All my blogs are honest. This is particularly so. It's taken some heart-searching, but I'm writing it because it might ring true for you too.
I became teetotal at eighteen, after three years of underage drinking. Not serious drinking: more for the look of it than anything, but my soon-to-be husband was teetotal. It was an easy decision and – for as long as the marriage lasted - alcohol was not a part of my life.
Single again, in my early thirties, there was no reason to be teetotal. I enjoyed drinks with my friends. I got a little tiddly and suffered the occasional hangover; but drinking was only ever a social activity.
Motherhood changed that.
Some women love being mothers and enjoy every moment. I found coping with my daughter, and then two daughters, the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. It didn't help that my episodes of depression were becoming more frequent and more severe.
I started to have a glass of wine in the evening, just before their bath time, to get me through that nightly routine. And then another while I cooked dinner. And then another with dinner. And then another during the evening.
At one point the thought of drinking a bottle of wine a day would have horrified me. It's frighteningly easy how soon it becomes the norm. How soon, to salvage your self-respect, you switch to spirits, because it doesn't seem like you're drinking quite so much. Then you find yourself getting up from your computer late at night and stumbling up to bed, drunk. You find waking up in the morning with a thick and muzzy head is your new normal.
As my bi-polar became worse and worse, I drank more and more. I started hiding alcohol in my office. I would sometimes drink during the day.
I found I was having to lie on medical forms because my weekly consumption of alcohol was about five times the recommended maximum.
And – at some point - I realised I had a problem.
I enrolled with the Alcohol Counselling service provided by my GP, and that helped me cut down – temporarily. But they work to get you to give it up completely, and I still wanted to drink. Just not as much.
Now that medication is controlling my bi-polar rollercoaster, I can't use it as an excuse to drink.
I started to work on the reasons why I drank to excess, and to put those right, and to stop drinking completely for a while.
So far, I have only made it for a week at a time, but thankfully, my blips have been small ones. I had one such blip last night. Waking up this morning tired, lethargic, unmotivated and generally "meh", made me realise how much better I have been feeling without the alcohol.
The price for drinking is too high. I don't want to pay it anymore.
I guess that means I'm teetotal again.
Well, that's the plan anyway.
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