I have been saying this to myself all week. This is the first thing I think when I wake up, as I count, as I say this time it will change, this time it is the start to the rest of my life. Most mornings it makes me smile, but a couple of mornings I have had to repeat it over and over until I think yes, yes it is.
So what happened? Why am I back here? For the past 13 months I have been giving up drinking, giving up on giving up drinking, then giving up drinking again. To be honest I have largely been ok with this pattern, because I am sure that eventually, at some point, I will succeed and all of this will be behind me. My attempts have pretty much consisted of a pattern of one week off then one week binge, or two weeks off then one weeks binge etc etc. I have so far taken that as better than just drinking drinking drinking. This does not mean, however, that I am happy with the current situation. I have a week or so off, got through the usual fidgetty few days through to the calm, and then I start to think fuck it, I just want a glass of wine, surely I can have a glass of wine… I just need to restrict my drinking…. fucking “just”. There is no just for me, it’s a NO glass of wine, and I know it, I just need to apply the strength to hold that and maintain it, for the rest of my life.
Last Friday, this time last week, was the staff Christmas party at work. It was a fantastic night, a lot of fun, with everyone laughing and happy, dancing and drinking, everyone was still talking about it 5 days later. It really was a fantastic night. There was lots of drinking.. lots and lots of drinking, me of course included. Then the few stragglers who were left declaring it was time to go into town and have a dance started to leave, me included, and once we started walking I realised that my legs weren’t really working or following instructions from my brain, they were crissing and crossing and I was swerving and bumping into walls. I could hear my head just thinking step step trying to gain some control of my body, my vision was tunnelled, and the people in front of me seemed distant, and like they were increasingly getting further away. I had gone too far, I was annihilated, barely functioning. In my head all I could think was fuck, I really had no idea how I was going to get myself out of this. The face of a kind workmate came into my view “how are you getting home Jo?” – she had obviously taken the direct route to ‘it’s time for you to go home’. “I don’t know, I’ve missed the bus, I’ll get some money out, get a cab’ (this would have cost me around $60, my inability to catch the bus on time as I was too busy buzzing on drinking was going to cost me dearly). She rang a friend of hers, who agreed to drive me home for only $20, she helped me get money from the money machine, she stayed with me until the car came and I was safely on my way home. “I am so embarrassed” I said to her “don’t be, we all do this sometimes” Without her to save me I’m not sure what I would have done. I got home, paid the friend, all I wanted to do was get inside, tell my husband I had gone too far, I stumbled, I fell, I landed on my butt and sat there looking surprised, not knowing how I had suddenly ended up in that place. I got myself up, and holding on to the fence posts, edged my way to my gate and the front door.
This entire experience has left me mortified. I am a private and fairly controlled person, and that night I not only lost it to the point of no return, I lost it publicly. This has happened before, on one level or another (although most of my drinking tends to be private to hide this kind of thing) – this time though a switch flipped. The next day I thanked my workmate for saving my bacon, she was really lovely about the whole thing with a it happens to everyone, it’ll be me that needs saving next time, but this can no longer happen to me. I have had enough, I really really have. The next day I woke up and said to myself this is the first day of the rest of my life. This is not how my story will end.