Tell me why I don’t like Fridays

I don’t mind Fridays these days it’s just that I don’t have the same amount of anticipation around the day that I used to.

Fridays used to mean ‘drink’. It’s used to signal the end of the week where I managed to abstain from drinking for around 3 days. I usually gave myself permission to drink one day during the week. Those three gruelling  days of abstinence of course were the pivotal differentiation between me, an olympic gold medallist drinker and a down and out alcoholic.

There were other differences. You see an alcoholic is a poor soul on a park bench with a bottle of vodka. Or the person that gets DUI’s and whose children get taken away. Not me. I never drove while drinking. I rarely drank Vodka, certainly never on a park bench! In truth I could have easily slipped into the driving under the influence thing. In South Africa it’s very common as there is no public transport system to speak of. I was forwarded a joke the other day by a friend of mine. ‘In Joburg if you have 5 beers you’re an alcoholic, in Kempton if you have 5 beers you’re the driver.’

Fridays meant I could pour myself an enormous glass of Sauvignon Blanc by 5 sharp. Sometimes 4:30, sometimes 4. I would Skype with my mother in South Africa, then have a dance party with kids. At 7 o’clock we’d go upstairs and bath the kids, by which point I had finished a bottle and was just hitting that sweet spot of tipsy happy drunk.

After we put kids in bed by 8 o’clock the next bottle would be opened. And this is where it all goes fuzzy.

Some Friday nights my husband would be in a foul mood and we just end up fighting.
Some Friday nights we ate together then watched tv separately, carry on drinking till we both passed out.

Sometimes we sat and listened to music together and talked while getting hammered but those evenings were few and far between.

As I’m writing this I am just realising that the lie alcohol tells is of the ‘promise’ of reward. The dopamine lie that is  – ‘something amazing is just around the corner’ if I can just drink enough I’ll be satisfied, happy and content.

The reality is. Tipsy by 8, paralytic by 11, passed out by 12.

 

Change

My husband couldn’t sleep last night, he is stressed and at the end of his tether. He’s frustrated with his job and it all sort of surprise exploded onto our breakfast table this morning.

I completely lost the plot and got pretty hysterical, it feels like we’ve been here so many times before. I went into my usual fight or flight mode and jumped online to start looking for full-time jobs to take the heat off him being the main breadwinner.

I was scared. I was thinking catastrophic thoughts like: What if I cant find anything, what if what I find is a shitty job I hate for very little pay? What if i have no time and more stress? How will I stay sober if I’m under all this awful pressure. What if this new path takes me to rejection and failure. How will I cope without my wine then?

Then something changed in me. I knew this day would come. Our youngest has just started school & I wanted to start earning more money anyway doing my own thing. This is just a wake up call a kick up the backside to make that happen more quickly! To be frank I think I’m the kind of person that needs a crisis point to provide the impetus to change.

Sure I may fail. Maybe I wont make enough money with my  ‘work from home’ thing to keep us going. Maybe I’ll have to take a shitty 9 to 5 in London for very little money and not see my children. At least I’ll be sober to deal with the stress. I’ll be better equipped to handle the pressure because I wont be battling my hangover and my addiction all the time.

You see how the thinking is actually at the root of the problem? My first thought is what if it’s all a disaster and I’m under all the stress how will I cope without my wine? Jeeeeesus! I will cope just fine thank you very much in fact if I had my wine it would ensure that I wont cope. The crutch alcohol provides is an illusion, its riddled with wood worm!

So onwards and upwards I say, let the chips fall where they may. All I can do is try my best and stay clean sober and strong!

Bridget Jones

I went to see Bridget Jones’s baby last night and it was side splitting hilarious, mostly. It got me thinking about a couple of things. Why aren’t women allowing themselves to age? Have we lost touch with reality to such an extent that youthful good looks IS the  ultimate achievement, the holy grail.  Surely there is more to life than looking good!

In the book Mark Darcy dies and the story starts when she’s done grieving and ready to start dating again. Why didn’t they put that in the movie? Are we ‘poor’ females so sensitive, so inept at watching something with real depth that we have to be protected from anything remotely realistic? I know its a rom com and the producers probably wanted to keep it ‘light’ but can’t we handle anything other than a Disney Princess story for fuck sake?

Dont get me wrong, I loved the movie and laughed untill i cried. The scene with Mark Darcy carrying an enormously pregnant Bridget over the bridge to the beat of disco music is etched in my memory forever.
I just wonder if we aren’t selling ourselves short. This ‘culture’ or ‘milieu’ we find ourselves in, indeed the milieu we are co-creating is adding to the constant consumption of booze to soften the world that has become too much for us to handle.

Are we not stronger than that?

Things I won’t miss about drinking

The self loathing that started at the 4am wake up call, the dry mouth.

Piecing the last nights events together. What did I do/say? How did I get to bed? How much did I drink? Blackouts are the pits!

The all-absorbing thought stream about how much you will drink today, where how and who with.

The pre-loading of drinks when you go to a party where the crowd drinks too slow for your liking.

The amazed look on the check out persons face when you do your weekly shop. “Having a party are we?” No actually that’s just my weekly alcohol consumption sans social interaction or occasion thank you.

The chaos surrounding an alcohol fuelled life, the confusion and disruption.

The lack of rest and sleep.

The black shadow following you around telling you that you are killing yourself and damaging everyone around you.

The denial, justification, lies you tell yourself to make the next drink ok.

Trying to moderate and failing! There is nothing more soul-destroying than trying to climb that fucking moderation mountain and feeling like a complete and utter failure every time you drink too much which invariably happened most days.

The dry skin and red eyes, the puffy marshmallow face.

The red blotchy cheecks and veins around my nose.

The drunken arguments with my husband that turned really dark and nasty.

The sinking black feeling like you are closing up like a telescope.

The eternal jingle jangle of my recycling bin.

 

Yes I know the blog title sounds familiar…

I hope ‘Hurrah for Gin’ will forgive me.

That’s how it all started for me…Hurrah for Gin! Thank God for alcohol! My friend, my smoother of the rough edges. The magic juice that makes everything ok, lulls me, comforts me, makes me funny, makes me sexy, makes me happy. Makes me sing Que sera, sera into the sunset. And then one day it doesn’t do any of those things, all that’s left is craving so desperately for relief from the hangover from last night’s binge. Ethanol makes me sad, lonely, confused and depressed.

So this is my first blog post about becoming sober. It has been almost two months since I last had a drink. God that sounds like such a serious confession! This ain’t my first rodeo around getting sober either. I’ve tried to stop drinking multiple times before or maybe one could say I’ve been relapsing in and out of sobriety for the last 12 years. I hope to God this is the last time but hey, if it isn’t I’ll just try again.

What else can I do? I can’t go back to drinking normally, if there is such a thing. I can’t go back into denial because I’ve lived there for so long and its fucking painful! It’s the cognitive dissonance toward the end of your addiction that is enough to drive you to suicide. The desperate state where you wish you didnt have to drink but need to drink to ‘survive the day’