I was fired.
They were at pains to point out that I was not technically being fired, they were just terminating my contract. Apparently this is completely different. No issues with your work, just going in a new direction, a good reference will be provided… but we’re making today your last day.
I was definitely being fired. I just didn’t have a clue why.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, but that’s not it. I never drank in the mornings, or in the day. I always turned up on time and presentable to work, put in overtime, and hit all my targets. When it came to the workplace, I was high functioning.
As well as being a massive shock (I had just been promoted and my performance record was spotless), it was also a massive embarrassment. I was in a senior position, in a respected industry, in the capital city. At 8am I was heading to the office and by 11am I was heading to the unemployment line. Just like that. I was renting an expensive flat in a expensive area (foolish), I had no savings (alcohol), my credit card was maxed out (alcohol), I was jobless in a dead job market (f*cking Brexit), penniless, in shock, without a plan, and unable to pay rent.
It’s enough to turn a person to drink.
If there’s a time for wine, it’s in a bone fide emergency. But it was 11.00am and one of my justifications for not being a you-know-what, was not drinking in the morning. I lasted until around 3pm that day, which wasn’t too bad all things considered.
After falling apart for a few days, consoled enthusiastically by my best friend prosecco, panic finally set in. I put in notice on my flat, packed my cat and everything I owned, and moved out of the city to my brother’s house, which was empty and awaiting construction works. I am so lucky I had somewhere to go and a wonderful sibling still paying the water and electricity bills.
I had a choice, which wasn’t much of a choice, but was one of the most important ones I have ever made. I was jobless and (kind of) homeless at 40, with virtually no money or income, in a strange place, without friends or community, and nothing but time to sit alone all day and Think About What I Had Done. There’s nothing like being forced to take a long, hard look at your life and yourself in very unflattering lighting to sober you up.
I woke up on April 7th, 2019 with a stinking hangover. One of those skull crushers that is guaranteed to last at least 48 hours. I was wretched. I was sick in body and sick in spirit. I had become powerless over my own life. My 40s were supposed to be the decade when everything changed for the better, when I would become stable and happy and abundant. Less than six months in and it was falling apart. One eye closed (it’s hard to look at an i-phone screen with a screaming hangover) I opened the app store and searched ‘sober’. I downloaded the first sober app I saw and set the counter at zero. I quite literally couldn’t afford to drink any longer.
I’m six weeks sober today.
~The Sober Curator~