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Thursday, 30 June 2016

AD3

HELLO

Short post today as not much has happened, which I suppose is a good thing.
Woke up wobbly again after a better night’s sleep. Light headed and ever so slightly unsteady on my feet. Pronounced shakes still for the best part of the day, takes a lot of concentration to do stuff involving sharp hot or pointy objects. Against my better judgement I managed to get the lawn cut and still be in possession of all my toes.

Visit from the nurse this afternoon, she seemed happy with my progress so far, and confident for the rest of the detox. Come 5 oclock most days I will confess I still crave a drink, something that will probably never leave me, so looking at changes in routine to take this trigger point away. This is where the couch to 5k idea could help so much, also switching dog walking times and even just popping out with my camera. 

Been baking again today, Treacle and Ginger cake, only about 10000000 calories a portion but by crikey its tasty. Also made a load of bread rolls, ready for the family at the weekend. Lovely fresh bread to soak up all the juices from the 12 hour slow cooked Brisket we will be enjoying along with all the cakes. That reminds me, must dry rub my meat tonight. *Sniggers* This will be the first large social event we have attended where I will be totally dry. Luckily we are at home and everyone else will also be dry so everything should be ok. If the anxiety levels creep up too high I can escape for a while to regroup.

That’s about it for today, one thought I have been having is running another blog alongside this one so others can share their experiences. Maybe get some input from people who live or have lived with someone with a drink problem, get some perspective from the other side. If it can all be kept with a view to help and inform then I think it could become a useful tool.

What do you think?

More Tomorrow.


Wednesday, 29 June 2016

AD2

HELLO

Fair night’s sleep last night, bit of a lie as feeling a bit groggy. Today I found out two of the best things being dry for a couple of days:

1)First wee of the morning is much more aromatic
2)Solid stools

Unlike yesterday I awoke absolutely hangover free this morning, which is nice. Also completely off my box on lithium which is also nice. Every cloud etc. This is caused by the cumulative effect of the meds as they build up daily in my body. Took a few hours to motivate myself because of the fuzzy head, but as the dosage gradually reduces through the week this should improve. Managed a quick trip to the shops under Sarah`s supervision then home for my visit. Councillor seems very happy with my progress, pleased that we are managing to get out and about a little and also with my general mood.

To fight my rapid lethargy/ hyper swings I decided baking was once again the answer. We have family coming round at the weekend so stocking up on cakes today. Another lemon drizzle as the last one wasn’t brilliant and a chocolate marble cake prepared. Tomorrow it’s a treacle and ginger cake and loads of bread rolls for the pulled beef we will be preparing. For the cake I had to make stem ginger so the house now smells amazing. Still finding it hard to settle but at least I`ve stopped baking today.





As some of you know I played a large part in the setting up of Beerhouse, an incredibly successful micropub in Market Harborough. Nearly two years in and it’s the best venue for real and craft ales for miles.

The idea started on regular meetings with my friend Ivan, talking about how we could do so much better than all the pubs in Harborough, from a real ale point of view. After much deliberation and cogitation suitable premises were located and the ball was in motion.  I ran the very successful social media campaign for the launch, designed the layout of the pub, designed logos and slogans and engineered a buzz in the local media. Launched in December 2014 the place was an immediate success. 12 ever changing cask beers, several craft kegs and a huge bottle range taking the town by storm.

Beerhouse has gone from strength to strength but unfortunately has been a part of my downfall. After a long tough decision making process I decided that the two of us could no longer co-exist. Early March I decided that I could no longer maintain my position there and after a long talk with MD Ivan decided I should resign. This was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, but I know it was the right one. I am still extremely proud that I took the pub to the very successful place it is now, and to still be a shareholder. I hope you lot look after my baby for me!

Apparently tomorrow I can expect the worst of my shakes and also some extreme sweating. I`ll lt you know how this goes

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

AD 1

HELLO


Took my last daily meds about 10.30 last night and into bed about 11.30 ish. Terrible night’s sleep, waking a lot and very unsettled. Got a few hours early morning and woke at 8.00 with the most monumental hangover, which seems a bit unfair. It would seem that this is a common effect on the first few days of taking Librium. Soon cleared up though, right as rain by mid-morning. Lounged around for an hour or two then off up into town for the group. Not a brilliant turnout this week, two of us and three councillors. It varies from 0 to 7 or 8 weekly. This week we discussed Cost Benefit Analysis. Measuring the Advantages and disadvantages of using vs not using. It was an interesting exercise. We use this simple chart

I`d rather not completely show what was written at the group, some was personal to those present, but you should get the idea from the few I`ve added. It’s an interesting exercise to complete for your preferred drug, if you have one. We filled in as many examples in each quarter as possible, then decided whether these were short or long term things. A good tool to help justify just how much better you are without your preferred substance


Facebook.

As I mentioned last night I am receiving a huge amount of support over on Facebook. I was very worried that when I started this project that it would be hijacked by the Facebook “U ok Hun” brigade, or even worse the “Pull yourself together man and get on with it” crew, or worse still, the “you think you`ve got problems do you?” lot. This was never meant for pity, more about a vent for myself and hopefully a place to start a little discussion about understanding addiction. So far this is exactly what is happening. It`s proving to be a great help to myself and if it has even the slightest effect on others then all the better. At first I found my addiction so hard to discuss with anyone, but since starting this and getting my cards firmly on the table verbal communication has been made a lot more comfortable. Here are one or two screenshots from some of the conversations, just in case you aren’t a Facebooker. 







Beerhouse.

Tomorrow I`ll tell the story of Beerhouse, a huge part of my life for a while and the reasoning behind the incredibly difficult decision to leave my job there. I`ve been meaning to write about this for quite a while, but as usual have been putting it off. 

Monday, 27 June 2016

D-DAY


HELLO

D-Day has arrived. Last night I had a few of my all-time favourite tipples finishing on the king of beers, Jaipur from the wonderful Thornbridge brewery. I wasn’t sure about how to handle my last night, there was always a danger that going down this route would elevate my favourites on to a pedestal, make me remember the good side of drinking but I decided I`m going to be confronted by these almost wherever I go so I have to be able to deal with it. 
Went to bed fairly early and hardly slept, apprehension and anxiety running through my mind. Up at eight and first six tablets down me. Six more at lunchtime, six shortly at teatime then six more to go before bed. My first time to bed completely dry in god knows how many years. 
At the moment, around 18.00, I would normally be well into my drinking routine, so far no major physical craving so the meds seem to be doing their job. My visit from the nurse was very encouraging, outlining what to expect for the rest of the week and starting to discuss future meds for support after the detox.


SUPPORT

As I mentioned earlier a few friends are doing various detoxes for the week as a mark of support for me and also to test themselves. We have been joined by a couple more now so I`ll speak to them all and probably do a bit of a thing about it later in the week. Should be an interesting read I think.
Tomorrow I`ll mention how the group goes, and maybe touch on how Facebook is helping. I`ll put up a few of the conversations that some of the blog posts have started. 


DIVERSIONS

Today, to take my mind off things I decide to rekindle my love of breadmaking and baking. Two wholemeal loaves, a banana and walnut cake and a Lemon drizzle. The smell in the kitchen was wonderful, then I remembered Sarah is on a cake and sweet detox to support me so I have to now hide the cake…luckily she is as usual very understanding. I will carry on baking, maybe make my own frozen cake and bread mountain as I found it a good diversion today. Weighing, measuring and kneading are very therapeutic.
I’ve been having discussions on Facebook and elsewhere about diversion ideas. So far I have agreed to try Couch to 5k with a couple of friends. I can’t remember the last time I ran but I`m a very keen walker so we`ll see how this progresses. I’ve also joined a Facebook poetry group with a great friend, so look out, there may well be odes coming your way. In the meantime, here`s something written for me by one of my online friends, Jo Cameron.

It's a friend in celebration
It's a friend in desperation
It's a friend when the lights go down
It's a friend when you're about the town

It's a friend when you know no other
It's a friend when you take a lover
It's a friend when your heart is numb
It's a friend when your day is done

It's a friend when all seems lost
It's a friend..but with its cost
It's a friend when you care too much
It's a friend when you've had enough...

...but it's not your friend...
...not really...no way...
It's a devilish mask
For what we hide away

For all the pain we feel
For all the things we miss
For all the missed opportunities
For the lives we've lived

For all the doubt we've felt
For the opportunities lost
For the wasted moments
That have come at their cost

So is it your friend people?
Or is it your foe?
Alcohol...just know this...
...you won't be my woe.



I could murder a pint right now but I tell you one thing, I`m going to beat this.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Friday, 24 June 2016

D-3 and counting

Hello.

I`m not going to mention the referendum, there’s a time and a place for everything and this isn’t it so don’t worry.

MEDS

Picked up my medication for detox week today. 106 x 5mg of Chlordiazepode aka Librium. I start on 16 a day on Monday then gradually reduce as the week goes on as directed by my nurse. This is to reduce the withdrawal symptoms and minimalise the risk of brain damage, fitting or seizures. Yes, that can happen. There are only two drugs that can have these side effects during withdrawal, one is alcohol and the other, strangely enough, is the one being used to help my detox. 
I get my first visit of the week from my nurse or counsellor Monday lunchtime then once a day for a week following that. My amazing wife Sarah has to be around pretty much 24/7 for the week just to make sure I don’t suffer any of the side effects . I`ll try to post daily about this, hopefully might make an interesting read for others considering a supervised detox

Support

Sarah has suggested that as a mark of support she would like to give up something for the week too. She has very bravely decided to abstain from sweet things, cakes and chocolate and the like. If you know Sarah and her sweet tooth you will agree that she will probably have a much worse week than me, at least I have drugs to help me out. Also sister in law Sue and good friend Gail have said they would like to do an alcohol free week to see if it makes any difference to them and as a mark of support. These very kind gestures are really spurring me on to succeed next week.

Maintenance

I am under no Illusions that next week will be the end of my battle, in fact it’s just the beginning. Getting off the booze is a fairly simple affair, staying off it is the main challenge. My “group” will come in to its own over the next few weeks I feel, providing the strategies and help needed for maintenance. In fact, as my “group” has been so useful so far, I think I will remove the quotes.
Met an old friend Steve in town today who has issues similar to mine, we spoke briefly about how he didn’t realise that alcohol was such a problem in my life, just goes to show how we “functioning alcoholics” work. You`d never guess, life and soul of the party and all that. He also suggested as a maintenance strategy maybe joining a gym. After initially laughing myself senseless at this I thought it may not be so bad an idea. Something to take my mind off cravings and undo some of the physical damage done through the years of abuse. Also could provide a target to work towards, being fit is not such a bad thing I suppose. I`ll chat with the group on Tuesday about this. 

Anyway. More soon.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

D-6 and Counting

Party

Went to a Family party at the weekend, a cousin’s reunion. Been doing these for a few years now, once or twice a year and they are always a great laugh. Our hosts Lee and Dawn have a great party house and always have at least two fridges full of beer, wine and spirits. Normally at these events I would drink myself pretty much into unconsciousness, knowing when to stop has never been a strong point. With so much at stake I was more than a little worried about the free availability of so much alcohol but I managed to stay roughly on course. No spirits, no wine, not too much beer then back to my RDA on Sunday night. Being at this level of intake is important for the detox to work as the meds are prescribed at a level appropriate for your alcoholic intake.

Also very pleasantly surprised at how ready everybody was to discuss my condition and forthcoming treatment. I`ve always struggled with talking about my addiction and I`m not at all sure why now, strong words of support and a genuine interest from all involved but no pressure to talk at all. If you are in a similar position please speak to people, friends and professionals alike. Don`t, as I did, leave it till its too late for fear of being judged. You WILL be surprised at the level of support available at very close hand.

Facebook

Yes, the F word. I`m normally not a huge fan of Facebook, mainly using it for posting jokes stolen from twitter and pictures of skies and food but I am starting to like it now. When I post a new blog I add a link to Facebook for a couple of reasons. It helps me let people know about my addiction without having to bring it up face to face. Forewarned is forearmed as they say. Get the boring details out of the way first then if you want you can talk to me about it. Also recent posts have been starting a bit of a dialogue. This is good. A few Facebook friends have suggested that they would like to join me in a week’s detox, not necessarily from alcohol, as a way to support me and also challenge themselves. I will write a little more about this tomorrow and include some of the recent Fb replies to my posts.

“Group”

My “group” meeting went very well today. Some new faces, stories and experiences. It’s becoming such a useful tool that I may well be able to remove the quotes soon. I made a few notes at the “group” so I will be talking about that this week at some point, maybe a rough outline of how a meeting works and what is actually involved. We meet again a week today, I will be totally alcohol free for this one so may be interesting to see if my outlook is any different.

Please feel free to comment below or anywhere else or even share this if you think it may be appropriate.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

D-8 and counting.


*Fires up computer, opens yet another beer and settles down to write some stuff*

Hello. Here’s some more ramblings as I count down to detox.


One week from now I will be cracking open and drinking what will hopefully be one of my last beers. I`ll probably spend the evening watching Top Gear and some other old crap on the telly whilst I work my way through my units of alcohol. At about 11.00 or 12.00 o’clock I`ll open the last one then go to bed pissed like I have for years. Lots of years. More years than I care to remember.


First thing Monday morning when I wake up I`ll take a few tablets then at lunchtime I`ll take a few more. Around teatime I`ll chuck down another handful. As evening rolls in I won’t open a can. As the night continues I still won`t open a can. I`ll take a few more tablets last thing then go to bed, dry and sober for the first time in years. Lots of years. More years than I care to remember.


This process will continue through the week, every day I`ll still not open those cans, I`ll still go to bed dry and sober. I`ll take slightly fewer tablets each day till hopefully with support from family and professionals the physical dependence will be gone. Dry, clean and sober. Over to me then.

I must admit that I am more than a little nervous. Things are going to have to change around here and I`m not great with change.


It`s going to take a whole lifestyle shake up. How to fill the time normally devoted to my old mate and enemy? It`s taken a lot of time and dedication for many years to ensure the level of intake to maintain my addiction. I need to fill this time with something useful. Something less destructive but just as “rewarding”.


In my “group” this is known as Maintenance. Maintaining the seemingly impossible concept of a life without alcohol. I am quite looking forward to the free time, but unsure what to fill it with.  I have a meeting on Tuesday with my “group” so I`ll bring this up and see what other members think. Suggestions for suitable hobbies, diversions and pursuits would be much appreciated.


In other news, my sister in law has decided to join me for a week without alcohol. She suggested this last night at a family do. More on this soon. 


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

D-13 AND COUNTING

D-13 and counting

A quick update.


Not long to go and starting to feel a little nervous.

Meeting with my counsellor today. Discussed a few concerns about before, during and after detox.

My major concern is the Sunday before we start. The last beer I open on that Sunday night may well be my last ever. How the hell do I treat opening and drinking what may well be my last one?  No definitive answer on this question at the moment but the favourite is to have an evening of real old time favourites. Not about getting the units down me but taking the nerves away by celebrating a soon to be departed friend, and enemy.……Any thoughts?

We had a little chat about this blog, we both think it could be beneficial to myself and also others in a similar situation, so will press on for a while.

We also cleared up a thing or two about the actual process involved in a detox. What drugs are involved? Where and when do I get them? Who is responsible for making sure they are administered correctly? Are there any possible side effects? (More about this soon)

The period after the detox will hopefully be aided by a “group”

I joined a “group”

I have always struggled with “groups”

Sitting in a small room with a load of weird people all trying to outdo each other with tales of their problems…...How the hell can that help anyone?

Well, as usual, I was wrong. I was probably the weirdest of the lot, and we discussed coping strategies and other buzzwords. As first meetings go it was fairly encouraging. I shall go back next week and see how it goes. More on this as it progresses.

Also had a meeting with a real life newspaper reporter, but that’s another story for another day.


Sunday, 12 June 2016

DETOX



I have recently made what I hope will be a massive life changing decision. After long discussions with loved ones, friends and professionals I have decided to say farewell to something that has been a huge part of my life for more years than I care to remember.  
Alcohol.

Through good times and bad it has been there for me. An escape to a different place, boosting my confidence and making my problems disappear. It’s been a crutch for my depression and anxiety issues and helped me to be the wonderful person I am at parties.

Hold on, I need to rewrite that last paragraph.

My ability to control my addiction has dragged me into many a dark place. Hiding behind its veil gives a temporary short lived feeling of wellbeing with the side effect of impacting my mental issues and turning me into the dribbling idiot I can so easily become.

That’s a bit better.

So, starting on 27th of this month I will be entering into a supervised at home detox. I’ve been advised not to try on my own as there is a very real chance of fitting as I withdraw. It seems I need 24/7 supervision for the first few days just in case.

To be honest, I`m not that scared about the detox itself. My councillors are amazingly reassuring that a properly supervised and medicated detox is a fairly straight forward and well proven procedure. Fine, after a week or so on the meds I`ll be alcohol free for probably the first time in over 20 years. That’s when the fun starts I suppose. I have been imagining myself in various situations, family parties, restaurants and the like and find it so hard to picture myself without a pint in my hand. That’s partly why I have decided to write this. A bit of a crutch if you like. When I was caring for my mother I wrote a blog about my experiences and found it very helpful, so here we go again.

Also, as a side-line, if my experiences can help anyone in a similar position then that’s a good thing too. I intend to publish a few posts on the run up to the detox then a daily update for the period of it. Hopefully putting things down on here will help me focus on the job at hand.

If you have any experience of alcohol or other detox, please feel free to share. If we can get a bit of a discussion going all the better, it`ll certainly help me out and maybe others too.