I wonder how much of our lives we actually share with other people. I wonder if the snapshot they see of us is anything like the way we see ourselves. I also wonder, like yesterday when I spent the day with two of my favourite people, if I see what they think I see.
Nonsensical - probably but I'll explain. I see a happy couple very much in love, great friends, confidants and a pair who live life to the max. We usually get together and have boozy weekends. How we laugh. These two don't have a drinking problem like I did. They just have fun. They don't worry. They don't booze.
My friend is currently making a cartwheeling round Scotland calender for her mothers next birthday. My friends passion for life is infectious, but even on this one I had to say, erm, what? What are you doing you insane girl?
'Well you see, she can't cartwheel anymore and she doesn't get about much, so I thought what a great idea'.
Great idea indeed. The abundance with which some folks live their lives is mind blowing and infectious. We meet up for lunch, we walk (we cartwheel (?)) and we chat and chat and chat. The kind of 'how are you's' that are really asking rather than 'air kissing'. We exchange news good and bad. We swap photos. Its six months since we've sat in the flesh together. They invited me for a weekend to stay, a wee while back. In my new sober life, I declined nicely, I didn't think I could stay and be sober.
We walk more, 6 miles in total. The light is going we retreat for a cuppa and cake before we part.
We talk merrily for hours laughing like beasts. I don't share my sober stuff. No one really knows I drank, well that's my opinion anyway although we've spent some seriously boozy weekends together. But, this lass knows that I'm easily pulled out of a hedge when falling into it drunk, she recused me one xmas on the way home from the works party. We've been firm friends ever since. Although to be fair we bonded way before the hedge incident.
The chat turns to Xmas plans as it inevitably does at this time of year. We're all at home, we make plans for a walk between the holidays.
'Now you mind out for hedges this Xmas' she says grinning 'You know how they like to attack you!!'.
The perfect opportunity presents itself in safe surroundings, to mumble.
'Ha bloody ha, well, dearie I've not had any wine for weeks and weeks and weeks, I'll have you know'.
It turns out, you know what, neither had they. SHOCKER.
'HA! US TOO! We didn't want you to think we'd got boring. Why do you think I'm so skinny, we gave up 6 months ago! Drinking far too much, got far too boozy for far too long, got a bit worried. Life's too short to feel rotten and guess what, I've lost my wine belly!'. she retorts.
Not the cartwheeling it seems, this svelte new figure. Although we both agree cartwheeling with a hangover, isn't fun.
This pair could never be boring. Not in a million years. Sober or otherwise. But I'd never had them down as boozers.
That was a shock. Age, me dear gives those of us with a taste for wine to develop nasty headaches and hangovers. It puts the beef on us too. We worry about our health. All good reasons to give up we agree.
We carry on drinking tea. Like always. Laughing. Sober. I'm relieved in an odd way, and they say come and stay for supper next week. Stay over, we'll walk the next day.
You know what I think I will.
As we part, she laughs and says, 'Erm we'd brought this for you' - hand offers a bottle of red with a bow on it. 'Don't supposed you want it either?' - NO THANKS!
We laugh and she says she'll pop it into her neighbours, as they don't want it in their house either. Changed days.
So my small sober stuff is out there, in a small way. In real life, opportunities to share, or not share, present themselves. Making one step towards my first 100 days a bit easier.
Of course they don't know the extent of my drinking, I had no clue about theirs really. How could we, we don't have X-ray vision. We usually wore our wine-goggles.
They're doing it together. That made me think. My husband know's I've given up for a bit but not the extent of my own story. How can I ever say, you know these 12 years you've known me. Well I've been utterly minced for most of the nights. Like rat-arsed. Yes really. Did he know, I don't think so.
Only last night when I said, no wine this weekend, he told me, I don't think you have to stop forever you know, a glass of wine to relax is OK you know but if you're feeling better for it then great. Its not like your wine is like my crisps (they sing to him from the cupboards, sound familiar?). I say nothing, or make a joke about sometimes the wine sings but its a lousy tune.
Goes off to ponder that one. Can you really recover in private, knowing that you might take a drink and launch yourself down a rollercoaster of despair. If your loved one doesn't know to say 'Please don't' or in Bea's case today 'NO!' how can they properly support you? When you feel weak.
So it got me thinking again and again. Can you truly celebrate sobriety privately from those closest to you?
I don't know. Not long term I guess, in the short term, you just do what you can to get by each day. That's all I have.
All I know is that the lies and the hiding what I was drinking, for now, is behind me. Oh the lies. EPIC lies. But they're not in my life any more.
Sober for now and still bending the truth about that one to most folks, including my husband, is probably where I am about that. It maybe aint right, but that's the snapshot, for now.
Small steps forward, that's all I can do. And, open up about it all when I feel safe enough to. One day people, one day.