I find these days that there are some ordinary day-to-day things that give me a huge thrill. Like waking up on Sunday mornings with a clear head, no guilt, and loads of energy. Like being able to do my belt up on the third notch. And like being able to go into any shop without fear of the cashier...
Until I started this blog I thought I was the only person in the world with Cashier Fear. In this, like many things, I quickly discovered that I was not alone.
I used to buy wine on rotation from several different shops because I was worried that the cashiers would clock how much I was buying and judge me.
There's a small Sainsbury Local near the children's school that I use quite a lot. I made me really, really cross that the same cashier seemed to be on duty whenever I went in. I would say to the children, really loudly, as I hauled my bottles of vino up to the till, "mustn't forget Daddy's wine!" or "Godfather Billy's coming for supper!" with an eye roll.
Needless to say, the children thought I'd gone slightly mad. They weren't wrong.
Every time I go into that shop now I get a buzz. I put my alcohol free beers on the counter and find myself, yet again, talking too loudly as I say "why is there an age restriction on these when they are alcohol free? Isn't that funny? It's not as if there's any alcohol in them! Ha ha!" Still acting like a mad lady.
I would love to know whether cashiers ever give a toss about who's buying what, and which of the Mums they serve are secret lushes. I suspect that the only person judging me was myself...
Another thing that gives me a vicarious thrill (I have to get my kicks somewhere these days) is police cars.
Now, I never thought I drove drunk. Whenever I got into my car I convinced myself that I was totally sober. Looking back, this can't have been the case.
If you drink a bottle of wine in the evening (10 units) it takes ten hours to leave your system. Given that I'd usually pass out before 10pm, I'd probably by ok to drive in the morning.
BUT, if I'd gone out to a party mid week it was likely I'd have drunk up to 20 units and gone to bed at 1am. There is no way that by 8am I'd be under the limit.
Plus, towards the end of the dark drinking days I'd often have a glass or two of wine at lunch time. Then drive at 3pm. I felt totally fine - I had a very high tolerance by this point - but I'm sure the breathalyser would have said different.
People with alcohol problems are notoriously adept at convincing themselves that they are perfectly safe to drive. This is what killed my friend Juliet (see When the Wine Witch Wins). But, the giveaway that, in my heart of hearts, I knew I wasn't really okay to drive was my fear of police cars.
I loathed driving past police cars, at any time of day. And if a police car just happened to be driving behind me (bound to happen in central London) I'd be riddled with paranoia. Why are they following me? What have a done? Am I driving too fast? To slow? Weaving? Aarrggghhh!
But now I love driving past police cars! I wave at them like a lunatic (are you seeing a pattern here?). I'm desperate to be pulled over so that I can say "Oh no officer. Not me! I don't drink."
I'm already dreading Christmas and New Year so, as a little treat to myself, I'm thinking of taking the car out at 3am on New Year's Eve and driving erratically just so I can PUFF INTO THE BREATHALYSER! Merry Christmas to me....
Love to you all,
Related post: 5 signs that you're a problem drinker