Jane embraces chaos while Bryony goes full Stepford
37 Married to a very patient husband Harry, and mother to Edie, four
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