Updated: Jan 29, 2020
Being a sober parent is new. It's only been a year.
Everything is new. I am new.
My lean to, my support throughout my parenting life so far has been alcohol. After a long boring day, shopping for groceries, cleaning and cooking, drinking was my relief. I deserved it. I'd earned it.
'Lets open a bottle of wine and relax' 'The kids are in bed' 'This is our time to unwind'
This is my time. The first glass rolled through my body, into my bloodstream, flattening out any bumps, easing any stress. Drinking was my only way of numbing out. Freeing myself from motherhood.
I remember the first time, less than one year ago, the first time I stopped myself from reaching out for my reliable, bottled, social worker. The kids had been twats all night. (kids are twats a lot people!) Not eating dinner, demanding the yellow cup instead of the Minions one. Sticking beads up their noses and refusing to go to bed. Once they were down, after a grapple and a story, I walked into the kitchen and automatically opened the fridge in search of my reward. The light inside lit up a nice fresh bottle sitting in the side door. I reached down and my hand made contact with the condensation that trickled down its curvy body. I lifted it out and put it on the kitchen counter. Then remembered I had quit drinking. Fuck it!.
I considered what this meant. How would my night differ? With wine I would have drunk it too quickly then opened a second then woken up in the night with palpitations and fear of death. Yes, that first glass may have eased some of the days turmoil. but the long term result, because I never stop, is a loss of my mental equilibrium, my balance would be off for days. Wonky. But I had never learnt another way, a different way of coping. Not drinking had never been an option. I paused.
I put the bottle back in the fridge and felt proud. I took the edge off my shitty day without help. it was as simple as not drinking it. I boiled the kettle and made myself a cup of tea. I remembered that drinking is not my merry friend, it is not a way of feeling better. Hearing the bottle clink against the jars of jam as I slid it back into the fridge felt like getting off a merry go round and watching from the side lines. Calm. no chaos. Tea. No wine. Sleep no panic. The choice is hard but it takes no time, habits are difficult to break but I successfully negotiated with my enemy in my brain. I paused and played out my options, quickly played out the positives and negatives. Deciding to not open the wine is the right thing to do. For me, it' always the right ting to do.
I realise whilst the sound of the kettle wails that 'taking the edge off' is not real, it's an excuse a way of allowing me to drink and not deal with things - that edge is life.
Learning to deal with the edginess of life face on, rather then half cut, is living.
Not being hung over for my children is living.
I sip my tea.
Feeling pride is better than feeling drunk...... who knew??
Pic - Thats my stumpy finger - I blew it off with a firework on the millennium night. Yes, I was fucking hammered and no, I will never play the piano again.