Day 286: The beast has been sleeping for a while – hibernating I guess. The last time the beast was awake was in August when I went on my best mate’s stag doo and was heading into a busy city centre full of party goers full of drink. I remember the beast whispering in my ear that I could sneak off and have a few drinks on my own to take the edge off before meeting the rest of the stag party who were already in a bar. I ignored the beast and had a nice weekend.
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t had a happy, perfect life for the last three months but the desire to drink alcohol has been non-existent. Not even when I’ve been anxious or agitated. That changed on Saturday though.
The beast was awakened by my vulnerability and he was hungry for a drink. Preferably whisky. Whisky hits the spot pretty much immediately and given how cold it is at the moment in England, the single malt would warm up the throat and chest. Perfect.
No. Not perfect. I don’t want to drink alcohol. I don’t want the stuff back in my body and mind.
To cut a long story short, me and the family were attending a wedding of our friends on Saturday despite the awful storm that hit most of the UK from Friday onward. Me, my wife and two little girls were all dressed up, packed up and ready for a church wedding followed by a wedding reception at a country hotel and spa. We would be staying over and my 6 year old was so excited for her first wedding and a night away.
When we got to the church the groom was at the door welcoming guests into the church. He told us that the wedding venue had been damaged by the storm and had no power. They had been forced to close and could not go ahead with hosting their wedding breakfast and party, etc. I thought he was taking the piss as my mate is a serial ‘piss taker’ but nope, they announced during the church service that indeed, the wedding was not going ahead in it’s original form.
At the last minute the bride’s brother made some calls and we were told we could all head to a local pub he works at to have a few sandwiches, toast the bride and groom, etc.
I struggle with pubs and social situations I haven’t prepared myself for at the best of times so this naturally threw me. My 6 year old was upset because she was no longer going to the venue and my 2 year old was in ‘monster’ mode and increasing my stress levels by the minute.
We drove to the nearby pub and it was around lunchtime so had other families in eating and small groups of blokes drinking pints. We all rock up in wedding attire and try to find seats dotted around the building.
I just felt overwhelmed and wanted to be out of the bustle of all the guests at the bar and grabbing tables. I made a conscious direction to my wife that we get a table over near the window and pretty much out of the busy area of the pub. I was anxious, irritated and to be honest, just wanted to go home now I knew the wedding was ‘off’. I felt bad for my friends who were not going to have the special day they had planned for so long. Yes, they’d been officially married in the church and it was a beautiful ceremony, but a combination of the horrendous weather and the venue now being unavailable was just a big blow to the day and I wanted to head home and get out of my wedding suit. I knew the bride and groom would be occupied by the other guests and I selfishly wanted to be away from this awkward and sad situation. The beast then woke up.
I was sitting at the pub table, my wife at the toilet with the eldest and the youngest was being a pain in the arse next to me. I was glancing around the pub and could see people drinking, socialising and generally seeming content or happy in their own worlds. I wanted to get away from everybody and drink on my own. Make the anxiety go away and make the mood lift.
The beast started to tell me to do it. Go on, you will enjoy it. It has been too long. Treat yourself.
My wife and eldest daughter returned to the table. My daughter said “Daddy, why do you look sad?”
“Sometimes we just get sad, I’ll be ok”
My wife asked if I wanted to leave. She could tell I wasn’t happy.
We left. We got home. We got into our pyjamas at 4pm and we started to prematurely do the Christmas decorations in our living room. I had a 0% Guinness and then we ordered a pizza.
I was asleep before 10pm.
When I woke up on Sunday the beast didn’t wake up with me.
Today is my 286th consecutive day sober.
2 thoughts on “The Beast Awakens”
Congratulations, sounds like you have been properly tested. It’s not always possible to run away from temptation of any kind. Embrace it, push through it and, wow, how much stronger are we?! I hope you are feeling proud of yourself.
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Thanks Mark. Yeah it was a little wobble but it’s all good for experience I guess. Sobriety is a wonderful thing but not without it’s doses of reality occasionally