So life went on. Hangovers were infrequent but tolerable when they occurred. Rather than losing the next day to headaches, nausea and insomnia, hours of the previous evening were lost instead to the darkest, deepest reaches of outer space. In the days before mobiles, I woke up one day in Grenoble without my house keys and without any recollection about events of the previous evening. The next few hours were spent in last night’s clothes, journeying illegally via tram between friends’ houses to locate them. It served me right for not taking out a handbag to store them in and to dance around.
Alcohol and I continued to be on friendly terms. But before you know it, you have to stop talking to each other as pregnancy induces abstinence. And, unbeknown to you, legal ethanol is going to take it personally and later seek revenge on a par with America’s Shock and Awe tactics. I didn’t miss drinking whilst pregnant. It was like when you move away to the big city and fail to keep in touch with school friends. One day, you return home, see them in the street and have a pleasant catch up for the first time since starting university. One day, you start drinking red wine at your first-born’s christening, enjoy the first glass, then enjoy far too many more for the first time since falling pregnant. As a result, you forget you have a baby pretty much for the next 24 hours, whilst your pathetic, chemical-ravaged body tries to cope with this mysterious substance which has invaded it, causing utter devastation on your carcass and on the bedroom carpet. I am of course talking about myself but trying to disguise the fact by writing in the second person!
Alcohol and I are now acquaintances rather than friends. Every now and then, I want us to get back to where we once were, but we end up at a completely different place each time. Alcohol is bipolar where I’m concerned. Sometimes, I can spend hours knocking back raspberry flavoured vodka then bounce out of bed, much to everyone’s complete surprise. Other times, one Baileys will render me useless the next day. I plead that my intake must have been more or that my drink was spiked. Basically, alcohol is toying with me in revenge for abandoning it during three baby growing episodes, so I never know where we stand.
At times, I do myself no favours. I willingly drink days before important events, fully knowing I risk un-endearing myself to somebody. Agreeing to drive down to Buxton after a friend’s 40th birthday party for dance scholarships and take a dance mam and her daughter with Abigail and I was not my best move. I only managed to get to Tebay Services before emptying my stomach of whatever my hangover had fooled me into thinking I absolutely needed to eat. Discovering Lucozade was quite helpful in these situations was a small bonus though. Agreeing to stop off at the Trout Hotel to purchase alcohol for an emergency birthday present after a cricket club quiz night which had started much earlier in a friend’s house was not my best move. I had to sheepishly walk into the elegant, sophisticated hotel, my hair pointing wildly in different directions whilst my mascara blackened eyes were fixed firmly on the ground, trying so hard to sound posh and sober to demand a bottle of gin. Agreeing to go to a Little Mix concert the day after a party for Ian’s 40th was not my best move. I did not cover myself in glory the following afternoon, having to quickly vacate the car near to Carlisle train station so I could create a Hansel and Gretel trail to the platform, meaning Abigail would know exactly where to find me. No, I did not cover myself in glory that day. Rather, a regurgitated banana.
I have learnt now to consult my diary before accepting any offers involving alcohol. I also make sure Ian will be available to run the household, although I like to think that my days of not being able to function provided the children with learning opportunities such as keeping themselves alive, whilst I slowly died. One of my aims in lockdown was to gradually increase my alcohol tolerance to the acceptable levels of the Nineties. I failed spectacularly on Day Sixty-Six in the Corona House. I just have to admit that those days are long gone. Oh, and the time, after a work’s Christmas party, when I missed the stairs and walked into the wall. Oh, and the time….Maybe best I just leave it there!