I am currently in my twenty first month without alcohol. I rarely feel the urge to go and get drunk, although I would be lying if I said that the thought had never entered my head during that time.
Usually as a result of being depressed, or something not going my way, or worrying about family or money, I have once or twice slipped into that mental place which is only a small step away from the wine aisle in Tesco. It is a fleeting thought which maybe lasts a couple of minutes; the pros and cons are weighed up, I quickly come to realise that there are no pros because I play the movie to the end, and we all know how the movie finishes. Then it’s all cons, I know it will go exactly the way it went last time and in the long run I would lose; the knowledge that my children are happy and secure, my partner, my self-respect and my happiness, lots of money, any chance I have of regaining my figure after having a baby in my late thirties (I have discovered that the human body is not quite so resilient at 37 as it is at 23, which is when I had my first baby). In the end, I lose.
Those thoughts go at one hundred miles an hour, I take a sharp intake of breath and then begin to think how best to snap out of my mood, now that I have come to the realisation that booze isn’t going to be involved in the process.
Previous to my giving up alcohol, I would often experience these thoughts, instances of ‘shall I, shan’t I?’ and the wine would always win. Even if I was on the wagon at the time, as soon as I had one of these moments I would give in to it and go get drunk. I have since named these few seconds of internal conversation, a debate between the good and the bad, the devil and the angel, as ‘Fuck It Moments.’ And now that I am entering into my third calendar year of sobriety, I have developed an acute awareness of when I am suffering from such an attack on my state of mind and, where booze is concerned, I deal with it pretty well these days (if I do say so myself).
Fuck It Moments (FIMs?) do not just happen in relation to drink – I routinely experience FIMs when I am trying to lose weight, and this particular manifestation I have not mastered. Yet. My weight is hovering around the 140 pound mark, and my pre-baby weight was about 132 pounds, so I really want to drop that last half a stone. I start off each morning with porridge, low fat almond milk as a substitute for cows’, some vitamins, juice, all going great. Feeling a little peckish around mid-morning but stave off the hunger pangs with a small banana and a glass of hot water with lemon. Oh, so virtuous, smug and on the way to thin again. Until lunchtime, when, overwhelmed by hunger, I scoff a sandwich, apple, yoghurt, and three (count them, three!) chocolate biscuits. Oh god. I want to rewind, I feel a bit sick, I am thoroughly annoyed with myself.
What got me there? What led me to eat three chocolate biscuits? A colossal FIM, that’s what. I opened the biscuit barrel, I stared down into the shiny wrappers, I knew that in that selection of bad boys lay a few thousand calories just waiting to latch on to my hips, and after due consideration, I cast aside the lid, stuck my hand in, grabbed three and said an almighty Fuck It.
Such wayward behaviour is not going to lead me down the path of slimness, back to my size 10 jeans and the gorgeous dress I bought just a couple of weeks before I discovered I was pregnant and have only worn once. I know this, and I also knew, back in the day, that every time I cracked open a bottle of wine, I was heading for misery – maybe not on that night, but on a night to come for sure if I carried on. But I did it anyway, and continued to do so until I hit a large enough, nasty enough, frightening enough rock bottom, for me to successfully eliminate those alcohol FIMs from my life for good.
Now I need to do the same for the biscuit tin FIMs. And I don’t really want to hit three hundred pounds before I am so full of self-disgust that I never want to taste the sickly sweetness of chocolate ever again; I’d rather banish my biscuit FIMs quite a long way off that point.
More self discovery, more alternative coping strategies, more soul searching…here we go again.