As an alcoholic I have learned a few things over this past year.
Like I am only just learning to trust myself.
And that temptation is not a game or a challenge or a something to tip toe along to test your balance.
Temptation is a big bag of bricks looming ominously overhead with you stuck below toying with the knot that keeps it from release. You have to just know how much it would fucking hurt just by looking at it. So don't even think of touching the rope or even just poking it once. Leave it there.
Anyway, to be perfetly honest, I did drink. I opened a bottle of red wine and drank it while I listened to music and read through some old books. And then I had another bottle of even more expensive wine.
I even cracked the seal on a bottle of scotch and had a swig just straight up. I was drunk and sitting outside and even went rummaging through my wife's shit to find some stale cigarettes and had a few of them. Then it was 3am and I fell asleep.
And I woke up and I was hungover and I still needed a haircut. So I went and got a haircut and life was still there, happening, just that I had let myself down.
I drove the three hours to the wedding in the rain and at a small town just outside the vineyard I stopped in the mainstreet and walked along until I found a pub and, yep, I went inside and had a beer. All the usual suspects were there, not talking, just staring at screens on the wall or their drinks.
I read the paper and the beer sat there, like it wasn't supposed ot be there and I didn't drink half of it. Left it there.
Then I drove closer to the wedding and about 5 kilometers out there was a roadhouse type hotel and I stopped there and bought some cigars and another beer. I smoked and drank the beer sitting outside and felt lonely and pathetic. Drinking again. Standing by the bar and ordering a drink. Like I was normal, not an alcoholic.
At the wedding I didn't drink - the guy opposite me turned up late for the reception and had vomit on his tie - he said he had drunk a whole bottle of Jack. I looked at him and curled my lip. Officially, I wasn't drinking and no one knew, not yet anyway.
After the speeches, my wife came over and laughed that it was funny that the beer was my favorite - a premium brand that I would buy 'for special occasions' and how ironic it was I wasn't drinking it. I sort of laughed too.
Then I sort of said I would have a beer. And I did and soon I had about ten and then I brought out a bottle of vodka and drank half of it too. It was, and I appreciate this is an over-used term, but it was surreal and it was like it wasn't really me, as though I was sort of just testing it.
But, it was me, and it was alcohol and there was no denying the utter hopeless of me drinking again. There I said it, those words of utter hopelessness - drinking again.
The blurry childhood-memory-image of the kids crying and whispering "Dad's drinking again" and me there like a big fool proudly holding a drink in my hand like it's not a hand grenade. Like it's just a drink.
Next morning I was hungover and walking around taking photos of the set, trying to be inconspicuous and avoid people. The drive home was quiet and sad and we called into my wife's parents' house. It was someone's birthday and they were all drinking. Perfect for me to flow on to more drinking. Effortless. Seamless. Flow.
I didn't drink anymore, except for a long hard swig on the vodka from out of the boot of the car when I had to go and get everyone's swimmers. Glug glugged as much of the half bottle of vodka as I could without my mouth exploding and put it back like a sneaky alcoholic and cleared my throat and went back to the party. Feeling dead inside. Like it wasn't really happening.
That night I came down to a hangover and I felt anxiety and dread and thought sex would get me through it, but it was just anxiety. JUST anxiety? I was up half the night, hot and sweaty and tired and hungover and thirsty and just thinking all I need is a few glugs of something and the anxiety'll go away.
I reset my Days Sober counter on February 10 after 297 days sober.