Day 7

The lump on the back of my head still hurts but it is slowly getting better.

I’ve been doing a lot of crying, not much sleeping, very little concentrating. A LOT of crying.

I haven’t been drinking, though.

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Nesting

Game of Thrones, gorgeous new scented candle, open fire, comfy pants, chamomile and lavender tea, dark chocolate and knitting. I’ve made myself a little winter of sobriety nest and I don’t intend to leave it until I feel strong and safe again (obviously I will still go to work and take the children to things and exercise).

I think I have often made the mistake of trying to do all the things I’d normally do while drunk immediately after quitting drinking. I fully intend to have a bustling social life again. Just not until I can trust myself to do it sober.

I’m done

Concussion aside (oh my gosh, the headache), I’ve had some pretty clear thoughts during the last 48 hours.

I’ve told the important people, booked an appointment with the doctor and de-boozed the house. I’m done with drinking. 

I could have died on Friday night. Fallen a little bit further, hit my head on a different angle, not had someone to make sure I didn’t choke on my own vomit – any of those things and it would have been game over. Instead, all I managed to do was knock some sense into myself. What a lucky, lucky woman I am. 

I have never felt so determined and serious about this before. It is day 2 of forever.

A sign

I’ve spent a few months wishing the universe would give me some sort of sign that I needed to quit drinking – a big neon denial-buster that I could not ignore.

So how’s this for a sign: a blood-soaked towel under my head soaking up the consequences of a drinking-related injury. For all I can remember, I may have wrestled a bear or fallen naked out of a tree. I’m informed by reasonably reliable friends, however, that it was a garden variety falling over in a bar kind of thing. 

Today is my birthday.

I’m 33, and I woke with a nasty, bleeding bump on the back of my head and no idea how it got there. 

The sun is shining on the patches of snow left on the ground and it is just the kind of winter day I love. I’m in bed, still shaking and vomiting. My husband, for once, believes I may have gone too far. 

I’m so embarrassed and ashamed and heartbroken by myself.

Friday night

I checked on the children on my way to bed just now.

My middle child, 5, insists on going to sleep in our bed even though he doesn’t sleep in it all night. I picked him up and carried him back to his own bed, clumsily, and he did not stir. The weight of his sleeping body in my arms was warm. He is utter perfection to look at, with his dirty blonde hair and huge brown eyes, and a terror of moods and demands and fierce, unpredictable affection.

My eldest, 8, sprawled on the top bunk. Sleeping, as he has from his first night on earth, in horrifying silence. I tickled his hand for the slight reflex which would assure me that he was, in fact, still alive. Remembered those long first nights in the hospital of standing over him, listening, until my aching pelvis gave in and I flouted hospital rules and took him back to my bed.

The littlest, 3. I buried my face in her warm neck and she smelt of everything good and comforting in the world. Bubble baths and flannelette pyjamas dried in the sun. Marshmallows and lavender.

There are 3 perfect reasons for living a good, honest, safe life. If I cannot do it for the love of me, surely I can do it for them love of them.

Apparently not. After drinks last night to comfort a grieving friend, so many drinks, I was lost to everything today. Unfocused at work and absent for my family. Shaky, exhausted and nauseous. I ate a heap of junk food, drank a lot of water and tried desperately to get a grip on the huge pile of work on my desk, to no avail. I looked at my phone and found a message sent at 1am that I have literally no recollection of sending. I came home and floundered helplessly in the sea of noise that is Friday night in my house, feeling like a stranger in my own life.

I’m not drinking daily, or in the mornings, or secretly, or any of those things which tell myself a “real” alcoholic might do.

But I do this, every week. Twice a week, sometimes three times. I do it again before my  stomach lining and self esteem have recovered from the last time. I do it even when I make plans to do things I really love at 8am the next day. I get sober for a week, two, three, and I fucking loathe it. I’m bored and edgy and self-conscious and restless and sleepless and weird. I return to drinking, set limits, break them within days. I come back here. To this horrendous, hungover place.