It’s a snow day here in Ireland, a huge Arctic storm that has incurred a red weather warning and is due to last for three days. The highest warning we have. It doesn’t seem all that frightening as I look out to the beautiful vast blankets of white enveloping our home.
It’s a very rare occasion that I get to stay at home for a duvet day with my family. All in all I’m feeling pretty damn good!
I haven’t had a drink in 10 days and I still haven’t had a cigarette (although chocolate seems to be my new vice but I’ll forgive myself for that for now!)
Today is the kind of day that I would normally have used as the perfect excuse to have a drink. I mean we never get snow, let alone time off work and school together outside of holidays.
A large glass of red against the backdrop of glistening white snow and a crackling fire, I can almost taste it…but not today!
Playing in the snow is not something I enjoyed before, in my drinking days I would have been too busy watching the time go by and hoping that someone might suggest we have a drink! This suggestion would never come from me, I wouldn’t allow it. Once it was somebody else’s idea I didn’t have a problem or at least nobody would think I did!
The hours would tick by, my head filled with planning, plotting, waiting and watching. What a miserable existence I was leading, I see it more clearly every day now.
We visited relatives that live close by and built snowmen, threw snowballs with the kids, had lunch and lots of hot coffee. It was a brilliant and exhilarating day but I knew the conversation would move to alcohol at some point.
We discussed an upcoming family wedding and my husband pointed out that I wouldn’t be drinking. The questions came quick and fast..why not? What’s wrong with you? Are you crazy? Omg are you pregnant!???
I found myself scrambling for answers that would be considered acceptable…I’m watching my weight, it just makes me want to smoke and I’ve been doing so well!
The wine comes out with lunch. My mind starts to play tricks on me. The voice inside my head is shouting at me now..just have one, you don’t have a problem, it would be so nice to enjoy a glass with them, go on, just the one won’t hurt you. You really don’t need to give it up altogether!
I’m getting agitated and I want to go home. I go to the bathroom and breathe.
It’s the first time I remember consciously refusing a drink. It’s the first time in the past 10 days I’ve come up against this. It was a test and I passed. I’m secretly elated and proud as we leave and I realise that this is really only the beginning.
We visit my sister on the way home and again the conversation turns to me not drinking. She jokes that I’m boring and I need to get out more, after all its really nice to go out for a few drinks and apparently I should do it more. Just a few and then home she suggests..that would be great I think to myself BUT I’ve never really been able to have just a few….
I’m deflated again, am I really boring? Am I thinking too much into this? Am I just being silly? Will I ever have a social life again?
I’m angry and frustrated and I recall something I read recently that has stuck with me and tell my husband over dinner. “why is it that alcohol is the only drug that we have to justify not taking?!…. He thinks about it and says your right, imagine somebody asking why your not snorting cocaine or smoking heroine!
We laugh and he heads out to meet his friends for a pint. I feel as if I have been drowning in alcohol today even though I haven’t had a drop.
I finish my final college assignment and celebrated alone with an episode of Greys Anatomy and a glass of tonic water infront of the fire. I look back on the day and hope that it won’t always be so much of a battle to say NO. After all I’m not an alcoholic, am I???
Sober Day 10