Sunday, 21 September 2014

Then and Now: A New Car

I am shortly to collect my new car. It has been so long a process that I've had no particular excitement about it. I'm not really into cars-my top concern is reliability. But this morning I became all excited about it and it reminded me of my relapse when I last got a new car.
Three years ago, I was on Day 19 of becoming AF for the first time (excepting pregnancy). It was a Saturday and I had friends and their kids coming round for drinks and dinner. They were good friends and us girls drank a lot and the men only a little. I hadn't planned what I was going to say to my friend. Why wasn't I drinking? It was all too new and fragile to risk telling her the truth. I was convinced this was not to be forever, I was coping with a 'just one more day' strategy and was already growing tired of it. I was anxious about what I'd say, anxious that she would be disappointed if I wasn't drinking and worried I would sound like an alcoholic. And then I would look like an alcoholic too, when this dry run came to an end and I started drinking wine again. This episode with her was my inspiration to write "How to Tell Them You Don't Drink" (and deal with the questions they ask) shortly afterwards.
I didn't realise it at the time but I was having far too much internal chatter about what would happen after the AF period. Should've kept it in the moment.
I rushed to collect my new car. Forgot to take some documents so rushed home again and back to the garage becoming harassed as I knew dinner for the guests was not well on in preparation. The handover of the car took aaagggggggeeeeeeessssssss. Who knew I would have to sign 50 forms! I was late but I was elated when it had its corny unveiling ceremony in the garage. (This is important to the outcome, I promise).
I drove home, a bit jerky getting used to the different controls, but as fast as I dared, already late. I arrived home at the same time as the guests arrived. There was plenty of oohing and aaaaaahing over my new car and they had brought champagne, insisting we celebrate with a glass, before the men went back out to sit in and admire the car further.
As I opened the champagne I was fully intending still to have a soft drink. I'd poured 3 glasses and the fourth stood empty, waiting.
I had to make a spilt decision without great explanations. Ironically I was now keeping it in the moment and I poured the bubbles into the fourth glass too, thinking how excited I was and how I felt warm and cosily cocooned with good friends around me. Without a glass of alcohol it would just not be as good. Hell, I deserved it too. I'd done 19 days and had suffered a lot of misery and deprivation in that time. It was time to give myself a break.
I never intended it would only be one drink: I knew that the decision was to drink as usual or not at all and I had chosen the former. And that included the next night and the next night and then there seemed no point in having one or two nights off the booze because I had a party coming up at the weekend. No, I'd have to wait a while until my diary was clear of, well, everything really, so I could 'have a good go at it.'
It was another 5 weeks until I had my second attempt at being AF.
(for info it failed after a week or so and my usual drinking returned with a vengeance culminating in the time where I knew, I just knew, I had to stop. End of).
My car loan arrived in the bank this morning and I felt all excited. I got out the car brochures that were filed away and tried to remember the colour I'd chosen. I oohed and aaaahed with the kids about which side they would each have in the back and commiserated with them that there was no sun roof! Again, it's Saturday afternoon, I'm max-ed out on retail therapy from this huge purchase. I'm looking forward to roast chicken followed by pancakes and butterscotch sauce (pre made for micro-waving, don't be impressed) tonight and then to see what Cheryl has done with her hair and make up tonight on the X factor. I'm going to change my bed and enjoy clean sheets tonight. I might even finish my jigsaw today! (Living the dream, I know!) Loads of options.
Alcohol could not be further from my mind.

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