I am in Scotland.
Mr SM needs to return to his homeland on a regular basis in order to stride up heather coated mountains in a skirt without underpants (yes, it is true what they say about Scots), shoot things (at the appropriate times of year), do silly dancing and eat deep fried offal. He is scared that if he leaves it too long between visits he will turn into a sissy (English person).
As usual, we do the pilgrimage in two parts: part one involves me driving for nine hours north with a car packed to the gills with all our stuff, #1, #2, #3 and the dog. Part two involves Mr SM following a few days later (important business to finish in the office, obviously) on the train, reading the papers and sipping gin and tonics.
The last time I made a serious attempt to quit drinking was two years ago. I made it to about six weeks sober, then did the long drive north....
(Aside: I often read about people cracking at the 6-8 week mark. I looked back through this blog, and realised that day 46 was when I hit 'the wall' - see my post: the Sobercoaster. Apparently 'the wall' phase classically runs from day 46-120, and is a common reason for relapse)
So, two years ago, all was fine until about eight hours into the journey. #1, #2 and #3 started fighting. Proper yelling and pulling hair. I suspect teeth were involved. I lost it and started yelling too. The dog spotted some sheep (he's a Chelsea dog - cashmere jumpers he's familiar with, actual fleeces on legs...not so much) and starts barking madly.
Then, to cap it all, the police close off the only road over the Cheviots due to a road traffic accident. We took a diversion and got horribly lost.
By the time we arrived it was late, I was exhausted and fed up and everyone was crying over something. I told myself that I really, really, really deserved a glass of wine. I found a bottle in a cupboard, opened it, and within about an hour and a half it was empty.
The next day I felt awful. After six weeks sober my body was screaming for mercy. I had no desire whatsoever to drink again.
Ha ha! I thought. I have managed to reset the system. I am a normal drinker. I can let rip from time to time, then have absolutely no interest in continuing. Well done me.
And I didn't drink again. For a week. Then I drank a couple of glasses over dinner with family. Patted myself on the back. Look at me: moderation in action! Didn't drink again for five days or so.
You know the story. A month later I was back to drinking every day, more than ever.
So this time round I was nervous. I can't remember ever having done that journey, with all the packing, unpacking, driving, traffic jams, refereeing, etc etc without a bucket of alcohol at the end of it.
Yes, I was frayed when we got here. No, the solitary Becks Blue that I'd packed didn't hit the spot. BUT a few hours later and the children are in bed, I've had a hot bath, lit the fire (I know it's July, but it's Scotland), made a hot chocolate, unpacked the laptop and I'm doing great. The only sound is the ticking of the kitchen clock and the crackling of the embers.
And, even better, I'll wake up to the glorious landscape, stillness and fresh air, with a clear head and bags of enthusiasm.
Another 'first' ticked off, my friends.
Love SM x