A few months ago I might have been able to imagine being sober while everything in life was going well, but I could never picture myself coping with anything majorly traumatic without a drink in hand.
Truth be told, in the early days I would have welcomed a minor trauma as a fabulous excuse to give up giving up.
Now I can honestly tell you that there is no problem in life that cannot be made worse by alcohol.
I have not had a good day.
I managed to get my appointment at the breast clinic bought forward to today. Although 8 out of ten breast lumps are benign (so do not panic if you find one), it appears that mine is not.
In the old days I would have escaped direct to a bar. By now I'd be legless and weeping. There's no way that I'd be able to keep my chin up in front of the children.
I was always aware that whilst I could maintain the façade of 'high functioning alcohol addict' when life was going swimmingly, if life were to throw me a curve ball I'd be swimming in the stuff. The wheels would have well and truly come off and I'd be pouring vodka on the cornflakes at breakfast time. I'd have ridden the elevator all the way down to rock bottom.
But now, one of the only things I can imagine being worse than a cancer diagnosis is a cancer diagnosis with a hangover. The only thing worse than a sleepless night prior to the appointment would be a sleepless night with the alcohol horrors thrown in.
There's nothing better than facing your own mortality to make you realise that you don't want to blot out a single minute with alcohol, or to waste another morning with a hangover.
I'm sure that the reason I'm able to remain (relatively) positive rather than being horribly depressed is because I am sober.
And here are (at the risk of sounding like a punch-able Pollyanna) some reasons to be cheerful:
(1) I have one of the best consultant breast surgeons in the country.
(although his bedside manner is terrible. He copped a feel of my boobs for two minutes and then, without any build up, preamble or preparation said "breast cancer", leaving the poor nurse to run over with a box of tissues and scoop me off the floor).
(2) They are pretty sure (and will know more by Friday) that it is STAGE 1 - which, as cancers go, is a very good one to have.
(3) They have promised me that they will make sure I don't lose my hair (I don't want to scare the kids).
(4) One of the best ways to ensure that you don't get breast cancer, or (in my case) don't get it again, is to not drink alcohol. And I've ticked that one off already.
(5) Next time someone annoys me by grilling me as to why I'm not drinking I can say because it doesn't go well with chemotherapy which will really shut them up good and proper.
(6) The best way to deal with cancer treatment is to take it one day at a time. Baby steps. Stay in the moment - don't look ahead. Face your emotions. And after the last (nearly) eight months I have a post grad degree in all of that stuff.
(7) What better way to support my Aunt during her cancer treatment than to join in?
(8) I have the support of a fabulous family, and the constant distraction of three amazing kids who can always make me smile.
So please don't feel sorry for me, just do me a favour and think if SM can stay sober while having part of her boob hacked off then the rest blitzed with lasers and soaked in poison then I jolly well can too.
(And make sure you check your boobs regularly. My quick once over when I heard about my Aunt's diagnosis probably saved my life).
Have we got a deal?
Love SM x