Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Antabuse works! But, does it have its dangers?

I can now say officially that Antabuse works.

I don't mean that of course, I'm not an official of anything, barely even the boss of me and I don't wear a uniform or have a clip board.

What I mean to say is that I accidentally ingested some alcohol - nearly a week ago now, last Friday - and the Antabuse in my system reacted badly to it in the promised way.

We had someone over for dinner and Mrs CD cooked. I remember her asking if anyone minded if she put some wine in the sauce (our guest had a couple of food allergies) and no-one did. Least of all me, I believed it would be cooked off.

Sadly, dear reader, it was not.

So. Later that evening my heart started to race. I did notice it at the time, but didn't pay it too much attention. I'd had a couple of spliffs and found the experience of having a guest over (both she and Mrs CD drank a bit of wine and got a bit tiddly) nerve wracking.

In the morning however, it was obvious that this was more than a passing little bit of physical silliness.

I woke up with the racing heart still racing and a headache. I went downstairs to make a cup of tea for us both and the effort made me light-headed and shaky. Mrs CD tried to take my pulse when I told her and reported that it was too irregular to count.

I must admit I wasn't overly concerned. Apart from anything, I pay my physical health very little regard and, through all the years of drinking as much as anything, I'm used to being in bad physical state - it's my default setting. But, we did phone NHS direct, who were very nice and said if it got any worse we should call an ambulance.

It didn't, so we didn't.

It had passed by Sunday and on Monday I had the strange feeling of being hungover.

I mentioned this to my website pal when I went round - it put me out of action for a whole day after all - and he popped Antabuse into google and got up the wikipedia page.

It turns out that Antabuse stops the breakdown of dopamine too. I am not a chemist, I'm not very much, but I am starting to get more and more wary of the stuff that's going on in my brain and wondering if it's part of the reason that I feel so grey and flat and emotionless at the minute.

My brain is being treated by Antabuse (as it turns out); Trazadone (a sort of SSRI antidepressant), and Campral, and I don't have any emotions! Really, that's how it feels - I've spoken about it in counselling in terms of my lack of anger about anything, and recently my lack of pleasure in anything, and it's put down to the things the rest of my addiction is put down to - stuff from childhood. But, maybe there's a chemical thing too. I wonder what it's like to not f**k up your brain chemistry, to just have the natural stuff in there? I wonder, because I don't know - I've been taking antidepressants for a dozen years.

I'd like to find out. I'd like to be normal.

If you spent it, thank you for your time.

At the lip of the slough of despond.

I've never been to Slough (which may have been unfairly maligned in all sorts of way), I have been to despond quite regularly and I don't wish to go there again, have I ever been to me? Not sure, I'm working on it in counselling... In fact, I think I have - I spend a fair amount of time thinking about how terrible/awful/cowardly/stupid/pointless and so on and so on I am, and, I've thought a good deal about how to change that.

I did go into a down recently. People who read this at all regularly will be unsurprised that it coincided with MRS Cardiff Drunk going away for work again.

I haven't drunk, so that's a good thing. But I overdid it on the wacky backy (I was at the Community Addiction Unit this morning and got talking to a lad who was weaning himself off Cider, and, with the help of an increased marijuana intake, he reckoned, had got down from 16 pints a day to four or five) and got lazy and scared again.


Not as scared as I have been actually and here I can see that the work I do after counselling does have some effect, so a plus point in the 'does it work' debate. Constantly visualising myself as having a strong core really is helping. In anxiety terms I'm not so bad.

But dope makes you introverted and makes your thoughts more important - that's the effect on me anyway, others claim to be immune and we're all our own unique little balls of chemicals and neurons and string and paper aren't we. So, it's ergo, a bad thing for me, who is far too inclined that way.

I slipped into that slough for a couple of days and was coming out of it today - getting out of bed, going down to the CAU to take my Antabuse, doing some shopping, feeling a bit busy - until some loon shouted at me from a passing car. It happened a few weeks ago too, when Mrs CD and I were walking along a busy main road near here. Now, I'm pretty convinced that this was the same car and I'm wracking my brains as to who I might have offended. It's not great, but I could cope with a bit of random abuse and put it down to idiocy, but why twice? I haven't come into contact with anyone who, offended by me, would act in such a manner. All I can do is hope it goes away, but it's a tiny little piece of grit in my pearl.

So, I do feel better today and I have counselling tomorrow, which I'm looking forward to. My homework was to be more assertive in my day to day life, which I don't know if I've achieved.

I think I'm going to go back to the does it work question with my counsellor - we've come to a fair few conclusions about the whys of my addictive behaviour, and I think I know a couple more I've kept to myself, but I really want to know that it works.

This post is going on a little bit, so I shall consign my other two thoughts (that's a lot for me) to another post.

If you spent it, thank you for your time - if you're struggling with something you have my love. Leave a comment, I do try and reply when I can.

Nos da.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I haven't drunk anything - er, that's it really.

I haven't been on here much of late. That's a bad thing in its way but not a disaster - I enjoy writing this and it feels like useful therapy. When I can't face it, that means there's something going on I can't face - facing things, we have been told, is a good thing.

I haven't drunk, I'm still sober. I haven't come close to drinking; I still think about it every day - the taste, the warmth, the freedom from fear.

My work on anxiety has gone on pretty well, I'm visualising myself as a super powerful metal ball and forswearing strong coffee has been a great success. The local children are much less a source of absolute, go-back-to-bed misery. They still make me jumpy, but I'm learning to cope with that.

Mrs CD went away last week - the first in a series of trips off - and I survived OK. I kept what appointments I had and took my medication with a decent amount of regularity. I cooked for myself and tried to keep busy. I wasted too much time in marijuana-monged, not quite misery, but nothingness and I need to watch myself with dope - you name it, I'll overdo it.

I've also had another counselling session since I've been here and that too continues to be useful and productive. My homework this time was to be more assertive of my own needs in my relationship with Mrs CD. Have I done much on this? No, not really. It's tough, I'm so grateful to her for her support and love that I don't want to deny her anything; usually that's OK, but it does mean going along with stuff I'm not so enamoured of - nothing like slaughtering whales when I don't think you should slaughter whales, just little things.

I'm looking forward to the next session. I always come out a little drained, in a good way, and feeling I've talked about something that I needed to talk about. I've been busy-ish on my other blog - the one that might become a business at some point, but I find myself shying away from it too much - thinking I'm not up to it and therefore not even trying anything.

There we go, quite a long way of saying I haven't drunk anything.

If you spent it, thank you for your time and I hope you're good too.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hey, what's that noise

I'd say I'm going along pretty well at the moment. Considering. Considering what? Considering that I only stopped drinking three months and a few days ago.

I'm still jittery as hell and fearful and I still have up and down days - Rome wasn't built in a day and if it had have been it would have been crap and we wouldn't be making proverbs out of it.

I still don't like noises in the street. I still probably smoke too much dope - any dope may well be too much dope. Should I worry about this? I do, of course, and when I'm having a bad time with my nerves and racing thoughts then I worry about it and swear I won't smoke so much. And yet I do. Part of me justifies this as nothing too bad - nobody, or not many people, are completely clean and sober and it was drink I was physically addicted too. I know there's a basic human need to alter consciousness and I probably need to indulge it in some way or another. My intake is modest but it's quite routine now and not related to any particular ceremony or treat. We shall see how things go on that - alcohol and coffee gone, will I make it three?

I'm kind of looking forward to going to counselling. It's opened up something in me and I want to find out more. What I really want to know is will it work? There's something pretty clear we've identified, a deep-seated lack of self worth which almost certainly has its routes in my childhood. But does knowing this - which I guess on a subconscious level I already knew - make it go away. Is there a catharsis in which all that changes - poof, as if by magic. I f*****g hope so, that would be cracking - going through some sort of tearful door and walking out the other side with the self worth that should be there, with the wall to expressing any feeling, emotion, opinion or even acknowledgement of my own existence and importance as an individual broken down.

I'm guessing it doesn't work like that. I'm guessing I have to build that myself, which is fair enough, but it seems like quite a process at the moment; a long road to walk and I don't know if I have the energy for that.

I'm going to ask. I've managed to be more honest with this counsellor than I have before. I'm thinking about what I say rather than saying what I think she wants to hear.

This seems to be a post quite like life at the moment. Not a great deal of point to it really but quite slow and thoughtful. I think I'm marking today down as a bit of a low one really. I hope tomorrow is better. It usually is and I'm usually better in the mornings, then the day just seems to slip downhill somehow.

If you spent it, thank you for your time.

Cardiff Drunk.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Better times

Things have improved here at Cardiff Drunk Towers.

Stopping the coffee has been a big thing. A very big thing indeed. I'm writing this with a cup of green tea at my side, so I certainly haven't forsworn all caffeine, but ditching the enormous pot of syrupy black stuff with which I used to start each day has been so beneficial.

I've got more energy, I sleep better, I'm avoiding the hideous jitters that used to plague me, and Mrs CD has been delighted to note that the bags under my eyes have gone.

There's also been a circumstantial change that has made a huge, in fact the biggest, difference, and that is that the kids have gone. Where they've gone I don't know, but gone they have and that's fantastic. There are still kids around, of course, and still noisy and I still have to walk past them in the street, but apart from a flutter there's not much for me to deal with.

I've been back to counselling too and had another good session. A lot of it relates back to my childhood, when I got this idea of my own personal worthlessness - how this is defeated I don't know. But, I've done some good positive work with visualising - I was skeptical about this but it's working.

I initially chose a tree as the image of my inner core but that changed to a shiny steel ball. I don't really know why; it just came naturally and I guess subconsciously.

I've also done a little exercise. Nothing major, but more regular than I have done in the past. So, I now do 15 press ups-a-day. There's a big test for me today. I've been talking about going to a martial arts class for a while - talking and talking in fact - and this time I've gone as far as phoning an Aikido guy and tonight's the night of the class. Will I make it? My counsellor asked me how likely I thought it was that I would go - I said 50 - 60% and I reckon that still stands. My worries are about meeting new people and going out at night - which, up to now I've largely avoided.

I also stopped smoking dope for a few days when my nerves were at their worst but now I'm puffing again. In fact, I had a bad weekend in that respect - Mrs CD was away and that's always been a signal for binging while drinking. Nothing bad happened, apart from the fact that I was rather lazier than I should have been. I still ate properly and took my medication but I have to avoid this now I think. Mrs CD is away quite a bit over the next few months and, if I am to be able to say that I'm getting better and working hard at it in order to make a new life then I can't have times like these when I switch off my life and indulge myself.

I'm also keen to get into more of a routine. The website work is becoming quite an issue - there's simply too much of it for me to manage and I run away from it too easily thinking it's a big scary thing. But the web guy and I are now meeting regularly and looking at ways we can make a business out of this that might pay us both. In fact, tomorrow, we're both at a business start up course which is exciting.

I've also been asked to do some writing for another project - an exciting new sort of political movement. I've so far just managed to get myself into a tizzy about all this, but, hopefully we'll see the improvements continuing, and, if I make it Aikido class tonight I think I'll really have something to congratulate myself for - the obverse must not result in too much in the way of self-recrimination.

Mrs CD seems almost blissfully happy with how things are going with us and I'm quite a good house husband, keeping on top of washing, washing up and bits of cleaning. Next weekend we're going to try and move some stuff around to give me a proper office in which to work.

If you spent it, thank you for your time.