Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Project Un-Pickled Pear

24 Days to Go

This space may need to be hijacked for a period, in order to explore and work through this one aspect of my independence.

They say the hardest thing is admitting you have a problem. Well, we'll wait and see. :)

I spent last night feeling pretty wretched, but with "a little help from my friends", and my hubby, I've made a plan. Independence does not mean being isolated.

I have realised that the problem is not in the quantity of alcohol I was consuming, or even the harm it was causing me. Because I could, quite legitimately, choose to live a life of decadence. A shorter life no doubt, a fiery existence of hedonistic destruction, living hard and fast and briefly. the problem is, I have not chosen this.

In my conscious thoughts, my plan is to live a long and healthy life with my beloved husband, to be a fit and active and sober mother in the near-ish future. But my actions have not been leading to this. My actions have in fact been the very opposite to those that would bring me to my dreams.

It is time to take back control.

I have decided that I need to re-set my behaviours. Starting with a term of abstinence. I do not intend to give up alcohol forever, but it has been a long time since I have even had a day without alcohol (other than the occasional hang-over that was so horrific that even I could not handle a curative glass of bubbly) that I need to prove to myself that I CAN still live without.

So, from now until the night of the election, I am not allowed a drop of liquor.

After that, I'll see how I feel about alcohol. Whether I think I can have a celebratory (or commiseratory) drink, or few, without going too far. Whether I feel I can want a drink, and choose to have it, or whether I still feel the need for a drink.

Today, I feel so much better than yesterday that I am elated with this plan. But I am still so shell-shocked from the pain I put myself through, and just so pleased to have made a plan, that this could very be a honeymoon period.

I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Demon liquor

Here it is, I feel wretched enough right now that it is time to finally admit it.

I have a drinking problem.

I have told myself many things to comfort myself that my drinking is not THAT out of control. I don't drink in the morning, I'm never drunk at work. I can, and occasionally do, go without alcohol for days without any physical side effects. I can, well, sometimes anyway, have a glass or two of wine without the need to get drunk. I enjoy wine-tasting without drunkeness. I drink with other social drinkers and normally, or at least often, I am no drunker than those around me.

Drinking started as a game. The first time I got drunk, at the age of fifteen, I giggled myself silly and felt no ill-effects the next day. I occasionally drank with friends and it was a fun diversion. In my early 20s in London, I built up my tolerance for alcohol and enjoyed out-drinking people. I received praise for being fun and bold. When drinking I had the confidence to dance and flirt and sleep ith people. Recounting drunken stories, including of sexual conquests, was fun and made me feel popular. Hangovers were a fun time to relax at work and eat junk-food. I've felt close to both sides of my extended family, English and Australian, even recaptured something from childhood, by drinking with them. Back home, the best nights of fun and interesting conversation with friends were always alcohol fuelled. When I met my love, we drank together. Our love was based on endless, exciting conversation, not booze, but there was always red wine around. We've had some awful nights and dreadful hangovers, our only yelling-matches have been fuelled by alcohol, but also we've had a lot of fun times with the drink.

Alcohol is part of our culture, a part I enjoy. It has become part of my identity too. But I can no longer pretend that it is a all good.

Here are some facts that I am ashamed of, but which I can no longer hide from.

- I regularly take sick days from work after excessive drinking.
- I regularly drink a bottle of wine or more every day.
- I regularly vomit and waste an entire day after a night of drinking.
- I prefer the company of other drinkers. I rarely go out unless I can get drunk.
- I have had blackouts from too much alcohol.
- I have been abusive under the influence of alcohol.
- I have had police take me home because I was too drunk to walk.
- I have been refused entry and kicked out of pubs for being too drunk.
- I have injured myself by being literally falling-down drunk.
- I have embarrassed people I love when drunk.
- I have said hurtful things to people I love when drunk.
- I have been promiscuous in dangersou ways when drinking.
- I have lost my license for driving under the influence of alcohol.
- I am obese largely due to how much I drink.
- We spend more than we can afford on alcohol.
- Last night I had seizure-like episodes due to dehydration from drinking.

These are my fears. I fear that I am boring and painfully shy without alcohol. I fear that if I fully admit to a drinking problem, I will be forced to be teetotal for the rest of my life. I fear that many of my relationships are intimately connected with alcohol. I love my home life and my friends, but the outside world often intimidates me. I fear that I need a way to escape reality, escape work, escape responsibility, and occasionally escape myself.

I also fear that I am destroying my body and wasting my life.

If I am dependent on alcohol, then I am not an independent person. If independence is my aim, then I must overcome my reliance on this drug.

I don't know what I am going to do, but for now, I am NOT going to have a drink.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bubbles & Bunting

Poor Project Pickled Pear, not forgotten, but certainly neglected.

For the past month and a half (has it been that long?!) I have been too lazy to write anything, or at least to finish writing anything. I have a stream of emails to myself of half-written thoughts on all the subjects I opened the Pickled Pear in order to explore, but I have been unable to find the commitment to complete any of them. Between mild bouts of sleep deprivation (full-time work does not sit well with me), the stress of handing-over at a previous job and then learning the ropes at a new one, along with all the usual enjoyable yet time-and-energy consuming activities of friendship and love (including our first wedding anniversary, happy anniversary to us!) I have learnt that exhaustion leads to apathy.

I'm not a disinterested person generally - I am politically passionate and get very emotional on at least a daily basis about the state of our world. My trouble is in settling to details - I get lost in generalities. This Project was begun because all the things I wanted to write about, all the things that I most cared about at that moment, fit within a certain spectrum. Since that time, that spectrum has seemed narrow and trivial... but then so do most things when I get down to really thinking about them. I envy people who can get into a singular cause and work passionately at it. I can't imagine ever finding any one cause "worthy" of my energy, and so I squander my anger and my ideas and creativity on, well, nothing much at all!

So, I have found myself in a state of apathy and decided this is not a good state to be in. But relaxation is still a must. So I forgive myself for not posting here, and I have waited for some passion to return. Unfortunately for Pickled Pear, the two things that have currently transfixed me do not involve writing.

Firstly, we are now enjoying the lead-up to a federal election. While I have very (VERY) set political ideals, and more than anything want my party to win, I also just ADORE the whole process of an election. When following the British election recently, I queried hubby, "is there ANYTHING more exciting than an election?!" He agreed that there was not, being a big nerd and even more political (if possible) than myself. This year I've signed us up to be very involved little rabbits, doing all we can possibly make time for (in the things I'm good at, ie. physical labour - absolutely; engaging in debate and talking when more than three people are listening to me - NO) to get our local candidate elected. And if I'm honest, my prime motivator is so that come election night, when we will join our party in a post-election gathering and over many glasses of cheap wine watch the results come in, I can get extra excited about any gains because I'll have helped with the work.

In the meantime, I have, temporarily at least, given up on being a writer, and am just loving being a READER. The pile of books by my bed usually represents a lot of things I've started, but which may never get read any further; but at the moment it is a list, a list of What To Read Next. We have moved bedrooms and I love our new space so much that all I want to do all weekend, and every evening, is lie on our bed, with its beautiful views of the city and the park, and read. And that's exactly what I have been doing. I get home from work, say hi to hubby, then head up to bed for a read. Then I read some more before sleep. I would read when I wake too, but I have to get to work. I've taken to baths several times a week (the bath has never been so well used!) simply because I can't read in the shower.

I'm sure the writing bug will kick in again for me... but for now it is all about enjoying what others have written. So farewell for now, happy voting and happy reading!