Thursday, December 11, 2008

Goods and bads.

I really meant to write something yesterday evening but by the time I'd got home from work, had some dinner and taken my pill I was off to the land of nod.

I got myself hyper yesterday by drinking too much coffee. Stupid Cardiff Drunk, bad Cardiff Drunk. It doesn't inspire any positive activity though, just adds to the racing of my thoughts and leaves me clicking round t'web looking for places where I can find some sort of interactivity.

That's good to an extent. I go the Brighteye forum and leave long-winded bits of advice for other drinkers. Sadly, I also end up at the Guardian's website, leaving comments. That should be fine, but, you leave a comment in order to get a reaction, so you hang around and click across the site leaving your worthless four pen'orth but you end up constantly checking back to see who's called you a worthless dink and wondering how you can find a way to call them a worthless dink too - but, like in a cleverer way.

Some days I think the internet is just a bad thing. The more we are able to talk to each other, the more we insult, belittle and argue - all anonymous of course.

I did make it to my volunteering meeting though, with Journeys, a charity for sufferers of depression in Wales - whose offices happen to be a matter of a few hundred yards from my house. They only have a staff of four and they all seem lovely people. There is a part of me that still believes depression is a quite natural reaction to this mad old world of ours (it's a view I think I first came across through a Marxist soul band called The Make Up, but don't quote me on that), and for people who are gentle and kind and thoughtful this world, which is so often cruel, grasping and stupid, depression is a given.

Today, I am due to go into their offices again to start my volunteering. We agreed that a very gentle start is the best way - I'm going to do two hours a week. But I hope it will be good for me and even for my employment prospects. They have a newsletter they need help with and were quite chuffed that I had journalistic experience.

Then, on to work. Training still - it's training for ten weeks.

I have to be careful what I say about this. One of the first items on the agenda was that we must not bring the company into disrepute and our trainer told us about a girl who moaned about working for them on Facebook - she and several others who had contributed to her page were booted out.

I haven't named the company I'm working for (and there are many call centres in South Wales; it's the new mining), and, because I'm keen not to further damage any chances of future work by having employers google my name to find - oh, he's a verbose, depressed alcoholic - I'm doing the best I can to remain anonymous. I'm also hugely grateful that they've given me a job after two years on the scrapheap, so, to be honest I'm not inclined to be critical of them.

Yesterday scared the living McCartneys out of me. We were sent up to the call centre itself and allowed to listen in to calls. The business they're in is quite complex and watching the girl I was assigned to listen to flicking through screen after screen to find the information she needed at enormous speed was both awe and fear inspiring.

I did have a touch of the I can't ever do this. But, I must remember that I have had a demanding job before and picked that up as I went along. It's also convinced me I'm really going to have to work at the training - I mentioned that my memory made school exams a doddle for me and kind of set in stone a thought that I really don't have to try. I am going to have to try and try very hard.

On my way back from work something extraordinary happened. Well, not quite, but, for the first time in as long as I can remember I felt like a normal human being again - a member of the working, not shut in all day quivering with fear until it's time to drink, walking, talking, living human race.

Exercise is known to be good for depression, so I'm sure that the brisk 20 minutes to and from work are doing me a bit of good as well, as is the necessity to appear relatively smart and clean - something I'd really let go on - as many drinkers no doubt do.

I made it through yesterday with four Diazepam and I'm not sure they were needed to deal with what you would call alcohol withdrawal symptoms, but, simply anxiety and (and this is bad) I love anything that alters my consciousness. I'm going to have to stop that - although there are only about eight tablets left now.

In terms of my drinking I'm still in a dangerous place. I'm a very long way from coming to a decision that I will never drink again - it's all I know, and although I'm doing my best to fill my days and find ways to be useful and productive I know I'll drink again. What I have to hope is that I'll have made enough changes in my life for drink to be the social lubricant it is for so many other people. I'm probably being stupid, I'm probably in denial, but I hit my first goal - to be able to work and I'm on my way to the next, which is to go a week without a drink.

We shall see, and be assured, you'll be the first to know.

Cheers all.

The Cardiff Drunk.

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