The glorious everyday

Today I went Christmas food shopping with both kids in tow. (Had no choice all delivery slots were booked up by really organised people who probably buy their Christmas presents throughout the year)

I braved the big Tesco Extra with a sunny disposition and mistakenly thought we’d be quick. Naïve, I know. The shoppers were manic, the energy was tense. People were practically elbowing each other to get the best Turkeys. Of course my kids needed to toilet just as we were almost at the till and had finished an entire packet of chocolate brioches so were hyped on sugar. Rookie mistake feeding them sugar but I just grabbed the first thing I could see to feed their little faces. Most people who has or had small children will understand this.

The poor dears were so relieved to get home they escaped into their rooms for a bit while I unpacked the shopping. When they came down we made gingerbread men, while we were making the dough my daughter and I argued about the measurements and my son was being very helpful by mixing the flour and spilling it all over the floor. When we put the first batch into the oven my son kept on asking “is it ready yet” Over and over and over and over and over, for 15 minutes. The sweet relief when the oven bell rang was short lived because the decorating had to happen NOW. I iced some eyes and buttons on and they ate the sprinkles, which were meant for the buttons. They both wolfed down the cookies and gave me a massive hug. “You’re the best mommy ever!” My heart just melted.

I proceed to clear up and unbeknownst to me my son stole the foil from the cupboard. I just overheard my daughter say the words: “Safety first” when I thought I better go and check what they are up to. When I got to the bottom of the stairs I looked up to see my son wearing a foil hat and boots and the whole foil roll rolled down. “Look it’s a slide!” he screamed with excitement. Before I could say “NOOOOOOOO” has was off sliding on the foil all the way down.

He also got hold of the double-sided tape, which he stuck all over to the kitchen floor when I wasn’t looking. As I was scraping the tape of the floor with a knife it occurred to me how different this day would have been if I were still drinking. I would have lost my temper with them completely and I would have missed the absolute glorious chaos that life can be with two small humans in the house.

I’m just so happy I stopped when I did so that I can really be present, through all of it.  The mess, the arguments and the hugs.

It’s all fun and games till you fall over at the school bingo night

When I woke up it felt like a freight train had hit my head. Something evil had my head in a vice and I couldn’t breathe. My whole body ached and was sore, it felt as if I had been beaten up, my skin was crawling. A message came through on my phone. I couldn’t open both eyes. I read the message: “Hi lovely, just checking that you are ok. you were a little worse for wear last night, a couple of falls at the school gate. Hope you are ok?”

I looked around the room, I was still in my clothes from the night before. Jesus fucking Christ what have I done?

I was desperately trying to piece the night’s events together. Ok, I was at the PTA bingo night, we were all laughing and joking around…and then nothing…a void. Some blurry flashes started coming back…I was on the bathroom floor with my friend. I couldn’t walk. I fell.

I text her back. Fuck!!! Did anyone see me??? All the fucking PTA school mums?

I was in tears, warm alcohol soaked tears that smelt of gin were rolling down my cheeks. Text came back. “No she said, we waited in the bathroom till everyone left.”

It turned out that I was so drunk I couldn’t stand up straight or walk. I fell and knocked my head on the koi pond. I was out cold for 10 minutes while my friend was wondering whether to call an ambulance. Eventually she managed to half carry me to the school shed. She rang another friend to come help carry me over the school gate and put me in a taxi home.

That was it. That was the turning point for me. There is no glossing over that or denying that you have totally lost control over how much you drink when you fall over drunk at your kid’s school.

I’ve had several of those types of moments in my life, and I think it’s true sometimes it takes a couple of rock bottoms to really reach ROCK BOTTOM.

Tonight I went to a quiz night at the school. I really didn’t want to go, but forced myself. I was so nervous, didn’t want to face the memories of that night and I cried all the way there.

As I walked past the koi pond where I fell and knocked my head I saw the lotus flowers in the water.

Something beautiful out of the murky darkness.

So, how bad did it really get?

I need to fully explore and put this into words so that I can refer back to it when I need to. If my history with alcohol has taught me anything is that after a couple of months of sobriety the rosy glow fades. There will come a time when the voice, lets call him “Jack” pops up and says (In the voice of a sleazy salesman):

“Hey girl! You’ve been so good, been sober for x amount of time and you haven’t slipped up once! You’ve shown that you can control it and besides honey, you were never THAT bad! There are so many people in a worse of state with booze than you, I mean you hardly drank during the week! Everyone drinks! Come on, we all deserve to cut loose sometimes, cut yourself some slack. You’re too much of a perfectionist that’s your problem. Have a glass of wine, GO ON HONEY YOU DESERVE IT!

So, how bad was I?

Its true I allowed myself to drink one night of the working week. So I was sober 3 days. This didn’t apply to holidays of course when I was permanently sloshed. The other 4 days of the week I drank as much as I wanted to which was quite a bit. I would say one and half to two bottles of wine on average and then more on weekend and parties, it really all depended how long the drinking session lasted. One weekend I specifically remember I finished almost 1 liter of Gin on a Saturday! We were just having a barbecue at home, stated drinking at 12 and carried on till the early hours of the morning.

Blackouts started happening very regularly I was blacking out almost every time I drank no matter the amount, this scared the shit out of me. I was losing half of my life to a world of which I have to recollection. It was like leading a double life.

From time to time I would get reddish blotchy skin rashes when I drank like I was allergic to alcohol. Rosacea I think it’s called?

I was really paranoid around people in the morning.

Needed to secretly drink when my father in law was here for Christmas. He’s a teetotal and my husband all of a sudden developed an ability to only have one glass of wine?!
So I had to improvise and drank my wine in the shed in the garden.

At social gatherings when everyone was drinking very little or too slowly I’d sneak into the kitchen and take a couple of swigs from whatever bottle was open.

I drank most of my hangovers away with the exception of the Monday hangover wich was complete and utter hell to get through.

Couldn’t stand people who didn’t drink or that drank very little! I thought they were ‘holier than thou’ boring idiots.

I was in a constant state of stress because I was withdrawing from the last binge so I was dog tired.

I was obsessed with drinking to the detriment of everything and everyone else around me. I was either recovering from my hangover or planning my next session. My life really did revolve around it.

I used to wake up with bruises, didn’t know how I got them.

I’m sure there’s more, I’ll add it as and when I remember it.

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.