Thoughts From A Recovering Alcoholic

It took a while to pluck up the courage to write this but a conversation with a friend of mine unwittingly saying how they hated alcoholics added an extra push to get back to writing.

The strides I thought I had made in my fight with addiction and my naivety, that with minimal work it would be controlled, inevitably I took my eye went off the ball! There it was staring me down like a hungry dog to a prime steak. It never truly leaves you, something I only really understand after several years of battling it.

Right now it is manageable, I do still drink but try to keep it to twice a week. This way its like throwing the beast a bone to calm it, lest it get loose and wreak havoc. The overall goal is of course to fully control it rather than it control me.

Small steps, that’s the way forward, no rushing off before you can walk without the aid of a crutch. Of course one of the steps is to learn how to handle my anxiety and depression in a more efficient way than turning to alcohol to self medicate, as thats the temptation; it can rapidly block out the pain and misery you feel, what could be wrong with that?

As it turns out, a hell of a lot as you spiral down into the vicious circle of addiction and convincing yourself that this is the only way to help; that nothing else will work. That is the most devious thing it does to you, that little voice that convinces you that nothing else works, no one can help you but alcohol. You know in your head that you need to do something different, anything, easier said than done when your mind is awash with “I need to drink” “when will I get a drink” “How will I pay for it?” and so on and so forth.

It’s a maddening mess of dependence on self medication and withdrawing from the world to limit the pain that you could possibly receive. However this is to miss the point that while avoiding that hurt, you cut yourself off from the potential relief, the help, the way forward. Without that you forget how to live and your mind concentrates on the one thing that can nullify this painful existence, the very thing that put you in that position in the first place; alcohol.

This is made all the more difficult if you suffer with any type of mental health condition. in my case I have anxiety/depression and Asperger syndrome as well as a physical disease; type 1 diabetes. The constant vigilance over maintaining blood sugar levels and working on my social phobias/contacts/skills etc all while trying to maintain a sense of normalcy and keeping another watchful eye on the addiction. Something is bound to give if you don’t have these all in order.

Forgetfulness, thinking that I don’t need to eat yet or clean or whatever always felt, and still does to a degree, that some of that normal every day stuff is not important. When of course it is, it’s a part of the basic foundation of learning to live. A lesson I am still learning. A lesson that I’ll never stop learning but will never give up.

That’s all anyone really wants, to be able to “live”. We are all at different stages, different levels, our own set of complications, road blocks and obstacles. To respect each other and the difficulties we go through is what I have learnt from this whole experience.

And I hope from reading this you might have a better idea of what it is like and realise the feckless lazy drunk image peddled by alot of the media is overly simplistic and quite often downright false, it’s actually a complicated, painful and messy business.

I hope people will remember that.

 

 

Dave

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The State Of Play So Far: Aspergers And Me

At lot seems to have been happening as of late. My continued alcohol abstinence and something new has been added to the mix such as being diagnosed with aspergers syndrome.

While I was given the diagnosis not too long ago, the process to get there took a few months attending several consultations and hours upon hours of chatting. Now I can talk anyones ear off, but even so it was tough going. What gave it that special quality of uncomfortable was that the whole point of the consultation is to essentially give my life story and from that its up to the consultant how that fits into the autism framework.

In the end it wasn’t a huge surprise, but at the same time it took a few days for it to sink in.

Not because it was the end of the world, but because the diagnosis acted as a pressure release valve. My brain immediately went into overdrive taking me back to my past thinking about bad thoughts, embarrassing thoughts, good thoughts/behaviours and so forth and how this put a clearer image to them, ultimately giving myself a clearer idea of who I am.

As far back as I can remember, I had had been plagued with doubts, uncertainties and a good dose of fear about who I was. What was I good at? What sort of things do I like? And many more. All of this going around my head constantly, feeling that sense of dread and panic coming from all that anxiety and worry. Of course no one can keep living like that without wear and tear which is why I turned to alcohol, It was the only thing that could calm everything down and help me “forget”.

From the beginning of that journey to the beginning of this one, looking back It absolutely feels like one hell of a marathon but one that I am very pleased to have started. Long may the progress continue and to provide more excitement for a good while yet.

Aspergers is a part of me, a part that I’m taking in with open arms and with a smile.

It’s like finding a long-lost part of yourself,

So onwards and upwards.

And as always thanks for reading.

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Dave

 

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New Years And Beyond Sobriety Check-In

 

Happy new year everyone!

Well here we are, 2016 and the continuing journey of alcohol abstinence!

This is my 2 month check-in and we start the year as we mean to go on, sober, clean and healthy.

The first major challenge to that was of course the christmas period as that is generally the high point of people’s acceptance of alcohol and heightened willingness to get “Off their tits” It didn’t feel quite as scary as I thought it would, group work with the local substance misuse service has helped massively with giving me the tools needed to cope with those sorts of high risk situations and I simply can’t praise them enough.

It enabled me to go out for the first time at christmas to family for dinner in years, with the isolation I put myself through as a result of the drinking, I had no perception about just how isolated I had become. To go to his for christmas dinner though was absolutely an achievement and felt good in doing something that previously I would have dug my heels in and said no. Its building on the good work you do in treatment, no matter how good it is you still have to push yourself up the hill of recovery.

My big realisation came on my birthday some time afterwards as when I awoke and laid there in bed I wondered to myself. What would it be like if I were to drink? What would that feel like?

The answer to that would be terrible on both counts, there I was in bed imagining what it would be like to drink again and I was actively rejecting it in my own mind. Alcohol does nothing for you, makes you feel terrible the day after and perhaps worst of all would restart that self-destructive mechanism that I have worked so hard to wrest control away. You know what? I felt amazing, I didn’t want alcohol, I never want alcohol again and that feeling is a reward in of itself because that’s not someone else telling me what to think, its off my own bat, absolutely one of my favourite presents that day.

I believe its called “Recovery Currency” handling potentially risky situations in regards to alcohol and getting through them that earned confidence, that extra self-esteem is the reward, the Recovery Currency I give myself as a reward.

Finally,

My goal this year is to reach the end of the year and say to myself I did it, my first year,

 

lets keep going

 

Thank you for reading

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Dave

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1+ Month Sober And Counting The Check In

 

Hello again and here we are, somewhere that even a month ago seemed light-years away. I have made it to my first month of sobriety.

The strangest thing is how different this feels to my first prolonged dry period, before the detox even started I had assumed it would be the same and that I was equipped to handle it, just the same as I had done previously.

Thankfully that didn’t come to pass and going to groups and appointments with key workers really helped me and I started to and am getting so much more out of them than I felt I had previously. I’m getting myself up off my own steam and making sure that I am on time and actively “wanting” to be there. Which is because it all feels so different, so new, and dare I say it, exciting? Building my life back up to where I want it to be, whats more exciting than that? Living without the shackles and dependency of addiction is immeasurably liberating.

To create the man who I want to be is my ultimate goal and one that I will put my all into achieving and keep that forward momentum going.

However you should never let your guard down, that little voice that has been so weakened but never vanquished, will be there at times, trying to catch you off guard and get you back into its clutches.

Fight it, you control your life, not addiction, you can do this.

 

Keep Going.

 

And thank you for reading

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David.

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Kicking Alcohol Out For Good

Now I have been dry for just over a week now I thought it might be useful to write about my experiences from detoxing off alcohol, and how this has changed me for the better.

Now I had been waiting to go on the detox program for a while now, I can understand why there was a delay because I needed to re-learn the skills of relapse prevention and learning to live again. However the longer you go on with the dependency the more desperate it makes you feel. You want out, you want the dependency to be thrown away down the drain, but you alone, perceived or not, are incapable of kicking it without outside intervention.

That desperation, that feeling of being dependent on something that if you withheld it from yourself for too long you wouldn’t be able to cope and get sick or not be able to function at all. It’s a horrible feeling, you don’t want it but you are compelled to get it, its insidious and its like a malevolent force controlling you for its own amusement.

Then along came the detox, the only way to describe what the medication makes you feel like, is that it makes you feel really tired one day and then as it builds up you get a day or two of feeling drunk, it’s the most surreal feeling ever. Then however you start coming down from the medication and you start to remember what it feels like to be normal again, what its like to be sober and actually be lucid for longer than an hour or two. I’m still getting to grips with these new emotions, or should I reconnecting with them, but I am excited and full of confidence and positivity of going in the right direction and staying on that path.

If there is one thing I absolutely have learnt is that to relapse like I did last year is absolutely not a failure, you pick yourself up and learn from it and come back stronger for it. One failure/mistake and it is not over not by a long shot.

you come back, you dig in, and you fight

 

Thank you for reading

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Dave

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Journey – Hand In Hand

<——–  (The Beginning)                                                                                                  ———–>

How hard could this be I wondered to myself, staring at the massive pillars of stone each separated by gaps that were surely too far to cross by ones self. Stunningly beautiful to look at of course but just how the hell am I meant to get across? Taking a deep breath I looked across the open dunes for anything that might relieve my anxiety and provide a clue to this conundrum.

IMG_6655Strange ribbons were flapping uselessly in the wind as if calling out for help, were they trapped? Where they calling out to me? How was the even possible… Just as the confusion was threatening to over take my thoughts something else came into my view, more like someone, they looked like me and had a similar scarf to me, should I approach them? Perhaps they had a better idea of what to do. I must have been staring because the stranger started to call me over, for what purpose I had no idea but it surely had to be better than standing there doing nothing.

As it turns out those “Captive” ribbons were the key to unlocking the bridges across the gaps. As it turns out I felt this compulsion to stick with my newly found companion, a journey together is much less arduous than one taken alone. As it turns out there was another tablet at the top most pillar which happened to open a way through a giant sandfall, It was an utterly beautiful sight to behold, until my new friend snapped me out of my trance by beckoning me to continue through to pass through the new passage that had opened.

IMG_6656-2It was with a certain bit of trepidation that we journeyed forth, I found myself sticking close to my new friend in case I lost them in the vast desert. All the dangers in the world and the one I dreaded the most was losing my new companion, we relied on each other to move forward and if I ever lost that all I would be capable of doing would be running in circles crying my eyes out. As we made our way out of the tunnel we came onto yet more desert, but there was a reward waiting for us. Our destination was palpably clear and more importantly closer than previously, and a view like that you just have to take a few minutes to drink it all in because it’s utterly spectacular…

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Lets Go Friend

Part 3 coming soon

Thank you for reading

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Dave

*All screenshots taken during the journey with my PS4 Share function*

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Journey – The Beginning

IMG_6652Staring off into the distance, I could never imagine where this journey of mine would take me. The shining light at the peak of that lone mountain top seems so far away, would I ever reach it? No matter what, I had to try, something was calling me and I had to answer. As it turns out there were others of my kind embarking on the same Journey as myself, I had always lived an isolated life, should I avoid them? Go with them as travelling companions?

No, I won’t think about that now, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Sliding down the large sand dunes never stops being fun, gliding through the glistening sand with the wind whipping my cloak, It’s easy to get caught up in the moment. Drinking in this world of mine, its utter perfection and beauty. Already i’m forgetting about the arduous task ahead of me, do I really have to do this? Would it really be so bad if I turned around now as I haven’t travelled far, and went home? As if to answer my question Some ruins came into view but it wasn’t that which caught my eye, it was the curiously shaped tablet situated on the roof. I can’t fully explain what came over me but I felt an inexorable pull towards it, as if something was missing in my being and whatever that tablet was could soothe that ache.

IMG_6653Blimey, something actually happened! It started to glow, then symbols of light started pouring from the tablet to impart a gift. That gift was the power of flight, it also had the effect of steeling my soul for the remainder of the journey. Nothing else mattered other than to reach the peak of the mountain, but what is this? I seemed to have grown a scarf? Ah this is what allows me to fly, eager to move on I leapt off the roof in majestic flight, right up until I plummeted back to the ground. This flight malarkey seems to have a limited capacity, I wonder if there is any way to lengthen it.

While throwing errant thoughts around in my head not paying full attention to the direction I was going I stumbled onto this…

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I’m going to need a bigger scarf…..

———->

Thank you for reading

Next part coming soon

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Dave

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Relapse Revisited

Here we are again, Alcohol Addiction rearing its ugly head leading to an almighty relapse. I had heard about how its harder to recover the 2nd time from dependency (and the 3rd, 4th etc) they weren’t kidding!

Think of it like trying to walk 100 metres on a solid sheet of black ice while not slipping, and if you do slip it feels like it slides you back to the beginning.

I am currently getting help with my recovery so it’s not all doom and gloom, although the horrible thing is that you’ve been through all of it before, you know what to expect. If you attend the same service for substance/alcohol misuse and talk to the workers there that you have built somewhat of a rapport with over time it’s very difficult not to feel hugely guilty that you’ve failed them and failed yourself.

Of course no one thinks that at all, its unfortunately an all too common part of addiction.

That was the first part I initially have/had to overcome, stop beating yourself up no one said it would be easy. Admittedly that has taken longer than i would care to mention, escaping the clutches of drink only to fall back into its insidious embrace time and again. You don’t feel like yourself, you don’t act like yourself, and when you manage to throw the haze off around your eyes the guilt starts up all over again.

The only apparent way to alleviate it? More booze!

However I am not giving up, ever. This particular journey of mine remains difficult, even downright terrifying at times but I can’t stop and I won’t stop, it’s too important.

It’s not much but I do feel better getting all of that off my chest as with the relapse I have found it a lot harder to talk about than when I had to admit I had a problem with alcohol. This time around there is this self-imposed guilt that stops you short from really admitting that you still need help.

So consider this the first concrete step on the next stop of the journey!

Thank you for reading

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Dave

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Movie/TV Time: Halo: Nightfall Part 3 “Gods Of The Damned”

<——- Part 2

“We didn’t know it yet, but he was right, we were gods, gods of the damned”

I’ll just let that quote sink in, it’s just awful.

They do seem to be damned alright, with the writing on the wall they’ll turn on each other, and it will be just as boring as anything else they have done. Although the depth of their whining and borderline psychotic turns as soon as something goes wrong is remarkable and disturbing at the same time. They play the super tough action men then when it get tough the crumble like a cookie under a ton of concrete, give the screen time to the girls there legitimately tougher and more able than these oxygen thieves.

Down goes another one, this time this crazy guy who literally wants to kill everyone but 2 other people to save his own ass lets his teammate who hasn’t said much up to this point fall off a cliff edge, please let the crazy fucker die next, pleeeasseeeeeee.

Now we have a Mexican/Halo Standoff?! ONI guys turning on locke and the sedrans, Crazy guy ranting about powering up his weapon to kill them risking luring the hunter worms in killing them all, there was me thinking he only cared about his own life? But now he doesn’t care if he dies? Someone save me from the stupid, please?

My wish has been granted, crazy guy and dickhead have made off with air filters and the pilot of the only known workable ship on the ring, so what now for the only vaguely likeable characters in the film? They stand up and look around for 5 seconds and they find what looks like the intact remains of the ship that was carrying the nuke that they were planning to detonate. If the film ends up with them escaping and the crazy guys getting eaten alive before blowing the ring to smithereens? Then maybe, just maybe the film could turn itself around.

Upon closer inspection the ship is not quite so intact as I first thought…

Theres a funny thing, the interaction between the colonel, Locke and the girl (I don’t remember her name as she barely says anything) is a vast improvement on anything the film has done up to this point. The choice of who stays behind to detonate the nuke (another cliché) is made all the more heartbreaking as we are reminded of the colonels dead daughter, killed by the biological weapon.

As it turns out the colonel stays behind, in what is a touching goodbye. That’s the benefits of establishing your characters, granted we don’t know much about it him but compared with the others its like we’ve known him since childhood. He clearly doesn’t want to be around anymore without his daughter and while you can understand the emotions it’s still a tough scene to watch.

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We see our sane heroes escape back to the workable ship while at the same time we see the crazies who took off earlier turn on each other, one gets promptly eaten (I think we’re meant to feel some sort of sympathy with him but no dice, the guy deserved it) while the other takes off after the pilot.

and there we have it, our two remaining heroes escape and the dangerous biological weapons on the ring get destroyed along with everything else.

It ends a rather disappointing foray into the Halo universe, the majority of the characters were unlikable and unrelateable. You can tell where they get some of their influences from such as “Pitch Black” but fail to hit those lofty heights. Its boring and is an entirely irrelevant piece to the halo canon.

Only buy if you are a fan of the franchise to begin with, even then it’ll be a 50/50 chance if you like it, and if you happen to be ambivalent to the series then stay well away because you will hate it.

 

Thanks for reading

 

Dave

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Movie/TV Time: Halo: NightFall Part 2 “Lets Blow Something Up!”

SDCC-2014-Halo-Nightfall-Characters-Field-Team

Here we get our little transitional scene where we get to know our squad of ONI dickheads and Sedran bumpkins. The only new bit of information we get from the whole ordeal is that our Colonel Aiken used to be in the Spartan program (an augmented super-soldier).

Everything else? We just get confirmations that the ONI guys are twats and the Sedran’s are the mis-understood country bumpkins… Or so they seem?

Despite the ongoing twat parade we finally touch down on halo, and I have to admit its pretty cool to see. In the game its luscious green, mountains, rivers etc now its just ash, now if you had never played the games before then its inconsequential piece of space junk, I get that the main audience for the show will be halo fans, but what about non-halo fans? They’ll be completely at sea if they don’t have halo nerd friends to explain it to them. It would have been cool if we had a deeper re-telling about the object that the universe is centred around!

After our heroes go for a walk about on this barren wasteland, you can’t help get the feeling that the movie is starting to go the way of “pitch black”

You’re damn right it is, no sooner as they prep to leave and nuke the place they get stranded there as the exit ship gets taken down by little worm things that are attracted by active advanced technology, you heard me!

Worm things that can band together to be stronger than the sum of their parts and can eat a man in full armour in seconds.

So our heroes are stranded, except there not…. We all forgot about the ship that the smugglers used to get onto the ring, did I forget to mention that? It’s just that those guys were so inconsequential I completely forgot to mention, they are just devices used to give our main characters hope of getting off the ring alive.

How do they decide who gets to go on the ship with the limited space and who gets left behind to get burnt to ashes by the sun as the ring rotates to-day time to a temperature of a billion degrees? (another idea from a riddick film)

Draw straws of course!

God this is getting boring, more cheesy clichés but of the boring variety, monologues on what its like to be a soldier in dangerous, almost certain death situations. Cut with scenes of walking, and more walking *sigh*

 

Back to our heroes who are now showing signs of oxygen deprivation in the paper-thin atmosphere of the halo ring, so they have no choice but to power up their oxygen systems of their suits to avoid suffocating. Simple really apart from the hunter worms on their tail,  but we do get an opportunity for some more stupidity courtesy of one of the sedan squad who is currently not in possession of the family brain cell as she drops oxygen filter down the slope they just came and it just so happens to still be active. Now normally you would give it up for lost considering the man-eating monster worms that are roaming freely around on the ring, but not this lady! She goes down after it and promptly gets her arse eaten off in 10 seconds flat, which is no real loss on, with the story!

Or what passes for a story

The group manages to get to a cave of some sort with the arms still close by, they moan and cry for a bit about how their royally boned and almost certainly facing certain death, and to be fair that’s what I would do! However we do get treated to a king dick move by one of the ONI guys who takes one of the injured prisoners and essentially rolls him down the slope edge to get eaten by the worms, wow nice going asshole now see how cooperative his brother will be after you fed him to the proverbial dogs.

Locke tries to reprimand the dick head who fed the prisoner to the worms, but the guy defends himself with this awful line “Do you see god anywhere? Tonight, we’re god” all in a breathless tone, come on guy if you’re going to say something that stupid at least ham it up for the audience.

 

<——— Part 1                                                                                                             Part 3 ———>

 

 

 

 

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