So here I am on day two, feeling good, feeling cocky. Wrapped all the wine in the house in bubble wrap and packed it in boxes today. So that’s gone. The spirits are still there, but they don’t call to me the same way. Went out for a pub meal tonight and wasn’t fussed – I suggested it, in fact, to avoid the five o’clock pull of tedium that usually sends me to the bottle.
But I’m not an idiot. I can’t control my drinking, like thousands of others, so it’s nonsense to assume that I can just give it up like that, when all the literature out there, including from other ‘high bottoms’ suggests that it’s hard hard hard. I need tools and tips.
To which end I bought Lucy Rocca’s The Sober Revolution: Your Six Week Plan, and instead of filling in the journal bits, I thought I might as well blog them.
Day Two says: dig deep and list ten reasons why you have fallen out of love with alcohol? What are the worst things that have happened as a result of your drinking?
Well. Let’s start with the mild ones while I work up some courage (a Dutch Courage joke comes to mind right now).
I’m 7kg, 15lb overweight, and it is all wine gut. As in, people have asked me about my pregnancy, sort of all. It disgusts me, I hate catching sight of myself. Sometimes when I’m alone I deliberately turn sideways and smooth my baggy top tightly against myself to torture myself with just how revolting and freakish I look.
My wine habit costs my household on average $10 a day. That’s almost $4,000 a year.
I have two young daughters to whom I am primary carer. Because I sometimes run out of wine during the week, I take them to the wine shop with me to buy more – often this is cask wine that I am replacing before it gets empty but before my husband notices its lack of weight. Sometimes I don’t manage in time and he asks in exasperation why I leave an empty cask in the fridge. It’s because I hope he won’t realise it’s empty. As the girls get older, I have started to worry that they will tell Daddy about going to the wine shop with Mummy.
Sometimes, fairly often actually, I stay up past when my husband wants to go to bed just so I can drink another couple of glasses without him knowing. Even though I love him and I know he wants to have sex with me and I want to have sex with him too. But not as much as I want to drink.
I felt huge relief when I got pregnant with my second daughter because I already knew that I was in trouble, and it offered a way out: the bright line, the reason to give up that I kept telling myself I needed. And then I avidly researched the point at which implantation takes place and alcohol starts crossing the umbilical barrier, and I took the latest of several conflicting dates.
I drank again as soon as she was born, and throughout the breast feeding year that followed. She was a bad sleeper, and my own sleep deprivation made any wine affect me much more strongly. My husband put many things down to extreme fatigue that year, including me not being able to find the bedroom door in the dark to get to my baby. That whole period is one of huge, overwhelming shame. I did cut back for a bit – to his relief – but as soon as her sleep improved and my tolerance did the same, I took up drinking again properly.
When my eldest – then an only – was 18 months or so, I was very lonely and unhappy. I wasn’t coping with work and childcare and my job was on the line, I hadn’t a car and my days at home with my child were excruciatingly long and dull. I developed a habit of drinking a wine or two at lunch, just to pass the time, just that one day a week, no harm really…and then feeling stupefied and even less able to entertain a toddler. So every week I’d swear I wouldn’t and sometimes I’d succeed, instead massively overcompensating with wholesome outdoors activities and groups. I put off coming home because when I did, I’d pour just one wine, and my lovely girl would end up on the couch staring at the tv for two hours or more while I read, or dozed. It’s not the parent I wanted to be.
Once I started early and drank more than I meant to, and when my husband got home I went to chat to him and as soon as I stood up I realised I was properly drunk. I asked if he could take our daughter while I lay down for ten minutes, and woke up four hours later, mouth dry, to a dark house and sleeping child. Sunstroke and one glass of wine, I claimed.
Fuck, is that only nine, really? Can I just summarise and claim that as #10? Basically I’m a fat, lazy spendthrift, a bad parent and a bad wife, coasting on everyone else’s need to love me and have me love them because the alternative is not yet better.