Things I'd Rather Forget
Waking up and not knowing is awful. Even when you are safe in your own home, although actually maybe that’s worse, because then you know the people you’ve affected are those closest to you.
Especially towards the end of my drinking ‘career’, after one or two failed attempts at recovery, many of my mornings were spent worrying about the night before. I kidded myself that each night would be different, that I wouldn’t drink so much, but I couldn’t help myself. I stressed out before I had a drink, especially if there was a delay of some kind, but once I’d had that magical first one, I lost all inhibitions and reserves. It went downhill from there, and every night was the same.
First, it was the small things, like falling asleep in the evening. Then the fuzziness. Then came blackouts. I still can’t get my head around the concept of a blackout, that you can be somewhere appearing to function, but have no recollection of it. Basically, though, when there is a certain level of alcohol in your system, your brain fails to make memories. Scary when you think of it like that isn’t it?
I hated to admit I didn’t remember, or couldn’t remember. I was ashamed that I was losing control, and I was scared to do anything about it, so I just tried to hide it instead. It’s easier to hide the fact that you’ve forgotten a bit of your book and need to read it again than it is to admit that you don’t remember how a film ended. Especially when you’re there talking about it while it’s on. It’s worse when you ask how a phone call went, only to be told that you’ve already asked and been told, maybe more than once, but forgotten. Or you don’t want to ask, in case you already have, but forgot the answer. Although it was possibly quite obvious, I still couldn’t admit it, I was so afraid of letting people down. Of course, problems don’t go away when you bury your head in the sand. They just get worse.
One morning I woke up with a sore head, and had to be told that I’d banged it on the bathroom tap when I over enthusiastically went to wash my face before bed. Then there was the conversation about a potential employee I’d been asked to look into. When I was questioned about it at work, I couldn’t even remember looking them up, let alone what I was meant to have found out. But of course, rather than admit it, I tried to blag it again. Conversations were forgotten. Arguments were forgotten. Reality became quite a blur as my memories, worries and dreams all muddled together. But still, I didn’t want to tell anyone what I was experiencing.
It’s crazy when I look back to think that I tried to hide things so much. I was so sure that I was more fun when I had been drinking, which made me feel afraid that I might be boring without it (I’m not, but I am a lot more balanced). Life has changed a lot for me in the past three to four years. I had to hit my rock bottom to realise I was really so bad and while my lowest point might not look like someone else’s might, it was pretty tough. I still had my family and my home where many people in my position don’t, but inside, I was broken. I thought I had it all together with my armour up, but looking back now I see that I just didn’t get things as I thought I did. I thought I was there, but really I was just going through the motions.
I can’t change my past, no one can, but we can all learn from our experiences and use them to make us the best versions we can of ourselves. There’s no point in being ashamed. It doesn’t fix anything, and to be honest, if I had lived a different life I wouldn’t be me, and I quite like being me. I have a wonderful husband and we have four amazing kids, I wouldn’t want anything different now.
Take care and thanks as always for reading.