It’s over! I can drink today… Oh wait. I did that 56 days ago. However I’m not going to. No fireworks or flowers for the end of this please.
The 113th day is here. I’m off out tonight. It’s my mothers birthday. Now I’ve not been at home for this day since 2007. I suspect I probably got drunk and in the process obliged several drinks out of the bill-payer. Then got another bottle of wine or two for the return home. For myself.
I was an incredibly greedy drinker. I can quote a friend who said that I’d “come over with alcohol only I drank, get pissed, be loud, obnoxious and never leave”. Actually that’s an amalgamation of quotes. However it is true that during any opportunity to drink, I would drink everything I possibly could to myself, in spite or because of company. This evening is an opportunity to drink. A prime cause for celebration. Not appropriate Timothy.
I could drink moderately tonight. I could have a glass of wine. I just don’t fancy it. After 20 minutes of solid birthday “fun” with the folks I should in theory get an intravenous and get all the optics pumped straight into my blood stream. However, surviving much worse (to be confirmed) in recent times without resorting to getting lashed or indeed giving myself blood and alcohol poisoning (ah it’s been a while), I think I can do this.
Indeed aside from everything else that I’ve had happen to me of late, the change so far in drinking habits has been a revelation. It’s exposed flaws and strengths of mine, I was only vaguely aware I had. I may or may not have some kind of mood disorder. One thing’s for sure, not disguising it with the deal breaking 2 for £5 bottles of wine (RIP) has shown I need to start dealing with whatever it may be. It’s going to be a rocky road, to make the A12 look like a smooth ride. I figure this particular strand of my story has only really just begun in earnest.
Knowing what I don’t want from alcohol has been a huge and helpful lesson. No hangovers is something you don’t notice, unless it crosses your mind. Last summer I was sick in my own bed the morning after drinking. I also went on a three-day bender and basically attracted pity from all viewers of the lanky spectacle. Whilst neither are normal, these are activities I do not miss. The feeling of being soulless after a huge bender is devastating. Let alone the carnage it does to your insides. And skin. And bank balance. There are so many negatives I’ve seen little of.
Of course I did see a bit of it in the last 113 Days. Infamously I drank the Babycham, when I broke the sobriety. That evening was nice. Worse was to come. It was the far less told story of the morning drinking. Got up at the ex’s and we basically started drinking. A lot. It was actually great fun, however we lost the day and weekends are a scarce resource, when you work. Then the devastating weekend of the dumping.
Whilst a good proportion of the blame for the events of that weekend, I still direct at the ex, I have come to accept that I was not faultless. I didn’t help my cause whilst under the influence. Sober I would not have said a thing, but I declared that I didn’t like some of his friends. To be fair my opinion has not changed on that. I’d need a lot of ecstasy to feel loved up about them. There was other stuff I’m sure. As I have acknowledged on here, there are features of me as a drunk that could be perceived as annoying. The irony of course is that it was the ex and his lodger’s persistent attempts to get me drinking again. To quote:
I’m judging you for not drinking.
As well as variations on how dull I was being. It was basic drunken bullying, as I have been guilty of in the past. They won in the end. I drank and then one of them dumped me. I don’t even remember why, I was that pissed. I can tell you at this point, by comparison to the two prior months of sobriety, I was rather aghast at what booze can do. I wasn’t in any rush to go back to getting drunk.
Despite the catastrophe that was my life in the ensuing month it was the point where everything changed. The traumas are well documented, but the booze count is not. That’s because it’s pretty much irrelevant. A few drinks here and there. Bottles became glasses, nights became evenings and booze became a luxury not a necessity. I’d say since the end of October, I’ve had a couple of pre-sobriety level nights out. In total. Spread across multiple weeks.
I am however, not as agonisingly smug as I was early on. I don’t feel the urge to patronise (intentionally anyway). I am quietly pleased with what I’ve done. I am drinking as I should be. I recognise my old habits as ones best to be left as nostalgic tales of my youth. To be left in the past with public urination, being chucked out of pubs and hangover guilt. Oh God no more feeling like an Australian radio DJ, but you don’t actually remember what you did and why everyone hates you.
It’s hard right now to tie everything together. Co-existing parts of my life have come into play in recent months. All of them slightly altered directly or indirectly because of sobriety. It’s not an all-encompassing victory, but I’ve left my self enough life experience to hopefully sign post future decisions. I have the time to find a bit of focus and with the need for booze gone, hopefully the energy.
To summarise my feelings at the end of this, including lyrics about my 9 million record sales and my love of God, I give you Beyoncé and colleagues with their 2001 smash hit ‘Survivor’:
Funnily enough I was thinking of nipping to Primark and getting some blue khaki combat trousers. Oh no. There’s no Primark in Colchester. I don’t live in Brighton. There’s not even a bus I can catch. I don’t even have the money to get a bus. I live with my Mum and Dad (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM) at 32… Oh well all that and probably another meltdown coming up in the next blog.
Cheers and good night!
Since I started the 113 Days blog, I have been privy to the list of search terms that direct some visitors to the blog… I can now share with you. A lot of upskirts (I tagged one post ‘blue nun upskirt’ for my amusement and attracted a host of seedy people being sorely disappointed by what they found). I present…
|113 days of sobriety||67|
|113 days of sobriety blog||2|
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|moneytalks know your boyfriend||2|
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|i have drank a bottle of wine about every night but over five hours will i get liver damage?||1|
|nun upskirt stories||1|
|brighton pride upskirts||1|
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|sober day 9||1|
|nun up skirt||1|
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|113 days sober||1|
|funny brewers shirts talks about liver is evel must be punshed||1|
|boyfriend belittles me patronises||1|
|1st week sobriety||1|
|real nun upskirt||1|
|50 days of sobriety||1|
|students amaze upskirts bars||1|
|day 13 of sobriety||1|
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|work colleague in a strop||1|
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|flying nun upskirt||1|
|what can you achieve in 113 days||1|
|day 26 just 12 days to go||1|
|day 4 of sobriety||1|
|babycham drink volume||1|
|skinny in sobriety||1|
|“love, truth and honesty”||1|
|goggle up skirt||1|
|girls upskirt .net||1|
|1980’s babycham glass||1|
|arsole picture taker self pic||1|
|hot nuns upskirt||1|
|http://www.word home upskir||1|
|push bore upskirt||1|
|nun sex for your pleaser||1|
|crying in sobriety||1|
|is sobriety one big fucking journey||1|
|alanis morissette sobriety||1|
|75 days of sobriety and slowly losing weight||1|
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|can you a little white wine with valium||1|
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|am no fucking little princes||1|
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|where did babycham come from||1|
|113 days in hell||1|
|my sorry excuse day 26||1|
|song about being crazy||1|
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|is it ok to have one bottle of babycham||1|
|mini upskirt putt blug||1|
|upskirt the liver birds||1|
|i need 78 days||1|
|what can i expect during my first twelve months of sobriety||1|
|lifs really too bloody fucking short||1|
|hit s upskrit||1|
|that moment when you think what am i doing||1|
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|shared that he has 104 days in sobriety||1|
How did this happen? From a stinking hot August day in my mates back garden in Brighton to the well heated room I first slept in about 20 years ago in Colchester. From someone who went on about writing as an activity ‘TBC’ to someone who has opened up their soul to anyone who will read about it for four months and is at the end of their first tentative steps into writing. From the person who everyone knew was taking the piss when uttered “I’m never drinking again” to the person who may now actually be being sincere.
I’ve loved and I’ve lost. I’ve been lost and I’ve been found. I learnt and I’ve inspired… The clichés roll on, but as a snapshot of my life the contrasts are clear to see. I have said it before but this blog has been both an absolute cathartic joy to have written. It’s been a boost to my ego as well as my confidence at times. By contrast it’s been an albatross round my neck (or herring as I incorrectly stated at work the other day to much derision) at times. It’s hurt, damaged and the risk of baring my soul to so many hasn’t always affected my life in positive ways.
This blog has played story-teller as much as it has intertwined itself within the story. It started off as a great opportunity to write about something. It was at some point in 2011 I realised that it was writing that was my calling. For years I have done jobs, mostly ill-suited to my low levels of professionalism, consistency, need for attention and contrasting mood swings. As I child I wanted to be an architect, inspired by the floor plans of my parents house move in 1985. I wanted to be a DJ in 1996-97. That dream proved ill-fated. Since then all kinds of ideas have come and gone, but none I have stuck with.
So this is something I have been doing for years online on facebook, forums, emails… Facebook really brought it to the forefront that sometimes people liked my one-liners in written form. Mind you people also like some of the most inane twaddle available to humanity on Facebook. Mixed with that, a former colleague I used to email about my day, encouraged me to write. I guess these blogs are a massive extension to those emails. The opportunity to tell an ongoing story, like a flasher in the park exposed itself suddenly. Within 24 hours of starting the road to tomorrow, I chose to blog about my decision to quit alcohol.
It took me another day to go on Facebook to promote it. Within its limits it kind of went mad for a while. People I hadn’t heard from for years began to contact me, people talked to me about it and actively complimented me… I got stopped in the street! I am aware the over pushing it on Facebook can be annoying and I felt particularly inappropriate reposting some of the blogs from darker days. I can only apologise.
The reason has been the statistic geek in me loving the stats. The blog has recently hit 8,000 hits. Some days it reached nearly 300 hits (mostly the traumatic ones!). As someone who takes interest in maps, war and empire, this is a cartography wet dream:
So I think it was the first ‘heartbreak’ post that changed the course of the writing. It went from being anecdotal and mostly positive, to the sudden news that not drinking wasn’t all a scream. Yet it was the second most viewed blog post I’ve published. People love to see the trauma. I’m just as guilty. I’ve sat and watched live coverage of horrific atrocities on the TV. I can’t say since the days of perving on Spring Break when MTV was still good, I’ve watched a party.
The highest viewed blog was halfway when I caved and had a drink. It changed everything. The pledge of the blog to stop drinking for 113 days had failed. I had fallen off the wagon in real life and the wheels were about to come off. I partially blame the break up on drinking again and certainly the harsh effects it had.
This saw a massive decline in the mood my writing. I wrote from a very low, shadowy and disturbed place. Again by contrast, the writing kept me going at times (I have always been crap at de-compartmentalising, I can’t even pronounce the word). With no-one else to talk to, I spoke to everyone. Soon the blog was criticised (and also complimented). Those who read it as a lift to their day, hated the change, found it too personal… Others related to another side to my writing – the tormented side. As someone with a self-professed interest in creating literature, I suppose it suits the ideal of a troubled writer.
The mood improved right at the end and the final twist of moving home has come within the last few days. I have given you alcoholism, a whole relationship, a break down and the end of an era. In time, it may prove to be the start of another tempestuous or amazing era of my life. Most likely both. The one intended consistent theme of the blog has been mostly well strayed from. However despite the devastating blip and change of tactic, it has been what I hope is the true success of the story.
Obviously changing the way I think about and deal with alcohol has moved on tremendously in the last few months. I place significant responsibility on the blog for that. Writing about it even to a low-level of acclaim, is entirely encouraging. Also by not drinking, it’s given me time to write… It’s been a twofold opportunity. The writing and the moderate drinking have worked hand in hand.
It has reflected well my last third of 2012. Of course as a non visual snapshot, the future can change the perspective of the past and the past can be proved untrue in time. I have tried to stick to two rules throughout – I will be honest and I will not attempt to hurt anyone. These two rules set difficult boundaries and starting points for writing a blog like this. I allow external influences into my life, sometimes for better or worse. To be honest about them, without hurting anyone is a writing minefield.
I will continue to write. Moving home at 32 to live with the parents, seemingly provides scope for a 1970s sitcom, but I suspect I can pull something else out the bag. I certainly want to fall into the far too personal trap again. Slandering my parents on the internet is not conducive to a good future.
If I were to do a review of the blog, I might give it 6 or 7 out of 10. I can normally sense when I’ve made a good post (there have been 70 now). As a reader I think I’d have enjoyed the first part, but then never got to the last couple of weeks. I’d have got about two posts into the dark side of it and thought “Cheer up you miserable cunt” and probably never looked at it again.
I am four hours into my return to my parents
asylum palace. Having had such a lovely time seeing off Brighton, to walk straight into an all out assault on my common sense, freedom and right to a fair trial, there seems to be little doubt that this is definitely a break from Brighton.
My farewell to Brighton was short and sweet. There is little less dignified than those who take more than a few weeks to plan a goodbye or those who take more than a couple of nights to do it. I just invited everyone in Brighton that I knew and a pleasing sample of them did obligational shifts, appearing and disappearing from the pub I had set aside for the Thursday evening.
“You’ll be back” and “I think it will be good for you” were the key themes. Oh and wanting to know about the dumping and the blog. People didn’t like the dark era much. Fair play. It’s quite hard to stomach.
I had planned to only drink from 7pm, and then only one an hour… I figured this was the first time I’d left Brighton and it was worth tossing rules out the window. I had a few beers. I got drunk. I remember all of it. If I were to criticise myself, I was probably a touch more gobby and arrogant than I have been recently. However that particular evening is above criticism. Totally legit. I just need to make sure I don’t fall back into that dire pattern of nearly everything being an excuse to drink.
Speaking of reasons to drink, here I am with the parents. More of that later.
Friday saw a remarkable lack of hangover. I packed. And I packed. And then I packed just a bit more. I ordered a pizza. Bubble wrap, scissors, masking tape, flat pack boxes… I had to go out. I sat at the very front of a bus upstairs and took everything in. I allowed memory lane to take over as I rode through the city centre. I let the good and the bad come and as long as the bus was moving, every other building, bus stop or alleyway held a new memory.
I already knew where I wanted to go. Brighton may be famous for its beach, but I prefer the parks. Queens Park was for a couple of years the place I went to get away. A mere few hundred yards from home, but no-one could find you. I’d stroll, sit, smoke… generally take in the curious hideaways, the nature, the pond, the Victorian clock tower… and take photos. I did just that. Almost had the place to myself on that bitingly cold Thursday afternoon.
I moved down through Kemp Town to the now often referenced Legends bar, my gay bar of choice… Sipped on a diet coke, whilst I contemplated smashing my phone up in frustration. Opening Facebook closed the whole phone down. No more photos. I already got some money shots. Sunset on Brighton seafront was as symbolic as I could muster.
I walked down to the beach past the piers. I mouthed a little goodbye to the West Pier. Always my favourite. Went back past the flat, me and my ex-boyfriend had 2009-10. I got back on a bus. Sure I missed the Lanes, the Pavilion, Seven Dials, London Road and other familiar areas… but I got want I wanted. I knew that I wasn’t leaving for good. As my now departed housemate said
THIS is where you live.
in such a landmark way, we actually both commented that it would resonate down time as a parting line… It already has. I don’t feel like my time in Brighton is over. I won’t be the first to leave and come back. If I don’t come back, at least I’ve left with my head held high… Able to balance emotion and matter of fact. Something I was entirely incapable of for a while.
So here I am. Back in Colchester. Peace has now happily descended. Horns have been locked, reality checks stated and a few differences for the better I hope have been registered. I still bear many of the hallmarks of the person who left here in 2008. I just have more of an overview of how the past functioned erroneously and my mistakes in that. This is a real test of what I’ve learned.
Another new test as I alluded to before, is of my alcoholism. I don’t intend to go head first back into old social circles that regard alcohol as I once did. I left the drinker I started out as back in the mid 1990s. Slipping back into old habits could be super easy. It’s a good chance to start afresh (or indeed refreshed) with those who have a different attitude to drinking.
This story isn’t over (unless I die, quite soon). However this tranche is almost done. I will begin my conclusions, reviews, summaries and thanks over the next couple of days. I will be sad to see this albatross round my neck (the blog) wind up. I can only offer more in the future. Next time I might write reviews of Steps tracks, something a little less “emotional”…
So some of you read this via my Facebook. Some of you don’t. For those who donn’t. I’m leaving Brighton. Back to the parents at the grand old age of 32.
So what happened? Well first of all my parents came down at the weekend. They finally braved the sofa bed. It was a great 24 hours. We ate, we caught up, we shopped and we hung around with my best friends including my officially amazing Godson. He’s got more going on than anyone I know. Plus he likes it when I do silly voices with cuddly animals or indeed anything. I have found my niche. They came, they went it was great. I continued to feel revived, as I have done for some time now.
My housemates are a new couple. Still in the honeymoon period. They want their own space, not to hang around with someone having a nervous breakdown. So they’re moving out this weekend. Their timing was actually perfect (although the notice could have been more ideal, not possible, I know with me flapping all over the shop). I was happy again and was on a high from recent turnarounds. It was less a bombshell, more a distant gunshot. So in the same impromptu blasé fashion, that I decided to move to Brighton, I decided to leave.
There was very little choice. Stay in an empty house without furniture, suddenly get new housemates or find somewhere else to live. Again. I am quite clearly an absolute nightmare to live with. I think I have had about 25 housemates in Brighton. About half have been a pleasure to live with. The french lady, the lifeguard, the friendly Columbian, the lesbian, my cat Derek, some of the Powis lunatics all spring to mind as my favourites.
There are others I have found awful. I don’t think one was without a good quality however. I need to stop being frustrated by others shortcomings, because my frustration becomes a massive shortcoming in itself. I can be cantankerous to say the least. With only a small bit of money in my bank account, I couldn’t just move in somewhere. So I took the self-preservation route. Home to the parental nest. Deep joy.
I am completely at ease with this decision. It makes financial sense. I need to save some money and do something amazing with it. I still need to see the world. Parts of Europe and New York is all well and good, but this planet has so much that needs my help.
I jest I just want to see the world with my own eyes and get some sun. Learning to drive is distinctly high on the wish list. I need the ability to drive, so I don’t get stuck in towns for months on end. If I do any of it, is initially dependent on if I can get a transfer. It’s looking hopeful, but nothing is set in stone. If I don’t get a transfer it’s less fun. Unemployed, skint and living with mum and dad.
I’ll be home for Christmas, which is all kinds of exactly what I wanted. I hope it’s a good one. Time to reunite with old friends, new friends, try to stay in touch with ones I’ve left behind and write my name in the dust of old haunts. There is something kind of romantic about going home. I am fully aware however, I do love Brighton a huge amount. A lot more than I ever loved Colchester.
It also gets me out of the whole situation that is my current life. Having discovered how easy it was for me to go off the radar, mixed with the prospect of potential homelessness, made me sit up a little. Also, I may have been on top of everything of late, but living in a new situation, in a set up I may dislike is less the recipe for cheery smiles, more the recipe for crack addiction.
I had hurt and annoyed enough people recently to start a blog about how to do that. Oh I did. Getting me out of this bubble, gives them some rest and for me to get sorted away from a constant virtual cobweb of reminders.
I am going to miss so much about Brighton. I have had to try to be hard on myself, but for some reason it’s the bus ride in, in the morning that’s been getting to me. I have done some wonderful, outrageous and absurd things in this cocky, paranoid, selfish, but ultimately confident, joyous and fascinating city, with some of the ridiculous but like-minded people. It’s impossible to pinpoint a highlight. There are too many. I, like so many of the transient folk of Brighton I have done my set four years and I promise to come back. I will be back in town in the new year, I hope. On a more permanent basis? We’ll see. I need go away and think about what I loved about the city and what I want from it, if indeed I do want to be here. It’s not the only option.
So this Saturday, very early in the morning, post de-icing I head in a van, full of my possessions, which could be described best as tat. So I will be back in Essex. Fuckin’ ell! I will soon be dropping my consonants again, going on the sunbeds and adapting some TOWIE slang. Rim.
So back with ma and pa. We are all equally as thrilled about the arrangement. Due to a knee injury I can’t jump for joy. If I could, I wouldn’t… we all know it’s going to be dire. I hope my emotional development(!) and maturing into a mostly good-natured, non alcoholic son can make the situation better. Sadly I still have a patience level that can be tested any time of day. I am confident this will happen. I love my parents dearly, but neither of us want this. Best to make the best of it really. No weapons and make it a good clean fight.
I am sorry to leave. I’m sorry to leave my Godson and his mum, my other best mate here… and all the other friends I may see less of, but have still made 2008-12 the time of my life thus far. Some of us have unfinished stories. Some of us will forever be entangled in each others lives. Others less so. Such is life. It has by and large been a glorious affair.
So this Monday I will be at home for my mothers birthday. I will be ordering a phone upgrade. It will also be the 113th Day. The last day of this blog. Tomorrow night I will probably get rat arsed. It is my leaving drinks and I think I will have well and truly have earned a right to decide that my farewell to Brighton should involve getting pissed in the first pub I ever loved in Brighton.
I no longer want to drink all the time. Last weekend I shared one bottle of wine on the Friday night and had one glass of wine on the Saturday. I am provisionally calling this whole thing, on balance a success. I got to 56 days, the halfway point and started drinking again. It was a disaster. I have since become a moderate drinker at most. Which is what I wanted from this whole thing, all along. I’ve been on a trip to Portslade and back doing it, but I’m almost there… Ride with me, destination: Longridge, actually.
So the last blog has been a matter of keen comment from some quarters. One person said it helped them to understand their partner a bit more and my words were relatable in their familiarity. I thought that was excellent. I also thought “get out while you can”.
By contrast I was also reprimanded by being too personal and negative. On one hand I agree, on the other what do I actually have to lose? I had always wanted to document these months and have for the most part remained committed to telling a story. It was also pointed out, I should get back to the amusing observational anecdotes. This is a good call. And a reminder that not everything is dark or about me. Indeed I think I have turned a corner (again… yawn).
For the first time in a month I feel on top of things. Not just feeling a bit better, not just turned a wee corner. I actually feel like I’ve got a fucking grip of the situation. It has been pointed out to me, that I was just being bad to myself. This rang true on so many levels and covered nearly all of my recent problems. Indeed a reaction to being dumped was to decline for weeks on end. Every action was punishment to myself. In the process I managed to bring everyone down around me. Really… I had to stop being so harsh on myself. After all, unless I have forgotten, it wasn’t my fault I was dumped! Why was I blaming myself?
Last night, a very modern mobile phone intervention occurred. Between that and a well-timed councillor session, at about midday today “stop treating yourself badly” suddenly became my mantra of choice. All of a sudden I was back in the room. I didn’t need to punish myself or my mates. I needed to show the world that I had moved on (BIT LATE THERE TIMOTHY). I shaved off this horrible ginger tash, that has plagued the whole last 4 weeks and earned not a penny for charity or a single compliment. I stepped out for a haircut. I was being kind to myself. Not too kind. But it felt good. I feel chipper!
Maybe I’m not mental. Maybe I am. What I do know is that counselling is the best thing I’ve ever taken up. I don’t think I’m super complicated and I’m also super susceptible to its charms. I get what is presented to me and I return the favour. They say most councillors, start off from being counselled themselves… Hmm… I shall say no more!
So where now? Well one step at a time. I need to sort out the sorry mess I’ve made. Work is going to be difficult to justify. Friends I hope will always be friends and I can be forgiven. If it was me, I’d just be happy I was back. But I’m ready to handle and deal with negativities like I was before all this. Actually bring it on.
I also have to deal with the fact I’ve been referred to every other mental health specialist in Sussex. Right now, it feels like a waste. Then again give it a month… What I have realised today in the warm glowing light of joyous clarity, is that I need to start contending with situations and prepare that I may not always be high or low. It sounds like an almost impossible balancing act, but I need life set ups, that can accommodate both. This certainly requires more investigation.
Debt recovery (major step made the other day… get in!), reclaiming my social life and making work… well work for me. I need to buck my ideas up or look else where. I’m even thinking Brighton might be nearing the end of its shelf life for me. I love it to infinity and beyond (Hove) and there is nowhere I enjoy being more in the UK (city wise). There are however too many selfish, self-absorbed tossers in Brighton that don’t make my life better. I also know, I’m entirely set up here. Moving elsewhere, even back to Colchester has super limited appeal. I doubt I’m heading anywhere fast.
I should be proud of myself. Not for the gigantic turd I’ve left in the path way and I’m now calmly walking away from it, as if I was above it all. In the midst of all this, I have dealt with this whole mess, pretty much booze free. It’s been really hard, but I’ve done it. I can recall two or three glasses of wine in the last month and a couple of gins. Oh and a three or four beers. But that is it. That, four months ago was my intake of an evening at the very least, not for a month. I can absolutely promise you that has been it. I’ve not had a single hangover or blackout. What’s better I don’t have the inclination to start again. Quite the opposite. Bring on Christmas…
I’ll have a mulled diet coke please.
Cheers! (This round’s on me)
There have been some honest blogs I’ve made. As I write this first paragraph, I have no idea if this is going to be one of those. If it is deadly honest, then whilst some may describe it as brave, I for one will be laying myself bare. Opening myself up to supposed tittle tattle, mockery, derisory comments and worst of all faux-sympathy.
So here we go…
The weekend flitted itself away without event or fanfare, as they tend to at the moment (what I’d do for a really good time). I woke up on Monday with a feeling of dread. I’ve not had this ages without reason. I got up and threw myself into my normal routine. Still I have the much spoken about mancold. The tail end anyway, which for a smoker like myself involves a lot of hacking and coughing in the morning. I believe I heard a “shut up”. For reasons one could blame on paranoia, based on no evidence, sourced from being out of every loop (barely in my own) I took this personally.
An accusatory text later and I had officially rocked the boat and made not only my Monday morning shit, but my housemates. A constant theme at the moment.
“I feel shit, let’s share the hate!”
The grief between us passed over via a bit of communication. Monday work came and went. I got home and went to bed. It’s a habit I’m trying to break. That feeling of “nothing to be awake for, shattered… may as well kip”.
I was awoken by a text. In the last blog I alluded to Xmas plans. One of the key players for said soiree had pulled out. Christmas despite my protestations is about all I’m looking forward to at the moment. I responded with a charmless and ill thought out “fuck off”. This did not go down well. Neither with the receiver of said text or myself.
Falling out, even in a small-scale way with some of my nearest and dearest was the proverbial straw that broke the elusive camels back. At that point, I have never felt so alone (well since the last time, I forget, such is the regularity…). All I could do was cry. All I wanted was some help, some attention, some love. All was not forthcoming. As is the recurring theme at the moment.
As a single guy amongst my friends, few of them also single, getting face to face time is hard. We’re all a bit older now. There are babies, boyfriends and jobs. Casual time out with a friend is no longer high on the priority list. We’re not idiotic twentysomething layabouts any longer, much to my chagrin. No-one’s was fault. Such is life. Still difficult when you’re someone who thrives on chatting.
So there I was. Alone, pathetic, upset at myself and upset at my situation. Around about midnight, my coping mechanisms failed. The balance of what mattered and what didn’t was blurred out, washed away. It didn’t matter any more. It wasn’t that life wasn’t worth living. I didn’t even have an opinion any more. There was literally nothing. I went to do something I’ve not done since I was 16. Thankfully I again failed.
My emergency survival switch kicked into action and virtually without thought I went to bed. Next morning I found evidence of the previous nights exploits. How could I have gone so far? I was beside myself. Ready to do it again. Still, I went to work. As the thoughts of what occurred, went round and round I found myself determined to try again. Happily my survival switch directed me to get help. I pulled aside a sympathetic colleague.
Embarrassing, as it may have been for me, I was told constantly over the next several hours “you’ve done the right thing”. A trip to the GP, a referral to A&E and the psychiatric liaison nurse. After 6 hours I was emotionally and physically drained. I could barely speak. I wasn’t better. I’m still not especially. I’m not in that place any more for now and have again been referred to some kind of community psychiatry. I have no idea really.
I am where I am with it all. I saw the councillor today, who made me realise how angry I’d been and how I’d not really dealt with the whole break-up properly. I am still very tempted to break one of my two rules about the blog and fucking tell all on what a bastard he is. I always said I’d never hurt anyone on here (deliberately at least). However after all he’s indirectly caused, could be enough to justify it. I can hazard a guess that some of you would relish it a tell all.
I did have some good news today however. I had known about this for about 10 years, so it wasn’t a total surprise. The end date was never for sure, but today Wednesday 28 November 2012, something happened which was truly a sunshine after the rain moment. My bank loan that I have been paying off for little over a decade finally closed. My last regular monthly payment went out and I paid the remainder. A lovely Indian lady called “Mary” shared the moment as I let out a shriek of delight. The legacy of a mis-spent youth, illustrated with reckless spending on booze, fags, drugs and Sex and the City VHS boxsets (I sold them for 20p a piece in 2006) is finally over. Maybe a bit of closure will help.
I think that was pretty honest. Don’t bother filling in the gaps. I don’t need your pity. I swear if you guys were ever getting bored with the blog, the things I do to spoil to you all.
I’m sat here in my front room. Feet up, surrounded by medication, ABBA on my iTunes, gas fire a blaze. Really I’m lacking a blanket and hot toddy (I’m not really sure what one is, but due to the fact this blog is about primarily about my problem drinking I suspect I shouldn’t go there). This cold has been the viral equivalent of self harm.
The physical pain releases me from the mental torture… man.
So a bog standard, but still frustratingly grim cold has been the physical distraction I needed. I’m wallowing in my reassuring comforts of heat, melancholic Swedish pop and pill popping. Having worked through this not so respected illness, I have been in need of this kind of cheap but uplifting self-help.
Christmas is coming and it’s been years since I’ve taken a back seat. I’m not really that bothered this time round. I have far too much other crap I’ve been ignoring to be bothered with buying to receive. Unless you can get me a kingsize bed and a non Apple branded tablet then I’m not too concerned. I shall be stuck in Brighton this year for the focus of the season this year. Having a Muslim booking your holidays does not allude to helpful time off. Yet where was she during Eid…? Anyway I digress. Wars have been fought over less.
It will all be good, I shall be with my Godson and his wonderful family on Christmas Day. The 25th plays second fiddle for me. Missing the Polish Christmas Eve is my biggest bugbear. For those out of the loop it basically involves a fish supper at sunset, followed by present opening after the meal. We Anglicise it a touch and it works well. But the little traditions our small clan have built up over the years are what I’ll miss most. I need to remember I am 32 and instead I have friends coming over to help me celebrate.
So low-key for me. But what about drinking? The 113 days will be over. Well let’s face it the original intent of those are dead in the water. Other prospects and revelations have rewritten that story. To be perfectly honest I’m already where I want to be. Drink doesn’t excite or bother me the way it once did. I have drunk twice in the last 3 weeks. Both utterly reasonable times to have a few. Seeing people I’ve not seen for ages. Neither lead to memory loss, shame , financial burden or stinking hangovers. Today I hope to pop to town later to congratulate or commiserate my mates on a day of selling their wares (furniture, not their bodies before those in the gutter think anything else). A mulled wine or cider is drawing me in.
I will have a couple of drinks at the work Xmas meal. A few on the 24th and 25th no doubt. But filling the time in-between with unsociable drinking isn’t the set piece event it would have been twelve months ago. In spite of the recent loss and my reaction, I have achieved something massive. As these 113 days come to an end, I’m no longer counting the days for my first over anticipated drink in four months. Instead I will hopefully be someone who has confronted my drinking demons and slapped them down. Given them a “you’re in your thirties” makeover. I have re-branded myself. Hopefully the image of the slurring incoherent cartoon drunk will be one I can leave in the past.
There is the obvious fear that issues with alcohol will follow me about all my life. On the flip side, let’s not get so downbeat. I may have literally just knocked that on the head for good. The future is an unknown, but planting seeds and not allowing future regrets now, can only set you aside from those who just hope for the best.
I have a letter saying I’m on a waiting list for some kind of mental health assessment It’s a seed I’ve been waiting to get my hands on. Growing conditions are going to be treacherous but if it works out and I do what I need to do, then maybe I’ll finally get an excellent harvest. And by harvest, I mean treatment for what I suspect is Bipolar. I wish I’d had said crop years ago. But like smartphones, you don’t know you need it, you think you might need it and then when you get it you wonder how you ever lived without it…
Full circles always have a funny way of appearing in the timeline of life. It was just before these 113 Days began I fell ill with a bitching summer cold. Here I am again, with a day off work due to a bitching mancold. It is also a year to the day I started my current job. To say they have been gone from being difficult to very understanding would be an understatement. So here I am at home, not nursing a broken heart, or a damaged knee. Not coming to terms with long-standing mental problems or anything as deep. No I am merely trying to plug the flow of lush richness pouring from my face.
I feel like someone has set up some hooks inside my head, and hung a full rusty tool kit off them. They clatter about bashing and chipping away at the side of my head. They split open capsules and produce a thick slurry blocking my sinuses, making breathing difficult. My nostrils glow with the glimmer of vapour rub, providing minor relief from the blockage. My chest chokes and splutters with a repetitive cough, that will no doubt cause it’s vent – my throat to become red and swollen. My limbs ache for reasons I can’t quite explain. There is never a logical explanation with that one.
Don’t think for a second, that I have not attempted to resolve this. I have spent literally pounds on tablets created by wizards and borrowed Berocca brewed in a world far far from here. Orange juice (proof that orange juice is never part of a good story) has been necked, vitamins and painkillers absorbed. I have attempted mind over matter. My wispy ginger moustache that is meant to be promoting mens health, gave me the confidence to man up yesterday and perform a full day at work. So far, this is far from the worst cold I have had. I appear to be just about fighting it, rather than succumbing to it’s pointless whims.
I am no longer feeling at my most pathetic and vulnerable. To an extent I’m back in the room. There is still the after shocks of last week. Tedious moments of self-pity and petty selfish actions occur, but they are seldom and my understanding of the world beyond the tip of my wonky Polish nose is greatly improved. For all my usual reality checks, I am great believer in karma. I’m not sure the current run of events is because of something I’ve done. Perhaps I raped a nun when I was drunk. Either way this run of bad luck and harsh consequence, must be heading somewhere.
I can’t even comprehend where my life is going right now. I’m just dealing at the moment. However I got a voicemail from the GP, my old one, that I may have made a few off comments about the other day. In fact I was quite rightly told I was selfish for my rant about the NHS. Nobody was a winner in that whole incident. I called back and it seems as the dust, from the fallen fire extinguisher has settled and my faith in the NHS and receptionists across the land, has been restored. I have indeed been referred.
Coming out of that horrendous low patch, I almost feel like a fraud. I am grateful I have recorded evidence of it. It is the reason I think I have been never previously been diagnosed. I am never seen when I am at my lowest. I am too pragmatic for suicide and have too much dignity (ha ha) to be sectioned. So I have to get the attention on my own rational terms. A rational middle class male telling someone they think they’re crazy isn’t the most obvious route to diagnosis. It’s a start though.
I can also tell I’m back due to my Facebook usage. Always an indicator that I’m myself. Two slightly contentious status updates in an evening. I will regurgitate here. First I wanted to know why every other photo is done via Instagram these days. Is the world that ugly now, that it has to be overexposed to cut out all the rough edges. Do not get me wrong, I like photography and modern technology gives everybody the equalising right to share their imagery. However as nice as the Instagram snaps look, it’s not a real picture. The camera is now lying. Also no female I know, that I’m aware of at least has ever wanted to become a bishop. The news that the Church of England has denied this right is of no damn consequence to me. They’re only spiting themselves.
So here I am. Back at the starting point. At least I’m there. A week ago I was fighting the wrong battle, in the wrong field, going in the wrong direction. I was off fighting Russia, where I should have been focussing my attention elsewhere. It seems my agnostic God has thrown me a lifeline in the form of physical distraction and given me a prod in the right direction. The path isn’t entirely marked out and is still a bit overgrown and hidden by mist, but I know it’s an escape route of sorts.
What have I learned? Manfluitis beats depression and shows it up to be the weak incest produced cousin of physical pain.
As I alluded to yesterday, I have kept to my word and I today began the process of seeking diagnosis and treatment for this insania. I say began the process in the very loosest of terms. As I suspected it was obstacles from the start. As of right now, my mind has been set to the point where I WILL eventually find a doctor or psychiatrist who will get me the treatment I require without the sneering cynicism I have not only already encountered, but I expect to find more of along the way.
I knew moving from one side of town to another would cause problems as far as the NHS goes. Thank God the NHS is ours. Oh so very British. It reminds me of coming from Essex. You have the inalienable right to slag it off on whim. If someone else dares to brings its name into disrepute then it’s all “OI, leave it owt mate!”. So at 8am this morning I began the phoning process. After 15 minutes I spoke to a human being. “Thursday”. Well I wasn’t having that. After a bit if verbal wrestling I managed to get her down to 08:50 today. “SHIT!, I’ve got 40 minutes to get across town in rush hour”.
I made it, spot on timing. I might be a mental alcoholic, but I pride myself in my punctuality. As I did not enter the room, dribbling and smashing up the joint it took some convincing to get anywhere. I honestly answered the survey I was given, which gave me the mental state of 23, which I’d always suspected. I said I wasn’t going to kill myself right now. I probably should have brought a noose, some sleeping tablets and a multi storey car park; might have got me some plausibility.
My cannabis use I am now realising is going to cause closing doors. Via this one conversation with the GP and a bit of further research it seems the view that weed and mental illness are exclusively linked is littered across British psychiatry. Having been through quite a process the last few months, I can say a few honest things about weed. That it’s caused me mental problems is not one of them. When I come off of it, I’m a moody sod – FACT. It makes me incredibly lacking in pro-activity – FACT. I didn’t smoke a bit of it last week, lost my direction – FACT. Finally indulged after the police incident and suddenly clarity dawned – FACT. Getting stoned caused me to question and doubt that my clearly mentally deluded activities were anything other than cruel and bonkers. Maybe I’m being defensive and not seeing the bigger picture, but as I see it’s the one thing in this whole shebang that does not make me crazy.
This is going to be an uphill struggle and I suspect I’m going to have to play their game to get anywhere. Interestingly an unexpected supporter of the “Legalise It” campaign, came in the form of my mother. She’s no crusader or even user. She is someone who has for the most part lived her life down the straight and narrow. That’s her choice. However life experience has shown her that this non chemically enhanced plant, that for the most part calms down, eases pain and at worst depletes the fridge is no enemy. It was in fact a point about how much I spend on weed and alcohol from my mum that convinced me give up the booze. I suspect there is even a small part of her, some tiny rebellious streak repressed for nearly 60 years that will see her eventually get right on the Dutch hash brownies one day. For now at least a vote would see my mother favour legalisation. And that I believe is what I call vindication.
So after some back and forth, some “woe is me” banter, I get an early referral to a local charity that deals with local loons (it must be pretty substantial, this is Brighton after all). It seems it isn’t so hard! So I leave, quietly pleased the show is on the road and go to change my address on the way out. I have a referral, surely they can’t take that away. Turns out some smug little mare who thinks receptionist means power thinks otherwise. I swear these little bitches are trained in how to make your trip to the doctor worse. You’re already ill, so what you need is some downtrodden man’s wife, with a wrinkly cleavage, too much hairspray, eye make up and a taste in blouses to make Jessie J blush, screwing things up for you.
I hope she did her back in, putting the fire extinguisher back on the wall, that I may have dismounted in frustration. So my life admin morning is extended. I now have to get registered at a new GP. I swear just walking in there I picked up three lung diseases not seen on UK shores since Queen Victoria was on the throne. I have certainly not seen that much woodchip anywhere since the Berlin Wall came down (I am not implying the Berlin Wall was made of woodchip, I’m merely setting the design era). So I filled in the photocopied forms, as I sat propped up on the benches clearly snapped up from a local Church clear out. I have an appointment on Friday. By late morning, I was happy to concede Friday as a victory. Four hours previously that would not have done. The NHS has the distinct capability of offering you healthcare, whilst also wearing you down and infecting you with worse than what you arrived with. On one hand I probably now have tuberculosis and schizophrenia, on the other it was a trip down memory lane and I have an appointment in four days. That’s if I haven’t stabbed a random cyclist by then.
So what I suspect is going to be a rather arduous journey, has begun with expected difficulties. I was asked today if I felt better knowing and recognising that I have greater issues. Right now, no. I have no suspicion confirmed. I’m nowhere near that. I still feel bloody miserable. I may not be at the bottom of mental valley, but the ledge I’m perched on isn’t that far up. To be honest it doesn’t feel like anything has changed. I just know now.