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Standing at the precipice

Well. Turns out yesterday was not Day 1.

I came home from work feeling... bereft. I'm certain this was in part due to my plan for alcohol free living. I was tired, hormonal, and probably wobbling due to the effects of last nights prosecco. But I was also feeling overwhelmed at the emptiness of the weekend, and beyond. If I'm not going to spend my evenings relaxing with a glass of Merlot, who even am I and what am I going to do? It almost felt like a burden of responsibility to decide what to DO with this new 'freedom'. And I felt vulnerable without it. Like wine had become a safety blanket, something to snuggle into and hide behind. I'm not sure what I'm hiding from exactly, but I felt exposed at the idea of being long term booze free. The hangover also feeds the need and by the time I went shopping at 9pm, it was a done deal. Who stops drinking on a Friday anyway?

I know that Les feels like I'm making a big deal over nothing. He said I should just cut down. Keep drinking for weekends or only when I go out. But I really can't. I've tried setting myself a ton of rules. Limit myself to half a bottle max. Only drink every other night. Only weekends. Drink lager instead. It sounds ridiculous but all that bargaining with myself, working out what I could 'get away with' or justifying my drinking because, "it's Friday!" or "It's been a difficult day", it's exhausting. I would never describe myself as an alcoholic but drink takes up way more headspace than it should. And what's an alcoholic anyway? Is it someone who drinks all day every day? Or is it someone who isn't fully and easily in control of their consumption?

I've been reading and listening to everything I can get my hands on relating to sober living. Jason Vale's Kick the Drink...Easily busts a ton of assumptions and misconceptions we have about alcohol. He also suggests that there's no such thing as an alcoholic, that all regular drinkers are alcohol addicts, because we require some kind of will power to control our drinking. It's a controversial point which a lot of drinkers will probably disagree with but the book is worth a read.

Clare Pooley's Sober Diaries tracks her journey through sobriety. It's amazing how many people are secretly living with the same feelings I am, but we're all a bit scared or feel silly to admit it. Because drinking is such an integral part of being a grown up. And being a mummy. And it was Clare's blog, Mummy was a Secret Drinker, which led to crying big, fat, hangover, hormonal tears at this blog entry she had shared.

Katie shares a moment when she got chatting to some older women in a shop about her daughter having a sleepover and they recommended she stock up on wine. The child, aged 9, realised that the women were insinuating that the mother would need to get drunk to be able to tolerate the girl and her friends.  How completely crushing for a child to hear that and what would that make them feel about themselves? And we do this all. the. time. There's a million memes about mums needing wine. Glasses, t-shirts even baby gros.

Has it always been this way and I just never realised it until now? I already know my friends are going to eye roll and think I'm a massive bore if I'm not drinking. So I don't want to get all sombre and judgemental over this but we are raising a generation of children who think that their parents can't cope with them, or life, without booze. And if it's true that we can't cope then we need to find a way to fix it don't we?
Something has to change. What's that saying, "Be the change you want to see in the world"? I want to be a positive role model, who has coping mechanisms that don't involve getting trashed. And I never want my children to think I drink because of them.
I'm standing at the precipice. Looking down at the cool, fresh, cleansing water. But the fall is long and frightening; I know that I just need to breathe and jump.


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