Category Archives: Therapy

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

A Poem- Why not?

Not much to say today- Day 4 doing well. I thought I’d write a little poem instead. Not Shakespeare, granted, but at least it’s mine.

Bye Bye Booze

I drank like a fish as my life flashed by

I sang and I danced while the wine it flowed

Many a good time was had I am sure

And several good pounds to friends are still owed

As years rolled by the good times they did change

Now clutching my guts with a throbbing head

My ex friend the drink he deceived me well

To leave me alone sweating fear in my bed

It’s time now to leave, to show him the door 

My watery companion, pretence seen through

There’s a life to live, emotions to feel

His time I’ve cut short, nothing promised came true

Jim – September 2019

Music- My Salvation?

Now here’s a funny thing. A revelation. In this blogI’ve been going on about my alcohol dependence and the problems associated with it and getting ready to stop drinking from this coming Sunday. It has seemed to me that alcohol has dominated many areas of my life and I’ve relied too much on it. But this was the revelation I have just had- except when it comes to music. This fact only struck me this morning as I started practising for an open mic night which I agreed to yesterday and which takes place on Thursday evening. The first thing I did when I agreed to perform was cancel meeting up with a friend for lunch (another stop on my long goodbye to booze). I need to practice and when I play and sing I NEVER drink!

I need alcohol sometimes to quell nerves and anxiety but I never drink prior to or during a performance. Simple reasons- it affects my voice and I make mistakes if I drink so whenever I’ve had to do music or drama based activities I cut right back on my drinking. Over the years this must mean that I have drunk far less than I would have done without having music in my life. I also prefer listening to music without booze flowing through me firstly because being an older guy I’d be fighting to get to crowded toilets every 15 minutes and most importantly music just sounds so much better sober.

So thank you music. You have helped reduce my intake over the years and shown me that you can enjoy life without booze, I’m just amazed that I hadn’t really appreciated that until just now.

My cherished Epiphone – I love you man!

Jim x