One of the great unfairness's of quitting drinking is that we often feel so alone.
You start out on this huge journey, utterly terrified, and it's on your mind constantly, yet nobody knows.
Over the initial few days or weeks you're exhausted. Your concentration is totally shot. You can't sleep. You have a horrible headache, and weird, annoying symptoms like constipation. You only feel truly happy when eating cake....
(see my post on Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms)
.....but you get little support, or pats on the back, or understanding.
If something bad happens, or someone is being horrible to you, you want to yell at them "Look mister! I'm having a tough time here, so cut me some slack!" but you don't.
If you quit smoking you shout it from the rooftops and everyone congratulates you and treats you like a hero. Quit drinking and they think you're odd, and treat you like a leper.
Getting breast cancer is way better on the sympathy stakes (although not so good in other ways, obvs).
Ironically, even though cancer isn't exactly something you choose to do - it's sort of foisted upon you, you're immediately defined as brave and courageous.
So I have decided to milk it. After all, I've always believed that if you've got it, you should flaunt it.
A couple of days ago I got a sodding parking ticket. I always - on principle - fight parking fines. I rarely have a leg to stand on, but that's beside the point.
Here's what I wrote to the local parking authority yesterday:
re: Parking Contravention Notice XXXXX
I do apologise. I accidentally parked in a bay that was temporarily suspended. I misread the date on the sign. It was entirely my fault, and I put your people to some trouble having to tow my car away.
However, the reason I misread the date was that I had just received a cancer diagnosis and my head was all over the place.
I realise that this does not mean you should cancel the fine, but - if you were to - it would restore my faith in humanity.
Should you wish to verify my story, please do call Prof X at the beast cancer unit, XX hospital.
Go on - make my day. I could do with some good news.
So, what do you think my chances are? Do parking authorities have any compassion? I'll keep you posted.
And maybe one day people will be able to announce going sober with pride, and get all the understanding and congratulations they deserve.
In the meantime, you can find it here, and with all my friends in the sober blogosphere.
Love SM x