More scrabble life lessons

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

After I posted yesterday we had a really lovely day, took the dogs to the beach, ate a delicious pub meal. I was keeping the feeling the week had cultivated in me. Until we played Scrabble. The thing is since I wrote the last Scrabble post C has been winning; most games. Remember at the start of that blog I said ‘God I love winning’? Well I really wanted to win this game.

It didn’t start well. C played first. I’d drawn nearly all vowels so was relying on some consonants. He played Qi. Q fucking I! I flipped out at him, half joking but then he tried to placate me and I went too far. Couldn’t pull myself back from it so carried on sulking as I drew more and more shit letters, dumping my hand 4 times. We played on in silence, no one having any fun and eventually my luck changed and I won.

Winning felt crap. I wanted to berate C but I knew it was all my fault. I still tried to as that’s what drunk me would have done but my heart wasn’t in it. I’d not followed any of my own advice; and cared too much about the result to enjoy the process; alienating C and spoiling the fun. I realised I might be able to talk the talk but I sure as hell wasn’t walking the walk yet. Not even when playing a game!

We eventually talked and I persuaded him to play another game. I wrote ‘voided for bad behaviour’ on the previous result and C won. I praised his good play and we went to bed feeling amicable again.

When we talked C commented that although I’m not doing the 12 step programme this was like Steps 6 & 7; which are to do with removing your shortcomings and defects of character – (well asking God to which is one of the reasons AA isn’t for me). Having looked them up I think I’m more at step 4; making a moral inventory of myself. If I’m honest the way I behaved playing that game of Scrabble happens quite a lot. A lot less now I’m not drinking but it’s an old habit. When it does it leaves me feeling crap and then I project that out; minimising my causal behaviour – ‘you over reacted, I didn’t mean it’ – that kind of thing. At its worst I end up really upset, hating myself and everyone else; desperately trying to figure out how to get back from it and start to repair. Without booze I can often catch myself now, change the direction of the wind; blow the clouds away before the storm really gets up and everyone gets drenched. Slowly learning to walk the walk.

Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. on


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  1. Hello, I was directed to your blog via another I follow and read it with interest as I am also a therapist. At present I’m taking a bit of a break as I felt I needed to focus on my own self care rather than the needs of others. (The warning sign was the beginnings of client resentment and I wonder if I’m suffering a type of emotional burnout.) Anyhow, you are right it is difficult for the helper to become the helped. I’ve been battling my drinking demons for nearly 10 years with periods of abstinence, moderation and all out binging. With every repeated failure the shame that I should know better, should be able to cope better, reflect and address my feelings better grows stronger and more deeply embedded. I like the scrabble analogy, what else can we do but start over? I also like the observation that other people’s tragedies are not an excuse to drink. I’ve fallen in that bear trap a number of times. Anyhow, thank you for writing.


    1. Thank you! Sounds like taking a break is a good step towards self care. I stopped drinking this time round when I dropped to 3 days at work to give myself space to start to work for myself – I don’t think it’s a coincidence. Escaping the pain we experience vicariously keeps us drinking. Totally relate to your list of ‘shoulds’ too. I try not to should/ought/must myself these days but its hard! we’re still human beings remember! Shame is on my mind at the moment so hopefully I’ll get it out onto the blog soon 💗


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