7th April 2018
Woop, excited, guys! I’m sat on a train into central London with Husband and Mr. Nearly 13. We are going to see the Royal Opera House’s production of Coraline, based on that super-freaky kid’s film from a few years ago, where the little girl gets invited through a hole in the wall in her new bedroom by “the Other Mother”, who seems better than her actual mother, except for the fact that she has buttons for eyes, and an obsession with sewing buttons on Coraline’s eyes too…. nightmarish!
So, with under 3 weeks to go until my first sobriety birthday, I’ve been reflecting on the place that I was at, this time last year. I had just finished weaning myself off the antidepressant Sertraline (Zoloft), which I had been taking since December 2015 for postnatal depression (the GP specifically pointing out that I COULD drink alcohol whilst taking Sertraline). My drinking seemed to spiral out of control while I was on Sertraline, as did my eating. I was dazed and forgetful, and had no willpower- I couldn’t organise a shopping list let alone a sobriety plan.
This time last year I weighed 25lbs more than I do now; I didn’t recognise the bloated middle-aged woman in the mirror (I was only 36). On 5th April 2017 my 35-year-old best friend from school told me that the pain from her suspected slipped disc was, in fact, secondary breast cancer metastases in her bones. And so, she and her husband reentered the world of cancer treatment, a world they desperately hoped they had left behind back in 2014 when she completed her primary breast cancer treatment. This time, they would not be leaving it, for secondary cancer can be stalled and treated, but not cured.
As I watched my friend and her husband’s plans to start a family end forever, just as it seemed within reach, I felt my resolve for sobriety strengthen, setting like concrete. After stop-start sobriety and increasingly erratic behaviour since January 2017, I knew my drinking days were numbered. Then I thought, my dearest friends have no choice but to endure secondary cancer. The least I can do is stop drinking. I also recognised that, if I kept drinking, I would end up destroying myself. Because if you are addicted to alcohol – if you have no “off switch” – when times get rough – that’s what happens.
I could get sober and support her and become a better mother and wife and human, or I could keep drinking and be no use to anyone.
It’s been quite a year since then.
I hope Coraline the Opera doesn’t give me nightmares….