HMS Primrose is navigating some high seas at the moment. My mother in law, who has been ill for some time, is now in her final days, perhaps final hours. It has fallen to me to be the person in closest contact with her medical team, making sure she is being cared for as she and her family would wish. My mother in law and I were never particularly close but had grown into a comfortable relationship over many years, especially since my children were born. I am doing the necessary yet painful work of walking alongside her in her final days, as I hope someone will someday do for me. Alongside that work is the role of supporting my husband and children as they make their own journeys, and allow them to do so in ways that meet their needs.

As is to be expected I am feeling emotional, over-stretched and fragile at the moment. In particular I am missing my running as although I am still doing short runs daily, I find it difficult to justify going for long runs – also long runs give far too much opportunity for rumination, which is always a potential risky area for me. I will keep up the short runs and extend them as much as I feel able.

Last night I settled down to watch some television and realised that drinking thoughts were popping up, partly prompted by the television programme I was watching in which a soldier described vividly why he drank to escape the memories of the violence he had seen. The thoughts were without that visceral tug of wanting – it was like watching an old fashioned alarm clock going off, and seeing the clapper bang bang bang from one side to the other, but without hearing the insistent ringing. I had a replacement drink – Rochester’s Dark Ginger cordial in a brandy glass – and a big chunk of cake, and the thoughts retreated. I’m not concerned that they arose, in the circumstances, and I know how to deal with them – I wanted to record them here as a further way of de-fusing from them.

I am at no risk of making an intellectual decision that it would be okay for me to drink. My focus therefore is upon taking sufficient care of myself that I don’t end up having a fuck-it moment, and I know how to take care of myself too – it’s a case of making that a sufficient priority in these dark days.

Sober First.

Thanks for being here, sober warriors. Prim xx

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