I lay in bed this morning, thinking how I could start this post. But there is no way to start it, except to tell you the truth. I didn’t get past day 3, and today I’m back on day 1. It’s been a paranoid week of drinking, working, and trying to ignore what I am doing to myself. I have cocooned myself in a world where I can drink, and that is fine, and everything will be alright.
Everything is not alright. The last few days, I am OK in the day, going to work, looking after the family in the evening. But I secretly drank and drank, and no one knew – I hardly knew, in an odd way. It was as though I was someone completely different when I was sneaking the drinks in that way. It’s hard to explain.
I kept thinking to myself: things are out of control, I’ll start again tomorrow. At work yesterday, I became completely paranoid about a colleague, and confused everyone by being crazy about it – up until now, I think they have thought I’m a cheerful, positive person. But the drink has crept into my very bones, and made me mad.
I can’t tell my husband. I don’t want to draw him into my weird world; I want to get myself out of it. I know I have the strength to do this. A few weeks ago, when I went to meet Sober Mummy, I felt this incredible hope and I am hanging onto that feeling.
If you are reading, please be gentle with me. I need to write here, and I so value everyone who reads and comments here. But I am frightened as well.
One of the people who comments on my blog and with whom I have a regular email correspondence emailed me recently and said that if I want to get sober: don’t drink, go to meetings and see my counsellor. That’s what I’m doing. Well, not the counsellor, as he is on holiday, but the other things. I’ve got up earlier than usual this morning, to write here, and to read a few other blogs, and to be calm before the day starts.
I think and I think and I think, and it gets exhausting, because that’s when I overthink, and worry about too many things; so for the moment, I’m trying to keep it simpler. I need to look after my family, and myself; I need to work hard, as it’s getting very busy there; and I need to not drink, and go to meetings, and see my counsellor (when he’s back).
And if I do all those things today, I’ll feel good, and be happy that I’m sober. Then I’ll try and do the same things tomorrow.
Thank you all for your wise words, and for your love and support. I appreciate everyone who reads and writes here, and I am grateful for the community.
Last night I drank. I spent at least an hour persuading my husband that this was a good idea. This morning, I emailed Sober Mummy to tell her. She is so helpful and suggested I use the blog to record how I am feeling today, to reread when I next feel tempted – which seems to be round the Friday/Saturday mark, like clockwork.
When I drink, I hate myself. For a millisecond, I like the taste and the sensation, but it is fleeting and deceptive. A moment later, I regret it and already hate the taste, but by then the craving takes over and I lose control completely. There is no enjoyment left, just self-flagellation and abhorrence. Then I lie to everyone, and stay up late, and drink more and more.
I wake early, unable to appreciate the dawn light, self-loathing and fear crawling through me. Headache, nausea and vast weariness crawl after me all morning.
When I don’t drink, when I push through the cravings, distract myself and reach the other side, I feel elated. I realise that the craving has passed, and that it hasn’t lasted for very long. I attend to and listen to my children, I talk positively to my husband. I go to bed early and read my book; I sleep. The next day, I wake early and am grateful for the dawn light. I feel refreshed and energised for the day ahead.
I feel alive.
I will reread what I have written here when the self-sabotage next threatens to strike. I will succeed.
That hot sunny Thursday, when I walked along the Thames with Sober Mummy, seems weeks ago. It’s much colder today, and my initial feelings of buoyancy after our meet have been hard to sustain. I found it really difficult yesterday. I was going to go to a meeting in the afternoon, but stayed at work instead, telling myself that I had a lot to do, and ‘didn’t have time’ for AA. My feelings towards the meetings are often ambivalent, and feel especially so at the moment.
Back at home in the evening, I took SM’s and others’ advice, and tried to distract myself, but I slipped into the usual routine of making supper while chatting to my husband, then watching television. The ‘Friday feeling’ lurked, tempting me, but I pushed through and we went to bed early. I felt dogged with tiredness, and slept fitfully, waking with memories of nightmares.
Long days ahead. I am trying to keep my meeting with SM uppermost in my mind, as it was so uplifting. Day 5.
I met Sober Mummy today. Many of you will be avid readers of her brilliant blog, Mummywasasecretdrinker, and I can report that she is as fantastic in the flesh as you would imagine.
We had given brief descriptions of each other over email so we knew what to look out for at a busy station; I glimpsed her orange bag as I got off the train, and felt a huge sense of relief and excitement that we were finally meeting.
We talked and talked. It was fantastic. She is full of grace and wisdom. Her clear eyes shone as she spoke of the joys of sobriety: she’s a walking advertisement for getting sober, an example of what is on ‘the other side’. She asked me what I was afraid of. She listened when I told her, and had advice for how I could master these fears.
What I will never forget, however, is the faith she has in me. She wants me to do this; not just to keep ‘trying’, but to actually do it, to move forward. And what’s more, she thinks I can! She had loads of practical advice, too: for example, to make a list of alternative activities with which to distract myself every evening when the cravings hit (dog walk; piano; bath; bed), and though I may have considered these before, it was the idea of a list which struck me, and the actual DOING of the list, not just making a list, the equivalent of doing one’s exam revision, not just making pretty timetables. She also promised that getting to 100 days really does make a difference, it’s not just a story sober people spin, it’s reality – that things do feel and get easier around that 100 day mark.
Hours later, I felt as though I had known her my whole life. I got back on the train, came home, and felt new.
I feel as though meeting Sober Mummy today has breathed life into my previously flailing attempts at sobriety, that she has given me strength to make this work. I am so very grateful to her.
I feel uncomfortable in myself, but calm. I am glad I went to the counselling session yesterday. At home, I showed my poor husband the sheets about the phases of addiction which the counsellor had given me. It’s not an easy read but I want my husband to understand better what is happening to me.
Thank you for your loving messages yesterday. I hope I didn’t come across as too emotionally gushing. I thought I had mentioned my brother in a previous post, but now I think it might have been in an email to a sober friend.
The counsellor is now away for a fortnight. I’m a bit worried about that gap but will go to meetings as he suggested, and stay connected to my blog.
Back to today, and the prospect of the evening of my Day 2. I’m still feeling very tired, but absolutely convinced that abstinence is the only way forward for me.
I am just back from my second session with the counsellor. I must have cancelled and rebooked about 20 times in the last week. The self-doubt culminated in my drinking an entire bottle of wine, and some other stuff, all by myself last night.
Accepting that I am an addict, that I can’t control my drinking, and that dreams of drinking normally are long gone, is incredibly hard. It must seem obvious to everyone who reads my blog, and it is obvious to me – but I was explaining to the therapist today how difficult it is when the drink calls me, and that however rational I am all day, the craving can strike and I talk myself out of any sort of recovery plan.
It is hard to accept. But I do accept it. He wants me to go to at least 3 AA meetings a week, and he has given me various things to read about addiction, and some strategies to help me cope with the next few days.
I have avoided going to therapy for a long time. I find it so very painful talking about my brother (who died when I was 21), and of course this came up today in the therapy session. I could hardly bear to talk about it; I felt so desolate. But the unraveling of the web I have woven round myself, to protect myself and my family, is part of the process, I fear. And I hope that I can find a way out of my sadness, and give up drinking for good.
Talking to my husband has really helped. I felt pretty dreadful yesterday, terribly tired and quite poorly. I went to bed early, and woke this morning on what is my day 2 feeling better, and – as karymayhickey commented yesterday – lighter. Something has shifted; it’s almost imperceptible, but being more honest is helping to peel away the layers of deceit which have prevented me from taking sobriety seriously.
It still has to be a day at a time, I know that. Sunny UK has so many triggers; watching my son play cricket this afternoon with the parents clinking glasses may be difficult. But something inside me feels different, and the huge weariness I felt yesterday – a complete physical exhaustion – means I have no longing to drink. My husband had a glass of wine last night – he said he wants to finish it off – and I wasn’t envious. I was glad that I wasn’t drinking it. It looked horrible.
I have nearly finished reading Caroline Knapp’s ‘Drinking, a love story’. One of the kind people who commented here said it could be triggery, and I can see why as there are many descriptions of drinks, and the emotions that go along with drinking; but I also recognised so much in her story, and am finding it helpful.
Reading back over this post, I think I sound very serious, as though all the life and laughter have gone out of me. Hope I can find those things again.
I have just finished telling my husband the truth: how I’ve been drinking, hiding it, only managing a few days drink free before buying more and drinking it secretly, the way in which I convince myself round 5pm that drinking is fine, and I’m mad to try and stop.
He really listened. He is amazing. I have lied to him, and to myself, and to my whole family. But he listened with real kindness in his eyes; and I think he seemed relieved, finally to hear what has been happening, because I suspect he knew, but didn’t want to see it.
He is glad I am talking to him about it. And I am glad to have him in the secret world I’ve been guarding.
Things haven’t been going well here. But I wanted to let you know that I’m still trying, the counsellor is still booked – he must think me mad, all the cancelling and rebooking I do, but I imagine he’s used to this sort of behaviour – and I am ready to tackle today. Yes, just today – any further ahead, and my addict voice takes over.
The guilt and shame take up much of my time; and the feeling that I circle day one after day one with little to no progress. But the counsellor says it’s a process, so I’m clinging onto that.