Wine Witch... 1/3/21
Updated: Sep 2, 2021
In general, I have been doing well lately and feeling great about my sobriety. Feeling happy about the steps I am taking, talking to others confidently about the decisions I am making and excited about by this energy that I have. I am currently reading "The Sober Diaries," by Clare Pooley, and I find this author incredibly personable and endearing. She is a lot like me. She describes her addicts voice as the wine witch, which is similar to how Catherine Gray calls her voice Voldemort. I mentioned that I have been picturing mine as Ursula. Ursula is exactly that - a wine witch. Because wine was always my drink of choice.
Something happened yesterday, on a walk in my neighborhood, as I was listening to a Sober Powered podcast. I had a very fast, albeit frightening thought. The topic of the podcast was: is your drinking a bad habit or actually a problem? For a very brief moment, I started to rationalize and convince myself that - wait, maybe my little issue with alcohol is just that - maybe it is just a bad habit? Maybe I don't actually have a problem. I began to think, maybe I have been able to break this habit! Hey, maybe I can handle booze? Maybe I can actually drink like a normal adult? Look how functional I have become? I'm like a real human again, waking up early, going to bed early, my moods are more in check, I'm happier in general, yelling less at the kids, my overall demeanor is positive. Maybe I can drink like a real, normal human too!
Record scratch. Picture the music stopping. Zach Morris putting the whole scene into time out - moving cars, people, everything froze. I pretty much ripped my ear buds out and stopped walking dead in my tracks.
Epiphany. This was Ursula, my wine witch talking.
I almost wanted to smack myself. I obviously have a problem. I know that. Standing there on the sidewalk, I instantly remembered back to the lying, the hiding, the sneaking. Oh yeh, that wasn't a bad habit. Bad habits are when you bite your nails like my oldest son. Or when you leave the couch cushions on the floor in the family room like my husband. Or when you forget to hang your jacket up in the mudroom like my youngest daughter.
Ursula would begin quite innocently.
"Hey Kim, what time is it? Just saying, it's almost 5:00. You know most of your friends are already drinking by now..." She liked guilt trips. That was her go-to move.
"Hellooo... why don't you have a glass out yet?! There is no better way to cook than with a large glass of wine while chopping veggies. The Christmas tree is lit, the Christmas music is going. Let's get this party started!" Nostalgia. Setting the scene. She got me. And so it would begin.
Eventually, her tone would shift. Competitveness was a big tactic for her. "That wasn't a big enough pour, girl! Top it off! Give yourself a country club pour, it's Thursday, it's basically the weekend."
As the evening would progress, she would become coniving, deceitful even. She would keep needling me, "Oh now there is only like an inch left in the bottle. Finish it up, open another bottle - then chug another glass and make it look like you just had only glass when Evan comes home later. Genius, then no one will ever know except you and me."
And finally, she was selfish and unsympathetic. "Oh boy, Evan is going to notice that you drank all the wine in the house now. You better hide all the empty bottles in the garage. Good luck in the morning. You better go pass out now. You're on your own, girl!"
The only way I knew how to deal with Ursula was to keep feeding her wine, to drown her in wine. If I tried to moderate and tone it down, she would become more insistent, more malicious and crazed. So I would just keep drinking. And I couldn't see that what I was doing was remotely wrong.
Ursula is manipulative and controlling, and there is no better way to explain it. Sadly, she isn't going anywhere, but what I have realized these last 35 days is that she can be tamed. I have taken huge steps back to see what I have been up against these last several years of my life. I now am aware of her presence. And knowledge is power. Ursula has lost a great deal of her enery and therefore a lot of her influence over me. But she is still there, and I can't lose sight of that.