There is one certainty. Drinking would have killed me in one of three ways. I’d have either had an accident (I’ve lost count of the amount of times I ended up in hospital after trips and falls pissed), I’d have drank myself to death over time or I’d have completed suicide. My mental health was at rock bottom and once I drank to excess the guilt cycle sped up and I wanted to end the misery I was causing my family and myself.
So with that in mind as I sit here this morning – sun shining through the French Doors, my youngest daughter watching and laughing at ‘Ben & Holly’ on the iPad , me sitting with my glass of Mango & Apple Juice – is it worth returning to alcohol?
Is that bottle of beer in the garden worth it? Is that pint of Guinness down the pub worth it? Is that bottle of red wine with my wife in the house tonight worth it? Next time I’m flying home from working away on my own is that mid flight gin and tonic worth it? Is the pint of cider at the cricket worth it? The glass of champagne at my daughter’s wedding? The pint of real ale when holidaying in the countryside?
The short term pleasure of having an alcoholic drink in exchange for my death. Would you, in my shoes?
No thanks. That’s why I have put in place my Big Plan using AVRT (Addictive Voice Recognition Technique) which gives me complete control over my addiction – Today, tomorrow and next year.
I have too much to lose to pick up again. I didn’t apply this mindset when I succumbed to whisky after 458 days of abstinence, I’d largely winged it. It has made me realise that relapse is very real and very dangerous. It’s not part of recovery because recovery doesn’t involve drinking again so I had to take it on the chin and make some changes to my approach to alcohol. I will never be able to moderate and have accepted that. There is no maybe about it, I won’t consume again in my lifetime because it will kill me. A death sentence. Extreme? No, not at all.
Dr George Sheehan once said “We are all an experiment of one”. I’ll leave you with that.
My previous post has stirred up quite a debate. I did wonder if it would! I’m not sure if it came across cocky or self assured (or in some people’s eyes ‘unrealistic’ ) but my argument has been quite simple. Actually, it’s not even an argument because I’m not challenging anybody or anything, I’m simply sharing how I’m staying sober and looking after my mental health. People can choose to read or skip past. I’m not here to give everyone guidance and promise results because I can only control me. If people can relate, feel inspired or even better, remain sober off the back of reading I’m so pleased to hear this but that’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to share my story and anything else is out of my control.
I didn’t realise there could be so much bitterness and cult like behaviour in the recovery community at times. If you dare to challenge the archaic ways of treatment (again, I say challenge loosely) by sharing an alternative way of thinking and living day to day in sobriety you get chastised for it. Of course, it’s a minority but the minority are normally the loudest and the hardest to shake off.
It reminds me of the other great social media subject – Politics. People get so nasty and aggressive with you if you disagree with a political statement, vote for a party that doesn’t match theirs or even ask a question that is then interpreted as disputing their view. Behind the keyboard folk lose all basic human decency and it gets bloody nasty in the social media world. I love using Twitter and Instagram (don’t bother with Facebook) to engage, learn and share but I do have to monitor my time on there because it can suck the life out of you and make you feel like shit when people who don’t even know you have a pop or accuse you of something.
I’m hardly a saint and if I’m rattled I’ll react but generally speaking I try to ignore the negativity and focus on the great connections I make in the virtual sphere. The time I used to spend drinking I now spend among other things writing my blog and often discussing recovery via the #recoveryposse hashtag on Twitter. I’ve met (if I can use that description) some great people at varying points in their recovery from those who have 30 years sobriety in AA to those who relapse regularly but thankfully keep coming back. I respect anybody who is prepared to open up and admit they need help and are honest about where they are at. We don’t have the beauty of face to face interactions on social media so a lot is interpreted from an emoji, a tweet or a photo.
Maybe that’s why I need ease up a little. I know what I mean every time I write a blog post or share a tweet but without the beauty of body language and tone of voice you will always find people taking things you say differently. To one person I may come across vulnerable, willing to learn and good hearted. The next person might think Happy Daddy is an obnoxious prick!
Anyways, that’s enough screen time for one day. I’ve been in front of a computer all day and when away from my work desk I’ve been on my phone. All this with conjunctivitis too. Time for bed and a few pages of my new best friend… ‘Rational Recovery’ by Jack Trimpey.