Like having an enemy that can see inside our heads to our hopes and dreams

So after I wrote the last post, I had a pleasant working day, anticipating picking up the girls, having a cup of tea with a friend before heading home in time to prepare slow cooked lamb shanks and potatoes.

And then fifteen minutes before I was due to leave, my boss came in to ask me a series of questions in preparation for a meeting, during which conversation it became clear that a) a huge stressful issue that’s dominated the work environment for the past three months, and which we all thought was resolved two weeks ago, has not been resolved, b) I forgot to do something relatively trivial in relation to this issue back in December which is now going to show up our President who is already getting flak from all sides, and c) the whole situation gives me bad flashbacks to my last work environment, where I pretty much torpedoed my career when I went back to work after having Big Girl and discovered – too late – I couldn’t cope with both roles at once.

During this conversation with my boss, my mobile phone rings three times in a row, after which my work phone, which turns out to be LH telling me that daycare needs me to pick up Little Girl immediately. So – leaving possibly urgent tasks behind, I rush to daycare, doctor, chemist, late to pick up Big Girl from a friend who is doing me a favour already. Home so late that I need to rush the lamb if I’m going to get it done at all, Little Girl and Big Girl are squabbling in the other room but who has the time to intervene, the cat wanders into the kitchen and does a poo before my horrified eyes, and I haven’t managed to pick up the baby carrots for my recipe and what am I going to feed the girls?

Anyway. Standard bad afternoon. But it’s fine until I realise that the recipe calls for half a glass of white wine. And when I opened the bottle and poured it out I had such an urge to pour a glass for myself and just gulp it down. Almost like punishment; sour and caustic, burning on the way down, making my gorge rise. And in return, the woozy head and the not caring. Because honestly, fuck it. Fuck it fuck it FUCK. IT.

But no. Sixty days today. I’m not going to throw that away over a shitty work day. Things are going well. I’m getting my creativity back, I’m feeling healthier…

And here is what the addict said. You’ll love this. Ready?

A relapse will make your narrative more interesting. You’ll start to lose readers if something doesn’t happen to shake things up soon.

SERIOUSLY. That is an actual thing that I thought, in my head. I mean, fuck me. Unbelievable.

But it isn’t unbelievable, really. Your addict, or your wolfie, or however you want to visualise the part of you that guards your addiction, feeding it up like a witch in a gingerbread cottage, is you. So of course it has all the tools to get you in the most vulnerable spots. For me, I don’t care about being fun at parties – I have a toddler, when do I go to parties? I don’t care about what friends think, really. I’ve fought against the ‘bad day at work, you deserve it’ argument too many times for it to have much power, and the idea of moderation has lost its persuasion.

But writing. Stories. An audience. There lies my ambition and therefore there lies my weakness. And of course, where there is weakness there is that force, the addict force, pushing at it, testing to see if it will breach.

Clever, that addict. But of course it would be.

It’s me.


17 thoughts on “Like having an enemy that can see inside our heads to our hopes and dreams

  1. Wow. That’s freaky. Who would’ve thought: a literary wolfie. I can just see him with your manuscript convincing you he’s a helpful developmental editor.
    You handled it beautifully though and, got a post out of it. πŸ˜‰
    Hope your work environment becomes less stressful. There are triggers there. I’m having the same issues at my workplace. I am looking for a new job but in the meantime I’m coming to terms with why the triggers exist there. From a “I am responsible for the way I react to situations” perspective, I’m trying to understand why I react so strongly. I don’t want to get all psychoanalytical on your comment forum, (unless you want me too) πŸ˜‰ so I’ll stop here.

    • I’m definitely interested in hearing more about the triggers at your workplace; whether here or over at your place. It’s becoming clear to me that this is something I really, really need to work on, because even if I change jobs, it’s something in me that perpetuates a situation that causes me stress. And I’m scared to change jobs until I’ve fixed that.

  2. I have had that feeling too, thinking that if I drink again I can start the whole set of early blogs all over again. Like getting a high from relapsing and restarting. Then I think how crappy I would feel about it and how if I started drinking again I would probably go off the scale with it. You are not alone xxx

  3. in the perfect storm OF COURSE Wolfie saunters in and whispers complete nonsense in your ear….yes yes and yes. but war films always best when the hero staggers from the wreckage unharmed except for a photogenic trickle of blood trickling from one temple…and perhaps a smidgen of cat poo on the shoe…no relapse required here! well done and continue to love reading your posts!

  4. This is a corollary of what all newly sober alcoholics go through – that phase of seeming *boring*. You know – “I got up, got the kids to school, went to work, made dinner, watched TV, went to bed” Yawn. I remember being at a meeting where I guy declared that he was so bored, he was thinking about going back so that he’d have more “excitement”. Well, I am not sure if the drunken drama that I created in my active years could be called “exciting”. It was pathetic and brutal.

    Many bloggers go through this too. Lots of blogs end up fizzling out because the last few posts are very much along the lines of “I’m fine – just living life sober!” and they peter out. Hell, that’s pretty good! I’ll take that over horrible drunken crap.



    • Oh, I was boring before. No drama here. Got up [hungover], got the kids to school [hungover]., went to work [hungover], made dinner [with wine], watched TV [with wine], went to bed [drunk].

      • Oi you, stealing my life story… Actually, you can keep it. I think I believed I was doing it to relieve the monotony, but actually it _was_ the monotony. I sometimes even turned down exciting opportunities because I’d have to drive. They were bloody few and far between too. Note to self: find something to do that is less monotonous than eating dinner in front of Masterchef…

  5. I’d just like to echo what Paul said… I’m sure they’ll be enough ups and downs along the way as it is. Also, I think you write really well and I enjoy your posts… I’m sure once this sober thing gets normal and boring for you (which is a RESULT) then you can start blogging on something else! Just let us all know where the new interest lies. And congrats on 60 days! So cool. xxx

    • Indeed, I already have an exit plan – eventually I’ll close this blog down and transfer some of the better, and less ugly, posts across to my ‘real’ blog and hopefully take you all with me! (I also have a post in the works about exploiting your addict, because last night’s hilarious attempt at making me drink was what forced me to come up with that plan, which coalesces two things I’ve been wanting to achieve for a while now AND gives me another reason to stay sober – so thanks, Wolfie voice!)

  6. Yep wolfie has tried that on me too, the ‘you need to relapse for your blog’ argument. Crazy talking crazy thinking crazy making aka wolfie. You got them though πŸ˜‰ xx

  7. What I love is that you are totally calling out that sly voice in your brain and ratting on it big time.. to yourself and to us here in the sober sphere. That shows me that you’ve totally got a handle on that bad boy. He’ll get the message eventually and fuck off. Man.. I hear you with those crazy days… all those little things that accumulate (the cat pooing – really??!!). You did good. xxx

  8. Work can be a powerful trigger. I can soberly navigate kids, cat and parties. But work can trip me up. Issues do not get resolved (as you describe), projects don’t wrap up nicely, and even when my responsibilities are covered I can feel at the whims of other personalities and agendas. At home I am in control. At work, I can feel uncertain, which is a great opening for Wolfie. … All of this is a good reminder to leave work – and Wolfie – at WORK. … Thanks for a great post and Congrats on Day 60!

  9. If writing is your ambition — and I can see why, because you’re so good at it — maybe you can exorcise the wolf by writing a fictional piece about what a relapse would be like without actually having to have one.

  10. Very happy to read you didn’t drink to make your blog more interesting πŸ˜‰ And it really really would’nt be. You’re right about the addict/wolfie/.. being so clever because it is you (me, us) Good to keep this firmly in mind! I’m always looking forward to new posts from you; you have a very refreshing way of writing. Keep going!

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