This should be a minor milestone – seven days alcohol free, but last night and still this morning, I think I am experiencing major denial, about my ambition to become sober forever. Don’t get me wrong, other than on Christmas day, I have never been tempted to drink alcohol in the morning and am very much a four or five o’clock starter, that is when the ‘Lager Lout’, that is my internal addict starts to moan and persuade.
No ‘Wine Witch’ for me, I love wine too, but it has never called to me the way a nice fizzy, frothy 5% German beer shouts “Hallo”. Today, I am horrified that I have made the massive decision to say “Auf Wiedersehen” to the stuff. (Even though this is not really correct, I should say “Tschüss” apparently, as that means “Goodbye” not “See you soon!”). There you have it! It is my ignorance of the German language that has had me running back so regularly to rekindle this doomed relationship.
I didn’t actually want a drink last night and I don’t this morning, but a disbelief that my life will be better if I continue to not drink alcohol, is being raised by my internal addict. I am starting to panic that all future holidays, birthdays, dinners out, or any special occasions will be boring, and I can’t believe that I will not be able to sit outside a sunny bar (on one of the rare sunny days we have in Britain), and enjoy a cold beer, like everyone else can. How will I ever have fun again?
We have a second home by the sea in a beautiful georgian seeside town. Until this decision to quit drinking, we would drive down on a Friday after work, dump our bags and take the dog for a walk via some of the great pubs there, soaking up the Friday evening vibe, with a well earned drink. How will I be able to enjoy this wonderful second home by the sea, if I can’t drink alcohol anymore?
Oh, hell! This is a fantasy, though. I’ll admit that in reality, my husband and I go out for a couple and really enjoy the Friday night vibe, then decide to have another one, then another one, and another one, (you get the picture). Overnight, I will suffer from an inability to sleep, a need to drink gallons of water, be back and forth to the toilet, toss, and turn, and be wracked with guilt about my lack of control (and all the while be suffering from another debilitating headache). I know, with huge regret, that the next day of the weekend, will no longer be the planned fun day out as a family, but a day of suffering where I hopefully can cope until the evening.
I also KNOW at these times that I must give up alcohol forever. Now, this is where I really hate myself. Throughout this suffering on Friday night, I know that in reality I do not have enough control to stop drinking forever. I promise myself that I must fight the urge to buy in more alcohol tomorrow evening. On Saturday evening though, in order to get over my hangover, I will, and experience the same dreadful night and ruin our Sunday. Repeating the drinking again on the Sunday evening, in an attempt to ‘cheer myself up’.
There is no glamour here.
Feeling like death warmed up on Monday (what an awful start to the week), I will promise myself that I will give it up completely; as I did seven days ago. The reality is that I cannot stick to the two drinks that I consider to be ‘normal’. Unfortunately, for me, the couple of drinks in the trendy seaside bar to enjoy the Friday night vibe, deteriorates into a weekend of drinking, recriminations, regret, and survival.
I have been reading ‘The Sober Revolution – Women Calling Time on Wine O’ Clock’ by Sarah Turner and Lucy Rocca. Their description of someone trying to quit an addiction as sometimes wearing ‘rose-tinted spectacles’, is my number one problem. I always relapse by allowing this denial to recall only the ’good times’ and allow myself to believe that these good times with alcohol are critical to my future happiness. I dismiss the disastrous reality.
I persuade myself that next time ‘will be different’, even though I KNOW from experience that it will not be. I am not a lunatic, why would I persuade myself that ‘this time’, this same bad decision will generate a different outcome?
I MUST ignore the denial that is starting to creep in today. Ignore the inner addict who wants me to believe that drinking is the only way to have a good time.
I should never drink alcohol again, it does not bring me ANY joy.