Love letter to wine 

I never thought we’d be at the point where I’d be writing a letter to you, over two years after our love affair ended. Time has given me a new perspective, I guess, and shown me how strong I can be without you. I thought I needed you by my side always; it turns out I don’t.

In the beginning, our love was pure, fun. You offered me a way to come out of my shell, showed me joy that I thought I was lacking. We had some good times, GREAT times, even. We could hang out with friends together and smugly enjoy the unique relationship we had. We’d stay up all night, laughing and giggling while surrounded by good company. Memories of these nights meant I stayed with you far longer than I should have done. I hoped that we could go back to those days, before it all went toxic and sour. I know now I can never go back.

Because eventually, your hold on me was so strong that my friends were just a distraction from the relationship of you and I. You made sure I was alone. My reliance on you grew, and my obsession with you was all consuming. While initially you had soothed my insecurities, and drowned my fears, soon you allowed them to grow and engulf me. My solution became my biggest problem, and yet I had no idea how to fix it; so I drank it away, and choked back the poison. The fun  had ended long ago. I was trapped in an endless cycle of needing you, wanting you, feverishly devouring every bit of you, only to hate you and hate myself. I feared myself, when I was with you. I feared you, and your grip of control on me.

I tried to break up with you, many times, before it eventually stuck. Each time you whispered in my ear reasons I should stick it out. That I needed you. That no one really understood the good thing we had going. That my life would be awful without you as a crutch. That it really wasn’t as bad as I thought, and one more time for old times sake wouldn’t hurt. At one time, you were my sole confidant, my only friend. You skewed my perspective so much that I didn’t see how fucked up that was. Although I couldn’t see it at the time, you were my only priority and consumed my daily thoughts. I got through the days on autopilot until we could be together again, until I could pour my first glass and feel your warmth envelope me.

I gained unexplained bruises because of you; my face and body changed because of the damage you were doing. More than once I was so physically ill I thought I could die. I lied and stole, cheated and spewed hateful words, that no amount of pretending it didn’t happen would ever take back. My demeanour changed, I grew afraid of everything. The only light at the end of the tunnel was you, despite the fact that you were making my world so small and dark. The Fear you instilled in me still visits sometimes in dreams, and each time I wake, shaking and confused. Terrified. And still, I stayed. Because you were right; I couldn’t handle life without you.

Except I could; I am. And though it took a while to see, I’ve blossomed and grown in leaps now I’ve cut you out of my life. No longer do I hide from the world; I’m like a new flower, stretching to greet the sun. This hasn’t been an easy road, to get here. But the road you wanted me on would have was me to absolute ruin. Of that, I am certain. It was hideous enough, our twisted entanglement, and would only have got worse.

I know I’ve seen a darkness to you that many won’t – they will be able to savour you, and enjoy you for the casual release you are. I realise not all your relationships will be like ours was. But I know also that your grasp will tether others to you, and you will set out to destroy them too. I can see the signs in others, and I hold my breath – for a minute, I am back there myself. I know too well though that they need to see it for what it is themselves; I cannot help with a problem they don’t see. I hope they find the strength to leave you behind too. I hope one day, people can see how I’ve moved on and realise happiness is possible, without you tainting it. That living is so much more than chasing the next buzz, the next drink.

I’m even grateful to you, in a funny way. Despite the misery you brought, you have also blessed my life with wonderful people. They are in recovery from you too, and had we not got to the point we did, I would never have met them. I would never have tried to become a better person. I would not now be so grateful for my life today, or the memories I make and remember. I wouldn’t be present. I wouldn’t have tried to make amends, or admit my wrongs. Gf

So, here we are. I did the typical things one does after a difficult break up – tears were shed, I was angry at the world, I grieved and yearned for you. I even got the post break up haircut. And now, I see I never really needed you. You certainly did not enrich my life. And I don’t now. As fun as it was occasionally, I can proudly say I’m glad i feel I never need you again. Though you still enrich my kitchen, you will never consume my heart.

It’s not you, it’s me. Goodbye.

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A Better Day

I’ll forgive you for choking on your tea when you realise this is a happy post. I know, right?! Yes, you are on the right blog. I think because I found it hard to see any joy for such a long time, that I’m overwhelmed with it today. I almost want to bottle it up, and keep it forever.

Today has just been a good day. Even at times when it felt incredibly stressful (that’s what two toddlers will do to you), we had a lovely day and did lovely things.

We went into town so I could pick my prescription up. And N chatted to me the whole time, explaining what he could see and giving me his tiny perspective on important things such as ‘rice really should be a vegetable or fruit mummy, if it comes from a plant’. And even though his incessant babble can sometimes be wearing, today I thought – how amazing is this? We can communicate, he can tell jokes, he can point out the things he loves to me, so I can share in his joy. He gets excitement from seeing a bumblebee, and I’m the first person he wants to show, and talk to me about it. And that’s a beautiful thing.

C has also been chatting away, blowing kisses to strangers and then very seriously waving and telling them ‘bye bye’. And it hit me how grown she is already, and how brave, charming and forward she is. Some of the qualities that drive me crazy (diva like attitude, death defying climbing, her insistence on escaping and determination to do EVERYTHING herself) will really take her far in life. She’s been signing to me that she loves me, and daddy, and she’s such a loving little thing that it’s hard to remember she was such a difficult baby who screeched if my poor husband dared to look at her. She learned some new signs today (makaton sign language) and she was so thrilled to do them, her joy was infectious. I don’t know which of us beamed the hardest.

We did some shopping, and N put everything in my basket, and helped me scan the items at the till very helpfully. I had comments about how lovely he was, and kind. And how happy C was. I saw them today as others see them – brilliant, loving and intelligent cherubs. I loved it.

We bought N some books and he proudly read them to his friend who runs the bookshop (they are truly lovely there). We had a chat and a biscuit with her, and he even used the staff toilet (no accidents! Still! And we were out for three hours!). And she touched my arm and said ‘you do wonderfully, look at how fantastic your children are’ and for a second I wanted to hug her. Because I must be doing ok, because they are kind, and loving, and fantastic.

As we ate strawberries on the railway bridge, waiting for a (late) train to spot, N counted the passengers and pigeons. C guzzled her strawberries and rubbed the mushy remains in her hair, making him laugh (‘look at that troublemaker!’). The train came, and he was beside himself with excitement, mimicking the sounds and waving enthusiastically to it. I felt his sticky little hand slip into mine as he said ‘I love you mummy. Today has been a wonderful day, with you here’. And you know what; he was right.

Does sober = sombre?

I admit it – this was my thinking initially. People who were sober, or simply not drinking, were a mystery to me. And obviously, they must be dull. What kind of life would they lead?! Drinking was a warm cushion to celebrate with, gossip over, dance the night away with, commiserate to. Most pinnacle moments or emotions involved at least a drink or two. Alcohol made me happy, confident and there was no better feeling than a warm buzz. 

Until, suddenly, it wasn’t anymore. And the sweet intoxicating nectar became a poison, meaning my nights now involved black outs, tears, many an ugly scene and words spat that could never be unsaid. Vomit, piss, tears, a mess of bodily fluids. I was tumbling down the rabbit hole, and so deep I couldn’t see the way out. I knew I’d fall further, but I didn’t know how far away my rock bottom was.

While I was in active addiction, people who could go about their daily lives without needing to drink were perplexing to me. An absolute mystery. And in early sobriety, perhaps more so. I hadn’t realised the full extent of its hold over me, it realised that my perception of alcohol and drinking was beyond warped. How could people go to a bar and order a lime and soda so naturally? How could people be thrilled to meet and chat over coffee, rather than wine? How did people not drink at least a bottle of wine with their meal at a restaurant?! These things were infathamable to me. I had more chance of understanding quantum physics, than the sort of thought process these dullards had.

Today, I’m happy to not drink, and know what situations I can handle and which ones I need to avoid. I barely think of it, and I can socialise with relative confidence (with a sober plan in case I struggle of course). I realise that obsessing over alcohol – whether it be the time to drink, the units measured, or how to limit my drinking to appear ‘normal’ – is not a usual way to look at life. And that waking with a daily hangover and hazy recollections of every evening is not the ideal lifestyle of a normal drinker either.

But in early sobriety too, I figured that once I had figured my sobriety out (physical and emotional) that life would be a sea of calm and I would instinctively know how to handle its difficulties, because, you know, serenity. I would glide through antagonising situations with a beatific smile on my face, and graciously always be the better person. I would instinctively know the right way to be, say, behave, even when provoked.

HA!

Nope. Life is still hard, I can still be an unreasonable twat, and my shit still stinks. Today has been a truly testing day, aemotional rollercoaster of manipulation and I still barely know how to hold myself. I lack the instinct to do the right thing, and sometimes do a) the worst thing because I’ve focussed on the wrong side of a problem or b) nothing at all, which can sometimes be worse than a bad reaction.

I guess what I’m trying to say is – sober is not sombre, but it’s also not always rainbows or butterflies. And it’s not supposed to be, because that’s LIFE. Everyone faces challenges, adversity and hideous situations at times, as well as moments of heart stopping moments of joy, where your cheeks hurt from how wide you’re smiling. If you get sober expecting to see miracles after, you need to remember that the gift of sobriety is your miracle. 

Am I a better person now, overall? I think so. I have better relationships now, and my priorities are obviously shifted back to where they always should have been. I can be relied upon, generally, and I’m less of a flake. I’m more honest and open. 

But life is still a struggle at times, as it is for us all, addicts or not. I’m just glad that today, I won’t use this tough day as a reason to justify a drink. 

Two years of sobriety, three of friendship.

A lot can happen in two years, and it feels like everything in my life has changed for the better since I quit drinking (for the countless time) two years ago. On 29th June, I celebrated two years of continuous sobriety. And I am so overwhelmed as I type that, I don’t even know where to begin. So I want to talk about the way a person can make such an impact on your life, you know that you are forever changed. This is why I will always try to pay it forwards.

I first admitted to someone (other than my drunken rejection in a mirror, that is) that I was an alcoholic, in May 2014. Just after Peaches Geldof was found dead, of a suspected but unconfirmed overdose. By chance, I chatted to a stranger on Twitter, who supported my unpopular viewpoint that someone cannot just escape the cruel crutch of addiction because they happen to have become a mother. My son was four months old, so I related to it on a personal level – my drinking was getting out of hand. We chatted privately, and shared stories – she was recently sober, I knew I had to be. I envied her strength, and her emotional maturity. She was smart, kind, and unbelievable empathetic and understanding. I wanted to be her; I wanted what she had worked so hard to already achieve.

I joined sober twitter, found the recovery posse. But slipped and slid into the bottom of numerous wine bottles, many times. At first I admitted relapses, then I pretended I was still sober, before disappearing altogether. I couldn’t stay in the circle, as much as they loved and welcomed me each time. I felt shit, and like I would never be able to do as they did, enjoy life sober, be a better person. I even mentally mocked some of their sage advice and wisdom – if I told myself it was all a bit hippy and insincere, I could justify my drinking more. I was lost, bitter and twisted with jealousy – so better pour another drink, to drown out my voices of self loathing.

Meanwhile, my new twitter stranger had become a friend. She remained supportive, and offered advice and love. Encouraged me, but offered some much needed hard truths. We exchanged numbers, though I didn’t ever think I would use it. After all, I didn’t NEED anyone to stop me drinking, I could regulate, right? Wrong. She continued to check in, even when I isolated myself into hiding. I don’t think she has ever once given up on me, or judged me for my many wrongs.

So. That night, two years ago. I was newly pregnant, and had found a way to justify a drink – just a small one, mind. My husband was away fishing, so he would never know. But I couldn’t stop. I was feverish with want for more drink, even after wasting myself on my late father in laws whiskey. I sobbed, full of self pity and remorse, and all manner of ills. I didn’t know what to do. All I knew was that I was petrified, I’d majorly fucked up and I would again if I didn’t take a step.

I called my twitter friend, and finally did the one thing she’d always reassured me I could – I reached out. In tears, drunk, slurring and snotting. And she listened, and reassured, and chatted to me for four hours, into the early hours – despite my probably not making sense. She offered her story, and shared her experience and I hung on to every relatable word. Without a second thought, she happily offered four hours of her time. Despite the fact that I was on such a fast train to relapse, so she knew that there was every chance I would still continue to drink. Despite she had to get up super early to drop her young son to school. Despite not being well herself, and desperately needing to rest. She promised to call the next day, and when we finally ended the call I cried again – but from sheer relief and gratitude.

She called, as promised, and sympathised with how rotten I was feeling (I hope you will never experience the horror of hangovers and morning sickness combined. It feels as repugnant as it is morally). She’d looked up AA meetings close to me, told me times. She listened patiently to my excuses and just said ‘you said yourself – what you are doing isn’t working. You need to try. Please.’ And I did. Partly because I knew she was right, and partly because I couldn’t bear the thought of letting her down, after all her kindness. I wanted to be like her.

The AA meetings didn’t stick (more on that another time), but my commitment to sobriety did. I read books, blogs, engaged fully and truthfully in the sober community. I listened to shares on YouTube, podcasts. Anything related to alcoholism, and recovery, oI immersed myself in. My friend sent books she thought I might like, complete with her own careful notes jotted inside. She sent cards to let me know she was thinking of me. She continued to support me, check in. And our friendship became more even as I became more sober – I could offer back kindness as she encountered tough times too. I can honestly say that I can’t think of a single time since I’ve known her where I haven’t spoke to her about anything going on with me – even an insignificant trifle (as we know they can sometimes leave the biggest ripples if we dwell on them).

I’ve said before that this lady saved my life that night – and I truly believe she did. I believe we were supposed to meet, as fiercely as I know she believes in me. We have many things in common, and strange coincidences (one being that her literal birthday is the day after my own). The friendship we have made, and the truths we have shared are of the most precious things I have.

So, what happened to this lady, you might ask? We are still close, and I treasure her. We’ve still never met in person, though I believe that will change one day. We talk a few times a week in the phone, and have helped each other out in numerous ways over our friendship together. I am not exaggerating when I say I consider her one of my best friends, and that our bond will always be something I will cherish. And two days ago, she gave me one of the greatest gifts I have ever received, a coin whose significance might not be realised unless you just know – a coin that I have smothered in happy, grateful and heartfelt tears – her own two year sobriety chip. 

Thank you. Thank you. Xxx

Love and acceptance 

If you follow me on twitter, you’ll know that I’ve been venturing out with a few mum friends I know. Once a month, we go to the little community cinema and catch a film, and then head out for a drink and catch up. Sometimes we grab a bite to eat before hand, and it’s really lovely.

This may sound very usual, and basic socialising, but for me it’s been a big deal. The first time I went, was the first time I ever headed out sober without my husband. It was the first time I walked into a pub alone, in the evening hours. And the first time I went to meet and socialise with friends I was still getting to know, all without the comforting buzzy blanket of alcohol.

**Now, let me be clear and say I only took these steps because I felt confident in the company I was with, where I was going, and I had planned escape routes. Ie, I made it work for me without feeling I was compromising my sobriety, or opening it up to tests or vulnerabilities. Please do not do this if you feel it will be triggering in any way – sobriety first, always. Do what works for you.**

So. I’ve done this a few times, and always have been sure to have a taxi booked home an hour after the film finishes – gives me enough time to join them for a (soft) drink after, and I can leave before another bottle of wine is suggested, or before anyone starts getting a little tipsy.  I’ve really enjoyed it, it’s been my monthly moment of sanity with friends. I am me, not mummy. 

And I’ve realised that I’m learning it all again, as a sober person, and it’s tricky at times. I’m learning how to socialise, how to make and instigate conversation, how to just be. I’m not always confident on what to say, or what an appropriate reaction is. Even body language is hard for me to sometimes read and offer appropriately, because I’ve always been too buzzed to really worry or pay attention previously. Or made sure I’m with people way drunker than I, who wouldn’t notice or care whatever I said or did. I feel like a teenager again, all awkward and learning how to navigate social niceties and friendships. Because I care deeply about getting it right; I like these women, I don’t want to cock it up in some way.

Anyway, my main mum friend (whose first name is actually the name of a festive liquor, I shit you not – Alanis would have a field day with that, I’m sure) came over on Friday and it was so great to see her, and have the kids play together. We got chatting and I decided to tell her, shaking and stuttering over my words. Why I don’t drink, why I leave at 10:30 on the dot like Cinderella, why I must seem a bit weird about it all when gently questioned.

She was wonderfully kind, and supportive, and gave me a huge hug. Then said ‘I wish you hadn’t worried about this – it’s not a big deal. We are here for you whenever you need’. It’s not a big deal. Because it isn’t, to anyone that matters. I build it up in my head to be something that’s huge, and a deal breaker (and it IS huge in my world, rightly so) when in reality to her it was as though I’d explained I get bad PMT, or ingrowing  toenails. Because she cares about me, my well being, my happiness, and understands that comes without alcohol – but there is no issue for her at all. It’s a path she will gladly hold my hand as I walk it, and support in any way, but it doesn’t alter her perception of me, or her judgement in choosing me as a friend.

More and more I’m finding that by being open about it, the response is far different to what I anticipated. I’ve people quietly championing my corner, and supporting me by just being alongside me as I trudge on. Never questioning, never judging, just unwaveringly rooting for me. And while they’ll never understand like my recovery angels, they are trying to, and offering what little they can to help. I feel very lucky, and full of gratitude. Sometimes, experiences in recovery have opened my eyes to how beautiful and accepting people can be, and that in itself is a huge blessing.

I remember it well 

This last fortnight has felt hard, at times. The whole house has been ill with a hideous cold thing, the kids have both had birthdays in the midst of the snot, and we are transitioning a very indignant lady into her cot, as opposed to co-sleeping in our bed. All of which feels harder when you are grumpy, feel rotten and are extremely tired. In recovery, you look for potential triggers that may try to unbalance you, and a common one is H.A.L.T. – hungry, angry, lonely, tired. Which is very apt, and accurate, but pretty much daily life with two small children anyway!

So, I was expecting to find my sobriety tested. It never goes away, you see, the little wicked whisper that wonders if it was really all that bad, you’ve surely proven you haven’t a problem with alcohol because you’ve given it up for 19 months! That alone practically deserves a toast! No need to be over dramatic about these things, it was all fine! The little needling thoughts, that make a point to stab deep, then recede quicker than the wine that used to disappear down my neck. It never fully goes away.

So as I was savouring my first shower alone in about ten days, I started to remind myself of why and when I realised I had an alcohol problem (initially, that’s how I referred to it. That or problem drinking, because, obviously, I wasn’t an alcoholic.) And I thought I’d share here, in the hope that I can always re-read this, or that someone who may be questioning themselves can. As I’ve had a bit more time to think with a clear head about my drinking, I’ve realised that I’d been behaving in alcoholic ways as long as I’ve been drinking – far earlier than it became truly problematic.

So. Obsessing about drinking, and amounts etc was pretty much a normal, daily thought process for me. The time I could open or buy a bottle (or two), and the rules that I adhered to to make sure this was socially acceptable. Remembering which shop I had visited the day before, so I could alternate with the other. How I would justify the need to consume as much as I planned to (good day, bad day, stressful day, celebrating something, date night, commiserating, I needed to unwind, it’s my one vice, I’ve earned this by working so hard, I’m cooking with it and it’s a shame to leave the bottle to sour, it’s a Monday and everyone hates Mondays.. you get the idea. Obviously bullshit, but still to my wine craved mind it was hugely necessary). The rituals and planning that went into my drinking, and the effort taken to justify it is exhausting to think about.

But also, my fevered interest in how other people were drinking, and their habits. Counting units and drinks consumed by others, to make sure I could keep to a ‘normal’ level publicly, but secretly ordering a chaser to drink at the bar, while buying the round. Being genuinely astounded when meeting for a coffee meant meeting for an actual coffee, because surely drinking and socialising went hand in hand?! And then being equally shocked that it was possible to have an enjoyable time without alcohol (but also being careful not to make such sober plans again). Making sure my friends and ex partners were heavy drinkers too, so my behaviour wouldn’t be out of place, or the worst in the room. Being ironically disapproving of people who repeatedly got drunk (ha!) because they obviously must have a problem. But not me, guv. I’ve no problem, because I haven’t what they’ve done. Of course, I then became the person that I was carefully measuring my acceptable drinking yardstick against, and so instead I found an obvious fix – no drinking outside the home. That way I couldn’t embarrass myself in front of anyone, no one would see how much I was actually drinking, and I would know that I’d made it home safely and without incident because I would already be at home! How I congratulated myself with my clever, cunning plan. It never occurred to me to stop drinking. If I had a social engagement, I would be sure to drink enough to keep my buzz, but not any more than that, and console myself that I had a bottle waiting for me at home. 

The angst and jittery feeling I would get if my acceptable time to open a bottle came and went without being able to. The panic of knowing I would usually be a few glasses in, and the rage I would feel at how unjust and unfair it was that I wasn’t. Resentment simmering towards whatever person or situation was depriving me of my intense relationship with Malbec. Having to be careful not to gulp the first glass too fast, despite how much I needed to, because I needed to offer an appearance of ‘normal’ drinking. Or, buying a miniature bottle that I could neck on the way home secretly, but being sure to pour a glass from the acceptable bottle swiftly when I got home so my husband wouldn’t smell my deceit on my breath.

And then, the feeling that however much I drank, it would never be enough, could never be enough. I’ve stayed up late into the night drinking alone, choosing to drunkenly stay in a morose state of drinking cooking wine rather than go to bed with my husband. Feeling depressed, lonely, and sobbing to myself while desperately trying to find someone I could call or Facebook message so I felt less alone. Finding anything that I could drink, and sometimes hiding the evidence (topping up spirits with water, hiding empty bottles, pretending that I’d cooked with the Japanese rice wine). Other times I couldn’t be bothered.

And the cold hand of terror that would grip the following morning as I tried to piece together what I had done, said, who is spoken to. What conversations I’d had. The feeling of despair and utter shame, self loathing. That was worse than any of my many instances of alcohol poisoning. Feeling like I was worthless, with nothing to offer, and then isolating myself from anyone I had spoken to out of sheer embarrrassment. Knowing that I was living a car crash, but unable to climb out of the wreckage.

You might be reading this and wondering how on earth I didn’t realise I was an alcoholic. It’s as obvious as the Sun in the sky. Right? But it’s not that simple. When you’re in an active addiction, your thoughts are not your own. Everything revolves around the next hit, the next binge. You’ll be morose, and promise never to drink again – it has to stop – but know that you’ll be nursing a drink later on. Maybe that week, or month, or day, but either way there will be another drink. Life becomes full of empty bottles, empty words, empty apologies and even emptier actions. You’ll aim to drown these feelings, sink them so far into oblivion that you won’t worry. But of course, that won’t work. Deep down, I knew this wasn’t normal. I would drunkenly assess my swaying self in the mirror, and tell myself that I was nothing more than a worthless alcoholic. That I needed to stop, I was being unfair. And I meant it, at the time – as much as you can mean anything when there’s too much blood in your alcohol stream, that is.

I would fill in alcohol questionnaires on the AA website and then feel resigned at the inevitable outcome. I’d test the waters with my GP, but lie about the amounts. I almost wanted someone to tell me, make the decision for me. Of course I was an alcoholic. And I’d deal with it, I really would, after I’d drank whatever was left in the house. That way, I’d have nothing to tempt me tomorrow. It’s simple maths, and common sense really. 

It’s an exhausting way to live. And yet, the cycle continued, for almost 6 years more before I finally stopped, and got serious. I could go on, but this is already a long post. If anyone reading this is affected by its content, please reach out to someone. There’s support out there, and it gets so much better. I’m always available to help.

Accelerate; brake

At the grand age of 31, I am learning to drive! I first started 18months ago, when pregnant with C (and when I started this sober stretch). It’s been on and off, but I’ve recently started back up again with a new instructor, and have been doing a 2-3 hour lesson a week.

I enjoy it. I love to learn. I love the quiet time. I love the feeling of doing something just for me, away from the house, the kids, the work.

But.

It’s showing me the harder and less favourable sides of my personality too. I’m incredibly frustrated with myself if I make a (what I perceive) to be a silly mistake. I can then get distracted because I’m too busy dwelling on that mistake. I get flustered when I’m embarrassed (from making a mistake). I procrastinate a lot (from changing address on my licence, to booking my tests, to actually revising for said tests). I’m very hard on myself, and will quietly brood about a bad lesson for ages, even if I’ve had some really positive aspects to it.

My last lesson was one such example. Previously, my instructor and I had discussed that if this lesson went well, and I drove consistently, we would be heading to the city in which I’d be taking my test to practice test routes. This is a big deal, as I live in the country and so this signifies a huge step in terms of progress and my driving ability. 

So of course… I stalled, holding up traffic. I rolled back, I attempted some things at the wrong speed, or gear. And then mentally fell apart as I knew I was messing up the basics, which we’ve covered often and I’ve done well at. Needless to say, the decision was taken to delay our city driving (which I completely understand, and appreciate his decisions. I trust his judgement and know I am learning well overall with him). And I was gutted. I haven’t written this before because I was ashamed, embarrassed and disappointed with myself. Ah, self flagellation, we meet again.

Once again, I’m trying to learn from this experience and not get hung up. There’s positives here, and were in my lesson too – my approach and perspective needs to change. Because I

  • Didn’t give up, or throw my toys out of the pram. I continued to try, and owned my errors and reasons why
  • Didn’t get angry, or turn into a spiky, defensive ball
  • Listened to and accepted criticism
  • Actually aced a number of manoeuvres (reverse bay parking, parallel parking, reversing around a corner and 3 point turn)
  • Was honest about my feelings 
  • Booked three lessons in advance, and asked for advice on how to improve
  • Thanked my instructor for his patience, time and honesty, and reiterated that I feel I learn well with his teaching.

These may seem like small things. But it’s a huge leap forwards in terms of how I would have handled it two years ago, in active addiction. So, there is no such thing as a bad lesson, as I’m showing progress each week, even if it’s personal growth rather than driving ability. And I remind myself that each lesson is a step towards a goal that I will achieve, no matter how long it takes me. I’m not giving up.

And it’s the same with life – sometimes you take a step back, or stumble, or take an unexpected turn. Sometimes we go back on ourselves and need to pick ourselves up, refocus, take smaller steps. But that’s ok too, as long as you keep moving. The trip from A to Z might sound easy, but there’s still a whole number of stops and letters as part of that journey.