Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Two paths diverge. Dangers of success. (Digression)

This feels a dangerous time. Thanks to my lovely GP and his Diazepam I'm well on the way to detoxing - day two is reckoned to be the worse for withdrawal and I'm on day four now, the cravings are lessening each day.

Why dangerous then? Well, next week I'm due back at the Community Addictions Unit for my next appointment. What do I tell them?

Well, I will tell them my GP prescribed me Diazepam and with the help of that I've managed however many days I've managed without a drink and that, all things considered, I'm really very grateful and thank you very much, but I don't need a detox, sorry to waste your time and all that.

And, with that, I reckon I'll be out of treatment.

The danger is of course the danger of confidence - the 'I can do this' that could so easily to lead to the 'I can have a drink' and so on and so on and so on.

I believe it's an Alcoholics Anonymous maxim, an urging towards abstinence, that to continue to do the same thing and to expect a different outcome is a sort of insanity.

Now, if I look back through my life - which I do far too often, far too intensely and in a brooding, self-loathing way that leaves me frozen by fear and convinced, "I will always fail, I will always frick up, I should never bother doing anything, nothing good will come of it." - if I look back through my life, the real miseries, toss ups, mess ups, screw ups, breakdowns and crashes have all involved alcohol.

I sailed through my O' Levels - this was a bad thing in many ways. I'm cursed or blessed with a photographic memory, probably technically an eidetic memory. I have total recall - talk to me and I can repeat back to you word for word. I always knew I had a good memory but it was crystalised on a training course I once had to do while working as a library assistant in London. There was an exercise designed to illustrate how poorly people listen, how information gets distorted in the telling, Chinese whispers (I'm pretty sure that's not a very PC term, but it works). (No, I don't recall quite why we had to go on the course or how it helped us be better library assistants, but it was a morning out of work.) We were all sent out of the room and had to come in one by one to listen to a hugely complicated account of a car crash and then pass it on to the next person. I went first. At the end of the exercise the trainer told me they'd been doing that exercise for ten years and I was the first person who'd ever completely, word for word, recounted the story correctly.

So much, and so whoopee do for me, but that memory meant I was a whizz at exams (I'm still a killer at pub quizzes if you ever need someone for a team) - I never had to revise, as long as I went to the lessons and heard what I had to hear that was it, it was a doddle. By the way, I'm not implying any higher intelligence here, I couldn't reason my way out of a paper bag and have shown time and time again that I can't think my way out of a bottle.

But, it set a pattern in my mind. I gave up on trying academically because I didn't have to (see, I told you I was essentially stupid) and so I got through my A Levels easily too and off to university. By that time of course I was drinking - like a particularly thirsty fish, bottles of spirits every day - so my memory wasn't even getting filled with what it needed to spew out the exam passing rubbish. I was also taking a lot of drugs - speed, opium, acid, weed, anything we could get our hands on and I say our because alcoholics and addicts seek each other out, it's natural.

Now, you see, I've gone completely off track, but I'll leave this up because it's all true and might be interesting, and return to my danger path in the next post.

I hate my memory. It's a right royal pain in the fundament to remember everything that's been said to you, and being rather inclined towards depressive thinking, if it's something hurtful, if it's a moment of fear or pain, then I seem to reserve the full technicolour wide screen recall for that.

I've gone on about self-medicating before and escaping my memory has certainly made alcohol a very seductive drug, 'he drinks to forget', goes the cliche, and that's certainly true. I've been a heavy drinker and/or drug user for 20 years now and in that sense it's certainly had limited success - my memory is starting to fail me.

This whole post has been one long digression, for which I apologise.

If you spent it, thank you for your time.

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