I've really missed being able to post every day - this blog, and all of you - have been like my own personal AA sessions. I'm writing this with one finger on an iPhone, so it'll probably by short and riddled with spelling errors - apologies!
So, here's the update: after a gruelling 16 hour drive with #1, #2 and #3 only pausing from the sibling bickering to consume unhealthy snacks thrown at them in desperation by their parents, we finally arrived in stunning Switzerland.
Needless to say, by this stage I would have given my right arm for a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc. In order to stop myself drinking I went into a mad frenzy of cleaning. I was like a whirling dervish with OCD, running around the apartment with a wet cloth and spray detergent. The husband and children thought I'd completely lost it. Has anyone else found that their house has become infinitely cleaner since quitting drinking?
Since the night of the crazy cleaning there have been a number of other white knuckle moments. They are generally linked to 'firsts'. The first lunch up the mountain without a cold beer, the first cheese fondue without red wine to go with it, the first hair raising icy off piste mogul run (mainly done on my arse) without a congratulatory restorative drink at the end. All the outdoors and exercise have - as I'd hoped - stopped me constantly obsessing, but it means that when the cravings do hit I'm not as prepared for them. I'm blindsided.
In Jason Vale's book (kick the drink - easily), he constantly reminds us that children don't need alcohol to have fun and a huge lust for life. I never found that analogy terribly helpful - I'm far too removed in too many ways from my child self. What has been really helpful, though, is remembering one of my best ever holidays....
When I was nineteen I took off for 3 months around South East Asia armed with a rucksack, a copy of South East Asia on a Shoestring and some scrawled notes from my friend Philippa who'd just returned from a similar adventure. I fell in love - with the landscapes, the culture and a rugged, blonde Texan called Buck.
Buck had a tattoo on the sole of his foot reading 'the Buck stops here' in Thai. At least, that's what he asked the tattoo artist to write. It probably translated as 'gullible American asshole'. I was at the age where you feel everything so intensely - love, anticipation, fear, joy - it was a magical time.
But you know the weird thing? I have hundreds of vivid technicolor memories of that trip and in NONE of them am I clutching a glass of alcohol. Usually I'm holding an old fashioned curvy glass bottle of Coca-Cola. My backpacker budget didn't stretch to imported wine. From time to time I'd drink a Singha beer, but I wasn't bothered about it.
I drank virtually nothing for 3 months and it was one of the best times of my life. And perhaps part of the reason it was so vivid and intense wasn't just my age. Perhaps it was because I hadn't blunted all the edges with booze.
So every time a craving hits I picture my nineteen year old self - skinny, gorgeous (although I didn't know it then, obviously) and sober, looking over the Padi fields listening to Frankie Goes to Holllywood on my Sony Walkman, filled with wonder at the world, and I think "that's how I was before you invaded my space, wily wine witch, and that's how I can be again."
I hope you're all doing okay!
Much love from the land of melted cheese, cuckoo clocks and 'discreet' bankers,