I will start this post by saying how lucky I am. I am not always feeling lucky. But, I know when to appreciate when someone is supporting, when perhaps they could have every excuse not to.
My boss. He came into the role as I was returning from my long term sick-leave. It was roundabout this time last year when things took a dramatic change for the worse. He must have thought “what the hell have I inherited?” However, he is a man with a good heart and understood the value of “me” in the team. He has supported me from day one and has been a huge advocate of me within the organisation. Words like “brilliant”, “amazing”, “safe hands” have been used many times.
This boss has a liking for biscuits. Lots of them. I mean a packet at a time. He is a good-looking guy and has obviously been quite fit in his time. He now has a long commute and a full-on job which has led him to neglecting his well-being to the effect of 3 stone. So, he is cutting back. The biscuits are no more. I mentioned that he has done the absolute right thing in telling everyone that he is no longer participating in biscuits or cake. This will always make you think twice about partaking because someone will always make a point of it. I likened that to me and my drinking. He asked how it was going for me. I said “277” days. In fact it was 9 months.
My mind went into suspicious mode. Why did he ask me that question? Is it because I have bottles of diet Pepsi on my desk instead of cans? Is it because I have my tub of extra strong polo mints in my bag? Is it because I was seen taking my handbag into the toilet? Is it because I have worked from home on a couple of occasions when normally I am a committed office attendee? Does he think I am drinking again?
I am very conscious. More now than ever about what people see in me. More than ever, I don’t want them to see a weakness. I don’t want them to even consider that I am back in that drinking space. I am automatically presuming the worst. They think there is vodka in my bottle. I am eating mints to disguise the smell of alcohol. I am having a secret drink in the toilet. I am working from home to enable drinking in privacy.
The truth is, and it hasn’t always been this way, is that I am drinking bottles of Pepsi because they are easier to transport between meetings than cans. I am also drinking Pepsi for the caffeine as I am having sleeping issues at the moment. I have bought a tub of extra strong polo mints mainly because I like the tub, it was cute. I also like a polo mint like a million other people. I take my bag to the toilet for personal reasons. I like to take my medication in private, but I also like to touch up my make-up and brush my hair. I am working from home as I have lost my desk due to an office move and there is a hot desk policy where desks are hard to come by. Yes, that has had an effect on me as I like a consistent work station. A place of comfort. My own things around me.
The problem here is me. I am so self-conscious. I am paranoid. I have put myself in that position and understand that people will watch and look out for any sign. It is hard though, because you do feel that if your behaviour changes in any way; you feel down, tired or poorly, people will automatically wonder. I have felt under the weather of late and extremely tired. A close team member said that she always worries when I start to work from home for periods. This is a kind comment. It is nice that she cares. But this makes me feel as though I can’t work from home, even if the most sensible thing is to do so on occasions.
All these behaviours can be associated with a functioning alcoholic. Withdrawal, depression, working from home, mints, absences from your work station. The list is endless. The problem is that many of these behaviours have been demonstrated by me in my work place for the wrong reasons. Now these are being demonstrated for all the right reasons. I am trying with all my might to be a functioning human being. I am no longer a functioning alcoholic. I am a recovering alcoholic.