Day 80 - Not some cheesy advertisement but I have been thinking about changes in my life in the last 9 years. Or "the wine years" as seems more appropriate?
When I first moved into my home it had been previously owned by an older lady and the tastes and decor reflected her style not mine. It also had some renovation work that needed to be done along with a complete electrical rewire. The light switches were old round black Bakelight ones harking back to the 1920-1950's, decorative but apparently highly dangerous. When I bought my house I had visions of getting in the builders, having all the work done and it would be the house of my dreams all finished and sparkly new. In the UK there used to be a show called 'Changing Rooms' that shows you someone's home or at least a room or two transformed in the blink of an eye. Condense this down to a 60 minute show and this is probably what I had in my head would happen when the work was finished. Buying a home at the high end of the market (drat) and when builders were turning work away (double drat) I was forced to go with one of the builders that did come back to me instead of one of the ones laughing at my £25k budget. Instead of waiting, I settled for a builder and in hindsight I didn't have too many concerns and was gung Ho to get things under way. Long story short, he wasn't that great, he probably took advantage of my ignorance, he fobbed me off with a lot of jargon, and some of the work was a little shabby but I thought I could finish it off nicely myself. Why? Cos I didn't want to upset him (and looking back because I was grateful that he would work in my house) This was all to do with my lack of self worth and fear of speaking out because I was so undeserving, I should be lucky this guy has agreed to fleece me out of my money. Gee, I should buy him a thank you gift for fucking up my house. Within a year, some, not all of the work was failing or obvious it was substandard and a few people had commented that it didn't look as well as it should. My solution to this was to stop people coming into my house and to don imaginary blinkers, if I didn't look around at it all then I couldn't see what a fool I had been and how yet again ignoring the warning signs mentality had led me to a place of humiliation and shame (there is that word so many of us know and understand) Shame that I was gullible, a fool and had squandered my fathers hard earned money from my inheritance by not demanding my money's worth.
In hindsight I should have asked more questions, demanded more answers, told them to finish things to a higher standard and pursued it further when the work was finished and I was dissatisfied. He went bankrupt in the end and had a bit of a breakdown, how do I know that? because I work for mental health provider and saw his referral. I am only a little bit ashamed to say it is the only time in six years I have delighted and reveled in someone else's misery but I felt no compassion for him at all. I pinned all the blame on him when in reality there is the possibility that he could have been doing his best work and was just a lousy builder. Along the way I kind of forgot to mention to people that I hadn't stepped up and corrected him or asked him to do it again or better. I had responsibility in this too but to admit it was more painful than telling everyone about how he had 'done me wrong'. I spent a good 6 years or more feeling sorry for myself, telling anyone who would listen my tale of woe and frankly looking back, I was in a full on major depression. I wasn't tending to the house or the garden and the whole place just got really shabby and tatty, after all why vacuum when parts of the ceiling plaster have fallen down. Why polish the dining table when you have black mold in the corner of the room, why clean the bath when you don't have a finished floor in the bathroom. I wasn't apathetic, I was near catatonic with depression, I cried and cried and cried. I was in really bad shape but had to carry on regardless because I had the mortgage to pay. Any spare ounce of energy I had went into trying to pretend everything was normal for my daughter and keeping her involved in stuff and not seeing her mom fall to pieces.
It was during this period that the wine became my friend and it was the norm to have a few glasses every night with a little more at the weekend. I could even have a few relaxed hours where I was able to ignore my troubles and get a laugh out of a TV show or play a game with my daughter. I won't bother with the slow decline into increased consumption as it is just the normal slow steady build to the knowledge that all of a sudden you are drinking at least a bottle of wine a night and way more at the weekends. All of this has come to a head recently with the arrival of the new builders, who I hasten to add are doing a great job. I have challenged them already about something and clarified that I wouldn't be paying the extra for the higher powered machine they had to buy because it wasn't my fault if they underestimated the power they needed. Their answer was of course I wouldn't have to pay as it was their mistake. So differs from last time when I would have thrown £500 at them apologising that my house was made of such solid stone and poor them for having to work so hard on it.
The biggest difference is..... I feel like I deserve better. Somehow through all this turmoil my self esteem is kicking in and I am not allowing myself to settle for lesser than, I have done enough lesser than and now it is time for more than. I deserve a nice house! I deserve to get my money's worth! I just deserve to treat myself with the respect that has been lacking for some time.
It has been coming in tiny increments over the past year but quitting alcohol has helped that along more reliably and faster. All the times I have bust my tail trying to get the brambles under control, teach myself how to tile both floors and walls or working solidly on my daughter's bedroom for 3-4 days nonstop has given me a bit more self respect and shown me that I can do this and expect more than I previously have. I am normalising myself and realising that everyone has stuff in their life they brush under the carpet and I am not an oddball for having an unfinished or messy house. I am not the only person to have gone to bed without washing the dishes or let the kitchen floor go unmopped for a week longer than was socially acceptable. We all have flaws and weaknesses and I am not the 'worst person in the world ever'. Why this has suddenly burst forth today, I am not sure but maybe all that moaning and complaining about everything and constantly saying how tired I was was part of my re-calibration. I even think that some of the fighting with my daughter is to do with me not standing for her teenage antics anymore and instead of acquiescing I am standing firm or walking away until she can discuss it civilly with me.
Before, my deserving related to alcohol in a "I deserve a drink after that" way. Now it is "I deserve more than alcohol gives me"
About a thousand words ago I said 'to cut a long story short', I won't say that again as I realise it is not within my capabilities but I am ok with that too ha ha. As for the punctuation either lack of or all in the wrong place, well even that doesn't bother me too much tonight as I figure if you want to read it you can pick your way through and get the overall gist.
I havent had a drink in 80 days, about 30 of them I didn't want a drink. The rest have been an up and down mix of cravings and feelings of this just has to get better but despite it all I have managed to reassie and accept that I can no longer lie about what I think will happen and what actually will happen. When I play the story through to the end it is always the same, me feeling like crap, sleeping terribly, waking up feeling like I have been hit by a truck and the gripping terror that I am driving to work more than likely over the limit and lastly hours on hours of feeling less than, pretending everything is fine at work and self recrimination only to reach 3pm when all of a sudden it starts to look like a good idea once again.That is only the tip of the iceberg.
In conclusion, thanks for sticking with me and bustling me along the path with your supportive comments and kind thoughts.