Small incentives

I had a craving last night. Mr Red is stressed and under a lot of pressure with work, so he popped out and bought a bottle of red, cracking it open in the kitchen as I was prepping tea with the vague words “you don’t mind do you Honey…?”. Now this wouldn’t usually bother me; over the last few months I’ve discovered that I don’t really like red wine anymore. Strange, after years of drinking it with gusto, but hey. But KAPOWWWW – the sight and smell of it hit me like a truck, and for a second, I really, really wanted a glass. Especially when he offered me a taste and began extolling its delights. Even more so when he nipped upstairs, and I suddenly considered taking a slug from the glass with the thought “well, no- one would know…” marching across my brain.

Strangely though, in those moments, it was as if I was split in two. Part 2 of me said “don’t be daft, you don’t really want it. And once you’ve eaten, the craving will pass”. And also “Yikes,  that’s bloody dangerous thinking!!” about taking the hidden, forbidden sip. So I managed to ride through it fairly easily, recognising it for what it was; my addicty-habit brain falling into old, well-worn patterns.

Once we’d sat down to eat, and talk, sure enough the desire for a drink was gone. And interestingly, Mr Red happily drank his one large glass, and then decided that was enough.

During our meal, we heard the telltale creak of the floor which signals the approach of our little girl. She’s taken to inventing wildly spurious reasons to pop down for one last cuddle, such as “I can’t find PoleyBear, Mummy”, with said stuffed toy clutched firmly under her arm, or “there’s an ANT in my bed!!!” aka a miniscule piece of sock-fluff.

She toddled over and jumped up onto my knee, so, after some cuddles from both me and Daddy,  I carried her back up to bed, and at her request climbed into her little bed with her “for a snuggle”. I lay there for about 15 minutes, whilst she chattered, gave me random kisses (“I kissin all your moles Mummy!”) and she gradually got sleepier, and I almost fell asleep myself. It was lovely – I looked at her beautiful little face, and her huge eyes, and her gorgeous little hand in mine and marvelled at how lucky I am. And I thought about all the times I have been cross and irritable if she wouldn’t settle, desperate to get downstairs for my “me-time”, which meant wine, of course. And then I thought with horror about all the times I’d been inebriated, whilst she and her brothers slept upstairs, and how many times I’d been cross in the night if she’d called out, or more likely not even heard her. And I thought about all the possible consequences of being drunk in charge of small children, of the things that might have happened which I’d have been too pissed to deal with effectively. And then I thought about another mother, from a high-profile case in the UK,  and  I thought about my own mother, who lost a little girl (one whom my own daughter resembles very, very much) at a similarly young age, suddenly, in the middle of the night many years ago. And just for a flash I felt a fraction of how they might feel, day in day out. And I hated myself, was rocked to my core at just how callous and irresponsible I’ve been, and of just how much I’ve taken for granted. I don’t want to feel like that any more. I want to be as proud as I can of my efforts at being their Mummy. And of course, there’s a fairly simple, obvious way I can do that.

Apologies for the overly emotional post today, I needed to write this down so I could hardwire the thoughts and feelings into my memory. Please don’t get me wrong, I was not up for mother of the year award yesterday; in fact I was quite a grumpy bastard at times. This was mostly due to starting my day at 4.30am with a young man who couldn’t sleep due to tonsillitis, whilst I battled my ongoing bloody illnesses. But, I did the best I could  and I had nothing to feel ashamed of.  It’s day 7, I’m pleased with that, and I’m not drinking today.

Red xx



A Birthday Gift

Hello! I’ve been quiet recently. A little bit due to recurring-bloody-illnesses, and massively due to the guilt I’m feeling about drinking again, and about wimping out on friends who are doing the 100 day challenge. Oh, yes, I folded, faster than a shitty cheap deckchair.  As I predicted, once I’d recovered from my last bout of illness, I started to feel better, and decided that it’d be completely impossible to enjoy an evening of friends staying chez-Red without drinking beer.

Then I became ill, yet again, with a bad cold. So I stopped drinking, got a bit better, and then it was my birthday, FFS, how can I possibly enjoy a birthday sober? So I had a large glass of wine with my birthday tea, and once the resolve was utterly shattered, shared a bottle with Mr Red in the garden.  By this point, however, my tonsils had freakishly started swelling up again, almost as if I’ve become allergic to the damned stuff. So at 11pm, on my birthday night, I decided to give myself a gift. I would not drink again, one day at a time.

Giant proclamations about giving up forever, or for 100 days, don’t seem to be working, in fact they seem to send me very quickly running to the bottle. So I’m going to try taking it day by day. See if that sticks a bit longer. I’ve written a list, actually physically written it into a journal. It’s a list of how I feel, and how shambolic my life is, when I’m drinking. If I get the urge to drink, my plan is to look at it, and ask myself if anything has changed/improved. If nothing has got any better, if life’s still constant chaos, and I’m permanently ill, and feeling overwhelmed, then I can drink again if I want to. I know lists are only any good if you remember to read them at the crucial moment. And I’m obviously banking on the fact that my life will improve here. Bit of a gamble, but from my research, the odds are stacked in my favour.

Another surprise birthday boost I received from my eldest son was a display of his maths prowess: “Mummy. Mummy. In eight years, I’ll be twelve!”(pause, for some frantic calculation…) “And that means, in eight years… you’ll be FIFTY!!!!”.

Thanks son. Yes indeed, in 2024, I’ll be 50, with a 12 year old and twin- 10 year olds. Jeeeezus. I’d best stop drinking now, so I can be a fit, strong, healthy, glowing, Elle MacPherson “oh-my-God, she’s-not-really-fifty??”. And not be the tired, overweight, irritable, slightly crazed, embarrassment of a mother that I am now.

Today’s day 4, and despite the fact it’s the first England match of Euro 2016 tonight, I ain’t drinking today.

Love, Red xx