Friday, 2 March 2018

Day minus one

The difference this time

Tomorrow I'm going to give up alcohol for good.

Right! How many times have I said that?  Well actually, nowhere near as many times as I've said, "That's it, last night was my last drink".

If those two things sound the same to you we might not be able to be friends any more.

Let's look at them again:

  1. What I thought this afternoon: Tomorrow I am giving up alcohol for good.
  2. What I thought on waking most mornings for more than a decade: That's it, last night was my last drink.

One vs two

Statement Number One, let's talk about you first.  Your biggest difference to Statement Number Two is that you may (could/will) be true.  We don't know yet.  

You are a plan and I used to be very good at plans, before I became this giant blob of anxiety and alcohol.

You have some details too, and a rationale.  


Tomorrow, has a pleasingly divisible date - 3/3/18 - and because the first numbers match, even an American knows what day that is.  It appeals to my need for magical thinking. 

Tomorrow is also the day that we drive three hours to collect the new border collie puppy whose mother has the same smile as my utterly adored labrador Maya. 

Puppy (name tbd) is a new start, not a replacement for my constant companion, whose steps tap-tap-tapped behind me all day and whose curve of back at my feet each night brought me the only calm I've ever known to last.

By tomorrow I will have finished the latest of the sober-up-woman style books I'm reading to prepare (see? preparation = a plan) and I will have the ingredients for replacement drinks in the fridge. I already know what brand of mineral water I'm going to splurge on, because it's still cheaper than wine.


a. I'm fifty, and I'm over it.

b. New puppy (Prof wants to call her River, Joe wants to call her Gin, but I'm leaning towards Buffy, we all have a strong girl thing) will only ever know sober me.  If I drink again I will be letting her down, which means it's not about me - at first.

'At first' matters, because I am hoping very much that after a few months of making this about puppy, it will start to be about me too, and my beautiful family, and my actually pretty awesome business and the new directions I want to take it in.

But I know I will need an 'at first' crutch. And who among us could ever bear to disappoint a puppy?

Statement Number Two

Hello my old friend.  You and I know each other well, don't we? You're the voice of regret and hindsight and you fuck right off when I really need you.  So maybe 'old friend' is too strong - maybe you're a partner. In life, in business, in crime? You're there, until you're not.

You come to me as if you're a new idea, but the age of you makes me feel sick.  You act all strong and sensible and resolved, but you're a failure and a phoney and you know I hate that.

In fact, you know I hate myself which makes it even worse that you jump into my head most mornings and sing your stupid song.

You're not a plan. You have no details. I know for a fact you aren't coming true for at least all those other times you promised. 

You have no rationale other than I don't want to feel foggy and fat any more - not until 5pm, at least.

I don't like you.  From now on I want to be friends with Number One.


  1. Brilliant! Just found your blog from Mrs D's link. This first post lays it all out. Your comments about statement 2 are so true. It's been ringing in my head for decades. Think I was 16yo the first time I thought it. March 3 was day 104 for me. But then on day 107 or 108 while on vacation I decided I wanted to drink.
    I am on day 5 and reading blogs. No desire to drink today. Note that it's St. Patrick's Day here in the U.S. which is a rational excuse for even non drinkers and normies to get blotto. Keep plugging along! I'm eager to read your story.
    You can read me at
    Best, George

    1. Hi George, just caught up with your comment here, and so lovely to blog-meet you. Good on you for picking up again. I remember decades ago when I was a wee thing and quit smoking and was probably being quite smug about it, an older friend said (gently), yes, everyone can quit the first time. She was right, I think it's the second or subsequent times that actually can show strength rather than weakness.


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