Sometimes paranoia creeps up on me. Like a dense and moist little cloud of anxiety and self doubt that slowly envelopes me until I’m shivery and cold. Right this moment I’m wondering if my “coming out” has a negative effect on people around me. From a purely selfish perspective it was a huge relief to finally say it out loud and a massive weight off my shoulders. By accepting and even embracing it, I was given a chance to recover and get back on my feet. It was pretty much entirely a positive thing for me. Scary, sure, and overwhelming too, but I finally felt full of hope for the future and accepting the problem – aka I’m an alcoholic – was the key. There have been some slightly awkward conversations, because it turns out it’s quite hard to just casually drop into conversation that you’re a roaring drunk. With some people, to date namely my brother D and my mother, I’ve felt really worried that me saying I’m an alcoholic would hurt THEM somehow. I.e. that it’d be too sad for them to bear. I mean, for me the sad bit was when I was drinking and this sober stuff is when life has truly begun, but I worried it’d be much harder for them to accept. Perhaps I felt that way because they are in Sweden and rarely see me and therefore it only became an actual THING when I dropped the A-bomb? Oh, I don’t know.
That’s not quite the bit that has me cold and shivery though. Sure, the temperatures have dropped and it’s wet and windy outside (eek, I’ll be running in this later), but I was thinking of Lopez. She’s one of my best friends but I haven’t seen her since my wedding day as I live in the UK and she lives in Canada. Given we don’t see each other often, I obviously haven’t been able to have any conversation with her about me getting sober. I kind of figured it’d only be good news to her though – I mean, both Lopez and Danish once told me about, oh maybe ten years ago they were worried about my drinking – so I didn’t worry about wrapping it in too much cotton wool like I did with my mum. We usually drop each other an e-mail once in a blue moon so I wrote the usual catch-up stuff and accounted for however many detentions Bambino had that particular week (two) and how great things are at home with hubby (very). Then I just said it, that I’d stopped drinking because it’s a huge problem and I’d had enough. Oh, and that I’m an alcoholic. I think I started with the A-word to be fair. And I thought nothing more of it.
There’s never been a reply though.
Months went by. I sent a happy birthday when Lopez turned 43 in August and she did respond then just to say she’d reply properly soon. But then several weeks passed again. I sent a little message just wanting to check she’s OK but again nothing. And now, when another couple of months have passed, I dropped her another message. I can’t quite imagine it’ll be anything to do with me or stopping drinking, because if it was ME she wouldn’t have been my friend to begin with and if it was the drinking surely she’d like me better now I’m sober and especially as she was one of the people around me who were worried about my boozing. Dunno, but I suppose I’ll eventually find out.
Then there’s my dad, who was absolutely delighted to hear I’d stopped drinking but over the past few months he’s not been sending the usual Friday text message that goes to me and my brothers: “have a good weekend my little ones“. And he doesn’t seem to call me as often lately either. Actually, typing this out helps because I see how ridiculous I’m being. I’m going to call dad this evening and if Lopez doesn’t respond in the next week I’ll just sort of ask somehow. I suspect I’ve been taking a little swim in the narcissistic pond (perhaps even the one Narcissus was admiring his own reflection in) again and making things about me-me-me when in fact there’s none of that.
Today I’m not going to drink.