Sunday, 5 April 2015

Play it forward

I've been thinking more about my last post - 'not the girl he married'. Thank you so much for your comments - as always, a wonderful mix of empathy, humour and sound advice.

I realised, on re-reading, that the wine witch - yet again - had me romanticising the past.

I was waxing lyrical about boozy Sunday lunches with friends, elaborate gourmet dinners at home with fine wine, and date nights in fancy restaurants with aperitifs, wine and digestifs. Oh it is so, so easy to view it all through rose (I want to put an ecoute on the e of rose, but my iPhone won't let me!) coloured spectacles.

The AA advice is, I think, to 'play it forward', so in the interests of honesty, and to cast a blow against the wine witch, here's what happens when I press forward on the memory tape....

The boozy Sunday lunches with friends: I start drinking while preparing lunch (after all, I need to add wine to the gravy!). By the time the friends arrive with various children in tow I'm about 2/3 of a bottle down and finding it seriously tricky to co-ordinate all the cooking with the chatting, and hostessing.

By the end of the meal I've become horribly boring as I repeat anecdotes I've told a million times and/or forget the punchlines. I'm stuck on 'transmit' rather than receive, so don't ask my guests anything about their lives.

Usually at least one or two of our guests aren't drinking as they're driving, or on water after drinking too much on Saturday night. I must look seriously raddled to anyone completely sober!

Once everyone leaves (about 3.30pm) I clean up, while polishing off any leftover wine, then invariably fall asleep for a couple of hours. I wake up feeling really grumpy and yell at the husband and children. I realise that homework's not been finished, and the children have spent hours on electronic devices and are bouncing off the walls. Horrible evening followed by restless night. I start the week exhausted and depressed.

And those gourmet evening meals at home over a shared bottle? Here's the truth - I spend most of the meal trying to ensure that I get more than half of the wine. Husband gets cross as he had to drink at top speed if he's going to get more than a small glass. I start planning how to casually produce second bottle without getting a 'look', or a lecture.

If I do manage to open the next bottle (or if I'd quietly polished off a few glasses before husband got home) I'm drunk and cross by the end of the meal and end up picking a fight - often over horribly boring stuff like loading the dishwasher. We try to watch TV together, but I fall asleep after ten minutes. I wake up at about 3am hating myself (again).

What about 'date nights'? I usually manage not to pick a fight, and generally collapse in a cheerful(ish) heap when we get home, but I sleep really badly and wake up with the hangover from hell. I spend all morning counting the minutes until I can open the next bottle, as I know it's the only way of making the headache go away.

So, the truth is that whilst the husband probably does miss the girl he married 13 years ago (if he can remember her. Not sure that I can!), he almost certainly doesn't miss the girl he was married to 35 days ago.

Happy, sober Easter everyone!

Love SM x


  1. Dear Sm,
    So true, all!
    The thing that helps me stay sober the most, is thinking through the end of the bottle, as they say.
    It's really, really, not fun!
    Happy Easter to you!

  2. Thanks for the update...good thinking:) and for the example of good thinking!

  3. Hi I was thinking alot about your post yesterday and was wondering was doubt setting in..its great you could think it thru and see another angle. my hubby does not mind when i don;t drink, i have done long stints off it. i think there are a number of reasons, one being when i am not drinking it draws less attention to his frequent (but not messy) own drinking and then the obvious me having no off switch, wedding parties out all night etc etc!! i really don't think anyone would mind someone not drinking, as long as they are comfortable within themselves...people have so many of their own issues i think they take priority!! First sunny day here in Ireland this year, the beer and wine is out everywhere....mmmm its a bit testing today xx

  4. I have just come across this blog and am loving it, so much of it rings true. I am on day 27 of no wine, after drinking 1-2 bottles a day. The bit about making sure you get more than your half of the bottle rings true with me too, I always wanted to get more than I should. I have cut out wine altogether, not sure how long it will last but I am enjoying the feeling of being in control than I am missing he wine. I am trying other drinks, and having one or 2 and have had enough, so it kind of makes me think I should stop altogether as I am not really enjoying drinking any more, but the thought of not being able to share a bottle with my husband over a nice meal terrifies me!