It’s amazing what a good dose of sunshine can do. It can burn a pale Swedish person to a crisp for one, but I was prepared and was covered head to toe with SPF 30 so have escaped the hottest early May Bank Holiday weekend on record with just a smattering of freckles and a tinge of rosy skin across my cleavage. Not that you can see said cleavage – I’m at work and even if I weren’t I don’t tend to have the girls out much in public. I don’t know if I ever consciously hide them and I often think low cut tops look really great, but any time I wear one I feel really conscious. I’m a funny old creature, sometimes I can’t work myself out. I mean, what I just wrote there: “I feel really conscious”. Do I not like my bubbies? Yes, I do. In fact I’d go as far as to say I love them. I think they are a really good pair in all aspects and wouldn’t want to change them. So that’s not the issue. I don’t like to wear short skirts either despite how I like my legs. Why? I think it just comes down to comfort – as much as there is a Carrie Bradshaw deep inside me (minus the whining) you’ll rarely catch me in high heels or dresses. I honestly feel my sexiest in a pair of jeans, tank top and flipflops. Or my most relaxed is perhaps more accurate and sexy comes from that. Anyway, any time I try to tart myself up a little I just end up feeling a bit uncomfortable and restricted.
So today is day 105 of sobriety. According to my app this translates to three months, 15 days, ten hours and 20 minutes. I think I set it from midnight on 23rd January. 23rd January wasn’t the last day I drank. Nor was the 22nd. It was the 21st, but the 23rd is the important date to me because that was the day I knew in my heart that I was done with booze and the decision was made. No more hesitating or half way solutions (that never worked anyway) but facing the problem head on and aiming to solve it. I don’t like counting because it places so much focus on it and I loved how I almost missed my three-month anniversary of being sober because not drinking has become my new NORMAL. Still, at the same time I think it’s worth celebrating each hour of living the life I was once on course to destroy.
Have I solved it and got it all sussed? No, don’t think so. I say that because I don’t think it’s something that can be solved. I’m an alcoholic and I will always be an alcoholic – that’s the problem and that will never go away, hence by default it cannot be solved. There is no way I could suddenly drink like a non-alcoholic, it’s not like I’ll get to some magic number of days abstinent and be cured. I did hear of this thing called the Sinclair Method or similar and it is, apparently, quite literally a pill you take and hey presto you can drink alcohol like a normal person. Who knows, perhaps it does work but to be honest it seems irrelevant. I suppose if sobriety was awful and I hated it, I’d be keen to find a way to be able to drink normally but I’ve honestly never felt better so there seems to be little point in adding in something back into my life – even in “sensible” quantities – that nearly destroyed me. So it’s a moot point for me. The solution for me is much simpler than prayers, meetings or pills – it just involves not drinking alcohol. And so long as that feels as good and as natural as it has so far, I will be eternally grateful.
We watched a documentary at the weekend by Louis Theroux. I love Theroux, I really love his style and have seen many of his documentaries so was quite happy to see he’s made one about alcoholism – Drinking to Oblivion – and immediately wanted to watch it. Looking it up, it’s from 2016, so despite being a Theroux fan I had completely missed it. Anyway. It follows in particular three alcoholics and they are at that stage I’ve heard people talk about in AA meetings and I finally saw for myself what that looks like. I mean, the people I hear tell those stories are now sober and for the most part look healthy and clean and come across as smart and together people, so it’s sometimes hard to imagine. But this was seeing it. One guy in particular, completely ravaged by booze and desperate for help to detox – help to LIVE – yet equally desperate for another bottle of vodka. It was grim to say the least and a potent reminder for me to see the place where I was once headed.
It made me think about what a truly magnificent documentary you could make about alcoholism. Theroux’s documentary showed where it lands you sooner or later (true to the title it does show oblivion) but it would be so good to see the other parts too, all the stations you pass before you end up at the destination. The chaotic binge drinking teenager. The functioning alcoholic who follows. And then the decline. The part when you hit rock bottom is shocking and absolutely necessary to show, but I wish there was another documentary that showed the rest of us, including those of us who didn’t quite destroy everything and got out sooner. It’s still not a pretty picture but it’s one of hope, no? I mean, had I watched it say, three years ago, I would have pointed to it as proof that I’m not alcoholic! But a documentary can’t possibly show every angle, every aspect or cover every view and as a view into what severe alcoholism looks like it definitely served its purpose, and whilst it would possibly only have served for Sophie of a few years ago to keep drinking because she is “not like that”, it made Sophie of now feel grateful that she wasn’t in that hospital bed knowing it wasn’t far off.
Perhaps that’s the book I need to write. A book about being a drunk. The bummer of course is that I spent a fair many hours in black-out and it’s pretty damn hard to account for time you have lost and I suspect my lost hours are probably the funniest ones. Not for me – losing time is horrifying – but in all its tragedy it’s almost a bit of comedy trying to piece it all together. I do remember both feeling intense shame and giggling at the same time when I had to play detective to figure out my own movements.
I saw Sparks in the park over the weekend! Given I haven’t been to AA for weeks, I’ve not seen her and she was as, well, sparkly as ever. I was genuinely so glad to see her and she seemed well. Asked of course if I’m getting to meetings and I confessed I’d not been since I picked up my two-month chip. I honestly don’t know why AA didn’t click for me, there were just so many things that didn’t sit right for me. Perhaps I’ll go to one this week and see if I still feel the same way.
Well, there we are. 105 days. Today I’m not going to drink.