Now that title may look rather sad and tragic even. But, I knew I was going to drink again at some point and I'm quite relaxed about it.
Yesterday went pretty well in fact. Training at work was rather good fun. Lots of little games and stuff, quite silly and enjoyable. It was the first day I had a 9am start and I made it on time which greatly pleased me - despite getting nearly half way to the call centre before realising I'd left my badge at home and having to race back to get it. Bit of exercise you see, that's good for depression - or rather that's good for alleviating depression.
Since stopping drinking last Friday, my energy levels have shot through the roof and I've just been much better in every way.
But, I know I'm not ready to completely abstain, and, I hope I don't need to. Now, this may be stupid, this may be fooling myself, this may be denial. But, I know I need to try and find a place with drink where I can enjoy it socially and responsibly. Quite simply it's been such a part of my life that I can't imagine life without it.
I'm fairly relaxed too about the fact that when I do drink I am likely to drink too much. What I am desperate to avoid is the awful and joyless necessity to grind my way through eight pints a day. There's quite a debate about this at the Brighteye forums I use.
There's a thread for people who want to cut down and drink socially, which is regularly invaded by a couple of posters who, with a missionary zeal, insist all these people are fooling themselves; that anyone who has had a problem with alcohol should label themselves an alcoholic and practice abstinence.
There's another thread there called Fear Of Sobriety, which I really recognise. A lot of people post on there describing the sort of problems I've had with racing thoughts and finding alcohol the best way to calm a skittering brain - lawks, do I recognise that.
I already feel in a better place. I have a job, which I am absolutely not going to do anything to jeopardise. I'm happier and busier than I've been for a long time - housework mainly, but also going out every day for some sort of walk. I've got my voluntary work to start up next week - after Thursday's false start. I'm going to email them after this with a couple of ideas for their newsletter.
Let's see yesterday's drink diary then.
I intended to go out just to watch the football and have maybe four pints in so doing. (You may be saying denial already, particularly after you've read what actually happened).
It was Mrs Cardiff Drunk's works Christmas do. She doesn't enjoy these occasions at all and worked herself into quite a palaver at the thought of it, so she asked me to come along.
So, off to the C I went at about six and had three pints of weak bitter (that's part of the plan you see - I always used to drink the strongest stuff I could, without slipping over into those drinks I consider beyond the pale, like Special Brew, white cider and the like - I've had quite enough of those in the past).
Then Mrs CD came along and into town we went where I drank two pints of 5% lager, a black Russian and once home, a bottle of Dragon Stout - which was very small, but a naughty 7%.
Doesn't sound too great does it? But, I'm cool with it, it was a one off, a special occasion and all that and there was no way I was going to cope with the 22 work colleagues of Mrs CD, very few of whom I know.
The Dragon Stout I bought for nostalgic reasons. I saw it in a Kurdish shop as we walked home - I had a nice, tiddly chat with the man behind the counter, telling him nos da was Welsh for good night and him telling me the Kurdish equivalent, which I've now forgotten apart from it ends with Osh. We had a natter about the PKK and Kurdish nationalism - something I was taught about by a minicab driver in London, drinking heavily and breaking your inhibitions down can be a real help with learning my friends.
I went to university in Birmingham - many, many moons ago now - and lived in an appallingly drunk and drugged up household in Balsall Heath. The area may well have changed by now, but, when me and my legless compadres lived there it was notorious as a red light district and drug dealing area - there was even a road, Cheddar Road it was called, which had Amsterdam-style sex workers sitting, scantily clad in the windows of the nondescript terraced houses there. It was the least discreet type of prostitution you can imagine and as the road was a dead end you could assume that every car that went down there was doing so for one purpose alone.
There was plenty of on-street dealing. We only ever bought cannabis on the street but I'll assume that there was plenty of other stuff on offer. In fact, one memorable night, a housemate and I were out on the streets after coming back from a club, desperate to find something to smoke, and, I (speeding and drunk to hell) ended up going into a crack house to see if anyone had any marijuana on offer - I never want to do that again, it scared the bejeeber-creepers out of me.
In the end, a street walking prostitute took pity on us - it must have been about 3.30am - and called her pimp for us. He drove us to his place and sold us a big bag of home grown weed, then very kindly dropped us back at ours. Now that's what I call customer service.
Anyway. Most of the dealers were West Indian in origin and had pretty much taken over the local pub called the Cannon Hill - we were much too scared to go in there. Racism and discrimination of any sort profoundly depresses and repulses me, but, this was an all black pub and we formed the impression (we were young and foolish and inexperienced and two of the four came from rural West Country towns with little or no ethnic mix) that white faces would not be welcomed there.
The dealers would all sit outside drinking bottles of Dragon Stout, which is a West Indian brew, and it was in the local shops that we got a taste for it.
We actually got well known enough among the local dealers that they have us nicknames - something we considered quite an achievement. "Hey Longhairs," they would assail us, offering their wares, which was simply descriptive of how we looked in those days of grunge and grebo, but, after a while, we graduated to become "The Lightning Posse." Perhaps I'm full of rubbish and they shouted that at everyone, but, foolishly or not, we were right proud of that.
This morning, after a bit of a binge, I did feel a little rough around the edges, but a proper breakfast, plenty of juice and detox tea with milk thistle, has done the trick and I don't feel as bad as I used to every single morning.
The plan today is to keep busy this morning and then pop out for the 4pm football. The test is to STOP after what will probably be four pints of weak bitter again. That's the test. And that's when I'll start to see how I'm doing. After that I'm working Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so I don't want to drink at all for those three days.
I'll let you know how it goes. Maybe I'm being an idiot. We shall see.
All the best.
The Cardiff Drunk.