I never seem to know what to do these days, how to proceed, and have been dithering for months now. Looking back at my blog, and at my life over the past year or so, it is glaringly obvious that I should stop drinking, and so WHY CAN’T I MANAGE IT?

Shortly after writing my last post, my son became ill and has been off school since then. He is 13, and has been ill a lot. When he was only a few weeks old, he had to go to hospital for a few days as he was dangerously ill; it was so stressful, trying to look after a tiny baby in a ward, and worrying about him. Whenever he is ill now, it plunges both of us into a kind of depression, and though I was fine-ish during the day over the course of this week, looking after him, as soon as my husband got home, I would slink into the kitchen and drink.

So this is what has been happening over the past few days. I cancelled the counsellor, I closed down my blog for a bit, I angrily said to myself that I was fine.

It’s still raining. My son is getting better. I can hear him moving about in the next room. I feel lost. But thank you for all your comments after my last post. I can’t tell you how many times I read, and reread them.

Will I ever get there?

Back to Day one again. Someone once commented on my blog that I couldn’t make a decision, and I must say I am finding it hard to stick at anything where sobriety is concerned. Flitting from idea to action – momentarily – and then I feel frozen with fear at proceeding. It’s absurd.

I have cancelled the poor counsellor so many times, he must despair of my ever committing to anything. And yet he has said he’ll keep my appointment open tomorrow for me. I MUST GO TO THAT APPOINTMENT.

Here’s what happens: I resolve to get sober, and I feel positive and excited about it.  I know it’s the right thing to do.  Within hours, or even minutes sometimes, I have set up a vision of myself happily and sensibly drinking, and I start pulling apart the fragile sober plan I’ve made earlier.  And then, for a day or two, I drink madly and chaotically, and think that I’m ok doing that, before I wake startled by my own lunacy.

Does any of this make sense to anyone out there?

Wednesday afternoon

Over the past few weeks, and especially in recent days, I have found it increasingly difficult not to drink. All the good intentions I would make upon waking would start to founder mid-afternoon, and by 6pm I would have bought some alcohol and would drink it through the evening. Any notion of only drinking at weekends has been shot down; apart from one day last week, I haven’t even been able to go for 24 hours without a drink.

I am determined that today will be different, that today I will manage to have an alcohol free day, and that from there I can start to claw back some sober momentum. For much of today, I have felt awful: tired, sluggish and hopeless. This time yesterday I was beginning to feel itchy, anxious that I hadn’t bought any wine, panicking almost. Today, I accept that the situation needs to change.  Day counting feels a bit miserable, but I need to build, so here it is: Day one.

Honesty

Thank you for all your comments, and for your support. I have felt alone, and knowing you are out there really helps.

The last few weeks I have been spiralling out of control. But last night, I had the first honest conversation with my husband that I’ve ever had about drinking. It had started in the usual way, with me talking about giving up drinking, and him saying that I was obsessing about it and that I didn’t need to worry so much. And I saw that I was never going to get anywhere unless I told him what was happening: the daily drinking, the hiding, the absolute inability to stop or control it. I saw understanding dawn behind his eyes. I was crying, I was desperate. He is such a kind, lovely man: I suggested that he stop drinking too, at least at home, and while he said that he would find that quite hard, he completely agreed to do it. I told him I would need to go to regular meetings (I think he thinks they’re a bit barmy) and that otherwise the only alternative would be for me to go away and get well in a treatment centre. I could see that that thought had never occurred to him, and we were both suddenly frightened. And something he said stuck in my mind long after I’d gone to bed: he said that I was always in a haze; I was there, doing my job with the kids, as a wife and mum, but not really there.  I haven’t really been there.

I feel so tired, but glad that I am beginning to tell the truth, and to get help.