Friday, January 2, 2009

A big week - hospitals, volunteering, work

I'm working tomorrow; a long day for me, 9am till 3.30pm. But, the prospect of the early start has helped me stay sober today and do some busy round the house stuff.

I've got a couple of big days this week. Wednesday I work in the evening, but also have to get myself to a hospital in north Cardiff for an assessment prior to entering the therapy programme there. This would normally follow an in-patient detox, but the doctor from the Community Addiction Unit (CAU) after hearing of my relatively successful self-detox has sent me along early doors.

I don't know quite what to expect from such an appointment but I'm not hugely keen on the idea of group therapy - one of the reasons I still kick against Alcoholics Anonymous (suggested by both my GP and the CAU doctor - the organisation's much mulled over religious aspects also give me pause for thought). I've been in group therapy before and lasted one session.

Oh, I was but a youngster then, and drunk in North London. I'd done my detox and went along to the group therapy with, I think, a pretty open mind about what was going to happen.

It was, to my mind, a disaster.

You'll have gathered that without six pints in me I'm pretty chary of talking to anyone I don't already know. I did manage to speak up given the opportunity but there were stronger personalities there who took over and, sad to recount, it became an alcoholic misery competition straight out of Monty Python's Four Yorkshiremen sketch.

"Well, I was drinking a bottle of whisky a day."

"A day! I'd got through that by lunch, then I was off to the pub till closing time."

"I didn't mention the vodka yet. And, the pubs never closed for me, I was king of the lock-in and a mate and me always used to buy four pints at last orders if they were shutting on time."

And so on and so on.

There's a serious point to this I think. I have (and I know this is pretty stupid) felt something of a lightweight and therefor, less deserving of serious help. Since my early 20s I haven't drunk spirits and even when I've realised I'm addicted and reached out for help I am drinking a relatively small amount - I know 8 - 10 pints a day is not inconsiderable, but I would guess of those who reach out for help it's probably nothing much to write home about.

I've also never reached that magical place for drinkers - rock bottom (Carreg Cennen is top rock, this is different).

This is usually due to the efforts of others. My parents have constantly come to my rescue and bailed me out like a drunken investment bank. Girlfriends too have cushioned my fall.

I'm not beyond attempting to manufacture super lows, but rather in relation to depression and other problems than the drinking (to which, of course, I always cling to and distance it from blame in my problems: "It was something else, not my mate booze, he's here to help.")

I've spoken to counsellors about this. I'm so keen that everyone should think I am OK, so insistent that nothing is wrong, so desperate to avoid causing upset that I wait until I'm close to disaster and suicide before I ask for help.

Anyhow. That's all by-the-by.

The day after the assessment, I'm due to start my volunteering with Journeys, which is a good and positive thing. I'm hoping the work will be challenging and allow me to write - they're keen on the fact that I used to be a journalist - but I'm happy to stuff envelopes, type and make the tea to be honest.

Well, I shall no doubt let you know how it all goes.

Take it easy out there and be sure to wrap up warm now.

Diolch yn fawr, the CD.


Ruby Tuesday said...

hope work goes well for you tomorrow x

Mary LA said...

My sweet Welshman, how I remember thinking exactly the same things with the same flawed but compelling logic! I drank wine and not even that much, most of the time.

Let's look at it another way.

You are putting a severe depressant into your system on top of an untreated depression and various meds.

You are getting others around you to control your drinking and caretake, which does not build self-esteem.

You are drinking enough to get drunk each day and stop any chance of doing any sustained writing.

You are slowly eroding your health and damaging your liver.

I can look back now and see very clearly how the drinking impaired my life -- but at the time I wanted to drink far too much.


The Drinker said...

Thanks Ruby and Mary,

Your good wishes mean a hell of a lot.

I'm not drinking at the moment Mary - one-day-at-time and today is day six. I've just finished work and I'm not sure whether or not I'll drink today, I'll just see how it goes.

Hope all is well with yerselves.