With less than a week’s notice for making a trip to Sheffield on a Thursday night, I thought it might be a wee bit unrealistic. But we have invited them all anyway, with the proviso that we know they probably won’t be able to make it this time but not to feel put on the spot, we’ll have a proper party later in the year with a bit more notice and preparation time. Thursday will probably just be us and one or two friends who have been really good to Nick in the last few months.
So we went there, to Michelangelo’s for lunch and then in the evening Nikki and the children came to visit. We all went to Nick's favourite pub down the road and then came back and opened a bottle of fizz and talked excitedly about the campaign I’d been hatching up to raise money and awareness for the Huntington’s Disease Association.
All good – until after they’d left and I went to bed, Nick said he’d stay up a bit longer to watch TV. That was midnight. I woke suddenly around 2am with a sense that something wasn’t right. The hall landing light was still on and I could hear Nick’s bedroom radio playing much too loud.
I was scared that he would pass out again, be sick and choke, so it was a frightening night as I tried to stay up, dozing with one eye on the open door and not daring to nod off properly until it was almost morning.
When the paramedics arrived they were cheerful and calm but I was visualizing hospital emergency admission, Nick needing to have his stomach pumped – a whole bottle of brandy in less than two hours! When he had already had a fair bit to drink earlier.
When I finally woke up and stumbled through to his room, the bed lay rumpled but empty, a radio chat show at full blast downstairs and there in the kitchen was Nick, dressed in clean clothes and bright as a button, making himself an instant coffee. That’s when I realised that he had an alcohol problem. To be able to drink as much as that and be perfectly fine the next day, could only mean that he was used to it.