Easter. With lockdown there is no discernible difference except that Hubby isn’t on back-to-back conference calls for four whole days and there is an Easter egg for Bambino (who, at 15, doesn’t really care about Easter eggs). Beyond those hardly noticeable differences, things are much the same. We get out every day for our exercise, which in my case is a run every other day and a brisk walk the others. Life in recovery has been the new normal for a long time so not drinking isn’t something that requires any effort as the act itself would now be abnormal. Actually, make that HORRIFYING. A) because I don’t want to, not even a little bit, and B) because it’d mean death – both my own and the death of everything and everyone I love. Well I’d be the one doing the dying and all the rest would be lost. And my loved ones would hurt.
It’s not nice to think about it but sometimes I do ask myself the question. What would it be like if I were still drinking?
I guess to answer this, we’d have to create a hypothetical scenario. I’m shaking my head and chuckling sadly to myself because it’s an unlikely one for tonnes of reason. Firstly, we’d have to assume I was still alive and I just don’t think I would have been. Secondly, we’d also have to imagine that I’d by some miracle managed not to lose my son, my husband, my home and everything else that matters to me. So it’s sort of ridiculous, but let’s try anyway. Let’s say, as unrealistic as all this would be, that I still had those things at least and was still in my home that I share with Hubby and Bambino. It feels like such an unimaginable thought that it pisses me off to continue, but let’s keep going.
I sure as hell wouldn’t be running 6-10k every other day. And I would never have been able to study counselling, much less work at a rehab given I had to be a year sober first. (Have to say here that it feels fucking amazing to mention a time when I was “a year sober” and it’s actually quite a long time ago – incredible!!) The idea that I would have held down the job I had is so preposterous that I can’t bring myself to even pretend. And I know in my heart that those last few years of my drinking I was holding on by the skin of my teeth – that job was the last bastion of any normal existence and I was just a split hair’s distance from having to resort to morning drinking. Where I was at the end was right at the edge. It’s when you tip over that edge that you plunge into those darkest last days of alcoholism, when it goes from severe to chronic.
What would lockdown have meant? With Hubby and Bambino at home? Would I have got to that stage where I’d not even hide it anymore? Besides, it’s not as if I could have. Hm, let’s make this hypothesis even more unlikely than me being alive in the first place. Let’s pretend I was now where I was just before I quit drinking and hadn’t progressed any deeper. Imagine the STRESS!! The stress of getting booze, the stress of trying to make the abnormal seem normal in front of a horrified Hubby and terrified Bambino, the stress of fucking LIVING.
This pandemic and the lockdown with drinking in the mix?!
It makes me sick to even think of it and I don’t want to go on but then on the other hand I think I have to. In a way, I take my horror at even thinking about it as a good sign, but I also do force myself to remember how fucking awful it could have all got. And how it would have ended. Mostly it just pops into my head when I have a shit day or something crappy happens and I feel miserable. It’s then that the thought comes to me without fail and no matter how rubbish everything seems I realise how my worst day sober is still a million times better than my best day drunk. If I were drunk still, there’d be no day to speak of.
This moment would not exist. I’m sitting on the couch and next to me is the man I married, the love of my life. I just turned to him and told him I love him. He’s eating the fajitas I made earlier and through a mouthful told me he loves me too. I feel teary. This moment would not exist. He’s been for a run and is fresh out of the shower. I went for a long walk in the park this morning. We bickered a bit this morning. Normal stuff. Bambino has been on Xbox all day, communicating on there with his mates that he can’t see in person right now. We’ve gone about our day in lockdown and sometimes it drags, sometimes we are irritable but our home is peaceful. Tension never lasts and there are no screaming rows except for the occasional blow-up with Bambino and I when he’s being a little shit bag, but even there it’s stuff that I actually think are just part and parcel of the teenage wars. It’s a beautifully normal life. We’re happy and in a happy there is room for everything else too – we get angry, moody, irritable, sad, mad and all those other things that people feel. But it’s a happy life, even in the midst of a pandemic. It’d be so very different if I was still drinking. This moment, sitting on the couch with my husband, would not exist.
Nor would the moment Bambino came home yesterday have existed. He’d spent a few days at his dad’s. Not ideal to go between two households but there is no way around it. Bambino texted me in the morning asking when I wanted him home. I told him I wanted him home the moment he left. He replied with a crying-with-laughter emoji. When the buzzer went I literally sprinted to it and stood in the doorway watching my beautiful boy come up the stairs, all teenagery and full of swag. He caught my eye half way up where I stood there smiling and I saw how he couldn’t suppress a grin. By the time he was at the top, his eyes glittered and he walked into my mama bear hug, looking as happy to see me as he used to when he was a toddler and had spent time with his dad’s and came back to me. My son was really happy to get home to me. That moment wouldn’t have existed. And I knew it when I held him tight then pulled away as I buried a kiss so hard into his cheek he squirmed and went “mu-UUUM, stop, that’s enough!“. My teenager was so happy to see me he let me hug him and kiss him on the cheek, albeit not for as long as I wanted but still. That moment would not exist. If I were drinking, his eyes wouldn’t glitter joyfully like that. If I were still drinking he probably wouldn’t come home to me at all.
I suppose it applies to everything. My life as it is today – my happy, normal, all-the-emotions-welcome, mostly amazing and once in a while crappy but always peaceful life – would not exist if I was still drinking. These moments would not exist. And this week I began to write that damn book. I set a target of 2,000 words per day, 10,000 words per week based on writing 9-11am Monday to Friday. The word count landed on 18,732. From a life long writer’s block when it came to the book thing it requires more effort NOT to keep writing. I’m on fire with it! Whether it’ll ever come to anything doesn’t matter. The point I’m doing what I love. Finally. And that wouldn’t exist either if I was still drinking. None of these things or moments OR PEOPLE would exist in my life if I was still a slave.
But I’m free.
These moments and everything and everyone in them DO exist. They make up the beautiful journey that is my life. It’s no extraordinary life, just a normal, happy life. But it’s extraordinary to me because I so very nearly lost it all to addiction.
Today I’m not going to drink.