Three times I've been detoxed in the community - over ten years ago and twice in the last three - and three times I've returned to (initially) moderate drinking and straight on down the corridor, through the door, past the cliche and back in alcoholic trouble again.
So, I do have some experience of the problems of being sober. Yep. The problems of being sober. As part of the Therapeutic Day Programme (TDP) in hospital we were asked to recognised dangerous situations that might precipitate a lapse, or full blown relapse: sobriety is on that list.
And, no, it's not some piece of therapeutic smartarsery or semantics (or should that be semiotics pedantry fans?) because of course you can't relapse unless you're sober - nah, nah, nah, nah, naaaah. No. Sobriety is dangerous for us lot, particularly at the end of the early days. Or rather that's what I've found, and from speaking to professionals so have they - three months being a particularly dangerous time.
In the past, I've come out of detox with a real sense of euphoria and hello-clouds-hello-sky-hello-challenges-of-life spirit of the blitz. Not really this time. I had my euphoria in hospital when I found I was coping with a hot-house atmosphere and people who I wouldn't normally necessarily spend time with and doing fine and enjoying meeting different people.
It's passed remarkably quickly though. The slight annoyances of the area in which we live - which I have blasted into the stratosphere of planet paranoia are the main reason. I also had a very good and demanding job after one of my recent detoxes and with that as an all-consuming spur managed an encouraging six months sober. The other two ended after three - the first time it was naivety, dishonesty with myself and boredom (my greatest foe I think, greater even that tiny Jermaine De Foe). I had a job but, again, was unhappy with my situation - largely living in a city. I really am not very good at large numbers of people, I'm a country boy by birth, upbringing and inclination and find cities tend to grind me down.
But, I - and again, the pro's agree and make a positive mantra of this one - should treat these 'failures' as lessons in recovery.
So. Previous detox failures have folded soggily around the problems of boredom and stress and shifting of addiction to something else - in the case of the six month one marijuana and porn. So (and yes, I am this thick) these must be addressed and or avoided.
I'm doing my best at keeping busy and making lots of appointments. But, I'm also trying to be realistic and not expect myself to immediately write novels, screenplays and the like and aiming to get into some sort of part time work within three months and I started writing a short story today. I've also looked at taking up a martial art and have found several local clubs - now comes the scary step of emailing them to see if I can join in. Stress, I'm doing less well with and the exercise is an attempt to address this. But, I mustn't be too hard on myself, I've just stripped away my entire coping mechanism for life and it's going to take a bit of time to build a new one. I've avoided panic attacks so far, I'm booked in for counselling, I can go back to my volunteering soon, I'm preparing for work - NOW, ALL THIS NEEDS TO BE FOLLOWED UP. This is where I have fallen down in the past.
The next danger comes next week when that most terrible of things will come to pass - Cardiff Drunk will be home alone! Zoinks. Beyond alerting Interpol what are we to do. I do know that the travelling away of Mrs CD has precipitated even worse levels of self-destructive drinking than in the past. Look, it's a danger, it's a trigger, so we see how it goes - Mr Antabuse remains in my insides and at my side. I have at least five appointments of varying heaviosity in the next week so... plans of a sort are in place.
I put New Things Tomorrow as part of my title and can't for the life of me work out what they are... I'll no doubt report them if they crop up. An empty dirty laundry basket and a much cleaner house have already arrived, so they don't count.
Onward and upward!
If you spent it, thank you for your time.