Category Archives: blogging

Isolation Consolation

One of my sons lives near London, the other in Sheffield. I see them maybe once every few months. I call them on the phone- no joy. They don’t do phone calls, it has to be conversation via WhatsApp. I send a message saying it’s easier to say what I want to say via a call. They text back that they are in the middle of something. Then there’s 20 minutes of intermittent texting to communicate something that would have taken 2 minutes on the phone. It’s a generational divide. At least we now have one.

Growing up I wondered when they were going to exhibit the generational rebellion I had shown to my parents. My dad hated it when I played Hendrix in the house. “Rubbish!” He would shout, “the Devil’s music” or most bizarrely, “That bloody Hendrix can’t even play the guitar properly.” Try getting your head round that statement. I loved that feeling of inhabiting a different counter cultural world to my parents. My offspring,however ,have been a massive disappointment in that respect. Sure at 8 years old they mocked my musical preferences; laughing at my Tindersticks albums, yawning at Leonard Cohen and running a mile at Hank Williams. Then it all changed. My music collection became “cool” and they were right of course. My unrecognised claim to fame is that I single handedly championed the music of Nick Drake when I was 16 and no one else was listening to his albums . Now everyone’s on the bandwagon and I tiresomely have to remind everyone that,”I FOUND HIM FIRST, HE’S MINE.” So, you get the picture, they love the music I loved and now own all my old vinyl. No generation gap there. But when it comes to communicating we live on different planets.

What now with isolation? Strangely I’m communicating with them more than ever before and they are even using voice calls or as we used to call them, telephone calls. The national lockdown seems to be making people communicate more than when there were no restrictions. Before lock down I didn’t see them for months and hardly spoke to them , now I don’t see them for months but I speak to them all the time. If I were cynical I’d say they are prepping me for financial support. But maybe they are being sincere, maybe they see me as part of the vulnerable group; male, over 60, overweight, and are getting in early – doing that connecting with my dad before he croaks it stuff.

The other possibility is they are bored and after doing all the other things; exercise, shopping, cleaning, cooking, hobbies, Netflix, sex, eating, more sex and toenail trimming they have run out of things to do and thought, “oh well nothing else to do, let’s call dad.” But I’ll take that and it might be one of the unexpected bonuses of this shitstorm of a situation that friends and family connect more and appreciate each other more. That seems like a good silver lining.

Which brings me to tonight. I’d never heard of “Zoom” until last week now I’m hearing about this videoconferencing app everywhere. Both sons have accounts and yesterday we even had a chat where there were four of us on screen including my ex, the boys’ mother. Let’s just say that was a novel and interesting social situation, good, just strange. The upshot is that tonight my eldest is hosting a quiz on Zoom and my ex and her hubby will be there, I’ll be there as well as my partner’s children. All dispersed but coming together for some fun and entertainment. Just as it often takes a funeral to bring people together so it now looks like Coronavirus is helping us connect more in some ways than we ever did when we were free to move around. Is there another lesson to be learned here post crisis? I think so. I hope so. In the meantime I’m going to read and digest some quiz questions and answers because those kids need to know that daddy knows best.Yes I am very competitive and I like winning.

So fuck off virus!

Stay safe everyone. Jim x

The Impact of Coronavirus on Mental Health- A personal view

I was very touched today when Drgettingsober commented on my last post saying that she was worried that I hadn’t been around for a couple of weeks. I was really taken aback that she should say that but then I reflected that I have felt the same when certain bloggers haven’t appeared for a while. It means there’s a real, genuine care out there. A concern for how people, we haven’t met, but we know from their posts, are doing. That seems to be something special and so in light of that I’m going to do my bit and post a bit more regularly.

I had thought,”who cares about whether you drink or not when all this other stuff is going on,” but of course this forum is about so much more than that. On the drinking side I’m just glad that I now don’t drink; firstly I want to be fully aware and cognisant of what’s going on so that I can make good choices and secondly my immune system is my personal doctor and drug supplier that will hopefully get me through this crisis. I don’t want that amazing ally to be weakened and compromised by alcohol.

So I thought I’d make a couple of observations about the impact of the virus on mental health. I volunteer with Samaritans which for those not in the UK, is a national helpline for those in need of a confidential talk with a supportive listener. It’s often referred to as a suicide helpline but this is only a part of what the service offers. People ring in who are lonely, had a bad day, have ongoing mental health needs, maybe suffering abuse; basically people in distress. As you can imagine the topic that comes up all the time at the moment is the virus situation. For those with mental health needs the fear and uncertainty has just added an extra layer of anxiety thus adversely affecting most people’s emotional well being. Our role is to listen and understand, to be a compassionate point of contact for people who may feel frightened and isolated. We can also signpost to organisations that can offer direct advice and additional support.

Going on duty I was expecting the negative aspects of how the fear and anxiety was impacting on people’s mental health. How do you reassure those with pre existing anxiety and OCD issues? It’s not easy. But then another theme emerged which really surprised me. Some of this came from callers but also a friend who suffers from anxiety and depression. The surprising theme was that now others were experiencing what they had been experiencing for years they felt strangely comforted. Staying at home, living with anxiety. This was becoming a “normal” situation suddenly for so many and a few who suffered from depression actually felt better knowing that they were not alone. It’s a strange kind of logic but I get it. There is a comfort when after years of feeling you are missing out on the regular stuff of life, that others are going through the same thing, albeit involuntarily. My friend with depression also feels more positive now in that he feels he can help others and this has boosted his confidence and self esteem. Some who are isolated and have been for years showing empathy for those that now have to feel isolation maybe for the first time. Surprising stuff.

All of this shows me we have to be careful in assuming this crisis is a one way ticket to a worsening mental health situation. Of course many will have increased anxiety and feelings of hopelessness but others will be strangely comforted and energised by no longer feeling they are the only ones suffering. Also in our physical isolation many of us are reaching out, using means such technology and music to connect, setting up neighbourhood help schemes, applauding health workers every night at 8pm (Spain) and looking at creative ways to maintain our lives in difficult times. That’s got to be good for our collective mental health.

One thing that the Samaritans work shows me is that just being there for someone, the simple act of listening to someone who needs to pour it out, can make a big difference. Not everyone is going to experience worse mental health in these tough times, some may even see an improvement, but being there for each other will make a difference. Just like it does on these blogs.

Take care all. Jim x

Samaritans Here’s a link if you want to find out more. Oh, and volunteers always required 🙂

What to say…..

Ok others have done it, so I’ll do it. A short post just to flag up that I’m still around. I haven’t posted because the posts that I drafted seem so ridiculously irrelevant. Also I can’t work out whether this crisis is turning me into a misanthrope or a lover of this strange species we call human. One minute I’m railing against the greed, selfishness and profiteering of some only to be gladdened by the selflessness of others. That’s humanity I guess, capable of wonderful acts of kindness one minute and appalling selfishness the next.

Overall I’m hoping some good will come out of all this like a collective wake up call.

If you destroy habitat and mess with nature as we do,don’t be surprised that we unleash these animal based viruses. Also let us hopefully rethink the cost of globalisation, unfettered air travel, inequality, access to healthcare and other big questions. For me it’s fascinating that in times of crisis even right wing governments can become quasi socialists. Boris and the conservatives are undertaking the biggest incursion into the private sector ever seen here in the UK. That’s good!To maintain cohesion our government has to act in a way that goes against all their principles and that’s also good. It’s almost as if they know that a society based on the idea that we need to put the collective good ahead of private profit is a rational way to organise society. Now that’s a thought and might be worth a post.

Stay safe everyone. Jim x

Oh – because this post became a bit serious and we all need a laugh, please have a look at the YouTube link below. If you’ve run out of toilet paper it could be just what you need!

https://youtu.be/dQM__8Jn978

I HATE DRY JANUARY

Ok I’m getting on, I can’t deny it or fight it.  I’m 64 just like the Beatles song laments. 64! It’s not the new 44 it’s bloody 64. With age should come wisdom and some maturity and yet at the age of 64 I have just had what can only be described as a childish temper tantrum. I have thrown my toys out the proverbial pram.  I want to stamp my feet and scream,”It’s not fair!”.  This time it’s not the impending disaster of Brexit, the new virus about to engulf us or global warming, it’s DRY JANUARY.

You think I’d be happy.  I’ve stopped drinking, I’m a Soberista.  I am part of a new movement, part of a paradigm shifting change of consciousness. Sober is cool.  Trouble is it’s only cool when there’s a few of you doing it.  Cool is shunning convention, taking an alternative path.  For the last 5 months I’ve been cool, the sober one, the man of mystery and intrigue, “Did you know Jim’s not drinking, he’s a different man, I think he now hangs out with cool people, engages in 5 hour tantric sex sessions, he’s so unconventional, oh Jim you are just so fucking special.” There that’s it

I WAS THE NON DRINKER- THE SPECIAL ONE

NOW, well now it’s Dry sodding January and suddenly everyone is a non drinker. They stop for one measly little month and act like the big I AM. Makes me sick, more than that it makes me, well, just like everyone else.

On Friday I was at a concert. Cafe style set up, bring your own food and drink.  There’s me with my AF beer, expensive Seedlip and tonic, thinking that’ll impress this crowd of boozers but when I look round and I see a sea of Non alcoholic drinks.  Everyone has apparently gone alcohol free.  Then it dawned on me, it’s dry January.  Great! Suddenly I’m not special. I’m just part of the crowd.  I nearly went out and bought a bottle of Absinthe just to be different.  “Get a grip Jim,” I said to myself.  I survived the night even though no-one came up to me to tell me how wonderful I was for not drinking.  That was tough as my new cravings are validation and praise for being self denying and inspirational.  It passed though. I didn’t even make a scene.  I wanted to scream out, ” You fair weather soberistas make me sick, you think 4 weeks of not drinking makes you my equal, well think again, you’re pathetic.  This time next week you’ll all be drinking again after indulging in a sober porn wank fest.” I realised I was in danger of losing my mind. My care worker took my hand as she could see I was agitated.  We left early.

I hate Dry January.

Jim x

Lazy and Complacent- Almost!

Two weeks!

I’ve not posted in over two weeks, not really read other blogs or made comments. I feel so ashamed it has made me even more reluctant to come on here. But now I have to face up to my dereliction of duty. I hid my head in shame until an angel showed me the light.

Claire (ditching the wine) recently emailed me a spoof Jim blog to spur me into action. I was touched.  Someone cared.  She wrote, pretending to be me:

“I know, I know. You are such a caring, lovely bunch, your first thoughts are bound to be ‘Why? Is he ill? Is he on a bender? Has he struck up a recording deal and is now planning his world tour?’ Nope! Afraid not. Basically he’s just become very complacent. This also translates as being a lazy arse. He can’t be bothered with his blog any longer. He’s sober now. Moving on. He’s leaving all your bloggers behind. He might ‘pop’ in from time to time, to keep the fans happy but otherwise he doesn’t need it. “

Now I know Claire was/is being ironic. She is a nice, caring and compassionate person as are all the lovely sober bloggers and yet….  there was an uncomfortable accusation within. Could there be a germ of truth in what she had to say? Sure, I could make excuses and to be fair, they are pretty good excuses; work, commitments, planned big events,  relationships etc but these affect everyone.  I carved out time before, so what’s happened? What’s different? I think Claire hit the nail on the head; COMPLACENCY!

20 weeks sober, Christmas and new year successfully navigated, cravings and urges to drink very intermittent; yes I suppose there has been a bit of complacency kicking in.

Claire continued to write;

We all know this isn’t about what we write, or whether we are 5 days, 5 months or 5 years sober. This is about community, support and connection. We all need help it at different times, and when we feel strong that’s the time to help others that don’t. Jim will learn. He’ll see it eventually.

She’s right of course (God it’s so hard to admit that!), giving up booze and the boozing way of life is not a static thing it’s an ongoing process and I only got to where I am thanks to those who are further on the journey but looked back down the path shouting their support and encouragement.

So thanks Claire.  I needed that proverbial kick up the pants.

Complacency? Yes a little and that can be a bad thing.  Last week I played a table tennis match and met a new player on the scene.  He was very defensive in the warm up.  No attacking shots.  “This will be easy,”I thought to myself. “Just attack and he’ll fall to pieces.” Except he didn’t.  He returned every shot, did so with unexpected amouts of backspin and wore me down into a frustrated mess. I underestimated him. HE BEAT ME! How dare he! I was supposed to win.

Pride and complacency, right before a massive fall.  It happened in table tennis, it could happen with alcohol. I can almost hear that voice,” You’ve done brilliantly Jim, you have shown you can master alcohol, you are the Uberfuhrer of Soberistas.  With that amount of control you’d be fine at just allowing yourself the odd glass of Merolt/Shiraz/Malbec.Go on man, live a little, you deserve it, sod all this denial.” Get thee behind me Bacchus!

Yep the little voices are still there, tempting me so no room for complacency.

Then there’s the need to reciprocate.  I have benefitted massively from the likes of untipsy teacher and others who have been sober for years.  They continue because it’s not just about one journey, not just about them, it’s about supporting others; it’s about community. I need to do my bit. I still need the support or may need it.  I need to try and support others as well in whatever way I can. So  thanks Claire, for prodding, poking fun, bullying in a nice way and cajoling.   I needed that.

Now I just need to think what to post!

Jim x

 

 

Good Article by Jack Monroe – Well Worth Reading

Just a very quick post about a really interesting article I read in today’s Observer newspaper.It is written by Jack Munroe,who is a food writer and activist and who gave up alcohol around this time last year. Much of what she says resonates with many of the posts on our sober blogs and interestingly she talks about the absolute importance of having support.

Reading the article made me feel even more lucky and fortunate that I am part of this fantastic sober blogging community. Try and check out the article for yourselves it’s definitely worth a read. Jim X

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/society/2019/dec/29/my-year-of-sobriety-jack-monroe

Thanks Claire for providing the link!

Guest Blogger for Christmas – E. Scrooge

Guest blogger indeed. No, it’s just that Jim couldn’t be bothered. He’s out somewhere struggling to get through another festive afternoon without alcohol. What a pathetic idiot. So anyway, he’s out the way so I thought I’d use this opportunity to tell a few home truths in his absence.

First things first. I know my name Scrooge has unfairly become synonymous with meanness and parsimony (this is where the yanks have to look up the long words in a dictionary ) but in truth I was a man before my time. I never give presents and I make my staff use things until they are worn through. Now everyone is doing “no presents” and recycling old stuff, things I was doing in my time, but it’s not called mean spirited now it’s called environmentally sound and even “cool”. It makes me sick!

And then there’s you bloggers. Ok credit where credits due, you’ve given up the drink and that’s saving you some money. Anyone spending less money is good in my books but that’s it as far as it goes in praising you. The reality is you all disgust me . When I look through the posts on here all I see is “well done” or “keep going” or the most sickening sentiment “we’re with you”. All this reaching out to others when you’d be better off trying to make some money or fiddling your tax returns.

The worst thing is from what I can see you’re not doing it just because it’s Christmas , you actually seem to care for each other. Excuse me while I vomit! No good will come from kind of behaviour believe me.

If you want to get on in the world look to the likes of dear Donald, now that’s a man after my own heart- selfish, self centered and not giving a fuck about anyone else; thank God not everyone is like you bloggers.

Anyway enough of this nonsense, there’s some Carol singers outside and I need to throw some kitchen waste at them. So I hope you lot choke on your Christmas dinners ( I bet some of you lot are even vegetarians!) don’t get the presents you were hoping for and all have a miserable Christmas. Oh and I don’t believe half of you… bet you sneak in a sly drink during the day. Bah Humbug to the lot of you!

Ebeneezer Scrooge

3 Months – Thank You Bloggers!

New territory for me. 3 whole months living alcohol free. Now officially the longest I have gone without booze in 45 years. I will pat myself on the back and say well done.

“Well done Jim.”

It’s good to be proud when one achieves something but it’s also smart to remind myself that it’s still relatively early days but already there are significant changes that make me optimistic. I’ve negotiated some difficult social situations; pubs, meals out, visiting friends etc. I have ridden the anxiety of not having a drink at weekends ( my particular area of greatest struggle) and I’m slowly seeing that there is life and fun away from booze.

So all good and yet I know, 100%, that I would not have reached this particular milestone if I had not started blogging. Writing things down has really helped me crystallize my thoughts and helped me articulate why I’m choosing to do this. But it’s not that that has been the real help, it’s the other bloggers sharing their stories on their blogs and taking time to offer support and encouragement with their comments. I have pointed this out before but who cares, I’ll say it again, the support from the sobriety focused blogging community is phenomenal. It’s unconditional and effective, oh and unlike most things in life, it’s free!

Now when people start giving out thanks there’s a danger of leaving someone out but I’d rather take that risk than not mention just a few of the people that have genuinely helped me. Anyone reading this and thinking “I need some inspiration and support” could do themselves a favour and read some of the following blogger’s stories. I’ve actually dipped into many blogs over the past 4 months but the ones you gravitate to are the ones where there is resonance, where there is some meeting of minds. This is the great thing with blogging, the variety, you find the people that you can relate to and that will be different for different people.

Where do I start? I know. Wendy at untipsyteacher . Years of sobriety under her belt, a fellow teacher Wendy is just pure positivity and support for others. She’s done it, been there and shows that giving up booze is not the end it’s the beginning. The other blog which I remember from a couple of years ago is Addy’s at alcoholicdaze. Addy is like a mother figure for me. She tells it like it is. She has seen where full blown addiction leads and shares her story so that others can change before it is too late. Her story and her loss always stuck in my mind. It made a difference. Then we come to Nelson. Not everyone succeeds with sobriety and it’s particularly difficult the more advanced the dependency. Nelson reminds us that it is tough, it can be a struggle. Nelson shares that struggle and I’m sure he knows that one day he will get there and his fellow bloggers will always be there for him. In this community there is no failure, just “pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again.”

Lime twister at moderatelysober has just completed one year sober and for me those stories of achieving longer periods AF are inspirational. There’s always the struggle but also the successes. The same with functioningguzzler, who manages to convey positivity no matter what life throws at her.

Now if Addy is my mother figure, Wendy my eccentric, lovable aunty, then Dwight at fadedjeans is the wise compassionate granddaddy (of course a metaphor and not a reference to Dwight’s age😉). He constantly supports others and drops in little pearls of wisdom. Lovely stuff.

Completing the family would be Anne at nomorebeer2019. Sorry Anne but you’ll have to be cast as my daughter figure. I feel very close to Anne because we started our journeys at the same time and being competitive there was no way I was going to let her win this giving up alcohol game. Anne articulated many of the feelings I also went through but she started her journey against a really difficult emotional backdrop. Suddenly my minor obstacles seemed inconsequential.

Then there’s Nadine at sobrietytree. I can’t put Nadine into a neat Jim category so I’m not going to try. What I will say is she started before me but made it feel like we were starting together. Nadine showed me that it’s OK to open up, express ALL the emotions, that sobriety is also about acknowledging what has been lost as well as gained. Her’s is a nuanced picture.

Another blogger I must mention is drgettingsober. Her blog is important to me as I too work in a helping profession and she has the humility to express her struggles. She demonstrates to me that helping others doesn’t mean you don’t sometimes need help and support yourself. We are in this together and mutual support is the name of the game.

Finally I want to mention a couple of newbies, Clairei47 and Lia at nomorenomore. Lia I remember from a previous blogging adventure. She really helped me decide to give up from reading and communicating with her and the favour has been returned by her deciding to quit recently and I’m now able to offer some support back. Similarly Claire is now at two weeks and gaining so much I think from the support of many of the people I have already mentioned.

So there we are. I’ve only mentioned a few of the many bloggers that have helped and inspired me to get to 3 months. This blogging community is real, it’s authentic and it works. Like others I have sometimes gone “off blog” and communicated directly with one or two people and that brings a whole new level of support and virtual friendship.

Please forgive me if I’ve not mentioned the many other blogs that I’ve looked at and been inspired by but this post is already too long and I’ve got breakfast to prepare. So please take this as a thank you to all bloggers who take the time to share and to support others. Bloggers are a great bunch. Long may it continue.

Thanks.

Jim x

History Bloody Repeating Itself

A morality tale from the reverend Jim High Anmighty

I had to laugh. Sorting out my study last week I came across an old notebook and thought “that’s good I can use that for my music notes”. There were some pages that needed ripping out but when I looked at them I could see they were pages from a diary going back to 2011.  I was attempting at that time to train for a second London marathon and the pages were my activity and health log.  I read a few entries and my heart sank whilst I simultaneously smiled.

Here’s an entry from January 2011 :”Couldn’t do the run as planned.  calf still playing up.  Bad weekend,saw  ______ and _______ for dinner and drank way too much.  Sunday felt awful and had usual fry up to soak up the hangover.  Weight 14st.  far too heavy.  must cutback on alcohol.” 

I didn’t end up doing the marathon that year and I didn’t make the changes.  I have diaries from other years, same story.  I record my blood pressure on an app.  So many times I have left comments such as ” BP and weight both up.  Heavy week too much booze and food. MUST cut down,” and so it goes on.  That cycle of drinking, eating, needing to change, next big event more over eating excessive drinking always trying to rein in the rampaging monsters.  

Luckily at times I did rein them in for days at a time but only days.  Without that reining in, even for short periods, I dread to think where I would be now.  Seeing those entries and knowing that was the pattern of my life seems now like so much wasted opportunity but it also looks like denial.  The evidence was in front of me.  I was not in control and I hated it. OK it’s taken me a long time to get here but at last my diary entries have changed.  I can now put in my Blood Pressure app.” BP in normal range, steady weight loss since September, had a few runs, weekends now longer blighted by hangovers and fry ups.”

There’s a lovely irony in being someone who has spent their life trying to help others change and develop only to discover that I was in my very own self repeating hamster wheel of stasis in relation to food and drink. But then I remind myself that my life is not just about my problemmatic relationship to food and particularly alcohol.  I have made changes in other areas of my life. There has been development. I improved my relationships, became hopefully a better parent, worked hard to be a better educator and more recently counsellor. I also like to think I’ve improved my guitar playing and biggest improvement of all moved up a league in table tennis (and yes, sad to say, that IS important to me!).

On balance history had repeated itself in a couple of key areas.  Yes, and they were big areas. Those, thankfully are finally being addressed and I’m not going to be too hard on myself because they are but two aspects of my life.  Having been stuck for so long with the food and drink cycle has definitely helped me be more empathic with those I encounter who struggle with the same issues. I see people at the extremes sometimes of alcohol use disorder, drinking that risks work, relationship and life itself. I count myself lucky that my drinking never went to those extremes, but it could have done.  Those who have broken the cycle are in a great position to speak with empathy, understanding and authority.  I’m at the beginning of breaking the cycle and look up to the people who really have done it. 

That brings me neatly to my final point. I want to repeat something I’ve said before. Fellow bloggers with your insight, experiences  and comments, you have made a difference. The support is probably the crucial factor in me finally making the changes that were so long overdue.  Thanks.

Now I have a favour to ask. A fellow blogger, Lia, (No More) has just got back into doing her blog after a two year absence and intends giving up the booze on Monday 18th November.  Here is a link to her blog; Lia’s Blog

It’s called No More and it would be wonderful if we could give her the support that I and so many others have enjoyed and which undoubtedly helps. She will really appreciate it. I asked her if Icould provide the link, give her a mention and she was morethan happy for me to do so.  So please give her bog a visit and wish her well.  Thanks.

In the end I suppose history doesn’t have to repeat itself not once we realise that we are ultimately the authors of our own histories.  

Here endeth the sermon for today.

Jim x

 

 

9 Weeks and Hello Again Dysphoria

9 weeks without alcohol. Good.  But I am not managing my time well.  I like blogging , I like catching up with other blogs but it seems to get harder finding the time to do it.  It has been a full on week and two things have dominated; my therapy work and organising a fund raising concert in the New Year. Excuses, excuses.  Oh and  I had my birthday on Thursday. Interesting.

I went with some friends to the pub.  Potential sticky social time but in the end OK.  The pub does a draught non alcohol beer which is unusual and allowed me to feel like I was having a good time on my birthday. The truth is I wanted a drink.  Not a,”I’m a hopeless addict give me a bloody drink,” type desire more a “It’s my birthday, I love the slightly euphoric feeling alcohol gives me, surely if life means anything it’s about being able to enjoy a wide range of experiences and sensations, it’s only a bloody drink,” type desire. But I didn’t drink and that’s because I always have to have that one or two extra and I’ve decided not to.  Sensible but slightly boring.  I guess I’m feeling that way because I’m not getting that whole, “Wow my life is so much better now I’m not drinking,”vibe. Or is this my dysphoria rearing it’s ugly little head again?

BACK TO THURSDAY.

One of my friends, who I mainly know through table tennis, noticed I wasn’t drinking “real” beer.  We spoke about drinking and I was amazed when he told me he had stopped for a whole year a few years ago because his drinking had become problematic. I was intrigued.  He said he regularly had blackouts not recollecting drinking sesssions so decided to stop. He always intended it to be a year and after a year he started drinking again but now does so moderately. Amazing.  That night he had one vodka and orange, a previous time I’d been to the pub with him he had had one pint. He is a moderate drinker and a reformed drinker who clearly before had suffered from Alcohol Use Disorder.   It was an eye opener.  Moderation is possible, but then he is a very focused individual.  It was interesting in that he said he needed a year off in order to recalibrate his drinking, gain perspective and make firm plans about how he was going to change his attitude to drinking.  Sacrilegous as it may sound I did wonder if that could be an option for me.  Stop for a year and try the moderation path.

Who am I kidding! Moderation is not my way.  There was half a chocolate cake left on Friday. Enough for 6 people.  I ate the lot. It was there, my though was best finish it.  I was the same with wine.  I never understood why people bought bottle stoppers, once the bottle was open, finish it.  When I smoked, exactly the same. Consume, eat, drink, covet. Greed, excess or numbing some emotional pain?  Certainly when I don’t have a drink like today I’m prone to dysphoria as mentioned earlier. A glass or three often disippated the mood, made me lighter.  Now I have to ride the mood, see it through.

I have clients who experience dysphoria and I’m often surprised that when I tell them that that is what they are describing it’s often the first time they have heard of the term.  I tell them them that what they are describing; feelings of unease and a general non-specific dissatisfaction with life has a name.  I suppose they haven’t heard of it because it’s not a condition as such more a description of a mood state but a mood state that can be very commonly experienced.  People with depression often experience dysphoria but it’s not a mood state reserved solely for those with a mental illness. I would often experience dysphoria but my wonderful, euphoria (yes, it’s the opposite to dysphoria) inducing wine quickly snapped me out of it. Of course it doesn’t really work.  It’s an illusion.  You end up drinking too much, getting anxiety about your drinking, the unease and unhappiness return and one ends up writing a blog about giving up alcohol on WordPress. Full circle.

My dysphoria is often Sunday based.  I know it passes. I’ll be slightly grumpy and pissed off until it does so.  Then I’ll be OK.  Then I’ll be able to feel good about being 9 weeks Alcohol Free. Anyone know a good therapist?

Jim x