I had three glasses of wine on Friday night. I’m not planning to have any more.
Friday would have been day 63.
I felt off all last week. A constant headache and low mood for absolutely no reason at all, which was a rude shock after feeling so fabulous for so long. Looking back, there were a few things going subtly wrong. Too much work, not enough exercise, definitely not enough sleep, miserable weather, a really stressful situation where a friend has gone completely off the rails with alcohol and drugs and has a tiny baby thrown into the mix. I didn’t actually think about drinking at all until I got home from work all tearful and frustrated and poured it before I’d really had a chance to think about what I was doing.
I’m often a mess on Friday nights. My job is emotionally exhausting – let’s face it, nobody needs a lawyer when everything is going swimmingly. There is a disproportionate number of high conflict personalities – because nobody needs a lawyer if both sides are reasonable people who can compromise. And I am still learning what I’m doing in a lot of ways, which is totally frustrating, because by 33 I imagined I’d be CEO of the universe and not clinging to the bottom rung of my career ladder. As a result, I often come home with none of my self-soothing resources left, and if I don’t drink then I smoke a bunch of cigarettes or eat a stupid amount of chocolate or get into an argument about something I don’t even care about on social media.
It’s not like I don’t know what the solution is. Or solutions. There are heaps of them and they have been working for nine weeks. Making plans to do something which involves being totally sober – like ice skating or pole dancing. Or retreating to the bath to slather my face in a mud mask and read a novel and drink tea. Gosh, it’s not rocket science.
I didn’t realise how annoyed I was at myself until I sat down to write this and started crying hot tears of frustration. Three glasses of wine isn’t the end of the world. For me, though, it was enough to bring back the awfully painful gastritis symptoms I get from drinking, which don’t exist when I’m not drinking. I’d forgotten how puffy I get from drinking – my socks leave elastic marks around my swollen ankles and my sunglasses leave marks on my face. These are more things that don’t happen when I don’t drink. And those are only the physical symptoms – if I was feeling flat before the wine, I felt downright miserable after it.
I liked that my sobriety date was my birthday. I liked how strong and brave and a little bit smug I was feeling. I liked myself, even. I have experienced too much of how great being sober can be to throw it away at this point.