Last night, lying in bed waiting for the day’s exhaustion to take over, I suddenly got hit with the world’s biggest craving for wine. It had been so long since I had a craving like that that it took me a minute to realise what I was feeling; it was as if a combination of amorphous thoughts coalesced, and then I suddenly got it. Hey, this thing that I’m thinking about and feeling, this is a sodding great big huge craving for wine. I really, really want a glass of wine.
I kind of explored it from the outside, because I knew I wasn’t actually going to get out of bed, go downstairs and pour a glass of wine. So it became an abstract object, which I poked at. How did it feel? What was different about this feeling, as opposed to the occasional idle ‘a glass of wine would be…oh, that’s right, I don’t drink’ thoughts that pass through my mind? And why, on earth, now?
I don’t know the answer to that third one. But I can tell you how the first two felt. They felt visceral. I wanted the whole experience of drinking that wine; not the idea of it, the glamorous image, sparkling glasses held aloft and tinkling laughs or cosy sharing with a partner. I wanted the taste, with all its layers of tannin and fruit and ethanol, that complexity that you don’t get with non-alcoholic drinks. And the glass, and the weight, and the sipping.
And then I went to sleep, and thought no more about it. Until this afternoon, when it hit me again. I was upstairs, finishing the girls’ bedtime while LH had dinner downstairs prior to going out for the night. I knew he had a glass of red wine, and I thought about it while I was negotiating the third request for another glass of water, and I thought about it enough that for the first time, literally the first time in … whatever it is, eight months or so … I thought ‘can I trust myself, alone in this house full of wine?’. And I thought ‘I could have just one. One glass, sipped slowly over the night, to enjoy’. I thought many things, my friends, in such quick succession that the thoughts piled up on top of one another. I thought ‘nobody would have to know’ and I thought ‘and maybe I can drink now, just a glass every now and then. Special occasions’. I thought ‘I’m tired of this. I want to be normal’.
I didn’t think anything spectacular, or anything new. I’m sure nobody reading this is thinking ‘goodness, what an unusual and unique thought pattern for an alcoholic’. I didn’t think that myself. Maybe, if I hadn’t been blogging for so long, and I hadn’t read so many other stories and talked to so many other sober people, I would have fallen for it. But come on. My drinking self, my addict self, is so fucking obvious, really. ‘Oh, I can totally drink normally now’. Is that the best you can do, self? What was I, born yesterday? I’m not an idiot, and I’m not falling for it, and you, self, can fuck right off. Not actually. Because you’re myself. Which is confusing. But you know.
Try harder, addiction. Find a new script. Or better still, give up. Go away. You are not wanted, and you are not going to win.