Another beautiful day in Cardiff and a busy one for this recovering drunk. First, off to the Community addiction Unit (CAU), thence to see an employment coach at Pathways, the private scheme designed to help people get off Employment Support Allowance (the benefit formerly known as incapacity benefit) and back into work.
At the CAU I bumped into a fellow patient from the Therapeutic Day Programme and had a brief but pleasant chat. Yesterday, I saw a former inpatient in a nearby street, who I don't think really remembered exactly who I was but placed me from the ward and shared a quick few words on his will to stay dry - he's got a place in a dry house and seemed pretty happy with life.
Then, I got myself a counselling appointment at Cardiff Alcohol and Drugs Team. I had to ask to see a different person from my previous visits - I felt quite badly let down by her; she jumped from idea to idea, starting me on a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy path, then forgetting and setting off on something new. Finally, she decided Schema Therapy would be a top idea (because of the psychology degree she'd taken and seemed to mention every session). I was labelled as fitting the worthlessness schema, with which I had no problems - the handout, describing the personality type and the dreadful fear of being found out fitted me well. So, I was given two weeks until the next session to work on remembering my worthlessness: when did I first feel that way and why. So, I dutifully did. When I returned, I was told that I no longer needed counselling until I had completed my detox because there were other people with more serious problems. Fair enough, but not handled the best.
Anyway, I have an appointment for an assessment in a few weeks time.
I also have two more appointments as a result of my visit to pathways (where I saw two other detoxees!). I'll get my CV reviewed and I've been booked to see an occupational therapist to address my anxiety and put on a two day course on preparing for work. I don't hold out huge hope - I told the lady who took my welcome interview that I wad a journalist and she looked through the list and clicked customer services - computer say change career.
Still, I'm glad I did it, glad I made it out the house and kept an appointment.
I know one of my readers will be a little concerned to hear I then went to the pub for a couple of hours. But, it was fine - I saw C, drank squash (I'm a cheap date now ladies!) and watched Andy Murray cruise through to the Wimbledon semi's, which will no doubt be a cause for national over-excitement, he'll be knighted if he wins, they seem to do these things so much more quickly nowadays (sorry for showing my age).
We had people round for dinner. Outside, in the back garden. A source of great anxiety for me after the recent showers of coins over the wall. And, in due course over came a coin, which hit one of our guests on the head, then a ball - she stood up, shouted, "hello, would you like your ball back? Yes, but you'll stop throwing coins now, OK?" perfectly dealt with; why can't I do that. Of course if I knew the answer to that I probably wouldn't be recovering from a 25-year drinking binge and taking antidepressants every night.
My mood was not improved by discovering, on going to drive them home, that the car has been egged. Not aimed at us, just kids etc, but adding to my feeling of not belonging here and being under siege and frightened. Stupid? Maybe, but how I feel. What to do? Keep taking the tablets, ask for guidance from counsellors and try and keep some perspective - this is a generally nice area there's just a couple of naughty kids and a few gits none of whom have the least interest in me, my life, or making it a misery.
As the mighty Robert Zimmerman said: "Keep a clean head and always carry a lightbulb."
Cheers Sideshow Bob.
If you spent it, thank you for your time.