I keep doing this: I try to stop drinking, I go a few days writing my blog, commenting where I can, making appointments, finding meetings. Then a huge fear overwhelms me: and I can only describe it as a fear of NOT DRINKING, a fear of setting myself a challenge which I won’t be able to sustain. So I close the blog (which feels like putting on a blindfold), I start drinking again, and I convince myself that my drinking is totally normal. And round and round I go, for the millionth time.
I cancelled the addiction counsellor. But he texted me back, saying that he would hold the appointment open, and that I could still go – to let him know 2 hours before. And with that text, I felt hope.
My husband is away, and I have a choice: I can drink away the evening, slumped in front of the television, the children upstairs; or I can not drink, start afresh, find my resolve again. I have to start somewhere – my sobriety journey is so imperfect and not how I wanted it to be. I see people’s blogs charting their path through 25, 50, 100 days, and I want that to be me.
Today is my day off and I’m sitting in a supermarket, writing this. Not very glamorous. I’ve got a busy day ahead but am taking a few quiet moments to write and to think. I’m going to a meeting at lunchtime. This time last year (a whole year ago) this was one of the first meetings I went to. I haven’t been to this one for a while and I’m nervous. But I need to listen and I hope I might have the courage to speak. One of the ladies I met there – the first person I ever approached at a meeting (‘I’m new!’ I said) – recently contacted me, so I hope she might be there.
I’m not sure if my husband reads my blog – he certainly can, as anyone can – but I don’t want to show it to him, because I feel I will write differently if I think he’s regularly reading it. But we do talk. Last night, we were discussing an article in The Times about illnesses which people appear to imagine: they have symptoms but doctors can’t find any disease or illness. It’s not exactly that they invent it – they feel ill – but often, once they know they haven’t got anything wrong with them, they start to feel better. Well, my husband and I talked about this in relation to my drinking, him suggesting that I may not be an addict, that I just drink too much, and that if I stop worrying about it, the problem will go away. He wants me to be normal! I want to be normal! Aaaaaarrrrgggghhh!
If only! I felt myself being lead down that cosy path where I reassure myself I’m fine, and go back to my daily drinking. I even suggested I don’t go to the counsellor – after all, why would I need to? ‘I think you should go,’ he said, ‘to talk about why this worries you so much.’
Of course I must go. It is essential I go. It’s on Tuesday at 2pm.
My husand is away this weekend with one of our daughters, so the other two children and I will be at home together. They hate my drinking so it will be good motivation to hunker down and stay sober.
These things always sound possible in the mornings.
Thank you for all your kind words, and for your advice. The comments are so very helpful.
It’s day 3 for me, and I’ve just got back from work. Work keeps my mind busy, but the odd thought of drinking floats through, and now, as I near 5ish, the cravings are strong. I know people think I don’t prioritise sobriety, too busy to go to meetings, not moving the counsellor forward – but I also know that when I get overwhelmed, I tend to cancel all sober plans and think sod it. I will not cancel that counsellor, even if I turn up and tell him I’m drinking (which I hope I won’t be).
So, it’s still hour by hour. Tomorrow, I’m going to a meeting, fitting other stuff in around it. I sat up until late last night, rewatching the documentary I mentioned a couple of days ago; this morning, my husband said he thought I was obsessing.
I feel pretty horrible. Not unwell, just not right in myself. One minute I want to cancel the counsellor and give up the money, the next I think I must get there and see him, to work out what to do next. One minute I want to drink, the next I am glad I haven’t.
My poor husband: one minute I’m on the sober trail, the next I’m begging him to let me forget all my good intentions. So it’s no surprise that he was pretty sceptical last night, when I told him I had booked an appointment to see the counsellor, and that I had to pay up front to secure the slot. He said he had thought that I was managing moderation well, but that’s because he wasn’t aware of my secret drinking during the week. I know he thinks I overthink it all, and that I should spend my time on other things, but until I properly embrace sobriety, those ‘other things’ get sucked into the drinking vortex anyway.
It is my fault: I hold my husband on the edge of truth, and without all the information, he can’t see clearly how much help I need. But I’m getting there, slowly telling him, trying not to frighten him (or myself) – though we need to be frightened.
So, the appointment with the counsellor is booked and paid for, and I’m going – but it’s not until next week, so I need to get through this week and the weekend, and it’s only day 2 today. At the moment, that feels possible, but the alcohol voice hasn’t started pounding yet, and I know it will.
Last night I watched a documentary about alcoholism. Did you see it? It was by Louis Theroux. He followed four alcoholics as they struggled to get well in the liver unit at King’s College Hospital in London. The courage of the people he talked to was incredible. What also struck me was their sorrow, and the way they tried to cope with sad and difficult things in their lives by drinking. And the drink was slowly killing them.
I may not be there – yet – but it will come if I carry on as I am. And I felt so aware of my own sadnesses, and thought about my ‘coping mechanism’, which basically involves trying to stop drinking on waking and by 4pm drinking again, smothering any uncomfortable or sad feelings with wine, or worse.
It’s another day one for me. I have texted the addiction counsellor asking if he will see me again. I know I need help and that I can’t do this on my own. There are lots of things in my life which I can do alone, and I am grateful for that; but drinking is crushing me.
I start today. I can’t forget the whole of my blog, the many days that have gone before. I thought about starting a brand new blog, being a different person…but my path is my path, and I need to look back in order to look forwards.
My sober attempts, my sober failures, it all feels a bit of a mess.
I do listen to you all. I know it doesn’t look that way! Meetings, counselling, the recovery centre…they need to be back in place. I am not going to go to rehab, so I need to have other plans, and they start today.
I have got up early this Sunday, before the rest of the family. I am quietly sitting here, writing, with just the dog for company.
No drinking today, and I will do whatever it takes to achieve that.
I’m back for some more navel gazing. If I don’t come back here, I drift; and if I drift, I drink. Yes, it’s Friday, but I’m not giving up trying. Rushing off to work now, but wanted you to know that I AM HERE.
It’s 6.30am but I’ve been awake for hours. My son has been ill again for the past couple of days, and I worry and worry about him.
Yesterday, I went to a funeral. At the wake afterwards, I drank, and when I got home, I drank all evening and into the night. There’s no excuse; I just did it, and then I couldn’t stop. It was stupid, and I feel totally miserable about it, and miserable generally.
I’ve hit a really low point, and now I’m back on Day One. I am sorry to let you down, and sorry to let myself down. But now I need to start again, and rebuild my strength.
What a difference the sun makes. Very blue sky today, and everything feels hopeful. I’m on day 16, so I am nearly past the 18 days I managed last summer. It feels good to be getting some momentum – I’m going to hang onto it.
Sorry for my slump of the past couple of days. I worry that I might de-motivate people following a similar path to me. In fact, I feel quite frightened that if something goes wrong, and I fail, that might mean other people fail. I feel like saying, ‘Take no notice of me! I have no idea what I’m doing!’
I think I’ve mentioned it before, but there is an excellent alcohol-free pink fizz called Pearl Rose which I get from the Alcohol-free shop online in the UK. It has just a touch of bitterness (like me)!
Again, thank you for your kind comments, and sorry – again – for not having replied to each one. I am in a kind of slump. It’s day 15 but it all feels really hard. The dreaded Friday evening passed without any mishap, but I didn’t put together a very good plan to make it nice; I didn’t plan any treats, and I didn’t really enjoy the evening.
I had planned to go to a meeting last week, but I had too much work on my day off and couldn’t make it. This meant I didn’t put much sober work into my week, and thoughts of drinking are still uppermost.
There are a lot of didn’ts in this post. I need to be more positive and get out of this slump, as slumps are dangerous.