I suppose it was bound to happen. The last 19 days have been tough, but I've been generally positive about what I'm doing. I've been determined, upbeat, sometimes verging on euphoric (see my post from last Sunday on Mindfulness). Then last night I hit a wall.
It was Friday. The end of the week. I've done really well this week. And last week. And the week before. I just felt that I really deserved to be able to treat myself, let my hair down, go wild. Yet we have NO PLANS this weekend. None at all (except the usual kid based activities). I deliberately didn't organise any social events and we've had no invitations. Nada. Does everyone hate me because I'm a drunk? Does everyone hate me because I'm not a drunk? Aaarrrgghhh.
So, I pick #2 up from school. #1 and #3 have playdates (alright for some). I feel an overwhelming need to indulge. The boy and I go to a café and I order a piece of carrot cake. It must be at least half vegetable, right? When it arrives it's almost as big as my head, and doesn't look in the slightest vegetably. How can they serve portions that big? How could I have finished it? I feel physically sick, but no happier.
In the fridge I have 6 Becks Blue beers (alcohol free). I've never tried one of these, but I'd bought them especially for the weekend, thinking that I'd have one at the old 'wine o'clock'. I make it as far as 4.45pm (plus ca change!) and then crack open the (alcohol free) beer. Spookily, it looks just the same (not quite as much 'head'), tastes just the same and even makes me feel light headed. I double check the bottle. It is alcohol free. Either they're playing a sick joke or my head is so finely tuned to expect to feel drunk that it's slipped into that mode automatically!
Once I've drunk the beer and the light headedness has worn off I feel even worse. I'm fed up with being 'boring'. I'm fed up with the constant dialogue in my head about alcohol, with spending hours each day reading about it and writing about it and not getting anything else done. I'm not sure I want to live my life on an even keel rather than a roller coaster.
6.30pm and I have to pick up #1 and #3. I remind myself that in the 'old days' this would have caused me endless angst. Either I would have had to delay drinking on a Friday night until 7.30pm when I got the girls back home OR I would have spent ages working out how much I could drink without being over the limit or looking worse for wear to the girls' hostesses. As it was, I jumped in the car totally sober.
Husband came home, opened fridge and brightened up visibly when he saw the beer. "Just what I need after cycling home from the City!" You should have seen his face when he spotted the 'alcohol free' flash. Oh God, I'm ruining his life too! He sneaks a glass of wine from the kitchen cupboard surreptitiously, so as not to rub it in my face. I think about how much I'd love to rub a glass of wine in my face. Then neck it in one. I reminisce fondly about our decades of evenings sharing a bottle of wine (conveniently forgetting the fact that I'd usually have 'pre-loaded' with at least another half bottle first).
We watch a family movie. #2 and #3 have a god almighty barney about who gets which end of the sofa and spend ages 'accidentally' kicking each other. I wish (again) that I could self-medicate with the bottle of St Emilion that the husband's hid behind his chair. I look back at some of my early posts and I think "OMG I sound so smug."
The wine witch starts whispering in my ear. I try desperately to beat her off. She says: "It's Friday night! You need to be able to celebrate the weekend!" I think back "But it's not just Friday night, is it? It's Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and every other night." She says "Just have one! That can't do any harm." I remind myself "It wouldn't be just one, would it? It would be the whole bottle." She says "You've done nearly three weeks! You'll have re-defined your relationship with alcohol. Now you can moderate!" Well, now she's bought out the big guns. The classic moderation argument. I've been here before - again and again. I know that even if I can 'moderate' for a while it won't be long before I'm back where I started, doing DAY 1 all over again.
So, I remind myself again and again about how bad it got. I re-read Secret Drinker hits the High Bottom. Then I think about all of you guys - about Kags, Justine, Wendy, Laura, Jen, Emily, Bethany and everyone else who's been kind enough to post comments. I think about my lovely friend, Philippa (now 9 years sober and an addiction counsellor) who is the only person I know who has my blog url. And the main reason I don't physically wrestle the Saint Emilion from the husband and drink it from the bottle is that I don't want to let you all down.
So thank you all, because today I feel much better. Apart from the fact that I seem to have gained a pound in the last 24 hours - damned carrot cake.
Onwards and upwards, soberly.....