Digging shelters

A few days ago I had my last session with my therapist. She’s moving to another clinic, and I’m not the same person I was just over a year ago, so my need for therapy has come to a natural end. Back then, I was suffering from a form of post-traumatic stress disorder. I was anxious, depressed, distraught, desperate. That gave way to anger and more anger, followed by months of flashbacks and panic attacks. Continue reading

Through the wilds of truth

A lonely and desolate place, Dartmoor. (c)Married to an Alcoholic

A lonely and desolate place, Dartmoor. (c)Married to an Alcoholic

The truth can be a wild and desolate place. Thick with bracken, obscure and wet, it’s a place we flee from as much as we seek it out.

We returned from our family holiday earlier this week. It was our first since Ben has been clean. (Our previous holiday was some years ago – an ill-conceived trip to Morocco. Then, I took us to the old city of Fes, where I’d thought alcohol was prohibited. Turned out it was available – at a price – at our riad. Ben had been so desperate to keep how much he was drinking a secret that he left money in the public fridge for each can of beer he drank – money that vanished, of course, before it made it to the proprietor. The poor man looked incredulous when Ben admitted he’d left payment in the fridge. I was fuming, but that’s a story for another post.) Continue reading

Four vignettes

I wrote this for Deliberate Donkey, a brilliant and moving blog on domestic violence.

Deliberate Donkey

Leaves blur in the sunlight, waving him on. The boy runs, away from the sound of his mother’s voice which he can still hear, carried on the wind, shouting: “Run. Go. Run.”

So he runs. Up the road, egged on by the cheerleading leaves and the wind, the blue sky and the sun which shines hard against his back – a slap of heat propelling him forward.

He runs – away from his mother’s voice, away from his cowering sister, away from his father who paces the length of the house, clutching the rifle he’d bought for a father-son deer shoot. This father who cried after accidentally running over a pigeon while driving, now sitting in the front room with a rifle across his lap, waiting for his life in this home to end and a new one to begin.

The boy runs because all he can say is “Leave…

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Happy anniversary, Ben

The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, India – a giant sundial. source: flicker.com

Dear Ben

Today is your anniversary. On this day last year, I was on the other side of the Atlantic ocean, caught in a sweltering summer, finally exhaling as I read the email from the detox centre confirming that you had been admitted. This was after you relapsed so dramatically the day after Rosie and I left for Canada. After you had ignored my calls and refused to speak to me, forcing me to ring my friend in London daily to ask her to drive down to our place simply to check that you were still alive. In the end, she did more than that. She drove you to the detox centre. Continue reading

Consequences

The unthinkable has happened. Readers will know that I’ve had two job interviews recently. You will also know that I got the first post, which is permanent and based in London. Yesterday, I found out I also got the other one which, I can now reveal, is based in Hong Kong. That one is only for a year.

The choice is clear. Continue reading