Not as deep as I thought I was

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Cover it up

Put it away

Dig a hole and bury it.

Pull the covers

Draw the curtains

Close your eyes and run.

Hurl it to sea

Walk the plank

Hold up your hands and surrender.

Change the channel

Finish the bottle

Loosen your grip and fall.


I wrote the above poem around about the time I quit drinking – which was some time at the very end of November last year. As dark and depressing as you’d come to expect from me (or so I thought). I didn’t record the date because I was too afraid it wouldn’t become a Soberversary in the tradition of those other, much stronger people than me out there. So I don’t have a date. I was careful not to make any grand statements. I had to be careful in case I slipped up. Instead I merely said, day after day, today I’m not going to drink. And approximately four months later, I’m still saying it.

But wow. What changes, in that short time. Whoever thought it possible? Whoever thought I would be sitting up late writing, with a hot cup of tea at hand instead of a bottle of vodka. A fellow blogger commented that, like me, alcohol used to make her feel like a better and more creative writer. But I see now that I was kidding myself – (putting aside that I am not objective of course, and maybe all my writing is crap regardless). But one thing I do know – now, a) I finish what I start, b) I am coherent c) I am not really so dark as I thought I was (which is really just code for “deep”, right?). In fact, maybe I’ve even got a sense of humour!

Taking just the last point as an example. Since getting sober I’ve written a number of kid’s stories – stories that came out upon the page in a matter of hours, and which I never realised I had in me. Completely wicked and hilarious stories that have my kids keeling over with laughter; has them jumping into the car at the end of the day saying “what story did you write today mum?” or (to a friend, very matter-of-fact) “my mum actually writes stories, you know”.

It’s all so unexpected, this turn of events. Suddenly, all my motivators have changed. It’s not all about me anymore – my pain, my struggles, my insecurities and failures. NO! Now the thing I’m interested in is my kid’s conversations – with each other, with me, with anyone. I’m interested in what they’re doing, how they’re feeling, what bizarre thing they’re thinking at any given moment (and you’d be surprised how bizarre those thoughts can be!). This is not because I’ve suddenly become some kind of wonderful picture-of-perfection mother, but simply because all of it represents such good MATERIAL!!! The stories within me – inspired by them – are endless! And why? Because it makes me laugh, to hear them laugh, and making them laugh gives me purpose. Hearing their laughter – even better, being the one to inspire it – is my medicine.

When I called this blog “writing myself sober”, this is not quite what I had in mind. But hey, it’s working! I’d love you to have a read and tell me what you think, objectively of course. Here’s one, and another.

And thanks for stopping by, though I do post so infrequently (and I apologise in advance if it takes me ages to respond to a comment – that’ll be because my notifications aren’t turned on and I only check in with the blog periodically… as soon as I get the courage to come out from the veil of anonymity i will link up my public blog – I do so dislike feeling as though I’m carrying on a double life!)



Crazy with a Capital C


**First of all, I want to thank all of you who commented on my blog, way back in April, May, and even June (!) and took the time to reassure me and encourage me, and even compliment me as well.  I’m sorry I disappeared again, although in a strange way, I knew that y’all “knew” where I was, or at least could guess, and would probably wait for my return without judgment.  I have continued to read the blogs, listen to the Bubble Hour, bookmark links and so on.  It was as if, in a way, I was doing my theory before starting my practicum.  Well.  I think the time to begin has come.  So thanks again to you all, for being an inspiration I could come back to.  I hope one day soon I can come out from behind the veil of anonymity, and link up my public blog with this one.  Eeek!! (shall walk before I run perhaps;  Wish you all well in your respective journeys too)***


The post that follows this little intro was written about 6 weeks ago.  I had always intended to post it as an update to this fast-becoming-a-wasteland of a blog, but life got busy.  I got “high-functioning” again.  Then, 3 days ago, I had my fill.  Literally, and metaphorically.  Of course regrets were involved – but not huge ones.  I mean, I’ve suffered through far worse hangovers, plagued for days and sometimes even weeks afterwards by the memories of things I said and did.  So it is surprising in a way, that my resolve to “Quit for Good” came after such a minor episode.

But I suppose I really was full.  Full to the brim and overflowing and ready to turn off the tap.  Finally.  The last 6 months I have tried desperately to hang on to the notion that I could find a way to become a moderate drinker.  You can tell by my last post “Ode to Alcohol” that that was the star I was wishing upon.

So that’s where I’ve been for the past 6 months – just proving to myself I really can’t.  I did cut down.  I did occasionally manage to stick to 3 or 4 drinks over the course of an evening.  But not usually – and only with great, great pain and effort.  All the time, I wanted more.  I wanted to be drunk.  I like being drunk.  Who am I kidding, that 2 glasses of wine over dinner is ever going to satiate me?

I have written a post about where I am right now, but I will post that in a few days.  In the meantime, I wanted to give you a snapshot of one of my final “farewells” to my jilted lover, written (clearly) under the influence.  Which is also why I must apologise for the rather excessive use of profanity!

======Approx two months ago=====

The self-hatred is immense.  It smothers me like a blanket so that even my daughter’s declarations of love sound muffled to my ears.

“I love you one thousand million times, Mummy!”  but it is like she is speaking to me underwater.

I am such a fraud.  Playing happy families as though any part of this facade comes naturally to me.  Or makes any sense.  I am the lyrics to the song by Talking Heads, “Once in a Lifetime” asking “My God, what have I done?”.

I stay afloat by attributing value to tasks that most people would consider worthless.  I store up credits in a currency that buys absolutely nothing.  The worst part is, it’s invisible.  Who will notice that the video files are named and in date order?  In a format that can be easily exported?  Is it necessary to store up duplicate copies of photos, backing them up and backing them up as though in doing so I am hoarding the evidence that it ever happened at all?  But of course, for what am I, if not the sum of 12 external hard drives?

Pity that hard drives fail.  That their data becomes corrupted.  That over time, new formats supersede the old ones and technical support is withdrawn by their makers.  Like children from a first marriage, old platforms are left to fend for themselves.  Take those floppy discs I stored up, labelling them with smokescreen names that would throw anyone off the scent should they come looking.  I needn’t have bothered.  The content those discs hold is as lost to me as to anyone.  I did not exist then at all, for all I know.

I can’t even do the minimum well anymore.  I used to pride myself on meals well made.  On the smell of freshly baked cakes wafting from the kitchen into the hallway like tunes from a flute.  If I go really far back, I can recall a time that I smuggled love notes into the glad wrapped-Afghan biscuits I sent to work with my husband.  We were just married then.  I didn’t know what to do with myself, alone with him all the time.  I needed a project, lest he see me for real.  Kids would do as well as anything else.  This is ridiculous.  Here’s me interviewing myself:

Me, the Interrogator:  “Can you state your name for the record please”

Me, the Accused: “________ __________”

I: “And how much have you had to drink tonight, miss?”

A: “1 oversize can of beer”

I:  “And how do you feel?”

A:  “Like shit”

I:  “Why is that?”

A:  “Because I feel unworthy.”

I:  “Unworthy of what?”

A:  “Of being here at all.”

I:  “Where are you going?”

A:  “To get another drink.”

I:  “So you’ve poured another beer.  Is that going to help?”

A:  “No.  It will momentarily suspend my pain.  It will numb me from the inside out, temporarily.  And tomorrow I will be hungover and no better off for it.”

I:  “So why bother?”

A:  “Because it’s a way of staying, when I can’t stay.  A way of being here, when every fibre in my body is telling me to flee.”

I:  “So why don’t  you just go, then?”

A:  “It’s like I’m running a race.  That race.  I was 11 years old and I was supposed to win.  I had been tipped to win the whole season long.  The nerves were eating me up.  I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t even allow myself to go to the toilet in one guilty release – instead I forced myself to stop the flow for four seconds at a time.  In agony, I counted the seconds out.  “One.  You will win.  Two.  You will win.  Three.  You will win.  Four.  You will win.”  Releeassee…. oh, the pleasure.  But stop!  And begin again… “One.  You will win…..”

When the leading pack began to stretch away from me, before the first 500 meters was even up, a torrent gushed forth from inside and I could not stop the flow.  “You will lose!” the traitor within me shrieked.  The other girls surged ahead of me on a tide I could not even follow let alone catch.  “You’ve lost!!” shrilled a voice from my depths with unmasked glee.  In that instant, as my legs registered the lead that clamped the muscles in shut down, I realised that my mind had turned against my body in a coup as surprising as it was profound.  My teeth came down, hoping for the tangible flesh of lips with which to send a jolt of sweet metal to my heart.  But there was nothing there.  Nothing but the most haunting, incongruous melody of hilarity, relief and unending self-hatred.  My mouth was open, lips peeled back in a noiseless cry.  As my jaw closed upon itself over and over again, clamping air, I understood that it was not enamel I sought to grind into oblivion, but me.  The very idea of me.

I: “You’re melodramatic to the point of nausea.”

A: “I know.”

I:  “Maybe the drink does you good.”

A:  “Cheers to that!”

I:  “And off you go with beer number 3.  500ml cans, 5.2%.  You don’t mess around.”

A:  “Actually.  Beer is a salve, something with which to nurse wounds with gentle loving care.  When I want to get drunk and not think, I’ll use vodka.  When I want to annihilate myself from the planet, I’ll reach for the whiskey.  When I want to conjure happiness from the crevices of cold stony walls, it is wine who knows me and pushes me forth with flowers and pop music, like only a best friend can.”

I:  “You’re a consummate professional, I’ll give you that.”

A:  “Fuck you.  You’re just a voice in my fucking head.”

I:  “That’s right.  A voice reminding you that as you line up your weapons of self-loathing, with a tenderness that an old woman tends her roses, your eldest kid just put his siblings to bed.  He read them stories, tucked them in, and planted kisses on their cheeks. He also just snuck out here to you, to squeeze your weeping shoulders and to whisper “Moo Moo!” (this being secret mother-son code for “I love you”)

A: “Fuck you.”

I: “No.  Fuck you.  That race occurred more than 20 years ago.  Who gives a shit about that now?  What does that even matter, with three kids sleeping soundly in the rooms behind you?”

A:  “I can still remember the sensation in my legs as if it was yesterday.  The sensation of stopping.”

I:  “So what?!  For god’s sake, is there a point?”

A:  “Energy stored, energy spent, and limbs left weak and trembling afterwards.  I remember how I put my hands on my hips and walked to the finish line, knowing that everyone was pointing and whispering behind their hands.  I searched for my Dad along every single step of the course’s perimeter.  As if somehow he might be there to see me lose even though he had never ever been there to see me win.”

I:  “Nice one.  On to beer number 5 now.  Wow is you.  Great analogies by the way.  You’re really working on the allegory aren’t you?”

A:  “I wondered, you know, is there a point to finishing the race, if you’re not running?  My Mum thought not.  She tore me up when I finally crossed the line, in last place.  I had shamed her.  She waved her arms scandalously in front of the eagerly onlooking crowds.  She yelled without restraint then sent me from her presence like a dog that had just shat on the carpet.  It wasn’t so much the losing, as the walking that she abhorredAdmitting defeat was something she could not condone.  The lack of fight in me horrified her.  Perhaps it would have been better to just slip off the track at a lonely point and disappear unnoticed into the fog.”

I:  “You felt that finishing the race, in whatever form, at whatever cost, was the right thing to do.”

A:  “Yes.”

I:  “But you think that your mother thinks that you are weak because of it.”

A:  “The irony is of course that I could have ran that day, but I could only have ran away.  Across the boundary fence and into the horizon.  Believe me, I wanted to do it with every fibre of my soul.  But I stayed in the race, just as a man on death row puts one foot in front of the other on his way to the gallows.  Yes.  It was the right thing to do.”

I:  “Your Mum says that all this stuff about your past is a croc.  She doesn’t even talk to you anymore.  She’s written you off.  Worst of all, you prefer it this way.  You hated it when she loved you.  Her love strangled you, you said.”

A:  “Maybe that’s true.  What does any of my current state of instability have to do with my Mum?  Boiling it all down to a running race two decades ago?  How can I lay all my deep unhappiness at my mother’s door step?  Surely a father is to blame – lord knows I had three before I was 20.  But if not them, then maybe it’s just genetics.  The unique composition of DNA that ensures that I will become a disciple of alcohol, faithful to my bitter end.

Or perhaps my ineptitude to do anything right is merely the accumulation of sins.  Maybe my pain today is simply the logical debt payable after the four years my Grandfather spent as a POW in Korea during the second world war.  Or perhaps, more likely, my pain is the wager laid down by my Grandmother, who at 17 vowed that she would not cripple herself over the loss of one child.  Her firstborn, her beloved, given up for adoption when she was not much older than a child herself.  That she went on to have 5 other children mattered naught.  Does it matter who sent her to pay for her mistakes in the form of electroshock therapy, deep in the chambers of Kingseat hospital, or simply that she paid?”

I:  “They’re all good questions”

A:  “Or am I just me.  Just the simple sum of my simple parts?”

I:  “You drink as if perhaps the answer lies at the bottom of that can.”

A:  “Two days ago I just about blew the speakers in the car, screaming the mindless words of some pop song into my sunglasses case-cum-mic while rolling the actions out with both hands.  As in, no hands on the steering wheel.  That my kids were embarrassed only encouraged me more.  ‘How much they will love these memories!!’, I thought to myself.  ‘I am no ordinary mother!  Yes, I am flawed, but I’m funnnnnn!  I do crazy with a capital C!’.

Of course no-one was laughing when, a few days later, I could barely see the road for my tears.  My ten year old, desperate to quell the flow, searched in vain for the song that would pull me back from the brink and return the pizzaz to my white-knuckled hands gripping the steering wheel.  And the more he asked what’s wrong Mum, don’t cry Mum, what happened to you?  The more I flagellated myself inside.  I sat myself in the corner and I stood over me.  I demanded: “FIX THIS!!!!”  I shouted “You’re just making it worse with your oh-so-sorry-for-myself BULLSHIT!!! Don’t fucking cry!!! Don’t let your kid see you crying like this, you fucking worthless sack of SHIT!!! FIX IT NOW YOU FUCKING WHORE!!!!”.

I:  Crazy with a capital C alright.

A:  “The way I saw my options then, in that race twenty years ago, is the same way I see my options now.  The winning pack has passed me and I cannot hope to catch them.  My only options are these:  To stay in the race, limping home under a cloud of shame, or slipping off the track when no-one is watching.”  I can’t slip off the track.  I won’t.  But the only way of staying, is with the drink.”

An Ode To Alcohol


The by-line of this blog is “getting out from under the influence”.  There is an implicit acknowledgment that I’m still under the influence, metaphorically and (a lot of the time) literally, too.  I was deliberate in choosing this byline – I wanted to capture the essence of my struggle; which is that, fundamentally, I’m still undecided about how I want to deal with this problem.  I didn’t want to begin by misrepresenting myself as someone who is already half-way there.  I wanted to leave myself room to fall, and to get back up again.  The fact that I’m only prepared to admit I even have a problem to a couple of readers to whom I remain anonymous is a pretty good sign that this journey “out from under the influence” has barely begun.  Just as for B.Below Her Means, I am not ready to be accountable.

Yet for all of this go-slow, be-gentle, when my resolve to quit drinking didn’t so much crumble as very gently subside, I wouldn’t allow myself the indignity of admitting to this failure in print.  My first drink after three whole weeks on the wagon was half a glass of wine over a quiet dinner with friends (which I didn’t even particularly enjoy).  From there my trek back towards the influence was both inevitable and quick, and not altogether painless.  So I felt like there was nothing to write about.  What would I write?  A story about how great last night was, when hubby and I went to a ball and received glowing compliments all night long – “can’t believe you’ve been married ten years! you look like newlyweds”!   Perhaps I should I write an ode alcohol?  Love poetry in the vein of Pablo Neruda, since evidently I love alcohol as he loves Matilde?

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.”


“I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.”


“In this part of the story I am the one who dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you, because I love you, Love, in fire and in blood.”

Sorry – but Pablo Neruda just “gets it”.  Well this morning I woke up to the comments on my blog (thanks readers over at Crying out Loud), and thought why not?  If all I’ve got right now is an Ode to Alcohol, it’s all I’ve got.  Alcohol giveth, and alcohol taketh away, I do know that.  But today I want only to talk about what Alcohol giveth.  I know that most of you out there will read my dedication below and know all to well how the story ends.  That the glow I refer to soon dulls into a barren icy landscape where I will wander, alone and most probably sick.  But it doesn’t matter.  Today I want to write about why I find it so hard to bid him farewell.


I’m in our housebus, standing at the window in the kitchen looking out as my husband and children chase a ball around in the dying light of day.  It’s incredible out here.  Parked up in a lonely camping ground far north of anywhere, just us, alone in a wide open field flanked by the dense native bush that is the trademark of our beautiful country.  Dinner is sizzling away on the two burner, the smell of sausages wafting out through the open window on a gentle breeze.  I set the last of the dishes on the drying rack, still smiling, and wipe my hands on my apron.  Soon we will have to go home; park the bus up behind the house in suburbia and return to the daily grind of full-time work, homework, housework; every noun you can think of with “work” tacked onto the end of it.

But not yet.  There’s still time to steal.  I reach into the fridge, withdraw the lovely bottle of Pinot Gris we bought at a local vineyard a few miles back.  The green glass immediately clouds over with condensation as it adjusts to the warmth.  I hold it in my hands for a few seconds and marvel – what a true thing of beauty.  I twist the top, pour myself a long glass, and bring it to my lips.  I watch from the window as my children pile on top of my husband in a tangle of arms and legs.  I sip.  They laugh and whoop.  I smile, and sip once more.  The glow out there, is now glowing in here too.  It is not alcohol flowing through my veins, but love.  Right at this moment there is a connection being made between me in here, and them out there.  This humble glass of wine is showing me the way towards them.  It leads me like a friend to the places I cannot otherwise find, let alone go.

Soon, we will serve dinner, my husband and I.  We will play “what’s the favorite part of your day?” and the kids will regale us with their stories.  I will keep my glass topped high, I’ll have finished the White and moved to Red.  I’ll be riding the crest of a wave which shows no signs of breaking.  As we do the dishes, old-school style with a deep sink of hot soapy water and tea-towels, the kids and I will set the radio station to Solid Gold and rock’n’roll our way about the impossibly small cabin.  Later, once the kids are in bed, hubby and I will drag our chairs outside into the moonlight, a little camp fire burning quietly at our feet.  He will play Neil Young on the guitar and I will watch him, a glass of single malt tilted towards my lips, bewildered with gratitude, that this is really my life.  And it is good.

{Here is another person, who gets it – a talent to behold, in both sentiment and skill}.

Had enough. ?.


Dedicated to Crying Out Now.

There’ve been lots of so-called “turning points” in my life; many a declaration to quit drinking.  I learnt the language of regret at the age of 14, when I first began to study the back end of a toilet bowl in earnest.  The filthier the toilet, the faster the bile can be expelled.  That I’m 34 years old now, and still regularly studying that toilet bowl (most recently in the public toilets of the shopping mall while my three kids waited outside the door) takes my shame to all new depths.  With lips clamped tightly around my middle finger to mask the sound of escaping retches, I commended myself for the enviable ability to vomit without making any noise.  If the “silent vomit” were an olympic sport I’d be a gold medal contender.

Because that’s my problem – I’m a perfectionist, even in a pursuit that is destroying me.  Perfection co-opted for malevolent purposes.  I am, for example, a master of concealment, stashing cans of beer in far flung corners of the house for emergencies.  My shrewdness is legendary – I can always invent a plausible reason to visit the laundry at 11pm at night, where a cherished bottle of single-malt sits just behind the fabric softener.  I rotate my hiding places too, and I never forget to remove the evidence the next day after the kids have gone to school and the house is quiet.  I buy cans rather than bottles, because the former can be crushed and disposed of without the give-away clanking of glass.  I pour my drinks into mugs rather than glasses.  Baileys looks just like a hot cuppa (but don’t get too close, its sweet smell will give the game away).  And don’t be fooled by the sports bottle; it’s not water I’m drinking but a nice cold pinot gris (being careful to keep it out of reach of the children and to rinse it thoroughly afterwards).  If we’re going out for the evening, I make sure I get two or three drinks in me before we leave, because my tolerance is so high that I don’t have a hope of getting drunk if I drink at the pace of a “normal” person.

In striving for excellence, I even try to ensure I start my drinking early enough in the day (getting earlier all the time), with a no-spirits-after-11pm rule, so as to ensure I can be thoroughly drunk by bed time but still wake up in the morning sober-enough.  I’ll never forget the mother who’d been caught and charged with drink driving at 8am in the morning, two days in a row.  She’d been dropping the kids off at school, a huge scandal to which I feigned shock along with the other mothers while inside I shuddered with relief that the same misfortune had not yet befallen me.

Because women – we women, feel secure in numbers.  My friends, we all drink.  We’re mothers who buy each other retro-themed birthday cards where a dollied-up 70s housewife appears under the title “Betsy’s idea of a balanced diet is a glass of wine in each hand”.  It’s a joke, but it rings true.  Who wants to cook dinner without a glass of wine on the go?  How does anyone get through an afternoon of bickering siblings, if not for the promise of that chilled bottle at 5pm?  How do you have a girls’ night without booze?  I have wanted to believe my drinking is just this; just like everyone else’s.  Normal.  But last night as I lay in bed, my face bathed in a halo of ipad-gleaming light I read the words of the many brave contributors to this blog and made the disquieting though not wholly unwelcome discovery that I am nothing, if not a text-book case alcoholic.  Or at least my bags are packed and I’m well on my way.

At the root of it all?  I believe I am a failure.  My demons are guilt, shame, doubt, low self-esteem, fear of abandonment, obsessive compulsive tendencies, sadness and, on occasion, a tidy measure of self-loathing.  If I could JUST get this right, or that right, then I wouldn’t be such a bad person/failure/disgrace/loser.   If I got that right, then this would never have happened.  I’m a neglectful mother.  I’m a spineless, unfaithful wife.  I’m a callous daughter.  A disloyal sister.

In this never-ending debate with myself, alcohol is both my savior and my accuser.  Salve and poison.  Liberator and jailer.

Alcohol lightens my load, makes me feel happy and free, makes me feel at once loved, and in love.  With the blood in my veins flowing golden, I see my children as I want to see them.  Boundlessly innocent and creative, content and secure in a family as stable as the ground beneath their feet.  I see my husband as I want to see him, too.  A smart, sexy, intelligent guy who I want to talk to and make love to all night long.  But the trouble begins when the salve turns to poison.   The law of diminishing returns applies equally to alcohol as it does economic principles.  One more drink on top of 6 is not equal to one more part of pleasure.  Regression is as inevitable as it is sudden.  Now the picture my children paint, lying there atop their bed covers heavy with sleep, causes me such a deep, caustic regret that I want to tear my heart out.  I don’t understand this transformation inside me.  I will wake them, shaking their shoulders and whispering urgently in their ear, do you love me?  I’m sorry!  My darlings, I am not the mother you deserve, forgive me, will you please forgive me?

And as the tears slip away, I raise my unsteady drink once more, this time it is filled to the brim with bitter penance.  It is not uncommon to find myself sitting on the floor of the bathroom, locked inside with razor in hand, slashing my thighs with it.  I don’t cut veins anymore, because I don’t want to die.  I just want to locate the pain, put my finger upon it, hold it up to the light and study it, so that I might find a way to stop it.  When I awake in the morning I apologize to my husband for falling asleep (read: becoming unconscious) and for not being able to make love.  He will look at me uncertainly, complicit in my alcoholism if only in the act of denying it.  He’ll remind me light-heartedly that we in fact did make love, I just obviously don’t remember it because I was sound asleep.  Again, what impacts me is not the alarm at having had sex I can’t remember, or the fact that my husband is getting so used to this routine that he has begun to treat it as casually as I do, but rather my impressive powers to suppress even my own pleasure.  Look at me!  I think to myself.  I am molten rock….not even sex can wake me up!

But these jarring realisations are not breaking dawn for the first time. I’ve been frank with myself before.  I’ve reached out before. I’ve tried to get a handle on things and failed, not once but many times.  Today is but another turning point on this tiresome journey with my barbed companion whom I love and hate with equal ferocity.  I love him for carrying my baggage.  I hate him, because he is always opening the contents of those bags and waving them around in front of me.  But if today is different in any way, it is thanks to the Crying Out Now blog.  We women, we feel secure in numbers.  I never believed I could be one of so many women, not just affected by alcohol, but that I could be one of so many women who are prepared to admit just how profoundly they are affected by alcohol.

So to the women who’ve shared their stories I am so grateful.  I don’t know if I can succeed in overcoming this addiction – at the moment I am still undecided as to whether I have even “had enough”.  But today; right now (which is all that matters) you’ve inspired me to see if there is some way that I might write myself out from under the influence.