Thursday, 14 January 2010

Ploughing on

Not the easiest of times recently. I've been exposed to some of the risk factors I recognise, but I've come through them okay. A death in the family and not seeing my girlfriend much - one, my family's inclination to drink at times like this, and two, the absence of the usual things to do in the evenings and a feeling of isolation. It was potentially a bad combination but I stuck it out by creating something for me to do that took away the worst pangs of boredom and loneliness; last Sunday I went on a very chilly walk around part of town with a friend, looking at old pubs mentioned in an online group I visit. I took a few photos which I'll get online at some point and had a good natter with a mate - something I've been missing, as I expected, being able to share a problem with someone who gets where you're coming from. It was everything I wanted and have been aiming for, the kind of social drinking that people do without a second glance - a gentlemanly walk around a few quiet pubs having halves in some and pints in others, no need to rush anything or anyone pressuring me, finishing up with a curry and a trip to the cinema and not a negative thought in my mind. Along with being busy revising for an exam tonight, that kept me sufficiently occupied not to do much but be on my own with books and notes, really.

This whole thing is proving to be a bit of a mission of self-discovery and from the last fortnight I've learned that the idea of suddenly stopping is too much for me and just makes me want to go completely in the opposite direction. However, contrary to what I'd previously thought, when I carefully position beer in my life, for example this week by having a quiet weekend at home so that I'd enjoy my Sunday afternoon out with a mate, I can moderate like a normal person. Crucially I was also able, again, to stop it turning into anything more than that afternoon, and this time on my own; I had a few drinks on Monday night, but only because my mate's dad had just died, and it didn't get late. Slowly I can feel my instinctive opinion changing from that insane urge to just keep going, into thinking more about the consequences; changing that instinctive feeling is very important as it's what guides a person when they've had more than a couple of drinks.

I haven't heard from the alcohol advisers since December 21st so I'll be ringing them today. They were supposed to ring me to schedule an appointment in the new year, but it's the 14th now and no word, and the snow's died down enough that they must be back up to speed now. I've felt very isolated in the last few weeks and sometimes feel the pangs to just give up because everyone's left me to it, but I've held them off just waiting to have this person to talk to. That's the problem with drinking. People always look after themselves first but a pint's always ready to listen. Not that I believe in that, by the way, I'm just making an observation on the nature of it. The counterside to that, of course, is that a pint is like having a mate who just nods to everything you say and never tells you when you're wrong or gives friendly advice - not much use at the end of the day.

It is a slow and unpleasant process, but I'm slowly phasing out time around some people. There are people I know who "get it" and others who don't. I'll never have any influence on them so my answer is to cut down the time around them, for better or worse. This week should perhaps remind me that there are people out there with problems they can't beat who deserve more sympathy than me, and I'm in this on my own anyway.

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