I wear two necklaces together every day. One is a black locket and the other a simple silver disk with a dandelion on it.
I think they look pretty cool, but also they're secretly both very meaningful and every morning when I put them on I feel like they're strength-giving. The locket has a photo of my grandparents in it, and the disk has my sobriety date on the back (I had it made from a great local crafty website).
My grandparents have been a huge influence in my life. They loved me hugely and unconditionally, even when I was a shitty teenager doing what shitty teenagers do. I used to go there every Thursday night for dinner in my last year at school. It was my job to make the drinks on arrival - gin and tonics from the sideboard over by the kitchen door. My grandmother would be in the kitchen fixing dinner and my grandfather far away over by the fireplace in his arm chair. So I'd pour the gins and mine would be at least 50/50 if not more (that is more gin to tonic). I could hardly drink it without puckering up my face but I don't think they ever noticed. I'd roll out of there with a nice buzz on. Age 17ish and already very fond of the effect alcohol had on my brain. I was destined to be an alcoholic - I have always loved the effect of booze.
Anyway my grandparents never saw me get sober. My beloved grandfather died when I was living in London. I seem to remember drinking a lot of whiskey to help with the grief and deep sadness.
My grandmother died only 7 months before I got sober. I still miss her very much.
My grandmother was the reason I decided to do my Masters. I think I was moaning to her a few years back about how parenting, while immensely rewarding in many ways, is also somewhat mind-numbing in other ways. She said "I think you should do some more study, keep going with that research you're interested in". She put the thought in my head - a thought that grew into an idea that became a reality.
I did my masters research part time over 2 years while also parenting. I got sober after I'd gathered my data but before I started writing. I don't know how I would have managed to do it if I was still boozing enthusiastically like I used to. As it was I had to get a summer extension to finish because we had to relocate cities when I was in the middle of the writing phase.
I finished the damn thing with Mr D travelling away a lot with his new job and the kids on their extended summer holidays. It was bloody hard. My data was strong but I found forming the academic argument very challenging. However with a gritty determination, a sober lifestyle, a very supportive husband and a brilliant supervisor I managed to get the thing done. Now finally 4 months after delivery I have received my mark.
Yes!! I am soooo happy!!!!!!! I know my grandparents would be so proud of me. I celebrated on Friday night with some lovely deli treats (fancy pate, tapenade and crackers, ginger crunch and a beautiful syrupy lemon, honey and ginger cordial). No champagne. But the natural high was so much better.
Love, Mrs D xxx