Memory is a funny thing. It plays tricks on us.
Sometimes this is for a good reason. For example, I realised recently that I have little memory of whole chunks of time last October/November.
I think I have mild post traumatic stress from the whole cancer thing, and my mind has just blanked it all out.
This became apparent because of #1's teeth.
Last October half term, I'd booked her in to see an orthodontist. It so happened that the appointment fell right in the middle of all my scans and biopsies.
We went along and discussed her teeth at some length (and cost). I was given detailed instructions on next steps, including going somewhere to get some crucial x-rays done.
But I can't remember any of it. #1 says I wrote it all down, but God knows where.
I'm too embarrassed to go back and do the same appointment all over again, plus it'll just bring back all those bad memories that my brain has obviously decided to delete for good reason, so we're going to another orthodontist next week.
Last night I was watching Peter Pan with the children, and I had this vague memory of writing something about him. Sure enough, I found this (rather good) post from November about growing up (click here) which I had no memory of writing.
I re-read all my posts from that period, and a whole bunch of them might just of well have been written by someone else.
The reason this is relevant is that false memory can completely scupper the newly sober person.
The problem with not hitting a 'rock bottom' (which no-one wants to get to, obvs) is that once you've been sober for a good long stretch, it's really easy to forget how bad it was.
This caused me some problems last week.
A friend of mine was talking about my not drinking, which she feels (as do most of my friends) is a bit extreme. She said "it's not as if you were an alcoholic. I mean, we all drink too much, but we don't need to give up altogether."
You know what happens next, don't you? Here's how I start thinking:
She's right! I'm NOT an alcoholic. EVERYONE drinks too much. Yes, it all got a bit out of control, drinking most of a bottle most nights of the week, but it's not as if my family suffered. No one ASKED me to quit. I never blacked out/fell over/threw up. I could have a drink or two once in a while....
Luckily, I decided to go back and read 'Secret Drinker Hits the High Bottom,' just to remind myself how 'moderate' my drinking really was (click here).
And there was this terrible lush confessing to drinking one and a half bottles of wine a day. And to fibbing. And to (once) drinking in the morning.
I was horrified. Was that really me?
So, listen up, because this is really important.
Write it down. All of it. Now. Before you forget.
Because one day you'll convince yourself that you weren't that bad really. And you're going to need that piece of paper, or that blog post, to remind yourself that you really were. You really, really were.
Love SM x