"He'll be coming and going," Mr Beaver says, in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. "One day you'll see him and another you won't. He doesn't like being tied down… Only you mustn't press him. He's wild, you know. Not like a tame lion."
My friend Raz, short for Raziel – which is not his real name but should be (look up that archangel and his powers) - is not in the least the godlike figure of Aslan. He's brilliant, touchy, focussed on his work to the exclusion of all else, unapologetically selfish with his time and a self-confessed "bastard". When he's with me, he's the most delightful company in the world – even if my poor intellect stumbles, halt and lame, several miles behind his leaping and curvetting brain. When he's somewhere else, then he will not waste his time even on common courtesies. He comes and he goes. But this time he's been gone for months, and today he cut himself off from all communication.
It hurts. It hurts a lot.
On Thursday there was a disappointment. The scales did not move when I stepped on them at the Slimming Group. I had faithfully followed the eating plan and was confident of seeing a loss. I had hoped for my 2-stone award and my sticker (how motivating is the thought of that shiny sticker). But the numbers sat exactly where they had been the week before and smirked into my fallen face.
Another worry. The head of my daughter's year at school phoned. No – she wasn't in trouble – exactly – but they were concerned...
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about giving up alcohol. This struck a chord with many of you. The situations above have something in common: they all made me want to reach for the wine. The wine and the easy carbohydrates of toast and chocolate. But mostly, the wine.
The wine blocks out the pain for a while. The wine is a hug in a glass. Unlike the giver of a hug, the wine does not ask you to tell it what's wrong and then give you solutions or try to make you feel better or point out that some friends are just not worth having. The wine just numbs the pain.
For a while.
Fortunately, I now have another option. A couple of you were kind enough to form a support group with me. Instead of reaching for the wine, I sent an email. I sent an email to someone who understands. "Stay strong," they emailed back. An emailed hug. No questions, no solutions – just support.
And I realised that allowing ourselves to feel the pain, is okay.
I am still hurt by Raz's behaviour. I'm still bitterly disappointed by the scales. I am still worried and concerned for my daughter.
But trying to escape the pain is counterproductive, and causes more pain in the end.
I'll take the emailed hug. And give one back when it's needed in turn.
A Moodscope member.
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