Oh Yeh and Another Thing ….

In my last post I spoke of agitation, missing out, craving and anxiety, the usual heady cocktail ex drinkers often go for when they are having a bad day. I suppose I feel a bit disingenuous in that I left out something that probably also accounted for my mood. I mention it now because I do know it’s relevant and if the name of the game on here is honesty then I should tell myself and others the whole story.

Today is 12 years since my son, George died. He was 21 and had been diagnosed with a brain tumour at 19. Despite the diagnosis he studied illustration at the university of his choice and fell in love with a fantastic girl. He got on with his life, hating pity but towards the end was understandably angry and scared. Everyone loses people they love and anniversaries can be a mixed bag of emotions. I know last weekend I was thinking about George and without doubt that was the unsaid element to explain my desire to just say “to the hell with it, let yourself have a drink; some solace.”

I know I also needed to mention George because he had a direct impact on my decision to stop drinking and maybe I’ve avoided saying this because, like George, I don’t want sympathy, but at the same time it’s not fair to not mention him and his contribution to my abstinence.

Twelve years ago around March 2008, we knew the end was coming for George. Everyone deals with stuff like this in different ways. I would occasionally go off and drink to find some kind of oblivion I suppose. I tried to find a place where none of this was happening. As we all know booze doesn’t rewrite reality it just hides it temporarily under a cloak of fogginess and hangovers. One day in March I stayed overnight with a friend in London. I told George I would get the early train and be back by 11am so we could do something together ( at this time he was with his mother at her house). On the Saturday night I went out with my friend and drank. Then I drank some more, but the drink wasn’t working. The reality of the situation seemed to be growing not diminishing. More drink seemed to be the answer until I was at the point where I had lost control. I was drinking, crying, laughing, shouting and heading for the worst of hangovers. I woke up next morning unable to move with a thumping head. I knew I had to get back but I couldn’t travel. My friend gave me the usual cups of coffee followed by fried food. Eventually I could travel.

I arrived at my ex wife’s house around 3pm . I was at least 4 hours late. I lamely gave my excuses to a disappointed George. I then went to the downstairs toilet and threw up. George heard me. He knew I’d been drinking to the point of missing the train and being ill. He was angry with me. He then told me something which has stuck, he said, “I’ve got cancer, I can’t do anything about that but you’re making yourself ill, you don’t have to do this to yourself.” There it was. Simple. True. He couldn’t prevent himself dying, I could, but was choosing not to. Fuck. For days and months and years that thought replayed in my mind. George would have done anything to be in my situation, to be in control, to be able to make choices that meant health and growth.

After that day, whenever I drank to excess, George’s words came back to me. I knew deep down that the only way I could honour those words which were angry at the time but based on love and concern, was to give up alcohol. He was right of course and it took me 11 years to act on his words. In giving up alcohol I am choosing life. I guess that’s the best reason of all to give up something that is essentially a poison.

Today I shall visit the tree I planted for George. It is in a protected burial woodland near the river where he used to love sitting with his friends playing guitar and smoking a joint. I’ll go with his mother and we shall talk about the good times and probably have a little cry. Then , as George ordered me to do, I’ll go off and enjoy life; booze free of course.

Jim X

27 thoughts on “Oh Yeh and Another Thing ….

  1. jacquelyn3534

    Wow thanks so much for sharing something so personal. Being a parent of two teenage girls I can’t imagine what you went through/are going through but what a perfect way to honor George’s words, by eliminating alcohol from your life. I’m sure he’s looking down smiling at you every day. Enjoy remembering him today. 💗 I’ll be thinking of you.

    Like

    Reply
  2. clairei47

    Jim, I’m really glad and honoured you felt you could share such a personal and emotional part of your life here. I am also bloody glad George got mad that day and gave you what for! It has saved your life. I really hope today was a special day and you were able to share memories and remember George. He sounds like he was a kind and caring young man – must have got that from his dad. Sending love to you today. Claire x

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  3. habitdone

    Wow, Jim. I can’t even imagine. I have one son, and daily he says things that make me realize how mature he is. And yet, I still silently drink and still struggle to give it up. Just serious, unhealthy, gray area drinking. Relaxing, enjoyable and yet…soul sucking and demotivating toward my goals of healthy eating, exercising, etc. Strange that it never progresses to worse. No horrible or embarrassing moments, just increasing triglycerides and, of course, the increased risk of cancer. Why doesn’t that alone stop me? I almost wish I had a rock bottom moment, but I sort of always stop before that point, because maybe then it would be easier to stop. You are my inspiration, if it took you 11 years, I can get there too. Thank you for sharing and big hugs!

    Like

    Reply
    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Hi HD
      Thanks for your comments and just to say although I had bad days with my drinking, they were episodic. I never really had a rock bottom moment either . I just knew that most of my drinking was covering up stuff and when I did drink it was more than it should have been and I knew it was starting to dominate my thinking. It’s certainly not always comfortable giving up but it is certainly worth it. Jim X

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  4. gr8ful_collette

    Thank you for sharing such a personal part of your story. I can’t imagine what you’ve gone through. And I also can’t imagine a better way to honor your son than giving up the drink and getting your life back. I hope you had a day full of memories and that you felt close to George… I know he’s smiling down on his dear old dad, and that he’s proud!💕

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Thanks Collette- it was a special day full of shared memories. The tree that we landed in a special woodland is flourishing and I took a small cutting. I think I’ve underestimated how big an influence George has been on my decision to give up the booze. It took 11 years but got there I’m the end . X

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  5. drgettingsober

    Thanks for sharing this Jim – what a huge loss for you but what a gift George gave you with his words and you are honouring him every day by not drinking and choosing life 💞💞💞💞

    Like

    Reply
  6. Dana

    Made me choke-up reading your post. Very deep, feelings very raw, and the truth, spoke by George, one so young, “smack” in the head RIGHT. Thank you for sharing. Helps me to rethink what am I still doing, still drinking…hope you came away from your visit with even more renewed strength!

    Like

    Reply
    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Thanks Dana, yes I think I did come away with renewed resolve. You’re thinking about your drinking and I’m sure when it’s right for you you’ll make the decision that makes sense to you. X

      Like

      Reply
  7. Addy

    O wow that is so sad but also uplifting. Your son was right and echoed what I often thought about my late husband. When you have a terminal illness you have no choice about dying, but, when you are an alcoholic, you do have a choice. I can see now why you feel compelled to honour his life by saving yours. Thank you so much for sharing that.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Thanks for the comment Addy. I think I was lucky in that I was not in a physically addictive state with alcohol. I was dependent for sure but never experienced the awful physical withdrawal that some experience that I know make quitting extra hard. In the end though , you’re right, it’s a choice . Jim x

      Like

      Reply
  8. msnewleaf

    Thank you for sharing this story, Jim. I think it will help others to hear it. What a terrible thing to go through. I’m so glad that you listened to George and chose to live. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  9. Lovie Price

    THIS. This is what many of us need to hear. It speaks to deeper part of me than you know. I am not as of yet ready to get into that on here but someday i shall ( because i have shared almost everything else) so THANK YOU…and hugs!

    Like

    Reply
    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      I’m intrigued Lovie- and that part of you that “it” speaks to. I’m glad it had a resonance for you and look forward to when you feel able to share. Take care. Jim x

      Like

      Reply
  10. sobrietytree

    I’m so sorry for your loss Jim… and so grateful for what you’ve made of it here… in effect, a wonderfully inspiring post. So many key phrases to bring hope to others. Hugs xoxo

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s