Have you seen Inspirobot yet? It’s an AI that generates Inspirational Quotes pasted over images. Think of that poster of the kitten clinging to a tree branch by its claws and the message “Hang in There!” in giant white font, but all gone quirkily wrong. With surprising frequency, however, it creates something eerily apt. Maybe it’s a bit of the Infinite Monkies and Infinite Typewriters thing, but in any case this morning, these two messages in relatively quick succession seemed to be telling me to grow up and adult:

Stop Imagining
Trade for a Harbour

Anyway, just a quirky little pass-ot time to allow me to not have to think about the sundry responsibilities of adulthood.

I’ve re-started my old old habit of keeping an income and spending spreadsheet, detailing the breakdown of what I’m spending, when and on what. It’s not badbadbut – especially with architect fees, etc. our spending is looking pretty large. Imagine if I were still drinking! I’m now five weeks into my Summer vacation, and given the busyness of the past few weeks, I’m pretty sure the drinker I was last week would have spent the whole time  lobbing alcohol into itself.

Week 1: End of marathon celebration, packing for Canada, actual week in Canada.
Week 2: Return from Canada and the clusterfuck of travel delays and all that attendant stress. Then unpacking. Taking advantage of the boys’ last weeks in school. Less drinking than the previous week probably, but likely still heavy.
Week 3: Galway trip. Yup, every day, heavier on our anniversary, especially at that 40th party. I think the whole nature of our trip would have been changed, shifted into an alcohol orbit, as I wouldn’t have wanted to do any particularly long drives, and would have wanted to get back to “relax” in our apartment as soon as I could.
Week 4: Return from Galway, trying to finally get into house-cleaning mode, really and truly the boys’ last week at school. I imagine I would have had a few beer-fuelled cleaning sessions where I wouldn’t stop moving for about 6 hours, using the boring nature of housework as my excuse. Perhaps I would have cooked more interesting food than I have done, but likely it would have been late, I would have been stressed, and defaulted far more often to sausage and chips for the children in order to facilitate extra isolated (read “drinking”) time in the kitchen.
Week 5: And the advent of the 31 Day Drawing Challenge. And I’ve long had an association with alcohol and art, some part of me really holding tightly to a belief that alcohol “opens” me and allows me to more effectively access some hidden creative part of me. The boys were at their drama camp this past week, and yesterday was obscenely sunny. All good enough excuses to “make the most” of Summer.

At a middle-ground estimate, I reckon I could easily have spent €640 on alcohol so far this Summer.

Why go through this process? I don’t feel particularly at risk of slipping. Why drag up my old shameful attitudes and expose them here. You guys don’t need to read this, right? I don’t need to confess any more old sins, do I?

I don’t know, I guess I feel like I do. I guess I feel like the secret space of how unhealthy my attitudes and habits had become is a dark corner where monsters might have the opportunity to hide. If I get my broom (keyboard), open up the curtains and dust and air it out and shine a light on it, maybe that’s a good thing.

When I was still caught in the prison of believing that alcohol held some solutions for the difficulties of my life, it was very important to me to view my consumption from a “just so” angle, so that it was lit in a very flattering, very normalised way. I don’t think I was even totally aware of how much I did this myself. Every drinking occasion was a very normal reason to drink. Unless it was something big like a wedding (or a 40th birthday!) – and everyone knows you have to drink to excess at those kinds of occasions. To do any less would be “spoiling the fun” – my consumption levels were normalisable. But just on the upper edge of that (μ + σ). Still technically within the 65% of population norms, for each particular instance. But every opportunity was taken. I never said no.

You know, in the year prior to stopping completely, I did start to say “no” a bit more. But truth be told I resented the hell out of it, felt deprived, and couldn’t wait until I would be “allowed” to let loose once more.

I’m pretty happy to feel free these days.