Dear Me on 4 November 2013,
In 77 days time you will glance at the bottom of the fridge and see a bottle of white wine. It will be one third full. And you will think to yourself, “Oh, I forgot that was there. When was that from?”
Given that bottles of wine in your fridge currently have a life expectancy slightly shorter than the average mayfly, you may be laughing incredulously at this point.
Wait. It gets better.
You didn’t drink any of that wine. It must be from two weeks ago today when we had friends here for Sunday lunch. Your husband has been away for two nights and that bottle of wine has been silent in the fridge. No siren calls, no twinges of guilty desire.
You have been stone cold sober for 76 days and nights. 76 witching hours. 77 mornings now of waking up without a headache and that deeeeeep black despair that never went away. You didn’t really believe you could do this, but we are bloody doing it.
It has by no means all been plain sailing. There have been some pretty low moments in that time. The lowest moments were just you/me, on our own, at the time when we would have drunk on our own. No one to deal with, rationalise, explain away to. Up close and as personal as it gets, in a faceoff with our worst self.
There were landmarks we worried about incessantly in advance.
The first time we went for Sunday lunch with friends maniacally clutching our bottles of sparkling elderflower. Do you know what? it was fine. Our first sober dinner party at someone else’s house. Our first sober Christmas, and New Year? Glitter juice. All fine.
Fine but different. You will worry that you will feel eternally deprived, that your life will be reduced, lessened, by giving up alcohol, but find that you are made whole and real again.
You will change in ways that you don’t even know about yet. You will see and do things in entirely different ways. You will sign up for that half marathon you never dared imagine you could run. You will not just sign up for it, you will train for it and gain enormous confidence from the strength and abilities of the body that you have been abusing for so long.
You will start to learn to be kind to yourself. To rest, for pete’s sake. Because that is okay. To take a bath and go to bed early when you need to.
You will find the evenings that you crammed jangling spiky full of wine and spirits are restful peaceful places, full of undiscovered time to be with your family. To read, sew, or watch television and remember the plot of Doctor Who the next day.
You will discover a whole world of online support full of bright, sad, funny, thought provoking, heart wrenching people who will make you feel YOU ARE NOT ALONE ANY MORE and that will make you more grateful than your sad self-absorbed heart could understand right now.
You will sit down in about thirty days time and try to make a list of things that you can do to make yourself feel happier at that moment. And you will really struggle. You will be horrified that you had painted yourself into a corner of your own life and determine to change that for the better.
You will not recognise yourself in 76 days time. I promise. It is beyond your wildest dreams.
Hang in there, sweetheart.
We are going on a really big adventure.