It's almost exactly a year since my cancer diagnosis (see my post: I Need Help) and even the most innocuous things that happen at this time of the year have the ability to plunge me right back into that hellhole.
The slight chill in the air, the darker mornings, displays of pumpkins in the shops, any date with '10' in it, planning for half term; all bring back memories of stomach churning dread in the cancer clinic waiting rooms, lying awake all night planning the music for my funeral and having to tell the children that "Mummy has cancer."
On top of that, I've been re-living the last of the drinking days, and the hell of the early not-drinking days, as I've been writing The Book.
But all of this churning up of the past has a purpose:
When you have cancer you constantly tell yourself that if you are ever blessed with good health again you will no longer take it for granted. You promise never, ever to moan about the insignificant and to count your blessings every day. Yada, yada, Pollyanna.
Then, a few months later and you're back to cursing at the weather, the PTA and the demise of Bake Off as we know it. You forget to say hurrah for being alive and surrounded by the people I love.
So, these reminders are timely ones.
My amnesia about the drinking days is similar, but more dangerous.
After nineteen months of no booze I am feeling totally normal (well as normal as I'll ever be). The dark days seem so far away that it's hard to believe they were real. Our brains are hard wired to hang on to the rose tinted memories and bury anything unpleasant.
It's so easy, even after years of sobriety, to listen to that voice that says hey, you were never that bad! Drinking was FUN! What are you worrying about, you big girl's blouse?
The more 'cured' you become, the more precarious your situation.
It's no wonder studies show that between 50% and 90% of people relapse after a period of recovery.
That's why AA have The Rooms to which people return for years, decades, after they quit in order to re-live their rock bottoms, and to hear the stories of others.
It's also why I, and many like me, are still blogging and reading other sober blogs long after we've quit, because hugging those memories close is crucial.
So, if you're recently sober, or thinking of taking the plunge, then write it down.
Document how you feel in lurid, livid detail. List all those reasons why you're waking up at 3am every morning thinking this has to stop. Start a blog, or a diary, write a letter to your future self.
One day that piece of paper, or blog post, may be the thing that saves you.
Happy sober Saturday!