Near the end of last year Mark went away for a weekend in Wellington with his dad and I stayed home to look after the cats.
Quite honestly, I do not know what led me down the path of drinking on the Friday night and I probably does not matter.
Let me go back a bit further. When my dad was dying, I started drinking more than normal to just block things out and to forget and fall asleep. Then we he died, I drank more rather than dealing with my grief. In the years since he died, I started using alcohol when I was stressed or tired or angry. Suddenly, it seemed like a crutch that I no longer wanted or needed.
When asked by my counsellor about it and whether I wanted to stop, I did not truly have an answer. What I can say, is that I felt embarrassed about admitting I potentially had a problem. The thought of giving up alcohol completely did not appeal, so we talked about ‘harm reduction’.
Like many things in my life, I do not seem to be able to just have ‘one drink’ or ‘one biscuit’ and then I go overboard and I wanted to change that.
Back to that fateful Friday night. I think that perhaps I had, had a particularly busy/stressful week at work and just wanted to relax and enjoy my weekend. I had a glass of wine and then another and another. Before I knew it, I was onto my second bottle. Then I got hungry, so I grabbed some pita bread from the freezer and cut up some cheese and put all of this in the microwave. I ate that. I had more wine. Then I repeated this all over again.
Finally, I decided to go to sleep.
I woke up around 1am and felt ghastly and thought to myself, that I could not keep doing this to myself nor keep punishing my body with alcohol and food. Call it an epiphany of sorts. I fell asleep and then woke in the morning with the thoughts still racing through my brain about punishment. From that morning, I did not drink for about 5 weeks. I did not miss it. I did not crave it. I simply stopped.
Since then, I have had no desire to drink. I have had a few drinks at Christmas and when I returned to Wellington and then my mums birthday but that is it. Even now, I do not miss it. I have found that not drinking or ‘harm reduction’ is much easier than I thought. I still want to be able to have a drink and stop at one; for now, it is easier to just have none.
I also thought of all the things that I have given up over the years without a backwards glance like smoking, alcohol, red meat etc. The one thing that I still struggle with is food. However, I do know that this is a problem that I must face and deal with soon and I fear that this will bring up more than I anticipate. Still, as the saying goes “feel the fear and do it anyway”.