He continued to live across the road. I never really knew him then – he was just the ex-husband. He didn’t seem to really mind what had happened – he wasn’t very happy with the state of their relationship either. In fact we thought we had all handled the situation rather well – after all we were mature adults and after honest communication decided this was what was best for the children. They would just need to cross the road depending on whose house they were staying at. And the following five years were the happiest I’d ever had.
I can’t say why I had that first drink. It was New Years Eve – just one glass of champagne I’d thought – no harm. I remember how surprised she was but she supported my decision to “do what I wanted to do”. I heard the little voice in my head saying don’t but I was a totally different man to the one I’d been almost a decade ago and no longer thought of myself as an alcoholic. We danced the night away and watched the sunrise over Rangitoto. And, I didn’t get drunk and the world didn’t fall a part. The feeling of being a normal person with a normal life overwhelmed me that night – I had a family and I wasn’t an alcoholic. How good life felt.
I started to have the odd glass of wine with dinner and for a few months this was no problem. God, within six months I was drinking a bottle before dinner and then it began to spiral out of control. We went to Bali for a family wedding and my brother-in-law offered me a line of cocaine – I remember thinking how exciting and dangerous it was and I simply couldn’t say no.
It was clear that my drinking and drugging was starting to affect our relationship. She drank the odd glass of wine but nothing more than that. I scoffed at her suggestion to get some help. I was in the renaissance of my hedonism and I didn’t want to stop the fun I was having. It felt to me like I’d been living my life with the brakes on. The mundanity of a straight and sober life was beginning to bore me. And I began to question what I was doing living with a woman.