Hi, I’m Violet.
Yesterday (April 2018) I was scanning back through all my Facebook posts from 2015, amidst the terribly urgent task of working out what cake I’d made for my son’s 10th birthday.
2015, the year that my daughter, baby #3 was born ON MY SON’S 10th BIRTHDAY. What are the chances?
2015, the year that I was so determined not to succumb to postnatal depression that I almost convinced myself that I was thriving. (Aside- if you need to drink a bottle of wine a day to feel OK, you probably aren’t thriving).
Christmas 2015, when I could hardly motivate myself to make a piece of toast, when I realised I didn’t feel anything much except a quiet desperation for each day to end and a dull longing to retrieve my personality, which seemed to have silently slipped down the back of the sofa.
But looking at my Facebook posts from 2015 through the misty lens of time, I am surprised to see a blonde, smiling, slim, almost GLOWY-FACED (that’ll be the 9 months abstaining from alcohol, then!) mother posting cute, funny pictures of her gorgeous chubby baby, her angelic blue-eyed two-year-old boy, and talking proudly about her super-helpful 10-year old. Basically, we look like a fucking Pampers advert.
So. That’s who I am. I am that woman that old friends have said they envied on Facebook- the beautiful family and the nice hair and the wonderful husband…. and the 70 units of alcohol per week and the Sertraline and the blackouts and the suicidal thoughts and the wondering if my family might be better off in the long run without me in it.
But – here I am, in April 2018, nearly 12 months sober. I read somewhere that recovering from an addiction is a bit like a metamorphosis. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could do “Dry January” and then emerge as a perfect butterfly as February arrived? No…at nearly 12 months sober I may be just about busting one straggly wet wing out of the chrysallis of early sobriety.
I used to think that abstaining from alcohol would solve everything for me. Then, at a few months sober, all I could see was ALL THE REASONS I had needed to drink in the first place. I learned a lot about keeping faith in the darkness then, for sure.
But now? Now I’m more scared than ever. Because it seems I’m actually going to have to spread my wings at some point. The blanket of self-loathing that kept me in my safe, boring comfort zone is lifting.