Sunday, June 17, 2007

Reasons to be cheerful?

I had two horrible shocks last weekend and I coped by taking a drink. I'm not proud of that and I shouldn't have taken the two shocks as an excuse to open a bottle, but I did, so I'm back to square one.

First shock was a colleague leaving a message on my mobile on Saturday morning asking if I was free for a chat. She's a colleague, not a friend. She's prickly and stand-offish and I look at her and I see myself 10 years ago. Actually, 5 years ago. Maybe a year ago. Anyway, I was a bit worried about her because she'd been off sick on the Friday so I called her back and she told me the reason she'd been off on Friday was because she'd taken an overdose. She told me some of the things that were bad about her life and I listened and gave names and numbers of counsellors (her own was on holiday) and promised to cover for her at work and offered to come to her house and take away all her pills and booze and hold them for her. After we'd hung up I sat and talked to myself: once upon a time I had been as desperate as she was but never taken an overdose because I'd seen what a suicide attempt could do to a family (my mother attempted it when I was 15 and blamed me - my head told me that it wasn't my fault but my heart broke all the same). Once upon a time I'd been that desperate but no more. I didn't have a drink. I knew it would solve nothing for me, nor help me to help her.

The following morning I had a telephone call from a friend to say that a mutual friend had committed suicide. News of 2 suicides in less than 24 hours? I'm not that strong. Despite prayer, reading, positive affirmation ... oblivion through the bottle was all that was in the back of my mind so I'm afraid I fell off my precarious perch on the wagon and have had a few drinks since then. Not every day, not to excess, but that's not the point. I promised myself I wouldn't drink, and I've gone back on that promise to myself and to God.

I could not have prevented my colleague's suicide attempt. I could not have prevented my friend's suicide. I might have been able to prevent my mother's suicide attempt - after all, my childish act of sticking chewing gum in my little brother's hair was the straw that broke the camel's back - even though the adult in me knows it wasn't my fault. All the same, it's been a difficult week. All the same, that's no excuse for drinking when I made a promise not to.

I'm making that promise again today. I will not drink alcohol.