I had an odd day yesterday. I was multi-tasking: doing the ironing while catching up on Poldark on the TV, about 11am.
By the way, have you noticed how clean and orderly your house gets when you stop drinking? We ex-drinking enthusiasts often find that cleaning and ironing really help to take your mind off the not drinking thing - it's like a less indulgent version of 'mindfulness' - it keeps you focused on the moment.
Plus, there's a lovely synergy between cleansing everything around you and cleansing yourself. A fresh start. A clean sheet of paper. Right now I'm finding newly laundered bed linen almost exciting as a chilled bottle of Sancerre used to be. How sad is that?
Anyhow, back to the point. There I am, watching telly and ironing the husband's shirts when, a propos of nothing, totally out of the blue, I start weeping. Profusely. And I'm not even sad. Nor is Poldark - he's just discovered copper in his mine and they're all celebrating.
Now, I'm British. I don't do weeping. Stiff upper lip and all that. The only time I remember being this emotional for no apparent reason was shortly after #1 was born. I was a mass of hormones and still in shock from being suddenly propelled into motherhood and it took me two days to get over the scene in Finding Nemo where Nemo's Mum, along with hundreds of his un-hatched siblings, was eaten by a shark.
Yesterday I felt a bit like an onion that's gradually had it's layers peeled away, leaving me all raw and vulnerable. And I was crying because I suddenly felt overwhelmed by emotion. It wasn't bad crying - it was actually rather cathartic.
I've read a lot about how we drink in order to avoid emotions; we're stressed, we drink, we're scared, we drink, we're happy, we drink. As a result, we fail to grow up.
The fabulous Caroline Knapp, author of Drinking, a Love Story, writes 'I'd never really grasped the idea that growth was something you could choose, that adulthood might be less a chronological state than an emotional one which you decide, through painful acts, to both enter and maintain. Like a lot of people I know (alcoholics and not), I'd spent most of my life waiting for maturity to hit me from the outside, as though I'd just wake up one morning and be done, like a roast in the oven.'
And that's so me: a raw chicken wondering when I'm going to get cooked. I still feel like a nineteen year old at heart.
Alcoholrehab.com states that 'Addicts usually struggle when it comes to dealing with their feelings. This is why many of them will have turned to substance abuse in the first place. Alcohol and drugs can provide a temporary escape from unpleasant emotions. These chemicals numb the brain so that the individual feels very little. Once the individual becomes addicted to these substances, they will be unable to mature emotionally. This means that when they become sober, they will still be faced with the problem of dealing with their emotions.'
When we stop drinking we don't mature immediately. It feels as if we have to be 'pared down', or rubbed raw, before we can build ourselves up again, before we can choose to deal with our lives and emotions properly, soberly, and become a real life grown up. A perfectly done roast.
So there I was, all raw and weeping. I felt as if I was looking at myself from a distance, and I'm thinking 'look at you, you ex boozer, sad case weirdo. But, actually, what an inventive use of bodily fluids! Who needs an expensive steam iron? Just weep all over your laundry.'
Have a fabulous Friday everyone.
Love SM x