So wow, I didn’t really mean to go complete radio silence over the entire Christmas period. In fact on one of the mornings, I even had a “New Blog Post” page open and completely failed to type anything in it for 40 minutes before giving up.

I need a modicum of uninterrupted time in order to write these. Or at least I did this week? Sometimes I’m probably better at just blocking out the outside demands on my attention, but at the moment I’m feeling frustrated and irritated even by the silent presence of another person in the room.

It hasn’t helped that Christmas was pretty busy for me down in my parents’ house. Usually it would be a little more chilled, but G. got really sick and was trapped up in a bedroom for the majority of the four days, and – well, I was going to say that the kids needed near-constant supervision, but that wasn’t the case so much as they were constantly demanding. Demanding me; my attention, my input, my “help”, and I felt stuck two-fold: I needed to stop them shouting and waking up the adults who are unencumbered by the under-10s and I felt like I had to make their Christmas vacation a joyous one.

I think the only one who noticed I was struggling (apart from the bed-ridden husband) was my mother, who took over some of the dog-care duties from me, especially on an evening when I crashed out at around 7:30 and couldn’t do any more. But she was already doing so much for a pretty oblivious household and I felt guilty and wished I was helping her more.

Needless to say, I am just about ready for my “holidays” to start now. But the warning signs of G.’s virus have arrived for me in the form of an unholy sore throat. His still lingers, so now it’s like we’re in the Buffy episode Hush and only the “bad” lemsip remains, so a visit to the outside world will definitely be necessary today.

Well, anyway I’m meeting a friend of mine in the afternoon for a soft-play date (don’t worry, we’re not sick-sick, but just have sore throat!). No hugs for us. Not that I’m super-huggy anyway.

I actually said as much to the touchy-feely person in my work who keeps doing things like leaning her head on my shoulder and stroking the material of my clothing. I couldn’t take it and blurted out “Please don’t touch me. I don’t like being touched.” I’m happy enough to have that out there. Even though it was hard to say, I don’t think there was a particularly easygoing way to broach it, and at the end of the day the other person was the one over the socially acceptable line.

Meanwhile, back at my parents’ house:

I found it surprisingly hard not to drink. Not because I wanted a drink (although by the end of Stephen’s Day, those cold Eastern European beers in the fridge were starting to look kind of desirable), but because it felt like it would be easier than continually avoiding them or having some kind of a conversation about it. We all arrived back at the house from various wanderings and shoppings at about 4pm, and 4 times before dinner (at 6) I was offered a drink.

I was peeling potatoes when my dad wanted me to taste the mulled punch he was brewing – and you know, I don’t think a taste of mulled punch is in anyway dangerous to me, or even breaks “non-drinking” rules in my mind. But yeah, I guess I was on my guard and had drawn this protective line in the sand and the mulled punch was over it. Celebratory prosecco was just served at the beginning of dinner. The kids were in the bath and I used relieving G. as an excuse to leave it there while I relieved him. When we both returned to the room later, I was reminded that it was waiting there for me, and G. surreptitiously drank it up for me.

No one big deal, but it was all starting to add up to me thinking “Would it be so bad to have just one drink? That wouldn’t make me drunk and I could nurse it across the evening and point to it when people keep offering me more.” But here’s the thing – I didn’t want to have a drink. It was peer pressure – like nothing I’ve experienced from actual peers. I’m sure it would have stopped pretty quickly if I’d’ve said I’m not drinking, or I’ve given up drinking, or some equivalent. But an explanation would most definitely have been demanded and I just didn’t feel like explaining myself.

Maybe one day I will.

Meanwhile – first sober Christmas, check! Next up, first sober New Year.

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