Do you drink and snap at your kids?
The Sober Journey

Do you shout and snap at your kids?

When I was drinking every day I had a really short temper, I would get stressed out about the smallest things and I would let everyday problems turn into anxiety monsters in my head and spend all day (and night) worrying about them.

This resulted in endless arguments with my Wife and Son, looking back I am not surprised as I was often totally unreasonable or my reaction was completely over the top.

Luckily for me I had found the solution, it was red wine and I had discovered that it blotted out these feelings…wow, it really was a miracle cure.

By drinking my alcohol infused medicine every day I was able to give myself a few hours where the problems and stress faded away.

Unfortunately I also found that what red wine takes away, it gives you back the very next morning – in full high definition. Those problems that had vanished the night before when I was full of wine were back the next morning and they now seemed bigger than before and they had sharper teeth and claws which wanted to sink in and bite me.

However, I persevered with this miracle cure as it felt like the only solution (plus, didn’t everyone else drink to the same extent as I did?). Every single day I watched the clock waiting for the evening to come around so I could break into a nice bottle of Shiraz. The sooner my Son was upstairs and in bed, the sooner I could begin my drinking ritual.

All this waiting was making me snappy, every day I craved the relief that the wine would give me. I was pre-occupied by it which meant I was a lot less interested in anything that wasn’t at least 14% ABV and in a 75ml bottle.

As I look back now after several months sober I cringe at the way I behaved around the people closest to me.

In the evenings I would be snappy and short with my son, my wine-brain just wanted adult-time so I could get stuck in. Of course, in the mornings I was rushing to get ready for work full of regret with a fuzzy head, shaking hands and a purple tongue, I was already stressed out and the slightest thing would set me off ranting and being unreasonable. What a great way to start the day!

On top of this, when I was full of wine I would become argumentative, opinionated (well, more than I normally am) and generally…an arsehole.

So for 13 years my Son had to put up with a Dad who was short-tempered, moody and snappy. Sorry…

Here’s the great news, a few weeks after I stopped drinking I felt the clouds of stress and anxiety blow away and they were replaced by happy, calm, sunny skies.

All of a sudden I found myself engaging so much more with my Son, we were laughing and playing all the time together. We were enjoying great days out and having long, interesting conversations (even in the morning on the school run). I didn’t even make a conscious effort to do this, it just happened naturally.

I could clearly see the difference, I was no longer watching the clock or wishing for adult-only time. I just wanted him around all the time, I couldn’t get enough of being with him (he now tells me to go away when I pitch up in his bedroom and out stay my welcome).

I feel awful for behaving like this, I couldn’t even see what I was doing until I was able to look back through sober eyes.

I hardly ever snap, argue or shout at my Son now. Don’t get me wrong, every parent-child relationship has moments of conflict, but I am much more calm and rational now and I don’t dwell on things. The relationship is so much better and as a result he is so much happier. We have enjoyed some great times and several amazing (sober) holidays together and I value every minute I spend with him.

Sober holidays and snapping at our kids

My son and I heading to Tokyo on one of our sober holidays

When I quit drinking I hadn’t even considered that this would be one of the benefits, I was just sick of hangovers, shaking hands and the never ending cycle of wine and I also didn’t want to die before I reached 50. What an amazing and surprising gift this has been.

Yes, I wish I had quit drinking 10 or 20 years ago, but I can’t change the past. However, I can (and I am) changing the future!

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