Now, I use to wonder why I drink. Happy life at home, wonderful kids, nice man (finally) in my life now is good. Beforehand not so much on the happy front, but hey, you get on with it don't you along that rocky road to happiness. Divorce, single parent of two toddlers, somehow you get through it all. Yes its lonely, yest its hard, often there's little support. But always there's wine. Magical switch off juice, get through the day juice. But we know that. We know we use it to cope.
And yet I sat there in the local addictions office, on the first visit saying, I've no idea why I drink, I have a happy life, I should be happy. Like REALLY happy, which I have bursts of, don't get me wrong but inside, am I happy, erm no. I'm the anti-of-happy.
Now that's not fair, I think I'm 'fake-happy' which is kind of like a fake tan done well, if you do it well, sometimes you can't tell the difference between them. I get plenty of 'I wish I had your life' comments from friends. And, its true, I have two cracking kids, I have a man who (for some reason unknown to me) loves me and all my wee faults, we've just moved into our 'forever home' after years of living apart and renting. From the outside, my life looks pretty good. I've been given as long as I need to find work, settle in and just be.
And, there in lies the problem, just 'be'. Just 'being' gives time for my head monsters to wake up. I prefer busy. Like really busy, burn out busy, can't stop to take your breath busy. My friends joke I have no off switch (how ironic, if only they knew) I'm up and go, fall into bed sleep, repeat. I don't do chilling, I don't do meditation, I just cant. I have ants-in-my-pants epic gigantic, can't-stop-syndrome.
So as I sat in my first proper 'therapy' session yesterday, I guess the minute we start talking about those relationships around us, to an outsider, and (doh) to me it becomes apparent, lifes not quite the roses round the door it looks like, even to me. Yes its hard sometimes, yes its difficult juggling but now is good. Tricky but good. The yesterdays, the long agos, the path to here not so much.
Infact, the yesterdays were generally a pile of crap. I'm not really sure I want to dig all this stuff up again. Like really, I left the session in absolute bits. I don't do 'bits', I don't normally cry, I'm just not like that. But no, not yesterday. It was like someone had opened a can of hissing snakes and told me, times up, see you next time. I get there's limited time for these sessions, I do. But, wholly crap, if ever there was a day I felt like saying FUCK IT and get a bottle, no make that two bottles of wine, it was yesterday. I've never felt so exposed in my life yet there I was telling a stranger, nope its not all roses. I gave freely but the snake pit in my head is now open.
I know it was shite, my life before I became me, this me, this grown up me. I know that. I see the evidence all around me. Mostly I hide from it. I hide in wine, I smile all day long, I do the stuff I think a normal family does, then I hide in wine.
But, my grandad use to say, can you mend the rotting walls without taking the roof off? To be honest I find selotape and patching works just fine. Cue smiling at the outside world and hiding with wine.
So I tottle off home, with a car full of snakes tumbling out of my head.
I stop and buy food, I don't I notice stop at the supermarket, I stop at a a wee farm shop with no licence. I buy meat, I buy a really expensive cordial. I get dog bones, I buy chocolate.
I put the stove on in the kitchen, tell myself through teary eyes I need to eat. My mind fleetingly mentions the cider and wine in the shed up the back of the garden on a high shelf. Oh, I'm good, it needs a ladder, there are no lights, so daylight is the only safe time to retrieve it. However, I remind myself this is his special birthday wine and its not mine, its expensive and right now, it can stay there.
I pour some water and eat some fruit. Later I tell the Wolf, if I want wine I can have some later.
My husband arrives home, aware of my red rimmed eyes and nervy manner. Not quite the homecoming he'd hoped for I'm sure. But we hug and natter about his trip. Hot drinks, I find myself saying 'we've run out of blah blah blah'. I might nip to the supermarket. (Alarm bells are deafening the snakes in my head) He wants to come, he's jetlagged and tired, almost spaced, but he comes all the same.
Lingering in the wine aisle, why am I here? Thirsty snakes. That's why I'm here. Thirsty thirsty snakes rioting in my head.
Later, I tell myself he'll be out of it early, come back later if you want wine. Get him settled.
Early supper, bed by 7pm, my husband snores like a beast in my new, comfy, sober bed. An interloper in my sober space. I'm wondering why I didn't persuade him to sleep in our main bedroom.
(its not like its his house or anything!)
A voice in my head tells me, my sober space is ruined. Which is bollocks, there's a lovely, knackered man in there. Yes he's snoring like a train, but he's allowed.
The urge to get wine is compelling. Too dark to go to the shed, I could go to the shops.
Later says the kinder voice in my head. Go later. Have a bath.
So, the sober routine starts. I get the bath ready, full of bubbles. I get my phone out, I put Belle's voice on ready to hop in. Sober bath, podcast (audible above the snoring but only just), someone in my head feeds the snakes, they settle for now.
Towel dry in front of the fire. PJ's and quick call to a friend, then a bit of a book for now. I'm looking at the time. Its nearly 8.30pm. I have a choice here. Belle's invited some of us for a group call. It starts at 9pm, I call or I drink. Its that simple in my head. The shops close at 10pm. Its been a while since the 10pm thing really got to me watching the minutes go by until its 'safe' and I can't drink.
Yes there's wine in the shed, but its dark, I'd break my neck.
Call or drink.
Scary, calling into a group with someone who's voice is so familiar, but it was just the ticket. She asked if the sober podcasts help. There was a bit of chat, I couldn't really find my voice. What I think I wanted to say was. They do and here's why.
No one understands, unless you've had that voice, these thoughts, those compulsions, no one else gets it. Just open a bottle, just have a glass. Do they say to cocaine users, just have a small bit, you'll be OK? Erm no. SO when someone like Lucy Belle or MrsD, Un-Pickled or any of the other fabulous (and you all are, sorry if I didn't put you in those links!) sober bloggers tells you how stupid the idea of drinking really is, of giving up your sober momentum, you know they're speaking the language you understand. They get it. And, that's why podcasts help. That's why sober treats help, that's why each day makes you stronger. Its why you need sober-first-aid whilst the rest of the world looks on thinking EH?
Clearly I need a sober first aid kit for right after the therapy sessions. I know the walls need mended, I know somehow I need to take the lid off of whatever it is that makes me crazy and want to drink. But, wholly fuck, someone please quieten the snakes down until we can rehome them.
And if I've not implemented something for myself by next Monday in time for Tuesday, do me a favour and slap me hard with a very spiky wet fish. Like honestly knock me out.
I get that I need to somehow work on the 'not' drinking bit. I thought, I think, if I'm honest, therapy might help, its early days. Wasn't ready for the snakes though. Fuckers.
They nearly stole my sober.
This sober suit I talk about, my sober outfit. One day I'll post up a diagram. But, for now. I think I need to add 'NET' to it. Bastard head snakes.
Now, I'm not critisizing the therapist, we have limited time, she doesn't know me. But, maybe I shared just too much, enough to let those snakes out before I had a way of dealing with them.
Or did I? That tiny voice in my head tells me. But, you didn't drink. Snakes and all. Tears, snot and all. Not bonnie but you didn't slurp back the magic red juice. You didn't pour wine on your head.
All I know is that right now, I'm shovelling all the more sober tools on myself, into my kit bag. Without them, the limited ones I've gained so far, yesterday I would have been fucked.
For that I thank you all, for the tools I've got so far. More to come.
PS I signed up for Lucy's great looking online course for $10 (£6.57, the cost of not even a very posh bottle of wine) which is on offer until Friday here.Special rate until the 29th Nov.
DO IT! x