I’d never considered myself a liar, in fact I’ve always prided myself on being pretty straight up and honest but my drinking made me the biggest bullshitter going by the end. What started off as ‘little white lies’ to my wife and family soon turned into full blown covering up of my consumption and subsequent behaviour.
Weekends away with my mates became more unpredictable, working away on my own encouraged excessive drinking and I couldn’t even have a drink in the house with my wife without sneaking extras down my throat when filling up a glass in the kitchen.
By the end I was hiding drink around the house. I had secret bottles of wine hidden under the sink, cans of beer in the cistern and whisky in my wardrobe. I had Gin in the garden box and if I bought beer at the shop I purposely bought the higher strength stuff. There was planning and forward thinking in my drinking. I was always planning on where I could access booze without anyone else knowing because naturally I was ashamed of my relationship with alcohol. That’s why working away or looking after my little girls on my own was ideal because I didn’t have prying eyes of other adults. I did have the eyes of a 5 year old daughter on me though and in my ignorant, oblivious opinion I thought I was hiding it well from her but she saw me drinking, saw me going to my hiding places and saw my behaviour change. Kids are smart. I thought I was the smart one. I wasn’t.
When we were recently on holiday we were chatting and she asked me about the time the police and paramedics came to the house and I went off in an ambulance. I explained I wasn’t very well but in her 7yr old inquisitive mind that wasn’t enough information. What illness was it? Why did the police need to come to the house? Why don’t I drink anymore?
When she is a little older I will talk to her more openly about it but it’s a difficult conversation to have with your young children. She knows what alcohol is and she knows I used to drink it. She is observant of her Grandad drinking in the house when she visits or her Mammy having a glass of wine now and again. She knows it makes you ‘silly and fall over’ and I tell her I don’t like to be silly and fall over so that’s why I don’t drink. It’s not entirely untrue I guess.
I can be my honest and transparent self now that I’m in sobriety because the only way recovery can work is if you are completely truthful with everybody and take ownership in all of the decisions you make. No more drinking because your mates pushed you to, no more wine after work cos it was a ‘shit day’ or cracking open a can at 10am on Christmas Day because it’s well, Christmas!
One of the best things about being sober is not needing to put on an act and cover your tracks. I would have 5-6 pints up the pub but tell my wife I had two. Why was I lying? Well clearly I knew that my consumption was an unhealthy one and would attract criticism so the easy thing to do was just tell half truths. I’d been to the pub for a drink, she knew that – but I wasn’t telling her the truthful unit intake!
If I feel vulnerable or tempted by alcohol these days I have a clear set of plans in place. Firstly I can apply my AVRT learnings to my addictive voice to overcome it but if I’m feeling more overwhelmed than normal or struggling mentally I know I have people I can turn to – my wife is a great listener but being a typical bloke at times I try to protect her from how I feel and will tend to reach out and talk to my peers within recovery. I have options though, and that is invaluable.