A story of grief by a man and a boy

liquid hope

Thank God for chicken pox. I never thought I’d say that given the pain I was in and how disgusting I still look and feel, but they did come with an upside. They made me stop drinking. It’s not that I have a problem but I was finding it easier to count the number of days that I hadn’t had any alcohol since my wife died than those that I had. Just one some days, others a few, but regardless of the number it was starting to become habitual. And that was starting to make me feel uncomfortable.

I guess the easy thing to have done would have been not to have one, but then I realised something while I was lying in bed trying not to scratch. The drink had become more than just liquid refreshment. It had become something to break up the day. It had become hope.

Perhaps the day would get easier at 7pm if I had a drink and tried to relax.

Maybe my temper would calm at 4pm if I just had the one.

Perhaps I’d feel less anxious if I had a little alcohol running through my veins by midday.

But what I hoped for never came. Just disappointment, tears and the occasional hangover. Something like fun once or twice, but certainly disproportionate to the number of days that I’d had a drink.

So the pox has left me wondering, ‘what’s the point?’ In a way I feel better for having felt so bad. I’ve realised there’s just no benefit in me drinking even nearly every day. It’s not like it even dulls the pain. It just makes it worse the next day.

Let’s be clear, as I write I’m just finishing a glass of wine, but then it’s been two weeks and no one is perfect. I’m just far more likely to put the kettle on than reach for the bottle opener now and that, I’m pleased to say, comes as a huge relief.

12 comments on “liquid hope

  1. Keely mitchell
    May 18, 2013

    Well done you for even realising it early enough X

  2. Julia Arnott
    May 18, 2013

    So open so honest….Thank you

  3. Elke Barber
    May 18, 2013

    I applaud you and can totally relate. I think a lot of young widows can… Thanks for being so honest. Xx

  4. Paul R
    May 18, 2013


    I totally avoided alcohol after Laura’s death for fear that I would just crawl into the bottle. Easier done when you don’t have a small child to care for. I have gotten back to an occasional glass of wine with dinner and sometimes a single malt in the evening. But when Laura was alive we would be opening a new bottle of wine every couple days. Now I might open a new bottle every two weeks or so. I don’t think we were incipient alcoholics, but we enjoyed a glass with dinner and sometimes another glass after dinner.

  5. Gerry
    May 18, 2013

    I found alcohol made me feel so sad in the earlier days although that was no bad thing because crying seemed to be quite a healing thing to do.

    Two and a half years on I can enjoy a glass or two without the tears.

    You’re doing so well. Hope you feel much, much better soon. xx

  6. monique
    May 18, 2013


  7. sarah pointer
    May 18, 2013

    i didnt touch a drop for months but now on a saturday night will have a glass of wine. Why? Because i enjoy it and because i would be proud of him if he relaxed with a beer. Cheers x

  8. Judy
    May 18, 2013

    I would say my dad literally tried to drink away the pain for the first year after my mom died at 55. He closed into himself and found solace through drinking. He functioned quite well during the daytime, but nights were tough and he found peace in his gin. It was hard to criticize him and luckily he never put anyone else in danger by driving in that state. Luckily, too, my dad was always what I would consider a happy drunk. After that first year he definitely changed and would only drink socially and occasionally. Not the approach many would take, but for Dad it was the anesthesia he needed at a time when the pain was too difficult to physically bear….

  9. Michelle
    May 20, 2013

    I did exactly the same as you Ben but like you say it doesn’t really help but at the time you just want to feel better for a little bit , I hope your both getting over the chicken pox now life does seem to throw everything at you at once sometimes I know I’ve been there xxx

      May 20, 2013

      It certainly does seem to. I guess it’s just about having balance. I was a person of extremes before this all happened, pissed on a Saturday, reformed on a Monday, then back out on a Tuesday, but life’s changed and I guess it’s a case of things in moderation without removing all of life’s little pleasures x

  10. Stan
    November 13, 2013

    Hi Ben,
    I just came across your blog today as I was looking for some help or commonality with someone. My wife died on October 8th 2013 after a short and brutal fight with cancer. I too had given some thought to a blog dedicated to my wife and her activism. 6 years ago she saved my life by helping me to quit drinking which had become a real problem. Now I am grieving and trying to make it one day at a time. Thank you for taking the time to share.

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