It’s Saturday morning here in gloomy Ireland, and I’m yet again up at the crack of dawn ready to start my day. I find when I’m ‘not drinking’ – I’ve gone through stints of not drinking before, but slipped back into my old habits – I am much more productive, and energised, and awake. I exercise with the same enthusiasm as I exude when I drink. I can’t do things by halves.
Today I feel like talking about the other times I tried to stop drinking, but first I feel like I want to talk about my first experience in a bar since I stopped drinking, which was last night. Spoiler alert: I didn’t drink.
So yesterday evening, as I was travelling home from work, all I could think about was how much I would love a drink. Forget all my worries, zone out, feel that lovely wine buzz in my head. I don’t know if I would have been able to resist if I’d walked straight into a pub at that moment. I was to go to a play with my mother last night, and didn’t have much time to get ready when I got home. I live where I work during the week and come home at weekends as my friends, family and boyfriend mostly all still live in my hometown. We were meeting a friend at the theatre 5 minutes before the show started, but while I was getting ready, about 35 minutes before the show was due to start, my mother told me that she was calling a cab. I was confused as our house is not far from the theatre, and I had dinner cooking in the oven. I asked her could we just wait for a few more minutes because I needed to eat (I was STARVING), and besides, we didn’t have to be there for at least 25 minutes to half an hour. Her response? “I want to have a glass of wine, before the show starts”. And two minutes later, the cab pulls up in the garden. I hadn’t eaten, and I was furious at her.
My mother definitely has a drinking problem, and is in denial about it. She’s a high functioning drinker; she doesn’t really binge, but it’s a rare occasion to see her more without a glass of wine in her hand after 9pm. I have seen her hammered before but she’s managing to keep her shit together for the most part, and nobody would ever guess. I know though, because I’ve seen how defensive she gets about her ‘deserving’ her glasses of wine in the evening and ‘how dare we’ question it. We’ve fallen out over it before, and my brother and sister, as well as my father are fully aware that there is something wrong but nothing’s ever changed. As my father said to me after myself and my mother once fell out after I tried to broach the subject of her drinking “she’s not harming anyone but herself. She still loves us, takes care of us, and leads a normal life. She just can’t give up her wine. I’ve talked to her about it countless times, she’ll only do it when she wants to”.
And to be fair, she is a great mother. She’s loving and sensitive and she would do anything for us. And her drinking doesn’t stop her from doing what she needs or wants to do. It’s just her need for wine every evening that frightens me. It disgusts me. It makes me sick that despite her whole family expressing concern that she won’t even listen to our (non confrontational) concerns. How hypocritical is that? But maybe I do have something to thank her for – she taught me what I drinking problem looks like. Even though she is a daily drinker, and I am a binge drinker, the premise is still the same.
So anyway, we get into the cab and I’m furious. If my life were a cartoon there would have been steam coming out of my ears. She tells me in a hushed voice not to be grumpy with her. I tell her that it makes me sick that I couldn’t even eat my dinner because she couldn’t wait until the interval to have a glass of wine. (This was most likely half jealousy, given my desire to drink only about an hour beforehand)
So we got to the theatre anyway, and I had a water. She had some of her wine and saved the rest for the interval, and our friend ordered drinks for us all for the interval (water for me). The play was great. At the interval I had to rush to the bathroom, but I am pretty sure that my mother managed to drink almost two glasses of wine in those 15 minutes.
Afterwards, there was a suggestion of going for a drink, and a dig about “spoilsport (me) ruining our fun by having to get up early”. I told them I had no problem with joining them, I just wouldn’t be drinking. So I did. They had two drinks each, I had soft drinks, and I had a fantastic time. We had lovely conversation, and I had no desire to drink their wine. I didn’t even really think about it. When I saw two drunk girls singing loudly on their own and stumbling around the empty dancefloor of the disco bar I thanked my lucky stars that I wasn’t them. After we saw the two stumbling girls, we decided to call it a night. I was exhausted and happy. Despite the argument with my mother before the play, I had a great time. I didn’t think about wine really at all, despite it being all around me. I think my disgust at my mother puts me off wine. She makes me want to stay sober forever. Thanks, mum.
Well, I hadn’t expected to talk so much about my mother in this post, so I think my initial idea of talking about my previous attempts at sobriety will have to be put on the back burner for now. I’ve got stuff to do!
Day 13. Let’s hope it’s not an unlucky one.
Planning an early morning jog with a friend tomorrow just in case.