Me and booze don’t go well together, like bunk beds and ceiling fans – the two don’t work, there are always disastrous results, it’s taken me over 1000 hang-overs to realise that I was the drunkest person at every social event I ever attended and that perhaps, my relationship with booze isn't all it's cracked up to be?
Was my perception of myself skewed?
Was I the cool, flirty, confident girl I imagined, sprinkling pickled eggs and hair-free pork scratching’s on to every pub in England? or was I a horrible drunken state, blubbing to a taxi driver before regurgitating kebab onto the floor of his cab?
The latter scenario ring more bells.
I’m fun, the life and soul of the party, propping up a drunken friend with one hand whilst topping up my sparkling wine with the other. I’ve got a joke for every topic and outfit for every occasion. I’m a continual excuse to get wasted, wine o’clock, half past beer or ten to shot. Dry Julys consisted of one day wearing trainers and predictably jogged into a messy don’t remember September. I had my eyes on my watch for 26 years, a News Years Eve countdown every night of the year, sat in my wonky paper hat calculating the minutes until the first pop, fizz or satisfying hiss of bubbles frothing in my glass. Not stopping until I was dropping. Not leaving until I was heaving. Life was roller coaster of ups and downs and I was cruising through with my arms stretched out above my head enjoying the ride.
I’ve never had one lonely gin and tonic, skipped off into the sunset to make homemade pasta and read a book on a windowsill of a loft apartment whilst stroking a moody cat. No. I was retching into a public bin in broad daylight on Brighton seafront having made friends with a tramp called Steve.
I was trapped somewhere between the pub and AA. A Pinot Gris purgatory. Too embarrassed to reach out and too drunk to imagine sobriety. I was lost. Young, dumb and full of rum. Over the years my drinking began to infiltrate my happiness, my champagne lost its sparkle. I became flat. My body felt bloated and poisoned; I began to yearn for change.
I got pregnant at 35, a forced sobriety of 9 months. I saw a different me and I wanted more. Pregnancy allowed me a moments respite from being the driver of a booze powered party bus, destined for the scrap heap, it was time for me grab the wheel and steer the calamity that was me into a nice safe parking bay. Waking up with no memory of the previous day’s exploits with a cut on my chin from a failed swan dive was getting old, I wanted my kids to have positive memories of me, not flashbacks of playdates where I was lying on the ground, groaning, with blood pouring from my chin and telling them
‘Mummy isn’t well’
Not how I wanted to be remembered. A legless legacy best left in the toilet.
I wonder if any other new parents feel like I did, is that the final wake up call? kids? or is it possible to wake up before then? I wish I hadn't wasted so long in bed over the years. Crying into my Vitamin C drink while retching into a washing up bowl.
Note - The photo is me kicking in a TV in the lates 90's after having been up all night stuffing drugs and booze in my face. My feet were bruised the following day. I was pretty fucked up. I thought my the story of this night was funny - I realise now it's not that funny. It's madness. But, I had to kick a few TV's in before the picture became less fuzzy.