On alcohol and abstinence

Today marks the first day of Lent. Yesterday all over the UK I know that my friends were busy having pancakes, ostensibly to use up any remaining eggs and milk. But in reality, because that is now what we do. Except in our house because we continually forget to recognise anything, I had every intention of making pancakes this morning for breakfast, but we called my parents on FaceTime in the UK instead, so ran out of time. After that call, Peanut went into the spare room and said ‘Granny, where are you?’ it broke my heart (as it is now) and I started crying, (as I am now). I am very grateful for technology, most of the time it helps, but sometimes it just reminds you how far apart you are from people you desperately want to hang out with.

Festivals and festivities also get to me; we’re now in the official run up to Easter, we all have time off work, but four days isn’t long enough if you want to visit your family in the UK. If you are going to fast or abstain from something for forty days, what do you choose? Why do you choose it? Do you choose to observe the stricter food restrictions, as part of your religious practice, or do you select something you want to avoid, for your benefit? It would be hypocritical of me to abstain for Lent, I am not religious, spiritual yes, but struggle with the ‘this is the right and only path’ when we’re all so individual. Who is to say that your way is better than their way, and why fight over it? Particularly when at the heart of every religion is light, love and treating everyone with respect and care? But that is another blog post, as it is one I am just too tired to write out today, let alone start in on Easter Eggs and hot cross buns being in the shops the day after New Years.

Peanut is struggling to sleep at the minute, again. We had a bad run immediately after my Mum went home, he settled down, and has started up again delaying everything and everyway he possibly can to go to bed. Reading him to sleep the other night, I was conscious that I’d had a glass of wine; I can smell alcohol on my husband’s breath when we have a glass over dinner, so as I was reading, I felt uncomfortable about Peanut being able to smell it on me.

The past few weeks have been hard work, I’ve been reaching to the top shelf in the pantry more and more often, numbing my feelings. Hence the remarkable chocolate and caffeine intake too, I know this, and am fully aware that I have been self-medicating, undoing all my hard work over the detox – but because Hubs has been too fragile to talk through things with me and I don’t want to push him, or put my worries onto him, I’ve just sucked it up.

Recognising this is a huge leap for me, as previously until I collapsed in a heap, I wouldn’t do anything to help myself along. By which time, major damage had been done. To me, to my heart, leaving scar tissue that ran deep and wide. With additional crises ripping wounds open and hurting all over again.

I am getting better at finding the words to say what I’m feeling, truly. Talking about things has never been my strong point, I shift in my seat uncomfortably, words having to be prised out of me with a crowbar. Writing things down helps me more than you will ever know, there are a few people in my life that get huge, wide-ranging stream of consciousness emails from me, and just love me as I am, tell me off when I need it, cheer me up when I need it, cheer me on when I need it. This blog also allows me to vent, I choose to write about my life warts and all, because the more people that talk about depression, the more people will recognise it, the less stigma there is around it, the more likely people will reach out to say ‘How are you?’ to someone who doesn’t look ok.

But I’m done. I’m done with hiding behind a chemical that makes me feel better for about a second, but if I have too much, makes me feel worse. Being me, I don’t want to do this halfway, I can’t do anything by a little bit, I just need to stop. Until Easter, day by day, I am going to not drink alcohol. One day at a time, if I’m feeling better, I will carry on, one day at a time.

If I can find a counter, I’ll put it on my blog, to remind me.

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