PART 1 – My journey to sobriety. Dicing with death.
In October I completed Sober October.
In November I completed Bender November.
Sober October resulted in the most pissed-up November on record – I basically just postponed all my social activities in October and moved them to November. Christmas came and went in a haze of Prosecco, wine, port, sherry, a shit load of Gin and the odd Baileys. Now we are in May and I can’t recall a weekend of no boozing this year so far.
Bank Holiday Weekend – 04-07 May 2018
I’ve nearly killed myself twice this weekend.
– Saturday I jumped out of plane from 10,000 feet.
– On Sunday I tripped over a brick in the garden with a wine glass in my hand – landed in a heap on the floor, smashed the wine glass and sliced my neck open an inch from my Jugular. I have no idea what I tripped on. I was drunk. I don’t actually remember doing it – I woke up this morning, head banging, in one of the hubby’s tee shirts, covered in blood with Malbec-stained teeth and a mouth like the bottom of a parrot’s cage.
Mr T enlightened me with the details – in the usual way – that look half way between disappointment and concern. I open my eyes to the same question from him most weekends “do you remember what happened last night?”. I know it’s not going to be good.
The familiar feeling of terror courses through my veins – heart beats a bit faster – no idea what I’m about to be told but I know by his question and its delivery that it ain’t gunna be fucking pretty. Sometimes I breath a sigh of relief when he fills me in because it’s a little bit funny and we laugh about it. Like that time, at his annual work’s summer BBQ when I thought it was appropriate under the influence of a shit load of cheap plonk, to plonk myself of the CEO’s knee and tell him my very honest views on the way I thought he ran his business – going into detailed comparisons with the a number of scenes from The Firm – that film starring Tom Cruise. Iain had only started working for the company a matter of weeks before.
Then there are other incidents – for instance, the episode not so long ago when I was punched in the face by the girlfriend of some chap in a local bar/club. The young man in question was wearing a rather nice Trilby and a pair of rather cool black-rimmed glasses and after several cocktails, wine with dinner, another cocktail, a shot of some nature, and the Verve Cliquot that I was swigging from the bottle (I like to buy the expensive stuff when I’m out of it – fuck knows why, I never remember) I thought it would be a great idea to whip them both off his head and prance round the club like the dickhead that I am. Of course at the time, I probably though I was the fifth member of Little Mix. The much older fifth member. Like 15 years older.
Whilst being punched at 38 is nothing to be proud of, it’s the not being able to remember that mortifies me the most. I don’t remember this incident at all. I woke up with a huge bruise above my eye, assuming I’d fallen over somehow, only to be told by one of the mums at school who I was out with that I had in fact been punched in the head by someone’s girlfriend after refusing to return the chap’s personal belongings. I was removed from the club and thrown in a taxi by my two (relatively new) girlfriends who I had ‘gone out for a quiet meal’ with, only to end up in a club full of twenty-somethings. These ladies are also fellow mums from the wonderful, middle-class village school that my son attends.
Of course some husbands would be mortified by the idea of their wives parking themselves on the big boss’s knee at a work’s do, or dancing on tables in a semi-quiet pub and refusing to get down until being threatened with being kicked out. Or ‘borrowing’ people’s spectacles, hats – anything really.
But Iain fell in love with me because of my good-time-girl approach to life. The ladette in me. My fun and free side.
My ability to drink like a bloke and party like a rock star. My cracking one-liners and filthy mouth. I was the life and soul of any party. His mates either love me or hate me – those that hate me, regularly tell him that he needs to ‘seriously reign me in’.
Those mates that like me do so because of my crazy side. But it’s really only Mr T who has seen the true extent of all the combined craziness over the last 10 years, and the aftermath that follows. And for some reason, his still continues to want to be married to me!
Mr T fell in love with me when I was 26, single, child-free. A year in, we travelled the world together for 11 months. We got pissed every single day for 300 days. Now I’m 38, mummy to two children. I own and run my own business. So this is the start of my journey to stop drinking. Completely I think. Because I can’t moderate. I can’t have just one glass of wine. I can go all week without a single drink but then Thursday comes and so does the wine. And it flows – quite liberally – let’s get fucking real here – there’s no ‘quite’ about it. It flows like chuffing Niagara Falls and if it runs out I have Sainsburys right across the road, open until 11pm, so I can get more.
There are all sorts of factors that contribute towards my drinking that I’ll talk about throughout this process – please don’t judge me. A big part of it IS just habit though.
I don’t know how to socialise without wine. I don’t know how to have fun without a G&T in my hand. I drink when I’m stressed, when I want to reward myself, when we are celebrating. But it never stops at ‘just the one’.
Since the birth of my second child Ferne who is very nearly four, I’ve been on anti-depressants for anxiety and post natal depression. Of course it doesn’t help that my social anxiety seems to disappear as soon as I crack open a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. But it’s these little pills that now result in me blacking out if I drink too much. And it’s one thing me making an absolute twat of myself on regular occasions, but it’s a whole different ball game when I’m putting myself, a 38-year old professional mother of two, at risk because I zone out for hours, sometimes only zoning back in when I wake up the next morning…
Last night was a wake-up call and I am holding myself accountable for what could have been a much more serious situation had that glass shard have caught my neck just an inch to the left. I’m doing this for my children – they shouldn’t have to see their mummy pissed up, clutching a towel at her throat trying to stop the blood flow. Or their mummy on the sofa asleep at 6pm on a Sunday night because she drank too much plonk whilst cooking Sunday dinner… or much worse – God forbid – never see mummy again at all.
I’m doing this for my health. For my business. For my family who I’m constantly trying to convince that I haven’t got a problem. My mum who regularly reminds me that ‘never in a million years, would she have acted like I do at my age’. Well I have a problem, and it’s time to deal with it. And I’m going to post a lot about this journey, however long it takes, because I know by holding myself accountable to others, that this is the only way out of this habitual mind-set. Along with a little help from the professionals along the way.
If you are in a similar position to me, and I know I’m not alone here, far from it, then I hope my journey to sobriety helps you too.
If I can do this, anyone can. I’ll definitely be jumping out of more planes though that’s for sure, no amount of alcohol can compete with the feeling of freefalling 10,000 foot above earth from a plane. And if I can do this, anyone can. Lyndsey x PS – Enjoy the photos. At the time, I thought most of these were hilarious, now I’m just cringing. What a twat.
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I’m a primary school teacher and I’m a mum to a beautiful, bright and bubbly six-year-old. I witness the ups and downs of wellbeing in children every day. Every parent faces the same dilemma – how to ensure the wellbeing of our children – particularly from a mental health perspective in a world that is more pressured than ever in more ways than one.
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