At first I didn’t tell anyone I’d stopped for good, not even my husband. This went against everything I had previously read, the problem drinker being encouraged to confide in those closest to them, and enlist their support. Well that had never worked for me. I had long since lost count of the times I would announce to my family that I was only going to drink at weekends, or never at lunchtime, or not if I had an early start the next day, or that I was giving up for Lent, etc etc etc. Then I would drink anyway, and nearly snap the head off my husband when he tried to remind me of my resolve. And I would try to convince myself that my children wouldn’t really remember that I had said I wouldn’t drink, and that they wouldn’t really notice whether I was drinking or not, but the overwhelming fact remained that I hated myself for drinking so much and not being able to stop. And the whole drinking thing was such a mess of shame and self loathing and pretending to other people that I could take it or leave it that I couldn’t even admit to my nearest and dearest what a massive problem it really was. And I was in such a twist about who to tell, what to tell, because I didn’t actually want to tell anyone that I had stopped for good, for ever, because that would mean admitting that it was in fact A Big Problem. I didn’t want my children or any friends to know that it was a problem at all, and I wanted my husband to think it was just a teeny weeny problem.
So, as far as my husband was concerned, I was cutting down. He was happy enough with that. And when he opened a bottle of wine and asked if I wanted a glass all I said was “Not just now, thanks”. “Oh, ok”, he said and poured himself a glass and I wondered did he have any clue at all about how much I drink and had he not even noticed that huge, massive difficult thing I had just done, that I had just refused a drink?
I sat down with my rose lemonade and emptied the glass in about 8 seconds and knew that I couldn’t watch him drink wine so I got up again and said that I’d a headache and I felt queasy so I was going to bed.
So I went to bed and read blogs and more blogs and my husband came up and was worried and he said I shouldn’t be reading from a screen if I had a headache so I said my headache had gone. He went back downstairs and had his dinner and wine by himself and I had a couple of bananas and went on reading more from sober bloggers going back to the beginning of each person’s journey, and somehow I was identifying with, and drawing on, their excitement, their desperation, their hopefulness and resolve and commitment. Different circumstances, different lives, but with the same stuff in their heads.
And there is no easy way to do it. I certainly acted rather strangely, but it didn’t matter because I didn’t drink.