|Help yourself, we're celebrating new friends, life and love. Happiness.|
So here I am in the messiest kitchen in the universe and I'm making brownies. I'm a dab hand at these, plenty experience from the time the kids were little and someone gave us the easiest recipe in the world and we've been whipping them up ever since. Sometimes for parties, sometimes for weekends, sometimes for weddings, sometimes just for those dark wet days when nothing quite hits the spot like the gooey dark rich chocolately monsters that are my friends perfect brownies.
Now I'm thoughtful as I make these having just wrenched a fresh egg from under the chooks arse in the garden. Yes, we are on days like this a very messy domestic goddess, or at least from the outside world that's how we look. The lamb shanks are on the range bubbling away, rosemary, garlic and shallots all doing their thing in the very beautiful cast iron pot, the colour of aubergine (the pot not the shanks, well not yet anyway.). Dogs are walked, hens are fed, laundry is folded. Kitchen still looks like a work in progress but hey, I'm an artist in here I tell myself.
So the brownies, I'm baking them today not for church, not for school, not for the kids, not for the rellies, I'm baking them for my recovery group. A way to celebrate quietly with other humans who know what its like to be clutched to the heart by behaviours that become so compelling that you just can't help yourself. So today I celebrate, and I am celebrating quietly in real life that I've not drunk any wine for 60 whole days.
|Sixty Days no wine, and I am still able to breathe, who knew?|
Why so quiet I hear you ask? Well, no one really knows what kind of a problem I had. No one knew, really, the extent of my drinking. No one knows I've stopped aside you lovely lot and one real life friend. One, and she's not taking it too well. But, lets hope she adjusts to this sober me. I hope so.
A while ago, possibly years, I knew that alcohol and I were not really friends. I drank more than I wanted. I embarrassed myself often, when one wee drink let to several, the paranoia the next morning was crippling, and yet I carried on. I've met friends for a quick drink and gone home rat-arsed on the train. For me the compulsion to drink until I feel quiet in my head, is overwhelming. I drink when I'm happy, I drink when I'm sad. I drink with friends, sure, but mostly I drink alone. Here at this kitchen table, I'd have a glass of wine at gone five, possibly six. No harm in that I hear you say. Well maybe if I left it at one drink, maybe no harm. Maybe if I didn't drink everyday, maybe no harm. But, for me one drink always leads to many more. Hardly anyone knows except me, how much I drank. And, I don't exaggerate when I say a bottle of wine a night and some became more and more normal for me. Everyone does it I told myself. Everyone.
But, I'm finding out slowly but surely whilst my behaviour isn't abnormal, women of my age (46 3/4) can be prone to drinking after a busy day, stressful work, noisy but adorable kids, partner with spikey cactus pants on, lonely, overwhelmed, dealing with issues their poor brain just can't cope with. Lots of people drink, some have issues like mine. I'm not alone. That was a surprise. Some people can drink a couple drinks and stop, I'm learning I can't. To the outside world, I appear normal, or slightly normal anyway. Domestic goddess (I think not), good mother, capable lady, happily married, just don't look right into my eyes, don't see the cracks in it all.
Living a 24/7 kind of life trying to be and do the best for everyone else, sometimes it seems, we get a bit lost. And, for a short while wine stops the chatter, dulls the problems, silences the issues we've hidden for so long. For a short while it works. But after a while, we need more and more. After a while, this 'mute button a the bottom of a bottle of Chardonnay' pushes back. It takes our sleep, it makes us anxious, raises our paranoia and leaves us feeling betrayed alone and yet the compulsion to drink more of it, is overwhelming.
And, so we try and stop. The wine bites back, we manage a day maybe two and then we find we've forgotten how hollow that 'mute' can be. We try again to drink, this time moderately. Quite frankly for me moderating is about as much use as a chocolate teapot. I just can't do it. Actually I'm now more frightened of moderating than I am of staying sober. Well at least for today. So for now, quietly from here, I hold out my chocolate brownie to you to say thank you for those who've supported me along this road so far.
So in my best Scottish accent (which isn't very good at all) I say to you all 'Mon, ben the hoose, come bide a while, sit doon, hay a sonsie wee seat, mon lets raise a wee cuppy to sixty days aff the fawing doon juice'.
[Come, through the house, stay a while, sit down, have a comfy seat. Come raise a cup of tea to sixty days off the wine'.
Thank you for the sober tools I've learnt from friends throughout the world, for a really unsavoury and yet calming introduction to Wolfie, that voice in my head that tells me I'm broken and useless and rubbish and if I have a glass of wine, I'll forget it all. Well isn't he a bag of shit. Who knew that wasn't really my best self looking after me? Thank you all for showing me, whilst its hard, there's more to life than escaping into a wine glass. Small steps but for today, we celebrate. With tea, obviously, not wine. Even if Wolfie tells us that celebrating being sober with a glass of wine is the right thing to do. Erm, no, he's wrong. Brownies all round I say. Thank you. I'm off to my meeting, brownies in hand, smiling at sixty days. I'm actually proud.
|Lamb shanks, garlic, rosemary, winter punch (not red wine) and veg. YUM it was too.|
Could I be you? Probably not, your kitchen is probably tidier, But I know right now, I'm no longer alone with that nagging voice in my head telling me that a glass of wine will solve everything. I'm learning it won't.
ETA Brownie recipe here. Thanks for asking.