Monday 10 April 2023

D-13 Revisited

 A couple of weeks ago I started revisiting my blog from 6 years ago on the build up to and the weeks following my detox. Its weird reading back over some of it now, seems so long ago. I can hardly remember the drunk me at all, luckily that applies to people who knew me back then too. Here's what I wrote with just two week to go.

D-13 and counting

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.

I remember my first "group" so well. I really believed it would be a load of old tosh and I only went to shut up the agency who had arranged my detox. Turned out I was oh so wrong. Probably wouldn`t have even gone through with the detox never mind stayed dry after it without the group. We'll go into the group thing a bit more as we go on. If you're struggling with addiction in any way go join a group. you won`t regret it. 

Friday 3 February 2023

Hello. My name Is Jon and I'm an addict.

6 years or so ago I stopped drinking. I'm still stopped. Quite proud of that. On the lead up to having a detox I decided to blog about it. I'd written a blog when I was mum's carer and found it a great crutch at times and also a conversation starter for others in similar positions. This one turned out very similar. I hadn't really read any of it till recently and I'd forgotten just where I was at the time. I thought I'd revisit some or maybe even all of the entries and republish them here with a few observations from where I am now. If you can't wait for the next thrilling installment you should be able to browse the lot from a menu somewhere. I've changed the layout a bit so I'm not sure where it is now. 

Let's dive straight in with the first episode then. This was written on Sunday the 12/06/16.Seems so long ago now. I had been approved for an at home supervised detox. It was going to happen in two weeks. I was terrified. 



I 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.  


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.

I still remember the fear I felt hitting publish on that. I was going public. The world and his brother would know all my problems, would I bring shame to the family name? These and many other thoughts crashed through my brain. A few close friends and family knew about my addiction and the fact I was going into detox but this was  telling the whole world. Family, friends, acquaintances and strangers would then become aware of my addiction. It's a terrifying thought going public. Weird really. It shouldn't be such a problem. Addiction itself is a disease, you wouldn't worry about going public with most diseases, illness or injuries why this one? I`ll get into that later. Also the thought of a life without your drug of choice is a massive mindfuck. Something you have invested a huge amount of time and money into, learnt to lie about and hide for so many years is about to disappear. Your hierarchy of values is about to be turned on its head. We`ll talk about that a bit later on too. That night, after hitting that publish button I would have got absolutely hammered, not out of fear for the future and the impending detox but just because that was what I always did. 

Much to my surprise the blog was met with a huge amount of support. Family and friends initially then strangers started to share their stories and experiences of addiction, both positive and negative. As we go on I'll share some of the comments and feedback from the blogs and maybe a few bits and bobs from facebook and twitter too. Social media was a great crutch as I progressed, it can be a wonderful thing if used sensibly.

Here are a couple of bits from that first post.


June 2016 at 14:31
I'm with you all the way Jon. We've got family weaknesses but far more strengths as well. You will do it. Bon courage. X


June 2016 at 14:57
Best luck and wishes Jon, I don't have any doubt you will accomplish your goals with this and commend your bravery and openness to publish this, massive respect! X


June 2016 at 15:38
The booze isn't the fuel, you'll still be a truckload of awesomeness my friend


June 2016 at 18:15
A huge first step. Respect to you young man !

Anonymous June 2016 at 14:18
Hi Jon,

I have recently gone through an inpatient detox, my cousin came to visit me and she was shocked with the state I was in, my mum had been diagnosed with terminal cancer that I couldn't deal with, I went from the alcoholic who had a skin full after work for a year or two to an alcoholic that couldn't get up off the sofa, had yellow eyes and felt so depressed my body hurt, she was really concerned for me.
She tried to get me in to see my doctor to no avail, she called NHS 111 to ask for their advice to no avail, she ended up calling a local charity that I had registered with some months before that deals with addiction, they advised her to call 999 as they thought from the symptoms she gave them my body was failing.
I was taken into hospital where tests were done and they found I had major issues with my liver, I explained to them about my addiction and they put me on a ward to do the week long supervised detox, this was the hardest thing I've ever done, not because of the addiction, but due to the fact that my mum was seriously ill and I couldn't see her.
The tablets they gave me helped no end and made the detox quite easy, either that or my mind telling me I've got to sort myself out to be strong for my mum, I kept telling myself I couldn't/wouldn't see her while I was drunk and no way in this world would I turn up to her funeral in a drunken state, I was also put on drip to help rehydrate my body.
After being in hospital for a week I felt better in myself than I had in years, family members commented how good I looked and couldn't believe the difference.
I stayed in the hospital with my mum until she died on the 10th June, I had all the support from my family and friends, I told work what I was going through and what I was doing to get sorted out and they have also been very supportive which helped no end, there support is still happening to this day and will continue until i'm fully recovered.
I'm now 5 weeks dry, still on tablets to stop the cravings and don't feel like/want a drink at all.
I've not used a support group as yet as my family are really close and are there for me 24 hours a day should I need them, I've also taken up fishing again (Not been for over 15 years) which I've found has helped me relax and get my head together.
I'm not going back to being the person I was and if you go with that attitude you will be fine, it's not going to be an easy ride but taking the 1st step that you have taken is awesome and I can only praise you for taking this step.
Be strong, be positive, be proud.

That last one really hit the mark. Just to hear from someone, a stranger who was only a little further down the road than me was a great help. Maybe I could do this after all? These comments spurred me on. I wasn't in the best of places mentally for several reasons, not just the addiction so any positive thoughts meant so much at the time. This was 2 weeks before the detox and I was terrified. I'll tell you more about that next time.

Saturday 10 October 2020


World Mental Health Day

I`ve been meaning to put fingers to keyboard for quite a while but every time I`ve started something much more important has come up. Maybe a cake needs eating or I see a car on the telly and I`m off in the other direction. I`ve not been brilliant for the last few days and today is World Mental Health Day so I thought I`d have another go.

The world is an odd place at the moment. Almost every aspect of day to day life has been turned upside down. Face masks are the norm, the bittersweet aroma of antibacterial gels and wipes permeates the air and finally us Brits have a time to excel at our national sport, queuing. Its bad enough for a “normal” person but anyone with any history of mental illness will probably, like myself be really struggling. Approximately 1 in 4 people will experience mental health problems at some point so if you`re one of the lucky three its always good to know what you can do to help. Obviously I`m no doctor but as a bipolar depressive suicide survivor with a history of addiction I can at least pass on what has worked for me and for others I have spoken to. I`ve been blessed with a wonderfully supportive wife, family, boss and workmates who have all generally done the right things at the right times, if you can offer the same support to a colleague or friend then you can make a huge difference.

What should you do if you have a friend/ colleague who may be struggling?

Speak to them, ask them if they`re ok, that may be all it takes to start a dialogue. A lot people suffering with MH issues will be afraid to ask. There`s still a huge stigma attached to MH and just to be asked if everything is ok by a friendly face can be a huge relief.

Listen and be patient. You may get scraps of information, nothing at all or a complete life story all in one go. If they seem hesitant don`t force it. Let them go at their own speed. Reassure them that you`re there to help. You may find they have been thinking of seeking professional help but have been afraid or even embarrassed to do so, maybe you could offer to accompany them, even as far as a waiting room would make a huge difference.

Always act as you normally would around them. Its fine to call and chat about your concerns but its still your old mate not some nutter to be treated with kid gloves. Changes in your behaviour are likely to make them back off and feel more isolated.

Above all look after yourself. You may hear some things you feel uncomfortable with. Talking to a friend about mental health problems can be just as distressing for you as it is for them. Make sure you can detach when necessary and take time to relax, switch off and do something you enjoy.


That’s about it for this thrilling instalment, I now command you all to go and find out which one of your 3 mates is the mental and offer them some help.



Jon Pollard (Nutter)

Wednesday 28 June 2017



Been a while since I have posted in here. So easy to write when things aren’t too good, not so easy when life isn’t too bad, but here we go.


Yep. I have gone a full 12 months without a drop of alcohol passing my lips. After more years than I care to remember at various levels of dependency to “the demon drink” I feel I have really kicked it into touch. In this year several milestones had to be, and have been passed.  From my first evening spent with a couple of friends or family with no alcohol present I’ve managed to build my confidence, slowly but surely and start rebuilding some sort of social life. You don`t realise just how much alcohol figures in every day life till you start living without it. The first big family event, going out for something to eat, meeting friends in a pub all filled me with dread. Well, to be quite honest with you, pretty much everything filled me with dread. As an addict your mind tends to associate more or less everything with your substance or behaviour of choice.

Feeling happy? Let’s get pissed to celebrate.
Feeling down? I know just the thing for that.
It’s my birthday
Its someone else’s birthday
Happy Christmas
There’s a y in the day….

You get the idea.

All these associations have to be broken, or at least ignored in some way. Recovery itself takes constant maintenance. The urges to use may become less frequent but they can and do still hit you like a sledgehammer. If you have nothing in place to help you ride them out then you are in trouble. The major tool in my armoury has been my SMART recovery group.  The group is an amazing way to remind yourself to never get complacent, recovery is a full-time job. I won’t bother you with too many details about SMART, suffice to say it gives you an assortment of “tools” to use to deal with the challenges faced by being in recovery. The SMART group I attend has been so useful and effective that I`ve trained to facilitate my own meetings to help others starting out on the rocky road to recovery.

The best bits about being dry? Besides the obvious mental and physical health benefits? No more lies. Feeding an addiction of any sort will involve lies. Lots of lies. Lies to yourself, and those near and dear to you. Of course, they’re not real lies at the time, they don’t really count, all that matters is feeding that addiction. The freedom from the shackles of addiction is a wonderful thing. Almost a rebirth. After so many selfish years its wonderful to be truthful and put the needs and feelings of others ahead of that of your addiction.  To be back in control of your life, to be able to make decisions not based around the need to feed is at first terrifying but ultimately incredibly satisfying.  Suffice to say there isn’t a single thing in my life and the lives of those around me that hasn’t been improved by quitting.

Am I “cured” now?


Don`t think there ever will be a “cure”. Best I can do is carry on treating the symptoms of my addiction, know the triggers and how to deal with them, know the danger areas and avoid them when possible, know how to handle them when not. Most of all though, carry on enjoying and appreciating the new life I have and being thankful for the strength and encouragement from those close to me.

Jon Pollard.


Thursday 22 September 2016

Recovery Revolution

I would like, if I may, to prattle on a bit about recovery. Or maybe Recovery? I recently went through a detox to end my many years of alcohol use and abuse, now, nearly 100 days dry it’s time to share a thought or two.

What is recovery? This is taken from the NCADD website.

Individuals who are “in recovery” know what it means to them and how important it is in their lives. They need no formal definition.
But for the general public and those who research, evaluate, and develop policies about addiction, recovery is a concept that can sometimes seem unclear. 
Essentially, recovery is a complex and dynamic process encompassing all the positive benefits to physical, mental and social health that can happen when people with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, or their family members, get the help they need.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) offers this definition:
“Recovery from alcohol and drug problems is a process of change through which an individual achieves abstinence and improved health, wellness and quality of life.”
Expanding on this definition, SAMHSA articulates twelve “Guiding Principles of Recovery”: 

1.    There are many pathways to recovery.
2.    Recovery is self-directed and empowering.
3.    Recovery involves a personal recognition of the need for change and transformation.
4.    Recovery is holistic.
5.    Recovery has cultural dimensions.
6.    Recovery exists on a continuum of improved health and wellness.
7.    Recovery is supported by peers and allies.
8.    Recovery emerges from hope and gratitude.
9.    Recovery involves a process of healing and self-redefinition.
10.Recovery involves addressing discrimination and transcending shame and stigma.
11.Recovery involves (re)joining and (re)building a life in the community.
12. Recovery is a reality. It can, will, and does happen.

This definition makes sense whether your addiction is to a substance or action.

I thought about my recovery for a long long time before taking the plunge, how could I tell my friends and family? How would it affect my day to day life?  Should I just let my inner circle of close allies know of my decision? After all, hardly anyone knew the demons I had been wrestling with for so long, why the hell should I involve them in my recovery? These and many other questions plagued me and held up my decision for quite a while.
Then I had a thought. If I was to achieve what I was setting out to achieve hiding behind a veil of lies would be counterproductive and, let’s face it, I would need all the help I could get. I decided to “go public”. Share my thoughts, trials and tribulations wherever possible. Luckily, it would seem, I made the right decision.
Recovery from any addiction be it substance or action is something to be shouted about. Don`t do it on your own, be proud of all you are achieving and let others know how you feel. Shout it from the rooftops, share it with your friends, like it, retweet it, photocopy it, fax it, add it to your LinkedIn network just stand up and be PROUD of what you are doing! Let others see just how AMAZING you are feeling, how you have so much more time to do stuff and feel so much better when doing it. Let them know you`ve been born again, your life has restarted and the real you is back with a vengeance.

We need a Recovery Revolution.

Recovery should be embraced as the amazing thing it is, not carry the stigma it can at the moment. Unsure about dealing with your addiction? Look around at all the happy gurning idiots who are ahead of you in the process, listen to them shout about it, look at how you could feel.

 Don’t get me wrong, I`m not saying the process is easy for all and should be entered into lightly, but if Recovery were to be accepted as the amazing life changing process it can be then surely the decision to enter into it would be a whole lot easier?

This post was written for "The Recovery Revolution" a brilliant site addressing the issues faced by people in recovery. Please take a look.

Tuesday 20 September 2016



I passed.

Remember a while ago I mentioned how I was training to be a facilitator for the SMART groups that I attend? Well I only went and passed the course. I am now a SMART facilitator. I will hopefully soon be co-facilitating the group I attend with John from Turning Point. This is great on a couple of levels, it means I keep getting the support from the group that I need and also get the chance to share my experiences to help others on the road to being substance free. 
If you are not aware of the SMART recovery programme here is a rough outline of the ethos, lifted straight from the SMART website:

We help people recover from addictive behaviour and lead meaningful and satisfying lives.Our approach is secular and science based; using motivational, behavioural and cognitive methods.We run a network of self help meetings and also partner with care professionals. OUR APPROACH

• Teaches self-empowerment and self-reliance.

• Provides meetings that are educational, supportive and focussed on open discussions.

• Supports the use of prescribed medications and psychological treatments where appropriate

• Can be used to tackle any form of addictive behaviour, including drugs and alcohol, gambling

• Evolves as scientific knowledge in addiction recovery evolves.

It’s a different approach to the traditional 12 step programmes, and one I have found to be incredibly helpful. You can read a bit more about it here 
Hopefully I can drive the group forwards and increase the numbers. Harborough may be a hard place to do this as it still has a very small town feel to it. People in need of a little help are still afraid to attend a meeting like ours for fear of others finding out about their “problems.” I must admit that initially I myself was very concerned about how people would react when I mentioned the fact that I had/have a problem and was considering detox as a way to deal with it, but found I got nothing but support, understanding and a genuine interest. The first step to dealing with addiction is to admit the addiction exists, if you feel comfortable to share this then the road is one much easier to travel.

In other news, Sarah and I did our first 5km Parkrun around the local park. Parkrun is an amazing thing. Staffed entirely by volunteers they are popping up in parks all around the world. Anything from 30 to 300 or more people getting together in a park to have a run. With the emphasis on “run” it’s not a race but a great way to get out, get fit and have a laugh. My sister came up from Norfolk to join us, missing her own parkrun`s birthday party. We waddled round at our own pace to the sound of applause and encouragement from runners and marshals alike. What a great feeling to finish. I never thought I`d see the day that 3 Pollards would cross the finish line of a 5km run together, still alive and in such great spirits.

With the combination of exercise, good diet, new job and alcohol free lifestyle I feel better physically and mentally than I have for years. I`m under no illusions that the war with Al is over but I`m constantly winning battles and campaigns, he is on the retreat and I fully intend to keep him going in that direction.

Sunday 28 August 2016

Big Events, Triggers and Words.


Several big events this week, passed 2 months dry, dropped below 15 stones and ran 5k in one go without dying. Big event tonight too, Sarah is in London visiting the kids so I`m home alone for the night. Previously this would have resulted in me buying a huge amount of beer and drinking myself unconscious, waking up on the couch feeling half dead and being out of action for a day or so. Today I came in from work, changed into my running gear and pushed myself to a 5k run. Came home, cooked a nice tea and am now trying to decide which flavour of water I should drink while writing this. Amazing how much things can change in such a short time. 

Due to my return to work my group visits are now down to once a fortnight. I missed my first meeting since I started this week. I was a little concerned about this, but the week has gone excellently. Once a fortnight should provide the level of support I need at the moment. My studies towards being a group facilitator have taken a back seat for a little while as I pick up the new job, but should be restarted with a vengeance next week. I`m looking forward to the chance to run my own group, both to help others and also as a support mechanism for myself. The more I read about recovery the more I realise that I`m still right at the beginning. Only 2 months in I`m still learning daily about the way my mind will react to certain situations and triggers and how best to deal with them when they arise. 

One particular trigger that is really getting my goat at the moment is supermarket displays. Most rack ends facing tills in most supermarkets are devoted to Al. Meal deals include an alcoholic drink with very rarely a soft drink option. Every where you go Al is thrust down your throat. It is incredibly tricky to visit a supermarket without having ridiculously cheap booze thrust down your throat. A few years ago supermarkets removed sweets from the checkouts to stop impulse buys, maybe its time to do the same with booze. keep it in one area and avoidable if you wish. Any thoughts on this? 

I don’t know if you read a previous blog where I shared the words of a twitter friend describing addiction from the point of view of someone who lived with an addict.? You can read it here if you like, but be warned it was very hard hitting stuff and quite a tricky read. I had a lovely message on twitter the other day from the author saying that she had shared the piece with her therapist who then shared it with a supervisor and it is now being used to help other people in similar situations. If anyone else would like to contribute something then you would be most welcome. I`d like to read and share words from people on both sides of the addiction tale. If you fancy it drop me a line in the comments below or email or tweet @hippy_jon and I`ll share it on here.

More soon.