And Why I started — I worked it out!
For years the drinking was getting the upper hand, I was coming to realise that I was not a happy drunk…but I began to reach for the bottle as soon as I could identify a problem that would give me an excuse to drink.
It did not start like that! It started for a genuine reason, my father had died, my world imploded, I had no support, I was effectively alone with a young child propping a mother who I had not recognised as totally narcissistic.
I should have had clues in the way she took to mourning; an excuse to dramatise with her friends how sad and awful and so cleverly — it was all said in the doleful looks and the Eeyore silences. But in private she was revelling, I think, in her newfound freedom.
I was not; I was swimming in a sea of raw unaccustomed grief, made worse by the swiftness of my father’s demise. Two weeks or so from diagnosis to death. I was also dealing with an unemotionally available man who expected me to continue running a house, a business, organise a wedding and a funeral and who finally stormed off three weeks after the rather grand funeral pronouncing that I did not have “Time for him!”
I don’t think anyone gave any thought to “time for me”! So, the drinking pattern that had crept up from the New Year’s Day when it was clear that my father was saying goodbye to us all and thanking the family (18 of them), brothers, sisters, wives, nieces, and grandchildren.
He did not thank me.
I did not drink much until the following few weeks somehow, I was just trying to get through, whatever that means. I knew death was imminent, I was taking the brunt, but when he died I was expendable to everyone else. I was the only one visiting him daily in hospital. The glass of wine in the evening took the edge off the day before I prepared supper.
Cast aside I started, very slowly, to regard the bottle as my best friend. My only friend in sleepless nights and sheer terror as I tried to process how everything had unravelled without warning. It helped me sleep at first.
I was beginning to be gaslighted by my family because there was no one else on my side. The drinking took years to become serious. By the time I realised I had a problem I was in it…