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February


Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? Saturday February 7, 2015

OK. Here we go. Today I'd like to talk about the deep, dark murk of alcohol.

I was already depressed when I thought alcohol was my answer to lifting me out of the dungeon. It was neatly dressed as a sunny, summer garden, and danced into my 6pm winter-dark kitchen, disguising its real self... another dungeon.

I had moved house twice in the same year, was two weeks into the second house move, just before Christmas, juggling a toddler and two new babies. I was on my knees with tiredness and I felt so lonely with my other half travelling almost permanently. I was living on adrenalin for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In answer to my desperation, my other half said "have a gin & tonic" and that was that. It may as well have been a punch in the face.

From that moment, and over the next decade, I went from someone who almost never drank to someone who once groggily roused, face down on the kitchen floor at 2am surrounded by a kitchen full of tea-time dishes and half made soup, tear-stuck tissues in my hands and music attacking my ears. Luckily, my cheer-me-up parties would wait until bedtime stories were complete and foreheads had been kissed. Luckily, that face down event was the result of a relatively small amount of alcohol compared with the sufferer who drinks from dawn. But the intention was the same. Block it all out, numb yourself, run, hide, put your fingers in your ears and sing 'lalalalala'.

I can now trust myself with alcohol again, but in a very, very controlled way. I worked at it very slowly over an eighteen month period. I changed my routine and all my life habits to ones which were clean. I am still extremely careful about where I will go and who I will be with, or not with. I recognise that getting to the heart of me is like peeling an onion. My layers come off with many tears and it can nip like hell, but if I don't then who am I?

I'm not here to admit all my sins. I haven't admitted them all to myself yet. But I am here to highlight that alcohol and depression are often inextricably linked. Chicken and egg. If you recognise yourself in here somewhere, accept that you will never conquer one without addressing the other.

Who are you?
Who do you want to be?
You are change.

Much love from

The room above the garage.
A Moodscope member.


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Comments

Hopeful One Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 6:57am

Hi RATG-Oh my word! You have been dragged backward through the hedge but hey you are still here,stood up and fighting. You are right alcohol and drink are common bedfellows but dare I say toxic.I avoided that mainly because I prefer to be sober rather than blotto.Alcohol is not the answer and never will be .It only defers the ultimate reckoning with oneself.I too am careful with who I go with and who I will be with.In my case to avoid the "pull your socks up" or the "snap out of it " brigade who have no clue about depression.I have three categories to pigeonhole them picked from a lovely book by Russell Hoban called "Ridley Walker".They are Trobba ( Trouble)No Trobba and Trobba Not.I try and stick with the No Trobba.I was about to say "Cheers" but on second thought I better not!

Sarah Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 7:24am

Yes we will still love you tomorrow as you should too. Your honesty is inspiring

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 7:30am

Ratg, how refreshingly honest you are about your descent into drinking and its link to depression. I have been a witness to severe alcoholism, and it was terrible. I could picture your overload, as felt much the same with babies / toddlers and no support... It is hard, isn't it? What do the children remember? Or haven't you broached that with them yet? In my case, I comfort ate...
Best of luck. The main thing is, you came through and changed. Powerful stuff! My Dad didn't . And died an alcoholic. Ravaging.as beyond help.

Julia Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 9:07am

Dear ratg. How amazing you dealt with the alcohol all on your own and have succeeded. It just goes to show that we are strong people or you are! Your writing (of prose!!) is wonderful to read. I used to drink too much when I was working mainly and never thought I would be able to go for one day without wine but one day sI warched a programme where problem drinkers were downing beer glasses of cheap wine. I dramatically stopped drinking after that for 6 months but had to start again for social reasons. I felt the party pooper not even accepting a drink (I didn't have to drink it but to say no thank you wasn't on). Now I hardly drink which does make long evenings spent in the company of friends who drink a bit difficult. However the other evening we had something to really celebrate and opened a bottle of fizz and how wonderful that feeling was after a couple of glasses. I wondered why I didn't do this more often. I was fun to be with and we made plans. But a couple of hours later I had such a terrible headache and felt like death.. and depressed. Such a pity!! I loved your blog today ratg.

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 9:17am

Gosh Julia, you are as awesome as ratg! I am trying my best to decide I will drive to a function next weekend so that I can't drink...that way, not only will I save my liver but not have to wake up several hours during the night (as sleep evades me if I have had a few glasses) and also avoid dreadful head the next day. The other huge problem will be that if I don't drive and we stay the night with friends, they will carry on drinking til all hours and I just need my sleep! Crikey...I am getting old! Karen x

Karen Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 9:26am

Dear RATG, you are an amazing person to go through all you do, then admit it, not only to yourself, but to us. Thank you for being do honest. As I have said to Julia, above, I'm trying to avoid overdoing alcohol next weekend, but I do like to have a few glasses of wine of an evening. I try not to have any during the week, but if I get 'low' I 'need' that little something to help cheer me and relax me of an evening...and then I think I'm ok. So then it becomes wine every other night...and of course I get hungry, so I eat more...no wonder I am the size I am! Those of you old enough to have watched the Arabian Nights cartoons as children, will remember the magic person who would change shape to become 'size of a camel'...well I am 'size of an elephant'!!! Would love to know how you managed to stop drinking and have at least been able to control it, RATG. Lovings, Karen x

Karen Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 9:29am

I do hope that as ratg's children were little, that they never saw what their poor mum was going through.
I am so sorry you had to go through your father's problems and that he never conquered alcohol. :( Karen x

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 9:51am

Hi Hopeful One, I'm laughing at those names! I think that was a big break through point for me in fighting depression...realising who I needed to be away from or at least had distance from. Hard when they are within the family but always possible to extricate from the feelings if not the physical. And the fight goes on for all of us but with more and more knowledge comes more and more peace. Hows today for you? Love ratg.

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 9:54am

I meant the title more as would alcohol still love me in the coldness of the morning but thank you for making my day with that comment! Love ratg x.

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 10:00am

Hi anon 7.30, did watching your father change your attitude to alcohol? I'm lucky that my children were small and asleep and I aimed at being a Disney cartoon in the day. I think depression can make us masters of disguise. I even convince myself sometimes.

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 10:01am

^ its me, ratg

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 10:25am

Hi Julia, hello, and thank you lovely but I'm not amazing at all. Other's have much harder situations. I was quite inspired when I read Eric Clapton talk about when his 5year old son had died during his battle with alcohol. He said he had a choice to carry on with the battle or give up forever. A woman said he'd taken away her last reason to drink when he chose to carry on battling. I still feel huge shame and I still fret over whether my children have been bothered by my depression as that has been much harder to parent through than my solo parties. I'm sharing not for praise but to maybe provide a chink in the wall for anybody who is stuck. I'm also sharing for selfish reasons...putting it to paper makes it real and talking of it historically solidifies it for me. I'm just using you all ;-) love ratg x.

Hopeful One Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 10:37am

So true.We could sound like a pair of psychiatrists because as when they meet each other in the morning they ask"How am I".But seriously biochemically I am OK my last lab tests showed that.Physically I have my aches and pains and psychologically I have realized that the "I" we identify with is in fact a composite entity and fares best if its moods are just accepted as part of the landscape for the day. I am going out tonight so I have a little something to look forward to( see my previous replies) . Happiness is a by product of what we do .If you set out to aim for happiness there is considerable scope for disappointment. Love Hopeful One

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 10:48am

Hi Karen, leaving behind those days was relatively easy, it was recognising what was happening that was hard. Once I saw myself and looked ahead I felt only disgust. I suppose I just had to ask myself "who am I doing this for?"
I have a lots of physical strategies that I still use but they only started working once I stopped cheating on myself. Love ratg x.

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 10:59am

I attend a Bi Polar support Group and once, discussing alcohol and mental health it came out that over 80% of the group 'used' alcohol to self medicate. Drink is a very dangerous drug but whilst the government are recieving revenue from it's sale this will continue to be pushed as acceptable. Well done for recognising the problem and acting on it. I now realise myself that I cannot have alcohol in the house as I'll drink it until it is all gone.

Julia Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 11:39am

I too worry terribly that my children might have been affected by my depression. This is a huge subject for me. xx

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 12:40pm

As i read and scrolled, chuckled and resonated, i thought 'WHO is this stupendously gifted communicator?' I should have known it was you, Cosy! Your suggestion that alcohol and depression are inextricably linked has tweaked my thinking and yes! you are absolutely right. In battling depression into relative submission, i now drink a very specific pinot noir on friday evenings only (the young red wines are far less toxic...) and await the day when i'm not craving it for the next 6 days. The depression can hit two days later, not the next day--which is also part of its murky deception. When there is no depression, i know i'm doing well in general. Thank you so very much for the insight and sharing. Amd best of luck to all you lovely people who are dealing with this. susan xx

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 1:20pm

Lovely ladies....when i came out of my depression/breakdown/overwhelm, etc. i realized that i hadn't been a proper mother to one of my young adult daughters for some time. When her father told her a day later what i had said, she burst into tears (in a restaurant!). Although i resumed my mother role shortly thereafter, it can still makes me weep to think of it and the pain it caused her. She distanced herself from me during that time out of sheer self-protection. We are fundamentally very close and happily this connection is mending. So yes....there was probably some damage done to the children at the time. But if there is love, it can be repaired TRULY!!! You have to know that, Julia and Cosy. As for the shame, of course you also know that you must forgive yourselves and realize that you were doing your best at the time. I keep telling myself that! You are both obviously very loving mothers or you wouldn't be concerned about this. Trust that all will be well. Forgive me if this sounds preachy. susan xx

Julia Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 1:41pm

Thank you for this Susan. I feel my daughter distances herself sometimes from me and I agree this is probably a form of self protection. But I do love her and my son. I also know that I have and continue to over compensate for my depression where the children are concerned. I am constantly trying to help them with their lives and feel I owe this to them. I am happy to read Susan that you are connecting again with your daughter now that you are out of your depression. I think I would connect too with my daughter if I felt better all the time but I am up and down and this is difficult. Of course I attempt to hide my down days. Exhausting! But thank you Susan. What a help you are.

Julia Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 1:47pm

Ratg. Eric Clapton. Love him. I remember him talking after his son fell to his death from his apartment window. I have tickets to see him at one of his 70th Birthday celebration concerts in May. I'll definitely have a drink then but not go overboard hopefully.

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 2:07pm

Thank you, too, Julia. As we start to recover, we DO learn how to be great actresses, don't we! Acting is indeed exhausting during those bad times. And it is easy to over compensate, as you say. I try to let my girls dictate when they want to be mothered. So for the most part it's ok for me to be a mother when THEY say. Otherwise, i can slip into 'offering suggestions' too easily. Ahhhhh it's a full-time job nevertheless, isn't it, trying to keep the balance. susan xx

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 2:29pm

I'm laughing about the psychiatrists, hope you have a good evening :-) ratg x.

Julia Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 2:37pm

I just wanted to say to Karen, thank you too for your support. What a dilemma about your function next weekend. Drink affects my sleep too (what doesn't?!). It would depend how far I had to drive and whether I could get there and back easily without driving. I do sometimes drive when we go to things together but more often than not I won't be the one driving home. Oh dear. However one party I went to over Christmas, I didn't drink any alcohol at all. I was feeling good that day (deep sleep night before) and the only disadvantage was that I wanted to go home about a couple of hours into the do and kept rudely looking at my watch. It's either /or with me, no happy medium! But have a good time next week Karen and I was thinking.. is it just us females that agonise over alcohol?

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 3:29pm

Oh, I so love you! You are one tough and courageous bitch.
Adrian

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 3:45pm

A doctor on an American programme used to ask those who came on the show (for help)...'Why do you continue down this path? You must be getting something out of this, if you keep doing.... - so why do you do it?'
We just sometimes cannot help it. It's the same with an addiction to food - we just don't seem to be able to help ourselves even when we know that another glass of wine/half a packet of biscuits, isn't going to help. I feel disgusted with myself when I know I have overdone the wine (or the food) and I know I use them as a crutch, but at times, that's all that helps in a particular situation. My recent spate of depression has been sadness at recent bereavements and the funerals to attend. I haven't been able to do as much as I would normally. The most 'important' things get done eg the dog gets walked, fed and watered. The family gets fed and watered and clothes washed and the house gets cleaned....but that's about it. The rest of the time I am like a wet weekend in - well you choose your own bleakest place as I don't want to offend a particular area! So the wine at the end of the day is my chill out time. K x

Karen Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 3:53pm

Thanks Julia. :)
I'm not sure if it is just females worrying about alcohol. There must be plenty of chaps out there worrying too...but they don't always admit it. Same goes for depression...it took my husband a very long time to admit his depression: only after wanting to commit suicide and telling me about it, did he do something about it, with help and support from me. Happily he is much better and his dark moods don't manifest themselves as much as they did but it's taken over ten years.
The saddest thing is what he did to me all those years before, and now I battle with depression too.

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 8:17pm

I've come to realize, through my personal experience and from reading about the subject, that when the body makes its inevitable attempt to process the alcohol, it produces cortisol and other chemicals which makes the "hangover" even more awful and anxiety-provoking than the original feelings that cause me to seek the alcohol in the first place. That's a long sentence that means I avoid alcohol because I can't take the after-effects. Doesn't stop the longing for its initial numbing effects, though.

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 9:32pm

Well done and thank-you RATG for your honesty - and well done for what you have achieved in coming this far; you really must celebrate your success and recognise what an incredible person you are and how good a mother you are;
oh yes, I recognise only too well the prop of alcohol/wine during depression; and when feeling low; thankfully I am learning to avoid it during the week at least ... well it's a start ... Frankie

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 11:32pm

Adrian, I really couldn't decide whether you were being sarcastic or sincere but either way your comment made me snort with giggles so thank you for that, love ratg.

Anonymous Sat, Feb 7th 2015 @ 11:37pm

Hello all, I'm sorry not to have replied to each comment as I would normally do (maybe not required but Iike to) but I'm now very sleepy and must hit head to pillow. Thank you for commenting and discussing and providing all different angles and views. Everything is useful. Goodnight and peaceful sleeps to all, love from the room above the garage x.

Anonymous Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 9:03am

Hi ratg. I think watching my father did change my attitude to alcohol. I don't drink, so possibly something subconscious there, and neither does my sister. Growing up, the penny only dropped that it was the alcohol making our Dad angry and cruel in his comments when I saw a programme on alcoholism, with virtually same scenario re-enacted. Understanding that he was "not himself" when under the influence was helpful, but the whole family was saddened and affected by his terrible moods.

Anonymous Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 10:10am

Incredible, courageous, honest and understanding people. I love what you said 'the room above the garage' and how you said it and I loved all the very thoughtful comments. Reading through all of them was like taking a candle to my own life. I am in the throes of struggle with alcohol. Unlike the brave souls previously, I am deep in using it to medicate my physical pain and mental, emotional pain. I feel confused, misunderstood and lost. I am severely depressed but have had trouble acknowledging it. I am forced to live away from my life partner because financially we are not able to be together yet which does not help. He is hundreds of miles away so I can't just pop down the road and in my insecure state, I imagine all sorts of demons - "he does not love me, he is with someone else, he could do more to keep us together (we lived together for four years before he got a job elsewhere and we had to part)". He hates texting so I don't hear from him that often which means I depend heavily on him to remember I am here. I hate being so dependent and am usually a fairly strong woman in spite of the pain and depression.In December 2009, I was close to death having been beaten to a pulp by a man. Bearly alive, I fought back over the years to regain some semblance of life. The beating left me with Fibromyalgia (often caused by trauma) and a life sentence of terrible pain. That is how I found Moodscope - through NHS chronic pain support. I am not one who finds it easy to share so for me even writing this is quite a miracle. I have huge issues with trust because the person who attacked me was supposedly somebody I could trust however, I eventually met the gentleman who is now my life partner - or was until we were parted. He says the right words - "he misses me and can't wait for us to be together" etc. but his actions do not follow suit. Maybe it is different for a guy, they don't get as soppy as us girls do. So the whole trust issue has reared it's ugly head and now not only am I in pain, depressed and suffering from low self esteem, I am at the point of caving in to this demon drink. Sometimes when I read the blogs, I feel as if I missed a trick somewhere. The writers all seem to be in recovery whereas I feel as if I have taken several steps backwards. Some days I am stronger and I celebrate those days and would like more of them but most days I am not sure how to feel. I think I drive my partner to despair with my insecurities but he still wants to marry me so maybe he is just not as aware of the affect of our parting as I am. Bob Procter (yes I am a seminar junkie) talks about 'paradigms' being at the back of bad habits and I am inclined to agree. Intellectually I know what the right thing to do is but there is something deep inside me that is hell bent on self destruction. As a child, I was moved from pillar to post because my parents could not parent me. Dad an alcoholic, mother ran away when I was five. Maybe some deep paradigm about now being worthy or deserving of true love resides deep inside my soul. I have worked very hard for many years to overcome that heritage but maybe a vestige remains and I have yet to exorcise it from my psyche. Forgive me dear people for using this platform to rant about my life. It does not detract from the real admiration I have for the ladies who posted comments or from the really special blog from - the room above the garage. Katie x

Anonymous Mon, Feb 9th 2015 @ 12:55pm

Thank you for sharing and for all your posts, I really enjoy reading them, you write eloquently. I am pleased you are out the other side and you are very right - depression and alcohol definitely support each other.
Keep sharing.

Anonymous Wed, Feb 11th 2015 @ 8:40pm

Katie, this reply comes several days too late -- but i found it just now in looking back over some of the blogs. I felt your pain and confusion but i also felt your belief that there are answers and that you will find them somehow. If you read this, please look up Peter Levine who is responsible for the creation of Somatic Experience which deals and heals trauma. It sounds to me like you suffered trauma at a very early age. Once it is stuck in your body, your nervous system doesn't deal with stress very well going forward. Levine has books and also can be found on youtube. Best of luck. I really hope you read this. susan xx

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