I think a sure sign of problem drinking is having about 20 books on alcohol and addiction. I have never managed to finish a single one. I convince myself I’m overreacting and that I should be reading Jane Austen. But the last few weeks have been such a mess, I’m seeing that unless I tackle my problem head on, I soon risk reading nothing at all. This morning, I began ‘Being Sober’ by Harry Haroutunian – really interesting so far, and I think it will be helpful.
This afternoon I’m seeing the counsellor, thank goodness. I’m getting worse, and I can’t ignore it.
I have got up early to write, and to reread your kind and wise comments from yesterday.
The Ball was a success, and I enjoyed parts of it; but Anne was right when she questioned why I keep putting myself in these difficult situations where drinking is so much the central activity. I had some wine at dinner, though I avoided the champagne at the start, and came away from the evening glad that I hadn’t got drunk, but sad that I couldn’t say it was my sobriety date. It is perhaps foolish to get stuck on this idea of a day one, but when I hear people announce their sober dates at meetings, or in blogs, I am always envious, so I feel it’s important to me.
On arrival last night, my heart sank when we were greeted with trays of champagne and not an alcohol-free drink in sight – despite my having asked in advance what the AF option would be. But my lovely husband went and found me some sparkling elderflower alternative, and that helped me in the early stages of the evening. I am annoyed with myself that I succumbed to the wine at dinner, and I hated the taste of it, but I was grateful not to be tottering drunkenly round the marquee, as several people were, early on in the evening.
So, where am I? Well, I am a non-drinker, on Sunday morning, making tea for my husband and about to take it back upstairs to him with the paper. I may be naive thinking I can do this with a handful of AA meetings, my weekly counsellor appointments and my hopeful blog, but that’s what I’m doing at the moment, and I feel strong inside, and grateful for every opportunity to find my way to my new day one. I am leaving my drinking days behind me; the last sip during dinner last night tasted hollow, and I am not going back there.
Well, I said I wouldn’t write until I had a run of sober days, but that hasn’t happened, and I felt a need to write here. I need your help. Tonight is the night of the Ball, a giant party which I am partly helping with. When I went to the same event 2 years ago, I didn’t drink, so I know it’s possible. I want this to be my very last, very best day one.
My week up to this point has been strange, as I wend my way to a sober life. On the way to orchestra on Thursday evening, I saw someone on the train who I recognised from AA – I said nothing. Just a coincidence. But then, half an hour or so later, walking along the street in the middle of London, nearly at my rehearsal, I saw someone else from AA. The meetings I go to are nowhere near London. It was completely bizarre; a sign.
I will take my phone with me tonight and check in often. I am on my knees, praying for help, determined to get past this terrible cycle of addiction and despair.
I’m going quiet for a little while. I’ve been going round in circles for weeks now, and my head feels full of stuffed up stuff. I’m not closing the blog. My plan is not to drink, and to get some sober days strung together before writing again, so that I gain some clarity and try and get out of the muddle I’m in.
I was overwhelmed by the kind messages, love and support on my post yesterday. Thank you all so much. I read and reread those comments many times last night.
I struggled yesterday. I’m not in a good place and have a lot of work to do. But I do like writing here, and am going to continue to do so. I hope I have better news to tell you soon. I hope I have better news to tell myself soon.
Meanwhile, Good Choices commented yesterday about doing other stuff rather than blogging, or thinking about drinking; it is true that I fixate on the blog – and other things, I fixate on many things – and I would like to try having a more positive attitude and doing other things. But as I write this morning, I wonder if I’ll be able to do that?
Sober Mummy’s advice yesterday, to stop drinking, not blogging, is good advice.
I was like a mad person yesterday.
Day one again. I may not post every day, but I am going to try. I’m not disappearing. I need to do this.
I am getting in a muddle.
I have been writing this blog for a year and a half (not 3 years!), and I feel as though I am going round in circles. A few people have wisely commented that I seem to be addicted to the 1 -3 day stretch, and I guess it does look like that. Certainly, I don’t seem to be making much progress; if anything, I am going backwards.
I also worry that I could be de-motivating people who are trying to stop drinking, that when they see me fail and fail again, it may give them permission to follow the same path.
I think it is time to give my writing a break, and to leave you all in peace.
I know of some bloggers who came back as ‘different people’ after a break from blogging; they start new blogs, have new names. I won’t do that. I am Annie, and I’ve always been Annie. I will be back, but for now, I will say goodbye. Thank you for being here; thank you for your kind words, for your wisdom and for your support.
I feel really sad this afternoon. I had a crazy morning, ordering wine on the Internet, then cancelling it. Talking to my husband later, I tried to suggest my usual moderation plan – not drinking in the week. He pointed out that this has not worked for a long time, and he spoke about the ‘dream drink’ in my mind, that drink which I imagine having in a ‘dream’ situation. He said he can’t imagine my ever reaching that point again, that I was too far gone for that. It made me feel incredibly sad, although I know he’s right.
Then, he said that he didn’t feel so close to me anymore, that my obsession with drinking and trying to stop drinking has taken over.
It is so very painful. I know that I probably have been consumed with thoughts about all this, and that it must distract me from caring about him, and being a good wife and mother. But I also feel that I have to go through this process, that I have to work through my obsession and understand it better, if I am to gain any sort of clarity.
But I hate the thought that I may have been distant, or preoccupied, and that he feels removed from me in any way.
So, nearing the afternoon of Day 2, sad and lonely, and feeling kind of empty inside.
Thank you for your support yesterday; your comments mean such a lot to me.
Around 5pm yesterday, I started to wish I was drinking, and discussed wine with my husband. He suggested we have an alcohol-free drink first, and then decide; by the time I’d had the fizzy elderflower, the wine craving had passed, and I was ok with fizzy water for the rest of the evening. I watched a film with my son and husband (my two daughters both out), and was in bed by 10pm. Not a late, thrilling Saturday night, perhaps, but it’s what I needed to do, and it worked.
And that’s what I need to carry on doing, every day: make a plan each day that works for that day. This evening, I could go to a concert that my husband is playing in, but it is a ‘glass of fizz’ first concert, and I know how big a trigger that sort of an event is for me, so I’m not going.
Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute if necessary. Because I so want to be free of this internal debate, and to live my life more fully.
Following my post earlier this morning, I wanted to tell you that I’ve just been to a meeting. Hands shaking, I drove there, determined. I haven’t been to a meeting for months. It was hard sitting there, but I listened to people’s stories and was quiet with myself. I didn’t speak because I was scared, but I’m glad I went.
Before going to the meeting, I told my husband what was happening. He is going to help me change our evening routines in the next week, to help me combat the cravings. For example, I’m going to take the dog for a walk while he prepares supper; I’m going to get in a bath and wait for him to get home from work. All a day at a time.