So its the morning after the night before. Yesterday I didn't drink. Yesterday I was a sober wife and a sober mum. That's not happened very often in the past 20 years. I love my family, I cook from scratch, I clean, I work, I play, I garden, I've been on the PTA I'm involved in my community. I'm just a pretty regular parent, wife, mother, except I drink. I do it in private, I do it mainly in secret, I've no idea who knows, or if they do. I'm just a girl, trying to deal with life, with my external shell shone brightly, fooling myself more than anyone else. I pretend I'm normal. I drink wine. Normal people drink wine, right?
Probably the first time in a month, two months, three months, probably, I'm sober for a night? Who knows. All I know is I can never sustain this after three days. The only time I have in, erm, 20+ years has been when I had the flu (6 days not drinking) and when pregnant/breastfeeding.
Yesterday [hungover] I sat in the car near the local AA meet, you've got to love the internet for google maps and times of meets, things you'd never openly read can be accessed at the click of a button in the privacy of your own home.
Of course I didn't go in. Thinking about it as I have been for the past couple of months, I now know the dates and times but so far, not brave enough to go.
If I go then I'll have to admit I'm an alcoholic. (A word I care barely spell) People might find out (I'm ironically assuming they don't know already) and I'm ashamed of that.
Why? I'm chronically convinced that addiction is not real. What brings me to this ludicrous statement, I have no idea. The truth would perhaps be kinder to say that I like drinking. Does that make me addicted, I'm not sure. Have I successfully managed to give it up when I continue to feel dreadful, I hurt, I'm abusing my body, does that make me stop, nope.
So why was yesterday any different. I got up later than I wanted, slugged back the usual two tablets to dull the headache, slipped the kettle button down and poured a strong coffee. Just like normal.
This has been the routine for years now. Except the pains get stronger in my lower back. My face has spider veins appearing to mock me each morning, my body is paunchy, my mouth hurts. Lets face it I just look and feel a bit puffy. I never use to get hangovers, friends would curse me. These days I never feel very well, not ill enough to stay in bed nor get on with my day but just not great.
Obviously I'm OK with that. I still drink at least a bottle of wine a day (9 units). Its my 'treat' of an evening, others each chocolate, smoke fags or have a beer. I have a bottle of wine thank you very much.
But, I'm feeling worse. The face spider veins were alarming. They're getting worse. Am I really so vain as to be bothered by a few veins, rather than thinking about how my insides might be sodden in alcohol and the damage that might have been done. Its on the inside though so it doesn't really count right? But my face. That's a bit more distracting.
Of course I did what every sensible person does and bought a decent concealer and foundation rather than actually stop drinking. Can't see it then.
So who am I. I'm a mother of two, I'm educated to post-graduate level. I work in middle management p/t from home. I'm largely self-employed. I can structure my days largely to suit myself. I have a very supportive husband, who if I'm honest has probably only been to bed sober with me - how many times?
Well this month once. Last month, not drunk but perhaps one night when I only drank 6 units, lower than my normal. The month before, no sober nights. The month before that one on the way home from our holiday on a late flight. Can you see a pattern here?
We sometimes have outrageous drunken sex, mainly we have morning sex. Having an orgasm when you're drunk isn't that easy. So even finding a man who's fabulous in bed, adores me and wishes to please me, I choose to drink and have my sex to suit me when I'm sober. Did I mention he's patient.
I don't know for sure he knows how much I drink. I hide a lot of it from him, having just one or two glasses in view.
I'm the same with my friends. Unless they're close friends I tend not to drink much around them either. Its too private my drinking.
As for the children, my biggest shame. I guess they've grown up with me always having wine in the evenings. Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy knowing they might think I drink too much. I'm a good Mum I think. I did the school runs, I did the concerts, I ferried and drove and saved and sewed snowflake costumes. I got up (mainly) with them for school. Some days I didn't, when they were older. I told them it was to give them space and that I trusted them. More likely it was because I didn't want them to see me drinking so the drinking got later into the evening, so by morning it hadn't cleared my system so well.
Alcoholics are devious they tell you, they manipulate situations to allow themselves to drink.
Whilst these tiny white lies 'I'm just going to get a cup of tea [wine], do you want anything love?' aren't necessarily hurtful, it allows me to drink unhindered. 'I'm very tired [drunk]' having fallen asleep in front of the TV again. 'I didn't sleep well, I think I'll have another hours sleep [to get rid of this hangover].
I love my family, I really do. But I drink. And reading what I've just written above, I'm guessing its pretty plain to see I've a drinking problem, perhaps I'm an alcoholic, whether I believe in addiction or not.
I've tried to stop and I struggle. I want today to be different.
I don't like the guilt I have all day for two hours drinking the night before. Its really not fun. It seems like I've been working/parenting/relationshiping my way through life using a bottle of wine as a crutch. OK so I had a really shitty childhood, alcoholic father, ambivilent, uncaring mother. I left at 16 to get on with my own life. Its been turbulent, but both kids are now at uni and I'm on my third (and happiest) marriage.
Life's good now, I'm a happy parent, I'm a happy professional, I'm a happy wife.
So why am I still on self-destruct - fuck knows.
So yesterday I tried not to drink. I didn't buy my normal bottle of wine on the way home from working. I didn't drink the cider in the fridge. I didn't drink the 'posh' wine given to my husband for his birthday lurking in the cupboards. Not even one glass. Cos I know if I open it, I'll drink it all.
Today I've read a few really interesting blogs, I particularly liked Sober-bia I like the way Amy writes and enjoy her free thinking and style. I've been directed to Tired of Thinking About Drinking too with Belle being so supportive and so I'm going to have a read of these each day and see how their journeys began and how they stuck to their resolve.
Somethings got to change and I know I can only do it myself. I don't think there's an answer to be had, but any advice would always be welcome. We've moved to a new area recently, new house, new life I promised myself this time I'd change. I'm still drinking and if I'm not kidding myself, its getting worse. I never use to drink during the day, my one rule, especially with the kids, but they've gone now and I'm working only p/t (from home). So whilst I don't drink when I'm working, I have sometimes drank alone in the daytime. Only once or twice but enough to make me scared.
I'm going to post sober or drunk. I don't expect to be an angel and I may well fail, but I'm trying.
Today started sober. Wish me luck. Or strength. Or wire my jaws shut. Whatever works.