Firstly I would like to say a HUGE thank you and send massive hugs to everyone who has either emailed me or posted on the 'Lime and Soda' blog. Your kind words and support means so much and it is fabulous to see so many of us have already made the commitment to banning the booze. I am loving reading all the posts in the Febfast Forum thread as everyone shares their experiences of how their bodies and bank balances are already feeling the benefits! As I mentioned at the time, I shared my story partly in the hope that it would help somebody else, and this is also why I am sharing what I am about to today with you - well, that and the fact that my family told me I have to! I'm not proud of it but if anything please take this as a lesson in 'What Not To Do'...
Let me take you back to the weekend, which should technically have been one full of right rollicking fun and merriment. It was the Whangamata Nauti Girls fishing tournament - an annual event where around 800 women go absolutely crazy. The aim is supposedly to catch a big fish and win prizes but for most of us it's basically an excuse to spend the day on a boat in the sunshine, cackling and drinking huge amounts of booze with our girlie mates and then dress up in the evening and boogie the night away to an awesome band. Last year was a brilliant day for me and my friend Cate - in fact I would put it up there with one of the most enjoyable days and nights ever and I had been looking forward to this year's event ever since. Sadly for me I didn't get to go fishing this year as my dodgy health let me down again and I had been ill all week but Cate bravely held the fishing fort in some pretty rough seas and Noel persuaded me to drag my bum out of bed that evening for the prizegiving and live band.
In hindsight I should never have gone as I was feeling far from great and was already in a grumpy mood but I duly went along and before long I was feeling chirpy and laughing along with everyone else. So I decided to have a glass of wine. 'Stuff it!' I thought 'It's been a crap week, I'm sick of being sick and I deserve it!' My intention was to have just one and then go onto Diet Coke, which I did - in fact I had a 1.5 litre bottle so I should have been fine. What I should have done before leaving the house was to read my own blog, in particular the part where I said that my tolerance for alcohol has in recent months gone down to zero. Zero, Penny, remember? Turns out I wasn't exaggerating. After one glass I got blase, after two I got belligerent and after that - well I don't remember anything really. My mind is a complete and utter blank, which I think is a blessing. All I know is that I ended up outside our house at some unearthly hour of the morning having a shouting match with anyone who would listen and crying uncontrollably and not making any sense at all. Yep, I must have looked one classy chick. Noel said he had never seen me so out of control - so much so that he wondered if someone had spiked my drink and was really worried for my safety, as were my poor dear friends. Just for good measure I chose this auspicious night to also treat my bemused children and their friends to my display.
'You know in your blog when you said you had hit rock bottom? I don't think so hon, I think THIS is your rock bottom', Cate said gently the following day. And I certainly wasn't going to argue with that. I woke up the next morning and my mind was a complete blank but I knew the situation was bad - really bad - and as bits and pieces of the story started to unfold it became horrendously clear that I had come perilously close to losing EVERYTHING, in particular the people I cared about most in the whole world. On the plus side, Noel was amazingly calm. He knew the screaming, hate-filled banshee on the side of the road that night wasn't really me. But he never wanted her to make an appearance again. 'You know you can't drink again, don't you? Not a drop. Ever. Because if this happens again, I'm gone', he told me. Can't say I blame him, do you?
For the next three days I beat myself up severely. I have never hated myself so much in my whole life, I just wanted the ground to swallow me up, no matter how much everyone tried to make me feel better. But there is a positive to everything. Sure I may have stuffed up good and proper after 34 days of being alcohol free, but hey, those days weren't wasted! I enjoyed 34 days of better health that I wouldn't have had otherwise. I had already saved around $300. So I hit a speed bump. I got too complacent and thought I could handle the odd tipple just every now and then. But I can't - ever. For me it was the final nail in the coffin but I would much rather know that after 34 days than 34 months. So it's onwards and upwards for me but I'm not going to count the days any more because for me there will be no end to it. My lovely readers, friends, family and supporters please feel free to berate me, it is well deserved but I promise you this. I will never, EVER let myself or you down again. To some of you reading this it may sound like just words, which is fair enough. I guess all I can do is prove it. To anyone out there with the same or similar issues, or currently on the Febfast challenge, I hope my experience has at least been a lesson in 'What Not To Do' because trust me, I wouldn't wish an experience like our family had on anyone and that's why they wanted me to share it. I haven't drank a drop since Saturday and just as before I don't miss it one bit. I don't crave it, I've just proved I can't tolerate it. Which is just as well because I don't think anyone else can tolerate me drinking any more! I hope all my fellow Febfast challengers are enjoying greater success than I but if you fall off that wagon, just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep on moving forward!