Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hello Friends, it's time to give up drinking (again)

I haven't posted here for a while because, frankly, I went back to drinking.  Here's the train of events which led me there:

  • I didn't remove all of the drink from the house.  I kept one bottle of malt.  I thought that,
    Even Angels Lapse
    because it was expensive, I would save it and it would have been a good test of character.
Learning Point for me: unless you think you're life will be that of a blissful angel forever more, there will be a bad day and that bottle will be there.  To hell with it being expensive, it's going into my tummy...
Still Deeply unsure about going public
  • That no mater who strong you fell at the start, there will come a moment when all of that strength escapes you.  In my case it wasn't overcome in a full-frontal assault.  I probably could have done something about that.  Instead it came quietly, in the night, like a wee drink-ninja.  It was dressed in black so I hardly saw him,  and before I knew it, one was down my throat.
  • Despite everything I've said before, I'm now far less convinced that you can do this quietly, without anyone knowing.  I'm still thinking that one over.
  • I have been on my DUI course this weekend.  Its a rehab course for people who have been caught drink driving.  It goes in to great detail effects on health, a lot of which I didn't know.  SO my sensible brain is now thinking - maybe you can shock yourself with the science of it dude.
But above all, I'm still in the same place, and willing to give it another go.  I have to, or it will kill me.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Need Help!

It's Friday night, and it's all starting to come back again. It's louder now. Much louder.

This is Day 6 and it felt like I'd started to get on top of it.  But no way, in the middle of being hit hard.

It's like being gripped tight on every inch of me, and ever so slight, ever so slowly, it's tightens.

It's only 7pm here.  I could make it to and back from the nearest store in 10 minutes.  I poured my last bottle away a few days ago on good advice from one of you guys.

I've no strategy here. I don't know how to get through tonight.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I've stopped looking at the bottle of wine in the fridge

The bottle that I talked about at the start of the week; the one my wife has a small glass out of each night, and only drinks half leaving the other half standing overnight.

That one.

I've stopped looking at it. I've just realised I opened the fridge to get some milk, and didn't pause. There was no fleeting moment of memory about how great it would be if...

There was nothing.

Except the milk, which I'm now using to make a cup of tea.

I'm notching that up as a win for today.

Goodnight Day 4

Day 4: Teaching myself - alcoholism and mental health

The was an old guy in our village when I was growing up. I don't know what his real name was, but we were kids - we called him PishPot.  That's a Scots term for a bucket you wee in.

Kids are great, aren't they.

He must have been over 50, so not so old. He had a small house which he'd lived in forever.  He'd lived there with his wife.  

I remember at first that he was just another old guy in the village.  I vaguely remember being told that he and his wife were saving to immigrate to Australia where their children had already gone. They wore cheap clothes because they were saving.

And his wife died before they had enough.

I remember how after that he used to stand by road crossings holding a hand bag. That was the odd thing for us, not that he stood as the lights turned red, then green, then red round and round. It was that he had a handbag.

I asked my parents what was wrong with him, but they 'shooshed' me.  I saw him get beat up once on a Friday night - don't know why.

It's about that time that we started calling him PishPot.

Right up to the time I left to go to university he was still there. Slowly degenerating, drinking. Always drinking.

The temptation now would be for me to say "that could have been me." Actually, it could be any of us.

The stats:

  • 1 in 4 of us all experience mental health problems at some point in our lives.
  • 9 in 10 (!!!!) of those experience discrimination and abuse. And it's not just from kids and strangers. It comes from health workers, friends, family members
  • 49% of those with mental health issues also have issues with alcohol.

This is a great site to check this out one:

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Another dry night

Whisky whisky everywhere and all my mind did shrink;
Whisky whisky everywhere, nor any drop to drink.


End of Day 3

So being a geek I've been trying to Science the hell out of this situation.  

Here's what I've come up with. It's a list of the most common suggestions about how to go sober.  And if you're wondering, this isn't going to be a good news story for me. I'm doing it all wrong.

1. Make your intentions known

Ok, so that's a big fail right off the bat. The reasoning seems to be that you'll fail without the support of your friends and family around you.  

I totally get why that would be sensible. But I also wonder how many of us in this position got there with a supporting, loving network still in place around us to call on. 

My family network is torn into pieces; one side is suspicious and angry about the road that got us here despite not being exactly sure about what that road is; the other is vulnerable because they're not sure what all this means, but dearly wants the shouting to stop.

So being honest would be lovely. I'm just praying for time. I just don't want it to all shatter yet. Give me time - I can't tell you why. But things will get better.

2. Avoid Temptation


No, seriously, how?

I can take every drop out of the house and still be within 10 minutes of buying enough whisky to fell a, well, a Scotsman in this case.

And all the way to work, and all the way back.

Then helpful little temptation bombs, and a consistent message - drinking is fine - wine is the answer! 

I get it that this is a difficult balance to get right. I'm pretty libertarian in outlook and don't like too many laws. Just enough to keep us safe. 

But for pity's sake don't say that the road to being sober is to avoid temptation. Don't make it hard on yourself, definitely. Don't keep alcohol around, but there needs to be something more. A way of coping with temptation that's going to be as overwhelming as it is inevitable.

3. Gradually decrease alcohol intake - don't go cold turkey 

I've tried that one. I tell you, it was a lot easier than this. I got so good at reducing my alcohol intake that by the end I must have been doing that two or three times a day.

Of course this one assumes that giving up is a matter of willing it and changing habits. It's a bit like joining a gym. 

It's a bit like joining a gym if your body feels terrified everytime you approach the building, and fills your mind with compulsive thoughts about running away from that gym, doing anything to stay away.  And when you do get away from it, rewarding you with the most relaxing, enveloping, beautiful daze you can imagine.

4. Reward Progress

Ok, so I've got to number 4 before finding a suggestion that I could actually do something about.

I've been treating myself wildly today :-)

I'll have to stop at some point, but, except for alcohol, it's like I'm my own rich, guilt-ridden Uncle who's come to stay for a while.


5. Enjoy the benefits that come from giving up

This is the whole reason for doing this. It should be front and centre in my view. We're not idiots, we wouldn't have started drinking if there wasn't a massive positive pay off. 

For me it was being able to function like everyone else. I always felt like I was just one pint of beer the wrong side of being a great, popular, successful guy.

Sure it stopped being fun. But do you know, when I think about it even this short time in, with a horrible ache across my body and a brain that's obsessing, constantly obsessing, it's still this good part that comes to mind. Just for an instant.  It lives in the space between refusal to give in and the pounding battle to drink, and your hand that reaches forward towards that glass without you even realising it.  In that space is good thoughts. Then the grim dog fight is back on.

So to have something to replace that with matters, I think. It's what I'm going I try. I'm going to short circuit the good alcohol feeling with a good something-else feeling.

I'm just not sure how to do that yet.

And the last one...

6. Be aware of potential withdrawal symptoms 

  • hand tremors (‘the shakes’) - yes
  • sweating - yes
  • nausea - oh yes
  • visual hallucinations (seeing things that are not actually real) - no idea. I don't think so...
  • seizures (fits) in the most serious cases - really? Didn't know about that one. That's bad.

Psychological alcohol withdrawal symptoms:

  • depression - I've had that on and off for years, so no biggy right now.
  • anxiety - yes
  • irritability - yes
  • restlessness - yes
  • insomnia (difficulty sleeping) - not so much. Bonus!

See you guys later tonight.