First day back at work

Well the good news is that the family lunch wasn’t too bad. The champagne glasses were produced when we arrived, so it was good I’d come armed with my bottle of pink Schloer. My refusal of a drink was greeted with consternation but I stuck to my resolve when my mum said but surely you can have one glass? I said I think I’ve had enough over the last few days. I did feel a bit bad only because they’d gone to real trouble to throw me a birthday party but I was fully there and present rather than either trying to get drunk and being thwarted by rationing, or counting the minutes until we could leave so we could go home and get on with serious business of drinking.

My birthday present from my sister was a large frame print of my sisters and I when were aged about 7 (me), 5 and 3. So what happened to that sweet little 7 year old along the way that turned her into the stressed out, 40 year old dysfunctional drinker? That’s probably speculation for another day.

So back to work today after a week off. I’m worried about handling the stress without the reward of a gin and tonic or three waiting for me when I get home. But driving in without a hangover this morning was another radical new feeling, and I certainly felt more energised and ready to face whatever was awaiting me. I’m only in two days this week though, as I’ve got minor surgery for wide line excision of my malignant melanoma on Wednesday. Not sure how I’m going to cope with that without a glass of wine to greet me when I get home.

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Waking up without a hangover

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Wow. First time in so long that I’ve woken up on a Saturday morning without a hangover. I think the last time might have been about two years ago but I’m not sure, and it certainly wasn’t the ‘norm’. I felt so happy and proud of myself.

Bad news is I took Syndol (paracetamol and codeine) last night to help me sleep. So confession number 2 is not only have I been drinking too much, but every night I take two Syndol to a) ward off the hangover and b) help me sleep. a and b are obviously related! Whilst I woke up hangover-free yesterday I had a niggling headache all day. I know this is my poor body trying to get rid of the toxins but I was drained by the time I went to bed and just wanted to sleep. Which ironically didn’t happen very quickly because the tablets weren’t mixed with the alcohol. The aim of course is to wean myself off these too but I can’t do everything all at once. I’m sure I should try but I really can’t.

So today we’re going to see family for a post-birthday lunch. Family includes my mother who last time we stayed with her she refused to serve red wine with Sunday lunch because “we’d had enough”. Oh I was so angry that we went to the pub that afternoon and I had three large glasses of red wine. That showed her – not!

It also includes my sister who last time I saw her got drunk with me and then kindly relayed a conversation she’d had with my mum about me drinking too much. So grateful for that honesty – not!

So I’m nervous about how to handle the conversation as I’m sure they’ll be bringing out the fizz for my birthday and expecting me to drink.

I’ve discussed today with my husband and we’re just going to say that it is my turn to drive. It is too early for me to go public and I haven’t found the right words yet. I’m not even sure myself what I’m doing yet. Am I giving up for a month, a year, or forever?

Surviving Day One

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I didn’t drink yesterday. It wasn’t hard but it wasn’t easy either. There was half a bottle of prosecco open in the fridge all day. My husband drank it in the evening. I had fizzy elderflower in a champagne glass. Having to give up using my lovely glasses seems a step to far. I battled with myself all evening… Do I really need to do something to dramatic as give up alcohol… Surely if I try harder I can not drink during the week and still have a nice time at the weekend…?

But one of the things that’s been despressing me is that I spend my weekends either drunk or hungover. By the time Sunday evening comes around I’m so depressed at wasting another weekend that I open another bottle of wine and so the vicious circle continues. Needless to say my Mondays at work are definitely not productive.

Another birthday present arrived yesterday – more wine glasses. I smiled less at this yesterday, probably because I wasn’t drinking bucks fizz for breakfast unlike the day before. So today I need to put away my birthday presents as their presence is taunting me. See what your friends all think of you? When they think of you they think of alcohol, of people being drunk, of people indulging themselves. Is my life really work, alcohol, and exercise to off-set the effects of the alcohol? Sadly I already know the answer to that question.

Finding some comfort reading the sobriety blogs, while a little voice whispers to me… don’t worry, you’re not the same as them… you don’t have to give up forever… just try for a year, or maybe a few months if it gets too boring or sad… I think keeping reading them will be a good idea. Maybe I can steal some of their resolve to keep me going. Falling at the first hurdle will be too devastating to bear. I am of course more like them than I care to admit right now.

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Birthday presents

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Yesterday was my 40th birthday. I am now 40 years old. It doesn’t seem real, and yet it is. I got lots of lovely presents. My main presents from friends involved alcohol: afternoon tea with gin, a set of wine glasses, a bottle of prosecco, a bottle of good sauvignon blanc, a chocolate gift shaped like a bottle of champagne and some beautiful Emma Bridgwater champagne glasses. Oh and a door sign from my Aunt which says “shhh… hangover in progress!” I greeted these gifts with a sense of irony and a tiny bit of sadness. My friends and family know me well. But they don’t know that my birthday present to myself is that I’m going to give up drinking for a year, as from today. So those bottles of gorgeous wine will not be drunk by me… not until my birthday next year… and even then, well we’ll see.

God it’s embarrassing though. When my friends think of me they think alcohol. I must be doing the right thing. I really want to show them that they’re wrong – that alcohol does NOT define me anymore.

I’m so excited to have made this decision, even as I lay awake half the night while my body tried desperately to process all the alcohol I consumed yesterday. The self-loathing was still there, but tempered with the very real knowledge that I believe I’m going to be able to do this.

This blog will be my way of charting my journey. It doesn’t matter if no one ever reads it, but it matters to me that I write it. That I get back in touch with who I am and who I want to be. That I remind myself how much I used to love writing. And that I have an outlet for sharing where I’m up to and how I’m doing.

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