Jane em­braces chaos while Bry­ony goes full Step­ford

37 Mar­ried to a very pa­tient hus­band Harry, and mother to Edie, four

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - CONTENTS -

In so­bri­ety, I am learn­ing about some of the things I am not very good at. It seems that by drink­ing, I could numb my­self to the re­al­ity of my fail­ings. Now I am learn­ing to have to sit with them – ex­cept it turns out that sit­ting is some­thing I’m not very good at. Sit­ting still, in par­tic­u­lar. I used to think I was very good at not mov­ing – ly­ing down, sleep­ing, for ex­am­ple – but I re­alise I am not. De­void of the knock­out ef­fect of booze, my sleep is ter­ri­ble. ‘I thought that when you give up al­co­hol you slept like a baby!’ I said to some­one the other day, to which they re­sponded: ‘That’s when nor­mal peo­ple give up drink­ing, dummy.’ Any­way, it turns out that do­ing noth­ing is not some­thing I ex­cel at. My only New Year’s res­o­lu­tion was to re­lax, but al­ready I’ve been talked into do­ing an­other marathon (did I men­tion I ran a marathon?), and also I for­got that I had a book com­ing out in the sum­mer.

At least in so­bri­ety I can chan­nel my in­abil­ity to do noth­ing into do­ing good things – or­gan­is­ing the house, tidy­ing, plan­ning, wak­ing ev­ery­one up with break­fast. I can book Harry and me one of those din­ners we were talk­ing about the other day. Ex­cept, it tran­spires that I’m even do­ing that wrong. ‘Can’t you just let me book a restau­rant?’ asks Harry. ‘Do you have to con­trol ev­ery­thing?’ I sulk off to fin­ish re­or­gan­is­ing his wardrobe.

And now, Mum has started to make noises about my skills. She sug­gests that

I am be­ing a lit­tle bit full-on. ‘You know the Bry­ony we all love is slightly chaotic and dis­or­gan­ised, and that’s OK. In fact, it’s great,’ she says. ‘You don’t have to turn into a Step­ford wife now that you’re sober. You’re per­fect just the way you are!’

I don’t hear the word per­fect, just Step­ford wife. ‘Well maybe if you’d been a lit­tle more or­gan­ised when I was younger I wouldn’t have turned out to be so chaotic! Maybe I’m tired of be­ing chaotic! Chaos is so bloody ex­haust­ing!’

I start to cry, and it oc­curs to me that putting down booze is the eas­i­est bit.

‘Do you have to con­trol ev­ery­thing?’ asks Harry. I sulk off to re­or­gan­ise his wardrobe

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