After completing my 14 mile walk this morning I nipped into my local Co-Op supermarket, we needed milk and I forgot to pick it up last night, the only thing I went to the shop for and the only thing I didn’t get, so I was getting it this morning instead.
But as I usually do when I go into these places I end up buying stuff I don’t really need, this morning was no different, as I walked round the store with the usual offers in baskets around the isles, I passed an offer basket containing sparkling fruit juices, these looked nice, in glass bottles, not bad price, I might treat myself here, so I did.
When I got home, laden with bags, I got to the door and the two bottles clanged together, immediately a sense of panic came over me, I quickly got inside took my bags to the kitchen and started to unpack (I didn’t forget the milk this time, just in case you were wondering), I took the bag containing the two bottles straight into the front room without showing anyone, I was acting like I had two bottles of wine in the bag, I was reverting back to the dark days prior to 29th March 2012, when sneaking carrier bags of wine into the front room was common place in my life.
I took out one of the bottles and immediately scanned the label, one was sparkling blackcurrant and one elderberry juice, there was no mention of alcohol, so I was safe, but why was I sneaking these through the house, I have nothing to be ashamed of here, it’s just juice, I did have a look at the label in the shop, but I had to double-check, I was doubting myself here and acting like the tortured addict that I was many months ago!
In those dark days of the previous two to three years, I would often go out to the shop, I made no secret of that, I would even ask if anyone else wanted anything, but I would come back conscious of what was in my bag, trying not to the let the bottles bang against each other, sneaking them straight into the front room, everyone knew what I was going out to get, indeed the empties would be left in the kitchen in morning, but I felt the need to hide them, to sneak them into the house, as it went on the more I sneaked them in.
Eventually I would not only sneak them into the house, but I would hide them down the side of the sofa, after drinking them I would hide the empties and sneak them out to the bin in the morning, it didn’t matter about wine glasses, I never used them, I just drank straight from the bottle, no faffing about, I just got the stuff down my neck as quickly as I could.
Cans of cider were different, I didn’t hide them so much, just brought them into the house, put some in the fridge, downed them and then left the empties on the kitchen side, but it seemed I was becoming conscious about how my drinking, in particular the wine, was being conceived by my partner. But the thing here was she knew, she challenged me about how much I drank, the empties weren’t hard to see, even if I sneaked them into the bin, so who was I actually hiding it from, who did I feel the need to deceive the most?
Well the answer is myself, it couldn’t be anybody else, only myself and my partner knew about my level of drinking at home, the kids I don’t think fully appreciated the situation and as I was rarely drunk, the problem was not as visible to them.
I guess I didn’t want challenging anymore so I did my best to sneak it in, but I also didn’t want to challenge myself, I chose to try to hide it, I was hiding the stuff even if there was nobody in the house, I would sneak it in, hide it, then drink it in full view of everyone, so why go to the trouble of hiding it in the first place?
Was it the money? Bills weren’t getting paid, but I was still spending good money on this stuff that the family didn’t need, but I was convinced I did, here are the sums of my average week:
Pints of Cider at the pub: 20 pints @ £2.95 = £59.00
Cans of Cider from the shop: 8 cans @ £1.00 = £8.00
Bottles of Wine from the shop: 8 Bottles @ £5.00 = £40.00
Average Spending: £107.00 per week.
So I managed to average around £107.00 a week, that’s not including all the add-ons, crisps at the pub, money in the quiz machine, sweets, crisps and chocolate from the shop, I was out of control, I couldn’t help myself, I just couldn’t stop the madness, I couldn’t escape the crazy cycle that had become my sheer existence.
The sad fact is this, I didn’t want to admit to myself I had a problem, I hid it all from myself, convinced I needed the stuff to be able to sleep, I needed the stuff to cope with my life, I just needed the stuff and no one else, until it was too late, far too late.
I had a problem, but I didn’t want to admit it, I was hiding it, I was trapped by my own inadequacy, I was hiding from my weakness, if I hid these bottles, I hid the secret from myself, as well as everyone else!
Then it all came back this morning, these bottles were innocent sparkling juice, okay they were glass, they looked like wine bottles, they look a lot like wine bottles, the same colour liquid as white and red wine, but they contained no alcohol, but I still felt the need to hide them, once they clanged in the bottom of the bag, I went back to my old self, protecting my secret!
As much as I enjoyed the contents of these two drinks earlier today, I won’t be buying them again, it has scared my a little, it was too close to my shocking secret life, that I don’t want to feel like that, I want to feel open and truthful, the fact is I didn’t feel like that this morning.
Don’t get me wrong I have no urge here to shoot out to the shop for a bottle of wine, even though the taste was a little too similar, I am well passed those cravings, but I don’t want to feel that way.
So I am consoling myself with a bottle of Dr Pepper Zero, it’s not a good as normal Dr Pepper, but it has fewer calories, get me! That list of my weekly alcohol intake also totalled about 10,000 calories, is it any wonder I’ve lost weight over the last few months.
With addiction, it is clear to me now, that the person we hide it from the most is ourselves, an addict doesn’t want to admit what they are, they don’t want to hear it from others either, so we hide it, until we get to the point of no return, when at that point we don’t care about anything anymore, the rest of the world no longer matters.
I want to live an honest life, I want to hold my head up, walk tall and proud, living a clear and transparent existence, it’s not easy, I’m working at it, everyday, still making small changes and still refining others, but I will get there.
I’ve replaced that craving for alcohol with something healthier, something great, something that fills the soul, I simply replaced it with my faith. When I was convinced I needed the drink to sleep, I was proven wrong, when I prayed after getting through a night without it, I was given the greatest night’s sleep I’ve ever had, I’ve not had bad night sleep since, I have received peace.
I will give you peace when the walls come crashing down
I will give you peace through the night
When you’ve had all you can take can’t face another day
I’ll give you peace, I’ll give you peace
(Give You Peace by Echoing Angels)
I prayed for help to beat this at the very start and help was received and it’s been there all the way through, even in pain, even in moments of doubt and moments of anguish, I’ve been able to call on our God and the fantastic people he has brought into my life to pull me through, to help me make it through to 34 weeks sober!