Knife’s Edge

Mental Health and Physical Health really do come hand in hand. It’s not uncommon for my mood to dip if I’m not active for a day or two so on reflection, it’s no wonder I felt my anxiousness increasing and irritability evident as I recovered from pulling a muscle in my neck (caused by an adventurous Yoga move in class on Wednesday). I haven’t ran since last Tuesday although I aim to go out tonight when my wife finishes work and college. I wouldn’t say I was depressed but I was certainly more vulnerable to allowing my mental health to deteriorate last week – something I’m more conscious of these days.

My mental health is constantly on a knife’s edge, meaning I can go from in a good place to a pretty bad place very quickly. I’m not diagnosed Bipolar and wouldn’t describe my moods or behaviour as manic highs and lows but I’m like a row of dominos. Knock one and the rest follow before I know it. I felt that on Thursday especially, neck hurting, alone in the house at work, cancelling my planned run and then hitting a brick wall with my energy levels – I just wanted to curl up in a ball and go to bed. In reality I’m not sure if that would have done the trick, and it wasn’t really an option anyways. Work and family et all.

I found myself thinking about alcohol too. I wasn’t close to drinking but I did find myself thinking about the good days of beer gardens, glasses of wine in the garden and a tumbler of single malt in the bath after a long run in the cold. The feeling the alcohol would give me, that release and relaxation. Nothing else mattered.

I know this isn’t me anymore though and it’s the beast inside trying to trick yours truly into drinking again. I haven’t been counting days lately but know I’ve just passed 400 consecutive days of sobriety so it was important for me to hit back at my beast with how far I’ve come and that I’ve proven over a prolonged period that I don’t need booze in my body.

“Yes, but by staying sober for 400+ days has proved you don’t have a problem so a drink or two like a normal person wouldn’t kill you, would it?”

It does make me think whether there is any truth in that but then I remember what others say in recovery who have relapsed – something I haven’t experienced. Alcohol is an addictive substance so there is no such thing as controlling it. Maybe in the first instances but once the taste is back it is much harder to resist.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not immune to wishing I could just have a beer or two and call it quits every time but I know that I don’t solely drink alcohol for the flavour, I do it for the hit it gives me. Switches me off, numbs me and let’s me float. If it was for the flavour alone I’d never have bothered with it as a kid would I?!

The 0% Heineken I drink gives me a little taste of what I used to enjoy and I do (whether it’s a placebo or not) get a little lift from that cold bottle. I get questioned by others in recovery why I still want to mimic the experience of alcohol. My response is simple, it’s keeping me sober. And I stay sober one day at a time.

So, my mood has lifted over the busy weekend we had for my daughter’s birthday (and party!) and we are now in a new week – a quieter week where my main focuses beyond work and parenting will be attending a parents evening, a yoga class and a few runs. I also booked airport parking last night for my upcoming trip to Portugal with the better half. To celebrate our 10 years of marriage we are having three nights in the Algarve without the bambinos. Much needed relaxation for both of us but I’m also conscious it’s another ‘milestone’ event to work through where I’ll be sober in the Sun. Holidays abroad have always heavily involved booze in the post!

It’s still three weeks away so no doubt I’ll be rambling about it nearer the time. Back to work I go, I just wanted to offload on my lunch break!

Author: Happy Daddy

A married thirtysomething Dad of two young daughters navigating my way through life a day at a time

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