Remember best

I expect lots of people will try and get sober on January 1st, or will at least try for a dry month after the Christmas excesses. And there’s a lot to be said for the New Year’s Resolution, Clean Slate moment. But I can’t wait until then, because I want to get sober now. And I keep trying, but I’m not trying hard enough, or differently enough, and I haven’t succeeded yet.

But I am not giving up.

Today I went to my husband’s office party lunch, a really nice, civilised affair. I had set out not to drink, but I did have some wine. What I remember best about the lunch, however, was the virgin mojito which my husband had ordered for me and which was waiting for me on my arrival. It was by far the best drink I had all day, memorably delicious, with crushed ice, lime, mint, something sugary…all in a tall glass with a straw.

I have been writing this blog for a long time, and it is depressing how little progress I have made. I read other blogs where people’s stories are so much more positive, and I don’t know how they do it. I try, and I have good intentions, but I switch in an instant, my defences against the first drink so weak.

I want to be sober.I want to live a sober life.  This time next week will be the end of Christmas Day, and I don’t want to be in a haze, unable to connect with my family, chasing the glass. I want to remember it all, I want to experience every moment.

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Still here

I am still here, I am still trying. I will report in as often as I can. Oh no, not another day one, but I have to write this, otherwise I don’t believe it myself. I am finding mummywasasecretdrinker’s blog very helpful in the lead up to Christmas. She is so witty, and real.

I have just ordered 12 bottles of alcohol free fizz, which I have found to be a genuinely good replacement, and an alternative to the mocktails which can be rather sweet.

Sometimes it does feel as though I will never get there. But I have to keep trying.

Still Saturday

I was organising a party last night, and had made sure there were plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available; but as soon as I arrived, I picked up a glass of prosecco and from that moment on I drank like a mad woman. Today, I feel completely horrible: ill and sad.

I took a train to a meeting and am on the way back from it now. I didn’t drive because I was worried I’d turn back or find a feeble excuse not to go, such as difficulty parking. The meeting was helpful, someone talking about romancing the drink.  I am guilty of that. The idea of the one or two drinks by the fire scenario keeps holding me back. But the last couple of weeks have been dreadful: I have drunk every day, I have lied, and I am full of fear.

 

Thursday

I am ready to start again. My out of control drinking wakes me in the dark early hours. This morning I lay there, and I asked for help.

I have got to keep it as simple as possible, not looking beyond today. Thank you for your comments yesterday, and for being here with me.

Choice

I have got a choice: carry on drinking, or stop.

Every day that I drink, the patterns of behaviour get worse: I drink more, I drink earlier, I think about it more often, I plan it. Then I sleep badly, panic and feel guilty.

Everything points to my stopping, but a kind of madness grips me every day, round about this time (12.50pm) and I try to push all thoughts of abstinence from my mind.  But what I’ve noticed in the past few days is that it’s getting much worse; and I want to stop, but can’t.

So maybe I don’t have a choice.

Unable to accept

I think that one of my main problems is that I can’t accept I need to stop drinking. I know this sounds mad;  but despite all the evidence around me: drinking more than I intend, unable to give up drinking for more than a few days, throwing alcohol away only to buy more, and a whole lot of other stuff that I’ve suddenly become too depressed to list – despite all this, I still believe that I can control this. And until I accept that I can’t – really accept – it is never going to work.

I managed nearly a week this time, even white-knuckling it through Friday and Saturday. On Sunday evening I felt sorry for myself, and as soon as the defences came down, I picked up a drink.

And today? Today I was supposed to go to the addiction centre, and I didn’t go. I want to write this here – the temptation to shut down the blog was strong – because I need to tell on myself, to confess that I am floundering.

I know that I keep going over and over these early days of sobriety, without gaining any of the benefits which would come from distancing myself from alcohol for more than a few days. But this bloody voice keeps telling me that I am ok, and that I should be using the hours I spend in meetings doing something ‘more useful’.

I know what to do, and I don’t do it.  Why, why, why?

I will go back to the meeting on Wednesday, as I heard a lot of truth there last week.

 

Dear friends

Day 4. I went to the craziest meeting yesterday, the one where twice before I’ve sat outside in my car and then driven away. This time I went in. It was jam packed, the biggest meeting I’ve been to so far, much louder and more boisterous somehow. I said hello to the lady doing coffee who welcomed me, and then sat amongst the crowd. I became aware of a man muttering and interrupting, and my first thought was that he was ill in some way; well, he was, sort of – he was completely drunk, I think the drunkest person I have ever seen in my life. I won’t tell you what happened – the anonymity there is so important – but it was the equivalent of someone giving me a massive shake and shouting in my face NEVER DRINK AGAIN. I haven’t been able to get the image of this broken person out of my mind.

After the meeting, I emailed a sober friend and found my hands were shaking.

That evening, my sweet husband asked me what I’d done ‘towards my sobriety today’ – like it was a sort of job, which I suppose it is, and that’s how I’m treating it partly. And he and I agreed that I am learning so much about my drinking, and how I can get well; he said he was learning too, learning about what I’d been doing, what I’d been hiding all these months, and learning how he can help me.

Please don’t worry if I don’t write every day. I need to keep things as simple as possible, otherwise I risk getting overwhelmed. Even yesterday afternoon, after the meeting, I felt as though I couldn’t cope with getting sober, that it was all too hard, etc. when really I needed to sit with the uncomfortable stuff that I’d witnessed, not use it as an excuse to say, ‘I’m different, I’m not like that.’

I will let you know how I’m getting on, and I will try to reply to your kind comments when I can – I so appreciate them. I am concentrating on getting well, and I really feel that I am making progress. If you don’t hear from me for a day or two, or even longer, don’t panic.

Thank you

Thank you for all your comments yesterday – they mean so much to me. Here I am on Day 3. One of the commenters, Overcoming, yesterday said not to ‘overthink’, and I think (oops – see? Already) that’s good advice. Because what happens is that I think and think about how I’m going to beat this: go to meetings, have the assessment, write the blog, email people…and then I feel totally overwhelmed, panic and want to throw the whole thing out. Instead, I need to move slowly forward, trying to do the right thing, and NOT DRINK.

I’ve still got a plan for today, which is to go to a meeting early afternoon. It’s a tricky one, because this is the meeting which I haven’t been to before, but which I’ve driven to twice, sat outside in the car and not gone in. Today I need to go in. One of the suggestions has been to go to meetings every day – I haven’t done that yet.

Last night, I went to see my daughter in a play. She was playing the part of a girl in a psychiatric ward. Her usual sunny temperament was completely masked by the character she was playing; it was unsettling. Thoughts of drinking flooded my mind as I began watching it, a mixture of being ‘at the theatre’, the early evening time slot, and seeing my daughter shout and throw chairs around on stage. When I get home, I’m going to stop all this stopping drinking malarkey, I thought. I don’t need to be spending so much time thinking about this, etc etc. But at home, I gratefully had water with my supper, talked about the play with my family, and went to bed.

Walking through the door

I’m sitting in a little cafe, drinking coffee, having just come out of the addiction centre. A friend advised me not to ring in advance, but to go, so that’s what I did. The whole way there in the car, I thought that I should be organising my Christmas present list, hoovering, making wholesome food for my children. But I kept driving, parked, got out, walked across the road, pushed open the door and went in. I have been to some meetings in the same place so it wasn’t totally alien; but the man at the reception desk looked a bit surprised when I said I needed help, and that I was self-referring. A criminal record? No. Domestic abuse? No. Addiction to alcohol? You don’t look like ‘that sort of person’ he said cheerfully.

The notion of not being ‘that sort of person’ is, I think, what has kept me from seeking help for so long. Whenever I tiptoe around the idea that my drinking might actually be damaging me, and everyone around me, I push it aside because the picture of me doesn’t fit with the picture of people I see in my mind, weaving down the street. But on Monday I have got a more detailed assessment at the centre. Provided I am totally honest there, I hope I can find  help and a way out of this pit.

Day 2 today.