Merry Christmas….. Bah Humbug

G’day all, the day is here…….aarrgghh!! This is the day you have been dreading for weeks, maybe even months but it is here and the world hasn’t and wont end…. it’s just a day!

Personally I have been fairly ill (mentally) over the last few days, i’m not sure if it’s the drugs (prescription!) or today, I have been manic for days, everything has been going at 100 miles an hour, emotions have been up and down….. a lot!!! During a really strong manic, anxious, shaking, “i’m mad”, “I can’t take this anymore”, “whats the point”, “I’m useless” etc etc… phase recently I noticed the only thought about suicide I had had was “I haven’t thought about suicide” WTF!!!!! AWESOME!!!!! Then I thought back…. I was in Asda car park the other day and I didn’t think about a trip to the top and a very quick trip back down again WTF!!!!! AWESOME!!!!!….. Driving on the motorway the other day I didn’t think about putting the car into the barrier I just smiled about the destination WTF!!!!! AWESOME!!!!!

Sorry about the lack of *’s in the following language…

This is Fucking awesome Fucking progress 🙂

I went to my first AA meeting in years last night, not because I am worried about the booze (Step 1 translated to exboozehound language.. Want it, cant have it, simple!). There were a number of guys there that sat in the room when I was an inmate at the Woodbourne Priory and gave us there knowledge and experience of drinking and sobriety, these guys are from completely different worlds to me but the stories they told were almost exactly the same as my stories and the stories of my fellow inmates. I wondered if they would recognise me and they did, they greeted me with a big smile and a strong hand shake, one of them took the opportunity to call me “Trouble” (I liked that!!). They didn’t judge me for not coming back, they didn’t judge me when I shared about not being able to take the AA path like they did, I think they even agreed with some of my nonsense. The meeting was strange some of the shares made me feel good, some made me feel bad, some made me feel angry, some made me feel worried, I don’t think the meeting did me much good as I was a bit upset in a phone call I made after the meeting and I probably made a bit of a tit of myself but “It is what it is”….. I have been ill, I am ill, I want to be better so so much. At the end of the meeting a couple came up to me and said they understood my share, another guy questioned if I had a sponsor and asked “so you haven’t had a drink since 2003, without AA and without a sponsor, not one drink?”…………Nope :).

2014 is going to be a good year….. hold up, what if it isn’t, what if “shit happens” again, OK….. some time in the near future things will be good….”Jon”, Jon, Jonathan and exboozehound are going to come together and from what I have seen of him so far I think I am going to like him (possibly).

If you are struggling with the booze or mental illness or whatever it is there will be times that you “know” the pain will never end, I “knew” it with booze and I “knew” it with mental illness, but you have to try everything you possibly can to come out the other side. It will be hard and you will have set backs but you have to keep fighting, every time you get knocked down just get back up, every time you don’t think you can cope remember you have coped before, every time you feel a bit of happiness don’t beat yourself up about it you do deserve it, every time you have feelings you don’t recognise embrace them, every time you think a drink would be nice remember that’s bullshit, every time a coping strategy stops working find a new one, every time you think about ending it all remember that is not the answer. We will be well again, hopefully never “a normal” but just less bonkers….

Enjoy the good and ride out the bad

It is what it is

Today matters, yesterday’s gone, tomorrow’s up to you

Ahh Fuck it!!

Roar like a lion everyday

and of course……….

K E E P  S M I L I N G  🙂

In reply to Alex J – Peace Out

Alex J is someone I have never met, he began to follow me on Twitter a short while back and has commented on a regular basis on this blog. I don’t think he will mind me saying he is a student mental health nurse, and I for one feel that if this is the quality of our future mental health nurses things can only get better. There is a passion and an interest in Alex that is very encouraging for the future.

This post is all about one of Alex’s recent comments, I think me and Alex are similar in that we will not say something in 7 words if 236 will say it better (attempt at humour?). I tried to reply to this comment previously but just as I finished my reply my laptop crashed and I lost the lot, I was a “little” frustrated!!!!!!!!

So Alex’s comment are in Black and my reply is in Red. (probably obvious, bit patronising Jon!)

“get Mans a pint of cider it will be entertaining” laughed out loud to this. I know it’s a serious topic, but like you, I can do comedy and seriousness at the time 🙂

Sometimes it can be hard to laugh at serious things but I think it is important for many reasons, one important reason for being able to laugh at unpleasant things is my mates, they are merciless when it comes to abusing each other so you have to get used to it. As an example of how merciless they are, when I got the shit battered out of me, along with a few teeth, I was lying in bed with a face twice the size as normal and I have a picture of my mates smiling, pulling faces and all thumbs up :). One comment I got from a mate was “to be honest they have done you a favour really because your teeth weren’t that good before” gotta laugh aint ya!

I’ve gone periods of staying off the booze (more on this later) and although I totally respect my own issues with booze are completely different to yours (both in their nature and their consequences?), some of the principles relating to the way people deal with a “non-drinker” are the same and we have experienced similar responses, as would everyone trying to cut down or eliminate booze from their life.

Generally speaking I tend to stick within reasonable limits for alcohol consumption (although “reasonable” is the not the same for everyone. You for example). Your reasonable is literally zero I’m assuming. For me, even if I am going through a period of drinking 5 or 6 days out of 7, I’m such a lightweight I would usually not go above the weekly recommended amount of units. Sometimes I would (especially if 75% bottles of red wine are getting downed), but not every week. My relationship with alcohol is that when I am drinking it stops other things from happening. I’ll have 75% a bottle of wine perhaps in an evening at home on my own, watching a movie. Relaxing? Chilling out some may say? Yeh, but the problem is, there were maybe two or three other things that needed doing that evening. The bedding needed doing, I told myself I’d go down Morrison’s to get some groceries or maybe tonight was the night I was going to start doing press-up’s again!!!!

It seems that booze is a way of life, it is everywhere…. “i’ll have a coke please” “a coke, go on have a proper drink”…. I have no idea what the weekly recommended units are, but I think I would be able to smash those in a couple of hours. Booze does stop you doing things but it will do in normal life, it’s a relaxant. I think there are a lot of people out there that will have a drink pretty much everyday and I don’t see a problem in that, yes it may not be very good for your health, but not a lot is. 75% of a bottle, is there such a thing?? There is a lot of pressure in life these days and a relaxant can relieve that stress, momentarily, I wonder if the liquid is the relaxant or the action involved in disposing of that liquid. I know for me just opening a bottle of wine used to immediately relax me, of course that opening was followed very quickly with drinking it 🙂 or :(. I’m not gunna talk about the “press up” issue cus I need to do some of those as well.

None of those other things would happen if I were to drink. That’s okay if it was just one night, but I’d end up enjoying the Merlot & Movie combo so much I’d want to do the same the next evening after work, and the evening after that. Before you know it, I’m doing less physical exercise in the early evening, less supermarket shopping gets done (and I’m losing money by buying at local corner shops) and my flat chores are piling up! This in turn get’s me tense and sometimes stressed, and thus a vicious cycle can develop of needing to “chill out” after work and “relax” into the evening!

Habits form very quickly and if drinking becomes a habit it will be hard to break if you are an alcoholic or not. For me if this habit is causing you to get “tense and sometimes stressed” I would say that sometimes you become reliant on the booze. Personally I don’t think being reliant on booze is an overly bad thing we are reliant on so many things these days and after all booze is a “legal” and “harmless” drug just like tobacco. (LMAO).

I’m getting off track here, but the main point I wanted to make, is when I come off booze altogether some other people (they don’t mean to annoy me!) can be really irritating (or I FEEL irritated… need to take ownership of my own reaction here), that “Mans does NOT want a f****** drink tonight”. “Mans” is perfectly happy to go without tonight!!!! This is especially true at Christmas as you will know. Three years ago I think it was, I went 100 days without booze. Not because it was causing me “major” problems, but because I wanted to show myself I can NOT drink and I wanted to see the impact not drinking would have on me. Among other things, wanted to lose weight and reduce spending. These 100 days covered a whole X-Mas and New Year period. I achieved a lot in those 100 days.

Just as a point of accuracy here “Mans” is my surname shortened and not Man with an s 🙂

100 days is fantastic, I bet you felt so much healthier and better for it. Alcoholics can go weeks, maybe months without drinking, I did a number of weeks, possibly a month off the booze but personally that is just a trick, a manipulation. It shows the people around you your are not an alcoholic….. during my time not drinking all I would think about is booze and the kick I would get when I started again. People around me would be proud of my effort and most importantly get off my back and pay less attention so I could drink more in secret….

Having said that 100 days is brilliant and I think shows it isn’t a “major” issue for you which is cool :).

I enjoyed the one X-Mas party I went to that year but only after people eventually shut-up about me not drinking. I tried to laugh it off at first but then I think I got short with someone and eventually they stopped bugging me. It was a good night after that. But I tell you, that night, you’d have thought I was REFUSING TO TAKE IN OXYGEN, that’s how baffled people were (or they seemed baffled to me anyways) and how determined and committed some people were in getting me to take a glass of wine or a bottle of beer. You’d have thought I was sitting there NOT BREATHING and people wanted me to breathe! “Look everyone, we got someone here not breathing, someone help this man, give him a breath for Christ’s sake, help him”. “We got a man down, we got a man down”, “Houston we have a problem”.

Lol, it is strange isn’t it, I think people are just wanting you to have a good time, to let your hair down and enjoy yourself.

I was even having wine poured into my glass that I had just finished my lemonade out of! All well meaning and done with jokes and smiles, but half of me was okay with the banter and half of me felt disrespected (again, I take responsibility for my emotions, feeling disrespected, that’s on me).

Strange how people don’t want to buy you as many drinks when you are drinking, that could make for a very cheap night out. On the “disrespect” thing I think it is a good point. If you were at a Christmas meal with someone who had lost a lot of weight throughout the year, people would not be piling stuff on to their plate, they would respect the effort of that person and probably say over and over again “you have done so well” (mind you I bet that gets annoying as well!)

I’ve tried the route of having a drink once, maybe twice a week, but I now feel the time again has come to have a proper run of no alcohol (for physical health and finance reasons) but also for my psychological wellbeing as I want to introduce a bit more discipline into my life and some boundaries I can stick to. I’m also desperately trying to support and encourage both parents to give up smoking as it’s killing them (well one of them for sure). My point here, is that I want to show myself I can practice what I preach and “give something up”. I admit it won’t be forever, but I’d like to give up at least one thing going into the New Year, even if temporarily. Take away a “crutch” I rely on. Battle through it, overcome urge and temptation. DISCLAIMER – not saying giving up casual drinking for a month is the same as giving up a life-time smoking habit!

Although I don’t know you very well, I know you will achieve the goals you set yourself :). Smoking is a shitty habit/addiction, I smoke far too much but I haven’t got the will power to stop at the moment. Fair play to you for supporting your parents, sorry to here one of them are unwell from smoking, I hope they manage to give up!!. Tobacco is also a “legal” drug (??). I like your DISCLAIMER that should save you from a bit of abuse!! 

I would like to add a DISCLAIMER as well on the booze subject…. If you drink copious amounts on a daily basis and you want to stop, be very careful about just stopping, this can be very dangerous. Before I went into the booze clinic I was told to keep drinking (this pleased me immensely) because my body was so used to the alcohol and stopping it suddenly could kill me, once in the clinic I was on certain drugs that control the withdrawal and kept me safe. Also, and this is a personal opinion, don’t say “that’s it i’m never drinking again” it sounds daft but it is a day at a time, maybe even an hour at a time, setting fixed parameters can be dangerous because if you don’t manage to keep to those parameters it can set you off and give you another reason to drink more and more because you have “failed”. I heard a story recently of patients in a well known addiction clinic keeping diaries of future events, things as simple as watching a TV programme at the weekend and it being written on a calender, you might think “what’s the issue with that” but what if there is a power cut and you can’t watch that TV programme, what are you going to do you had been planning this for a week, for me this could be a trigger to drink?? (again this is a personal opinion, I don’t think a recovery can be completely regimented because we all know “Shit happens”).

And Jon, guess what I heard on the radio the other day! it was advert relating to this…. I’m up for it 🙂

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/find-an-event/charity-challenges/dryathlon

Yeh I’ve got my own agenda and motivations for this, but if I can raise money for a good cause, then why not?

Alex

Go for it, I’ll do it with you, do you think people will consider back sponsoring me for 11 years, that could be worth a few quid. There is no problem in having your own agenda, there is no such thing as an unselfish good deed. It seems that January, February and maybe March are the only months it is acceptable not to drink because people are on a “detox”. If you do it I will sponsor you :).

Alex, thank you so much for taking the time to comment the way you do, selfishly it helps me a lot, and I hope it helps others as well!! I noticed “AL” commented the other day saying “Nice work, both of you x”, thank you AL x.

Oof, that is a long post!!

Peace Out

Keep smiling 🙂

Acceptance

I have been to an initial therapy appointment today, we spoke for an hour about Mindfulness and DBT (Dialectical behaviour therapy) it sounds very interesting if not a bit mind boggling and a bit weird….. the lady I spoke with, spoke about it all with such passion and honesty that it can only be a good thing. I have also had some really positive feedback via Twitter through a contact made through this blog, she is a very strong person who is having a hard time but she keeps going and I know she will make it (you know who you are).

When Mindfulness was first mentioned to me I got a book out of the library to see what it was all about, unfortunately within about 7 pages I gave up it all sounded a bit “hippy’ish”, sorry that is the only word I can think of, I started to think I would have to spend my life wearing tie die, chanting and being in touch with my inner being….. as a “neanderthal with depression” it is very hard to imagine me doing that!! But lets be honest what I have done so far hasn’t been a lot of use, i.e. take a few pills, ignore it as much as possible, man up and get on with life. Fact is, this year my mental illness has destroyed me, I have my theories why but they aren’t important at the moment, what is important is I have “accepted” I have a problem, I have “accepted” I must do something about it, I have “accepted” that at the moment “normal life” is not my strong point……..

“Acceptance” seems to be a big word now as it was 10 years ago, I had to “accept” I was an alcoholic (I had known I was for years!!), I had to “accept” that something had to be done and I “accepted” the help I was offered. Of course I now wish I had tackled all the other shit at the same time but who knows if I had tried to sort the mental health stuff at the same time I could be back on the booze….. So I “accept” that now is the time to tackle the mental health stuff and I am “grateful” I no longer drink. I “accept” I can’t have all that I want at this time and I am “grateful” for the friendships I have made through this blog. I “accept” my feelings and I am “grateful” that I have some. I “accept” I have an illness and I am “grateful” I can still do something about it.

During today’s appointment some new words were used that un-settled me a bit “Borderline personality disorder”, is this a new “label” for me, what the hell does that mean? Well who the hell cares, not me “it is what is it”. I had thought before this could be a possibility and at the moment I don’t know if that will become part of my diagnosis and I really don’t care. I think I have said it before on here and I said it directly to a professional today “I believe that most of what the experts do in mental health is guess work” I would be interested to see if the experts could prove to me this was not the case, on the other hand I probably wouldn’t believe there “proof” anyway. So at the moment I am happy to be diagnosed with whatever comes my way, I will “accept” whatever it is and I will address it and in time beat it.

There is a number scale that seems to be used a lot when talking about mental illness, 10 out of 10 is bad and 1 out of 10 is good (it seems the wrong way around to me, but what do I know?), anyway when I (has to be “I” as I can only really talk for myself) hit a 10 out of 10 it is horrendous I just don’t know what do do with myself, I think about ending it all to stop the pain, there doesn’t have to be a reason for hitting a 10 it just happens sometimes. My last 10 was a couple of days ago and I ended up kneeling down with my face planted in the carpet and my ass in the air (not a pleasant thought I know!) my head was “buzzing” and my blood felt like it was boiling in my vains…….. Fuc*ing mental isn’t it, what a Fuc*ing nut job…… I should probably be to ashamed to tell people this, but i’m not, i’m not ashamed I have an illness, I have been in the past, but I have “accepted” it now and I am attempting to do something about it, so what have I got to be ashamed of……. Nothing!!

If you are struggling, if you are ashamed, if you are hiding your illness, please try another way…. You have nothing to be ashamed of, You don’t have to hide it, You will still struggle with it but you will be struggling with others, it is still very painful and frustrating but in asking for help I believe you will also help others. Those others you will be helping might be people with similar issues to you, they might be your parents, your children, your partner, your friends. The people around you that love you don’t know how to help you, they will try, they will be willing to do literally anything, but from my own experiences I know that whatever they do will be wrong….. If they keep asking “how are you today?” it will annoy you, but also when they stop asking that question it will also annoy you. (?)

Ask for help and “Accept” any help and support you are offered, it wont fix you over night but it will give you a fighting chance.

Keep smiling 🙂

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Booze at Christmas

I am a Bah Humbug / miserable git when it comes to Christmas, probably for many reasons not least of which the fact that it starts in October!!! Unfortunately I don’t believe in God, I don’t even like to type or say the “G” word, in fact when I did go to AA I wouldn’t say the “G” word at the start of the serenity prayer: –

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

Even the fact that it is called the Serenity “Prayer” bothers me a little bit, but nearly 11 years on from leaving the booze clinic I carry a coin with it on in my wallet. On one side it has the Serenity “thing” and the other side a butterfly with the words “Keep It Simple”, sounds daft but just looking at it gives me strength to stay off the booze. Of course being an alcoholic with mental health issues is never going to be “simple” but for me the answers are simple: –

Alcoholic = Avoid Booze

Mental Health = Ask for help and talk about it

I wish I could of done both of the above sooner than I did, but I can’t change that now I can change what I do moving forward and I have the wisdom to know the difference……

So, to the title of this post “Booze at Christmas” every year I can guarantee I will be asked the question “you will have a drink with your Christmas lunch wont you?” erm……nope! I also often get “if you haven’t had a drink for years surely that means you can control it now” erm……nope! Here’s the thing, there is a possibility that I could have one drink, there is the possibility that I could now drink like a gentleman but that’s a hell of a risk to take with my life and the lives of my family and friends. I was speaking with a guy the other day who has been soba for a couple of months and he was looking forward to his drink with Christmas lunch, I did say “I don’t think that is a good idea” but it’s not up to me and who knows he might be fine, but I am convinced I wouldn’t be. You won’t be surprised to hear that as an alcoholic I LOVE BOOZE, i’m not keen on the after effects of booze which is why I constantly had to top up the levels and if I had a drink I am sure I would only remember the good stuff and very soon it would be carnage.

“I have another drink in me, but I don’t have another recovery in me”

“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable”

My guess is I will be getting the question about a drink with Christmas lunch on a fairly regular basis now, that’s cool it’s funny, sometimes you have to laugh at yourself. I am fortunate to have a bunch of mates that were merciless when it came to taking the piss…. one of my favorite comments I received after getting soba was “get Mans a pint of cider it will be entertaining” I still use this comment now :).

If you have a problem with booze, do something about it. Stopping drinking wont fix your life, it won’t be easy and at times it will be FU**ING Horrendous but it will be one of the best things you ever do, for you, for your family and for your friends. Being an active alcoholic is a selfish game of manipulation and lies, getting soba is also very selfish for a while, maybe for ever, getting soba will be the only important thing in your life, but  that is what booze is, well it was for me, nothing mattered more than booze, NOTHING!!

If you have any questions about getting off the booze drop me a message on here, Twitter or Facebook, i’m not an expert but I have a little experience in this area!! Do bear in mind though I am an alcoholic, I wont be able to be your crutch i’m too selfish for that and if you get on my nerves I will tell you.

Have a bostin Christmas……… Bah Hum Bug!!!!

Keep Smiling 🙂

Answering a question

I asked on Facebook and Twitter if anyone had any questions because I had received a lot of amazing feedback and people contacting me away from the blog and here is the first questions I will answer.

Again I will stress these are my opinions, it is important to know there are properly trained people out there that would probably disagree with me.

“do you ever crave a beer and how did you stop?”

There is a very short answer to this question….. Yes and I don’t know…… but if you have been reading my blog you will know by now I never use 5 words if I can use a couple of hundred!!!

Yes I crave beer, wine, cider and most strongly for some reason Southern Comfort (with a little bit of ice, no mixers that is just madness!!!). I was in a pub yesterday ordering a “cup of tea” walking up to the bar I was looking at the good stuff but I know I can’t go there it would destroy me!! In AA there are phrases like “one day at a time” I think these are a few very important words with alcohol and indeed mental illness. I think other people set goals like I wont drink until the end of the week and then the end of next week and so on and if that works for them that’s great but for me it was one day at a time.

So in short I do crave alcohol, i’m not sure it is a physical crave more a mental crave I want the feeling of being relaxed and if i’m honest the feeling of being completely out of it. There is another saying I took from AA “I have another drink in me but I don’t have another recovery in me”. I could not go through getting off the booze again, it is not easy!!!

On the “how did you stop” part of the question there is a short answer to this as well “The Woodbourne Priory” I am ashamed to say I am not 100% sure of the guy’s name I would accredit most of the praise to, I think it was Chris. There is of course a whole big story prior to me going into the Priory but I will cut it short’ish. I tried Aquarius after it was suggested by a counselor I was seeing at the time (Shaun was the guy that got the ball rolling he is an amazing man who stopped pussyfooting around me and said “until we sort out your alcohol problem we will never sort out your depression”), unfortunately Aquarius didn’t work for me, I will stress however I know lots of people it did work for it is an amazing charity, the reason I think it didn’t work for me was I basically just lied through my alcoholic, selfish, incredibly manipulative teeth. I told them what I thought they wanted to know and then I stopped going, I didn’t want to stop drinking.

I never tried AA because that is for proper alcoholics, you know the guys on the bench begging for money…… What a tool I was to think like that but I am pretty sure I am not the only one thinking like that and if you are reading this with the same thoughts then you are wrong. I have mentioned AA a number of times now but unfortunately I do not got to AA anymore, I wish I did, I often think I may be in a better place if I had carried on with AA but I can’t change that now. I am a very stubborn person and unfortunately although I have taken things from AA I don’t always agree with the things said in AA. It is important at this point that I stress that AA has helped an awful lot of people and I have thought long and hard about saying “I don’t always agree…..” I do not want to say anything that could possibly harm anyone but that is my point when people think of alcoholics they think of AA and this is for a good reason they do an awful lot of good, BUT for me it wasn’t the answer and the reason I decided to say this is that if AA hasn’t or doesn’t work for you then I believe there are other options but you wont know if it is for you until you give it a try and I don’t mean just go once try it again and again and go when you don’t want to go it works for so many people.

I am going to contradict myself now as I said I would on the “About Me” page, I got a lot from AA. Part of the one month in the Priory was two AA meetings a week, there are some fantastic people in AA and being able to spend time with people who had been soba for 10, 20 years is inspirational and makes you realise it is possible. There are also people there that fall off the wagon and with their strength and the people around them they dust themselves off and get back on again, this is very hard to see but also inspirational there is no shame in relapsing you have been drinking for a long time there is no shock that you go back to it. I saw a guy who had been soba about 15 years start drinking again it was horrible to see but he stopped again. There were people that would relapse again and again but they kept going, there was one guy who shared that he thought he needed to relapse to make him understand he couldn’t control the drink. Everyone is different even though the stories they share mirror your life almost exactly they are different and need something different for them to get it.

Without a shadow of a doubt the Priory stopped me and probably saved my life, I was lucky I was in BUPA and got the treatment for an excess of about £250, in fact that was one of the reasons I did go into the clinic, I realised I was lucky and that not everyone had the opportunity to go to such a good clinic and if I didn’t go it would be like I was taking the piss out of those people (sorry I couldn’t think of better words to describe that).film Despicable Me 3

The clinic took me out of “real life” and allowed me to concentrate on the job in hand other people in there had visitors I decided I didn’t want visitors, there were 5 or 6 people in the group I was in we did a lot of group therapy (scary but so beneficial!!!) a lot of that group therapy was based around the 12 Steps. I struggled for a long time with these because I fixated on the word “God”, in the end I just ignored the God word and listened to the rest. The point at which I thought “I’ve got this” was we had to write our “life story” and read it to the group (yup scary!!). The others guys life stories were incredible and upsetting at the same time, it was then my turn so I read it out and got some great feedback “you are so brave” “you have been so honest” etc etc. Then it was Chris’s turn to give me feedback (Chris was the guy in charge who earlier in this post I said I would accredit him with most of the praise) I don’t remember his exact words but they were along the line of “you haven’t been brave, you haven’t been honest, you have let us in a little bit but you have given us what you think we wanted to here”. You may think “harsh” the other guys in the room thought that as well I could see it in their faces, but he was spot on. I had used my alcoholic manipulation skills and manipulated most of the room, fortunately apart from Chris. We had words about this but he was right and in challenging me he had made me see I wasn’t putting in the effort I should I was still lying to myself and everyone else. So rightly or wrongly I decided I would never be able to do everything they wanted from me so I had to find the tools I could use. I have heard it said “think of AA as a tool box and use the tools that are right for you” so my main tool is Step 1 – 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

Out of the 5 or 6 that were in my group I think I am the only one who never drank again, I could be wrong. I am pretty sure that the people in the group, the counselors and the people I met through AA thought I would not make it and lets be honest I still might not make it. People say “you are not an alcoholic anymore if you haven’t had a drink for over 10 years” I don’t agree with that I am still an alcoholic and will be until the day I die, I am just a soba alcoholic.

You can give up, even if you don’t want to. You may not want to but you know you have to, I still miss booze but I no longer have that option I look at it in this way “I abused alcohol so much I no longer have the right to enjoy it”. Again this might be right it might be wrong but it’s my sobriety and I don’t care if the experts agree with me or not. Reading through what I have just written I am thinking what a load of bollox so many contradictions but again I don’t care contradictions happen in life all the time especially in my mixed up brain, because I think one thing one day doesn’t mean I have to agree with that the next day. I disagree with myself all the time.

Keep smiling 🙂

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Booze and Depression

Ok, first of all I will stress that these are only my opinions and experiences.

For me I think my depression and alcoholism run hand in hand, like a lot of people I started drinking “down the tip” at about 14, cider, thunderbirds, something I think was called Scotsmac and I remember one particular bad decision one night to get pissed on QC Sherry (still can’t smell the stuff without feeling sick!). I don’t really remember when it got out of hand, probably from day one. When I went to Cavos with the lads when I was about 19 I had the temporary nickname of Olly Reed, to be fair I think another one of the guys was Keith Chegwin and there was another one tagged with an alcoholics name, I cant remember what that one was, probably George Best.

It is fair to say a lot of booze was drunk on that holiday and to be honest every time we went out. All the lads were drinkers, but if i’m honest I think I was different because I was the one getting the “Drunk and Disorderley’s”. The first time I was arrested was for trying to steal a policeman’s hat outside a local pub. I was later to be banned indefinitely from that pub and the next time I went in, while the land lord was on holiday, I got the shit beaten out of me. I don’t remember the beating at all, it involved 3 people from what I have been told one of them “karate chopped” me in the throat and then a fat C**t sat on my chest and beat me unconscious, which lead to all my front teeth having to be capped. There are many other stories that still to this day cause me a lot of shame, but I think the above is enough to demonstrate it was out of hand.Roblox Robux Hack 2017

I think I knew by the age of 20 I was an alcoholic it took me 10 years before I went into the booze clinic to do something seriously about it. I class that as 10 wasted years.

So why do I say booze and depression run hand in hand. I remember being a very shy kid, to the point that if I was washing my dads car on the drive and people were walking up the road I would hide. At 14 booze gave me some confidence, by 18 I was on antidepressants and by 20 I knew I was an alcoholic. Of course I may have suffered with depression even if I wasn’t an alcoholic but I feel the abuse of alcohol made things worse. Yes I dealt with the booze issue 10 years ago but I then just plodded on with life and the depression. Now I am 40 and have had what I can only describe as a mental breakdown, I don’t think the doctors use that term anymore but that’s the only way I can describe it. 10 years on from sorting out the booze issue I am “clinically depressed” with people using phrases like “disability”, “Mental Illness”, “Mental Health” (which I find very scary!!). I am waiting to see a psychiatrist (a very long wait but that’s a story for a different time!!!), waiting to see about other types of therapy, I have people from mental institutions calling me to give me “crisis numbers”, I am speaking with mental health charities. Its fair to say life is not a lot of fun at the moment and I class this 10 years after the booze clinic as another 10 wasted years.

During the 10 years from 20 to 30 I did things like not drinking for a couple of weeks to prove I wasn’t an alcoholic, but this is bull***t, all that does is it gets people off your back for a short while. All through the time I wasn’t drinking I knew I would be able to drink again soon. I also knew I would have to be cleverer and drink a bit when no-one was watching, try and behave a little better, it’s all bollox. It is said you have to hit “Rock Bottom” before you get off the booze, this is probably true, but let me tell you if you know you are an alcoholic “Rock Bottom” is fu**ing horrendous do something about it before you get there!!! They also say “you have to want to give up” i’m not sure that is true, I didn’t want to give up, yes life was hard at the end but the bad bits disappear when you are pissed off your box, there is no better feeling than being completely out of it. Booze owned me there was nothing more important to me than booze, nothing!!

I believe the reason I am where I am now it because I plodded along, yes I had accepted the depression, I had accepted life was miserable. I kept fighting it getting more and more tired, struggling harder each day to get out of bed and getting on with it, putting on my “Jon” mask every morning over and over again and eventually something just exploded in my head, I couldn’t fight it anymore. I believe if I had been more direct with my doctor and asked for more help sooner I would still be doing the job I love.

Please don’t let booze and depression begin to own you because when it does it will f**k you up!! You can give up the booze even if you love it as much as I did, I still miss it. From what I read now on Twitter and Facebook and plenty of other websites you can still have a great life with a mental illness but if you let it own you life will seem pointless, don’t get to the stage that you purposely get out of bed and get dressed for the sole reason to go and say goodbye to the cats before you throw yourself of a car park.

Get some help, help on the NHS will be hard and slow to get and the “system” will drive you mad, but keep going. When you are thinking its never going to get better it will seem real, it seemed real for me a couple of months ago. Now is still horrible for me I had to leave my brothers bonfire party earlier tonight I walked up the road in tears, but I do know I will come out the other side sooner or later.

Keep smiling 🙂

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Thoughts and feelings

This could go on for a while and probably make little sense???

It is my guess that people who know me will be surprised at some of this stuff. Recently the same person has said to me twice “you don’t looked depressed”. The guy who said it meant no harm by it, in fact I think he meant it as a sort of compliment but it does make me think. “What does someone with depression / mental illness look like?”

I was diagnosed with depression when I was about 18, I think initially I was embarrassed and ashamed for having depression but for a long time now I have been open about depression and my alcoholism. I think I hoped being open might help other people and also take the pressure of me.

I say I have been open but only on the surface, what I mean by this is I could be having a laugh and a joke with you at work but inside I hated myself. One guy fairly recently at work said to me “I’ve never met anyone who slates themselves as much as you do” we laughed it off but I knew this was the real me coming to the surface fighting with the “Jon” who people see. There is a lot of acting when you are depressed and it is very tiring being something you are not on the outside and something your are on the inside. It is a huge battle and I think finally this battle destroyed me. Now I can act like “Jon” for only very small periods of time before it makes me feel like i’m going mad.

My uncle John used to say when he was really down “that the way we saw him at that moment was the truth and that everything else is play acting”. I am sure there will be a lot of people that understand this.

I accepted my depression a long time ago, I accepted that I would probably have to take pills for the rest of my life and I tried to keep going, I accepted that on the outside life looked good but on the inside life was f**king miserable and pointless. I had my ups and downs and always got over the downs. That is until June this year I couldn’t fight it anymore I had now had a down that I couldn’t beat. The silly thing is that it was something very small that pushed me over the edge, my company car had a light bulb out and a tyre that needed changing, all I had to do was make a phone call and drive down the road from work about 2 miles and get it done,  but it just blew my mind!!!!!

I’ve gone on more than I had planned so I am going to finish with a list of thoughts and feelings: –Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

  • Suicidal Thoughts – They are real and they are painful!
  • Buzzing in the head that leads to crippling lows that make me unable to move
  • Child like, Unmanly, no control
  • Useless, pathetic, pointless, waste of a life, waste of a human being
  • Very poor concentration
  • Very poor motivation
  • Things I used to enjoy no longer interest me
  • Everything I do is crap – In July/August my camera pretty much kept me sane, I cant pick it up now because every picture I take is crap and I don’t understand the settings and how to fix problems.
  • Very little energy – a month a go I could only do 8 press ups :(, I started doing them on a regular basis and got up to being able to do 25 :). I haven’t done any for a couple of weeks because I just cant find the energy or motivation to do them, pathetic!!
  • A thousand thoughts running through my head but I don’t know what any of them are and I cant control them
  • “Normal” life is over
  • I want to be in hospital
  • I’m never going to have another meaningful relationship
  • Do I hear voices or are they just my thoughts?

I cant think of anymore at the moment, it has taken over an hour and a half to write this and my concentration has gone!! I hope some of this makes sense, I am now fighting the “this is sh*t thoughts, just delete it, no-one is interested” but if it is sh*t who cares its just my thoughts as they are now, tomorrow they will probably be different anyway.

Please feel free to leave a comment and even subscribe to get updates when I post something new.

Keep Smiling 🙂

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A bit about booze

As the title of the blog suggests booze has played a part in my life, although it does’t now on a physical basis it definitely still does on a mental basis!! I still miss booze a lot, but I know I cant handle it. We will speak about booze a lot as we move forward, if you have read the “About Me” page you will know I was fortunate enough to be in BUPA through a company I worked for for many years.

I spent a month in The Woodbourne Priory, so basically for an excess of about £250 I received £15000 worth of residential treatment, mainly group therapy. A lot of the therapy was based around “The 12 Steps”, I struggled a lot with these steps for reasons that don’t really matter at the moment but eventually I got Step 1: –

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable

Step 1 for me is very important, I miss alcohol, I love alcohol but I cannot go back there.

I don’t know if my abuse of booze is why I am now labelled with “Clinical Depression” don’t get me wrong I am happy to be labelled as it makes sense of so much. I think this is an important point, I have been soba for 10 years and I feel if I went back to booze it would destroy me, one phrase I got from AA is “I have another drink in me but I don’t have another recovery in me”. With this in mind a few months ago when I was changing my medication from Cipralex to Sertraline I was a complete mess and wanted to die and this thought came into my head “Start drinking it will ease the pain and it will give you the strength to kill yourself”.

I’m going to leave it there, but please you HAVE to know if you want to give up booze IT IS POSSIBLE, it’s painful but it is possible.