At first I was on the pink cloud of Euphoria with my sobriety. Everything in those initial weeks was clean and fresh.
There was so much I wanted to prove, and so much I wanted to do. All the hiding places where my bottles had been, in cupboards, wardrobes, garden sheds, airing cupboard, handbags were cleared, and where in the past, I had purposely spread the outage over weeks to that the local council didn’t know I was a lush, now I wanted openness and transparency.
Eyes were clear and bright, skin was refreshed, eating habits were slowly restored. There just didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. The only trouble was that no one else seemed to share my enthusiasm.
So overwhelmed with the freedom that I now had and waking up each morning raring to go that I really had not stopped to think of what I had done to those who had been putting up with me over the last few years, particularly in the last few months. More than anything I really had no desire to re visit the guilt, I had buried it and wanted it to go away. So after a few weeks of being high on life instead of oblivious in booze, I hit the buffers.
Facing up to the damage I had done was the most difficult part of all. I am not particularly religious, but now I had to atone. That could only be done by trying to convince those who were more than sceptical of my recovery that I could prove them wrong and make amends.
Of course on top of this, all my friends were drinkers, mainly heavy drinkers. I had changed. I certainly wasn’t going to become evangelical about my not drinking, and for the most part they really didn’t want to see me anyway. That was really difficult to come to terms with, for even though they were dependent, I really did enjoy their company, but not enough to endanger my sobriety. The reality was sinking in, and that was that my life was changed in so many ways and the void was immense.
Coming through it took at least two years. I did have enormous mood swings, and really could not see or remember how to have a good time without booze. It had always been the catalyst for every occasion, good or bad. Proving myself and being watched, slightly paranoid about that, but it was how I felt, and having to rebuild a life without the underpinning of my forever house and the lifestyle that went with that too, brought on a maelstrom of emotions.
But as the saying goes what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and it did. We moved to a tiny but very pretty cottage, and started all over again.
The heavy drinking buddies who I thought I had lost, I found again, or rather they found me, as for some, they too had reached their nemesis, and sought me out for some advice and help. That is how I started my little Sanctuary, and how it grew into what it is today.
But there were diversions along the way, one of the most wildly wonderful was getting paid to do shoot lunches for an eccentric Lord and his alcoholic wife! That was a ride never to be forgotten!!