Monday, 6 July 2015


When you stop drinking you find that there are certain 'triggers' that always make you yearn for a delicious, chilled glass of white wine (or whatever your favourite tipple is).

Because I drank every evening, and lunchtimes more often than not, pretty much everything was a trigger to start off with.

Walking past the fridge. Any type of food preparation (except breakfast, thankfully! I hopped off the down escalator before that point). Any form of stress. Walking past the wine shop, or the booze aisle in the supermarket. Anyone dropping in. Being at home alone. Being out with friends. You get the picture.....

The biggest trigger was wine o'clock. Wine o'clock was, officially, 6pm, but it had gradually crept earlier and earlier, until it settled at around 5pm. (Given that 'lunch time' didn't generally end until around 1.30pm, this didn't give me a great deal of time off).

To start with I had to 'white knuckle' it between 5pm and 7pm. I begged the long suffering husband to come home from work as close to 6.30pm as possible, and I'd dash upstairs to take a hot bath with bubbles and deep breathing. By 7.30ish it would be relatively safe to emerge again.

I've now done four months of wine o'clocks, and they are officially not a problem any more. Woo hoo! 6pm is now alcohol free beer time. 9pm is hot chocolate time. Sorted.

The day-in-day-out triggers I've got more or less licked. My issue now is the triggers which pop up unexpectedly. Like the whack-a-mole game I mentioned yesterday. Yoo hoo! Over here! Bam!

People tell me that one of the worst things about bereavement is when you first wake up and forget, just for a moment, that your loved one is gone. Then it hits you afresh.

Quitting alcohol is very much like losing a lover. Your constant companion. Best friend. Your go to prop. And, like bereavement, my worst triggers are when - just for a moment - I forget that my lover is gone.

I received an e-mail a few days ago from #1's school. It was about the year 6 leaver's production of Oliver. It said 'children should be dropped at school at 5.45pm to change and warm up prior to the performance at 6.30pm. Drinks will be available in the marquee for parents.'

My heart soared. Yay! An official excuse to drink! At school! Before 6pm! On a hot day! What's not to like?

Then BAM. Reality. Oh yes. Not me. Never again. Boo hoo.

The other trigger that's currently driving me crazy is bloody Ed Sheeran.

#1, #2 and #3 insist on listening to Capital Radio in the car, which means that - for the first time in a decade - I am totally up to date with the charts. I am intimately acquainted with Taylor Swift and 1D.

If I am annoyed with the offspring, I park outside the school gates, wind the window down, sing loudly to whatever chart song is playing and add appropriate 1980s hand movements. This causes howls of anguish from the back seat as they desperately try to pretend that they've never met me before.

(They get their revenge by shouting loudly in shops "My Mummy's forty six!")

Anyhow, one of their favourite songs is Ed Sheeran's Bloodstream.

It gets me every time. "I got sinning on my mind. Sipping on red wine......I've been looking for a lover, Thought I'd find her in a bottle...."

Then, the line that makes me grip the steering wheel hard, "I feel the chemicals burn in my bloodstream."

There's something about that line.

I don't really miss the second or third glass of wine any more. I miss that first big glug. I miss the moment when you feel it hit your bloodstream, and the world shifts on its axis. The gear changes. Everything softens.

It's like the Star Trek teleport system. Spock hits the button and everyone goes all wavy then pops up somewhere else.

I feel a wave of loss as I realise that I'll never have that fast track to relaxation again.

So, Ed Sheeran, I say take your flipping chemicals and shove them where the sun don't shine, because you're messing with my head. And my school run.

Onwards and upwards peoples.

Love SM x

P.S. In case any of you have been fretting about the sad, premature demise of #3's tadpoles, you will be glad to hear that my sainted mother came up from the country yesterday with 5 new, healthy tadpole/frog combos for the tank, thereby saving her granddaughter from having to face the inevitability of death for a little bit longer.....


  1. Yes - I know exactly what you mean. Bloody Ed. A lot of Ryan Adams lyrics have a similar effect on me. I miss that sweet release, although I'd been finding I had to chase it harder and harder in recent weeks anyway.. my tolerance must have been through the roof! I'm having to weigh it up in the balance against all the good things about not drinking. It's then that I remember how fleeting that feeling was for me. I've just got to keep remembering that, and your blog helps enormously xx

  2. Yes ditto those unexpected triggers. I found myself in the wine aisle in Waitrose the other day when I was looking for some alcohol free beer and there were all my old friends looking shiny and delicious and then I remembered I didnt drink anymore and a real wave of sadness hit me followed by guilt at feeling sad then rising panic as the wine witch saw her moment and started whisperings about moderation...argghhh..suffice to say I virtually ran out of there. I may have to switch to online shopping for a while! X

  3. I thought wine o clock especially on Fridays would be so hard to stop but I never gi e it a thought now as have new concrete habits and routines. Yes I is the unexpected things like a spa day with a welcome glass of bubbles. Boo to that, being mindful all the time helps. I had an ice cold glass of fizzy water at the spa, its just those split second thoughts that annoy me. But then I love the smell of a fag in the sunshine but I wouldn't dream of smoking one!

  4. #so tell me when it kicks in# gets me. I do miss feeling that hit. That's why I'm a chocoholic now. ;-)

    1. I didn't even mention that line. I can't even type it!!!

  5. omg, that song KILLS me. Especially that line too. It's like the bit at the end in Rachel's holiday when her sisters are drinking gin and tonics and Rachel is asking them to describe the feeling of it, the coldness going down their throat and the burn of the alcohol hitting their stomachs! I also used to get a tingly feeling in my toes! But as Red says, the feeling was getting harder and harder to chase....

  6. OMG - seems like I'm not the only one! Do you think Ed has any idea how much anguish he's caused to ex lushes everywhere?

  7. Here is a link to a "cartoon" about chasing that first lovely feeling ...

    1. That's chillingly accurate, WB..

  8. Thank you for the tadpole update. Are the new tadpoles...errrrr, safe?? I mean considering the fate of those they replaced, and all. Just wondering...

  9. I love this, you're doing so well. I know there's many readers that are proud of you as you should be!

  10. For some completely unfathomable reason my sober-song (I know that's not what you are talking about here) is Rehab with Amy Winehouse. Her tragic history and the contents of the song not withstanding there is something sweetly defiant about it that appeals to me. Do you have song that has come to be the soundtrack of your sobriety?