It is 6:15pm on a Saturday night. I'm stirring noodles in a steaming pot, and I'm angry. Finn streaks by naked, screeching at the top of his lungs. Greta is whining: Moooooom, I'm hungry, I don't want nooooooodles, over and over. Dishes are piled in the sink, the dog is barking, and my husband is in his workshop, tinkering away at God-knows-what. My head is in overdrive, a low roar forming in the back of my brain.
"FINN HIT ME!" Greta wails, and I cringe. Her hair is a mess, the kids need a bath, there is a huge pile of laundry to be folded. And the dishes need to be washed. Again. God, I'm so angry.
I want to run away, I want to scream. I want a drink.
Just one. I just want that warm glow, that peaceful, relaxed feeling that creeps into my limbs after the first few sips. I want to quiet that roar in my head; I just want to care a little less for an hour, or two.
"STOP IT, GRETA!" Finn screams. "MOOOOOOOOOOOOM!"
Shutupshutupshutupshutupshup, I think. God, just please shut up and leave me be.
Now both kids are crying. The dog barks louder. I snap.
"THAT. IS. IT!" I yell, and the kids' eyes go wide. I slam the spoon down on the counter and march out of the kitchen.
I storm upstairs into my room and throw myself on the bed. I'm too angry to cry. Images swirl in my head: happy, normal couples sitting down to dinner with a glass of wine in hand, laughing contentedly. I hate that I can't drink. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.
It has gone quiet downstairs - no barking dog, no screaming kids. I hear my husband come up from his workshop. I hear murmuring, and the television comes on at a low volume.
I sigh. I try to think of all the things I've learned. I search for gratitude, for acceptance. All I can find is mean, red anger. I don't want to let go of my anger, I want to hug it to my chest until I explode.
I close my eyes, and lose myself in thoughts of a drink. I picture the weight of the wine glass in my hand, the sweet buttery smell of a good Chardonnay. I let myself drink it, in my head. I feel my body relax. I smile. I paint a mental picture of what I wish drinking was like for me, and I mourn it for a few minutes.
Then, finally, I do what I was told to do. I think through the drink. I mentally fast forward an hour, or two. I picture myself crouched in my bathroom, grabbing in the back of the cabinet for my stashed bottle, because my husband is done with his nightly drink and I don't want to stop. I can't stop. I've never been able to stop.
There is nothing in a drink for me.
I go back downstairs. My husband is stirring the noodles, Finn is dressed and the kids are happily watching a show.
"Okay now?" he asks, raising an eyebrow.
And I am okay. It is going to be okay.