Day 1

This is not day 1. It isn’t day 10 or day 385. It is another day like all the days that came before it, because every day feels like this one now.

8 things I did today:

  1. Took early morning walk in the rain with Rosie, aged 3.75. Splashed in puddles.
  2. Watched Rosie complete 48-piece jigsaw puzzle.
  3. Coloured in jungle scene from colouring book with Rosie.
  4. Baked banana muffins with Rosie.
  5. Emptied out basin filled with husband’s vomit.
  6. Prepared one mug of Ribena with straw for couch bound husband.
  7. Read Wind in the Willows and Winnie the Pooh to Rosie until she fell asleep.
  8. Emptied out basin filled with husband’s vomit.

Ben is in withdrawal again. He shakes like a man with rickets. We are used to the sound of him relinquishing the contents of his stomach – a low guttural sound – like the slow-motion croaking of a bullfrog.

He has spent the last week on his back, on the couch, in the living room of our one bedroom flat. The couch is his bed and his study. The TV is on all night and much of the day. He does not move, unless it is to use the toilet or smoke and sneak a drink outside. His stash is hidden in the loft and on the shed roof outside.

The basin in the background

Half-eaten apples, peanuts, water and juice litter the floor by the couch… with the notorious basin in the background.

When he gets like this (he hasn’t eaten for two – maybe three – days, aside from some fig roll cookies and the occasional apple), I wonder whether he will die in the night. I imagine waking up and finding his cold body, making sure Rosie doesn’t go into the living room, calling the ambulance or the police (I’m not sure which). Then I think about how I will tell Rosie.

He has been sick all her life. She thinks he is ill from drinking too much coffee. To her, coffee comes in a can. When she finishes a drawing or colouring in or writing her name, she takes it to him, saying, ‘Daddy, look. Look what I’ve done.’ And he says, ‘Oh, that’s lovely, darling,’ with his eyes closed and his face turned away.

When will it end for her and for me? The prospect of treatment is still weeks away. It can be accessed through the NHS (the only route we can afford), but there are hoops to dive through, and nothing is certain. Still, the fact that treatment is on the cards – that an application for detox has been completed (finally) and that the option of rehab is being considered – is the crutch I lean on now.

Because without it, there is nothing.

Today is not day 1.

It’s just another day in the life of someone married to an alcoholic.


9 thoughts on “Day 1

  1. I just read your whole blog backwards, in the time I’ve managed to find to sit down during two night shifts. I don’t know what your name is, I don’t imagine you’d ever say. You’ve captivated me. The way a writer of fiction might. My cynical self, born of too many years of hopes and disappointments, wonders if you are real. But I suppose you must be. Instead of eagerly awaiting the next fictitious instalment, I find myself dreading your next all too real disappointment. Instead of analytically agreeing with the people who question you with “why this?” “why not this?” I discover I am angry at them for applying their cool detached reasoning to someone in so desperate a situation. I don’t have any advice. I don’t have very much to call a story of my own. What I do have is yours if you want it. If you are ever wondering if anyone cares about you, or keeps you in mind, you can be sure that I will be. I’ll continue to ride the monstrous Hopes and Disappointments Carousel in my own small way. Firstly by hoping you enjoy your break in Canada, then by reading your next post. I’ll see you as we spin together.

    • Thank you, kindasketchie. I assure you, my blog is all too real. I am blogging anonymously to protect everyone involved, including myself. Right now, I’m trying to enjoy my time in Canada, but I still have one foot in London, still concerned every time he doesn’t answer the phone. So many people, like you, have reached out to me and I am so, so grateful for that.

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