New Year thoughts...

Day Eight of sobriety!  I had my last drink on New Year's Eve.

Physically, I've felt okay.  Not had any withdrawal symptoms.  Not even thought about it too much.  I'm eating well (though I always have), taking exercise, sleeping better.  My energy levels are good.  It's nice not to wake up some mornings feeling nauseous and dehydrated.

My drinking really only started to take off in the immediate run-up to and during my last relationship - so, around 2013 onwards.  It was heavy during that relationship - 18 months.  It tailed off a little afterwards, then got a little heavier again during my time caring for mum during her final illness.  Don't get me wrong there: I took my caring responsibilities very seriously, and never allowed my drinking to interfere with them.  But I needed something just to take the edge off of the emotional turbulence I was going through at the time.  It was a crutch that helped me through - and also in the aftermath.  Since then, and since starting the job I've been doing, my drinking has moderated again.  Up until last August, that is, when my bullying problem started at work.  Once more, I started using alcohol (stupidly and ultimately counter-productively, I know) to again take the edge off of my feelings, and to quell my anxiety.  In the run up to Christmas, I let things go a bit.  Over a ten-day period, I saw off 4 bottles of scotch, a couple of bottles of wine and several beers.  Probably my highest level of consumption to date.  An average of maybe 15 units a day.  Over the whole of that 5-year period (which included extended periods of not drinking), my average consumption was probably around 50-60 units per week.

I know it's early days.  But the other side of it, during this last week, is that I've been feeling more lost than usual.  I don't like going out too much - apart from long, lone walks or cycle rides for exercise.  I'm finding people - even if I don't have to talk to them - more irritating than usual.  I walk around the streets and shops with a kind of tunnel vision - focusing on blank spaces ahead, trying not to look people in the face.  I can't wait to get back home, shut the door, shut the world out.

I've done a bit of reading.  I've watched a few movies.  I've tried to do some writing, but it's like trying to get blood out of a stone.  My imagination seems to have gone into the sidings for the time being.

I'm in a limbo period at the moment - between ending my last job and starting my new one.  Getting back into the routine of work again will, I'm sure, help me.  I'm feeling a little without purpose just now.  Without alcohol to numb my senses and dampen down my emotions and thought processes, I'm much more alert to things.  I can't exactly say I feel great, overall.  If anything, I feel more confused by life.  I'm more conscious of simply going through the motions of existence.

As I said, though... early days...

  • Good going Tom. What you’re currently experiencing is perfectly natural. I go through it every time I stop smoking weed, which is pretty regularly, so I know the signs now, so I can change my thoughts when I recognise the signs. Your limbo period won’t last long, whatever long is! Lol! But it won’t last long and then you’ll be able to feel the full benefits. 

  • Thanks, folks.  It's a very strange time.  I'm not really forcing myself to do anything.  Cycling certainly helps.  I was a distance runner for over 30 years and only stopped about 3 years ago.  I had a persistent back problem and achilles tendinitis, both of which cleared up when I stopped.  I used to love running, but it takes its toll on the body.  Since stopping, I've never felt truly fit - though I know I am.  Fitter than many men my age.  My BMI is spot on.  Blood pressure is normal.  I've never really lacked physical energy.  Just now, though, it's psychic energy that's flagging.  I may try some yoga.

    Evan - the new job is working with students with PMLD at a local FE college, as a Learning Support Practitioner.  It'll be working with them in class, plus personal care, feeding and some physio with students with dysphagia.  It's a client group I'm used to working with and enjoy working with, but in a different environment: education rather than care.  I'm looking forward to it.  The money is slightly better than my current job, though it'll be longer hours and over 5 days instead of 4 - so basically back to full-time.  But it's term-time only, so I'll have the long holidays - and I still get paid per month, pro rata.  It'll certainly be nice to have a couple of months off in the summer.  I'm still waiting to get the start date, but I already have a DBS, so it's just a question of references.  Shouldn't be too long, I hope, as I'm now currently on zero pay (I'm still signed off from my current job, and have not given notice yet.  They don't seem to be doing very much, anyway.  The DWP said it would probably be alright to give notice without it affecting my Universal Credit claim, but I'm waiting for confirmation from them.  Getting that behind me will be a step forwards.  I look forward to the day - hopefully this week - when I can hand in my notice.)

    BlueRay - I've never smoked, but I wouldn't mind getting hold of some dope for eating.  It's got to be less harmful than alcohol.  It'll just be nice to have something.  I'm going to try some CBD oil.

  • I tried the cbd oil from Holland and Barret and it was good. I like smoking but not all the time, but I can’t stop once I start! So I’ve been having short periods where I smoke and then not smoke which is working out ok, but when I get the Ritalin I’m looking at maybe just having one smoke on an evening, more as a pleasure type thing rather than something that I use medicinally, but who knows, maybe I’ll stop altogether one day Shrug tone1‍. I kind of feel like I’m growing out of it and the Ritalin I tried the other day was the best thing I’ve ever taken, which further made me think I might give up smoking for good. 

    Have you ever considered joining a cycling group? It’s something I’ve bern pondering for a long time, I just haven’t lived in one place for long enough to bother, but if I stay where I am for a while, I might join one. 

  • I had my final run-in with my (ex)employer today. 

    My salary that was paid in December was over £100 down on what it should have been.  I couldn't understand why as I'd worked a full month in November.  The way it works is, we submit timesheets at the beginning of the month listing the previous month's hours.  Then the pay we receive at the next pay day should reflect that.  That's how it's always worked for me in previous jobs, anyway. 

    Not so in this job, it seems!  The payroll clerk told me 'You went onto half pay in December because of your ongoing sick leave.'  Er... but... my  pay should have been for November's hours.  'No,' she said.  'We don't work that way.  We pay you for the month you're in, even though the timesheet you submit is for the previous month's hours.'  Eh?  Please explain.  'We pay you effectively in advance, then use the timesheet to deduct money from the current month's salary if you've missed any hours during the previous month.'  Okay.  Seems an odd way to work it.  But nothing surprises me about these people any more.

    So, based on that - I'll be lucky to clear anything at all in January - when I'll have my rent to pay in February, my credit card bill, and the car to tax.  I hope I've gotten something through on my UC claim by then.  I hope I'll have my start date for my new job by then, too.

    I've given notice today, forthwith.  Now at least I'm not stuck in limbo any more.  I'm finished with them.  I've no doubt they'll get back to me and say that because I've used up nearly all of my annual leave entitlement in nine months, they'll have to stop that money, too.  I'll probably end up owing them money.

    If so... they can sing.

    I'm finished with them now.

    I should feel happy about that.  But I don't.  I feel very sad and despondent.  That it should come to this, through no real fault of my own.

    Except that I'm autistic.  And they don't seem to know how to handle that - being a charity that specialises in autism care an' all...

  • When you're coming off the booze (big change etc etc) you would be hard pressed to feel good about anything, wouldn't you? I know I would and sometimes with me, my gratification appears somewhat delayed as it takes me on average three weeks to process anything. 

    Some charities, only go by that description for tax purposes. Maybe it's just a business to them and they haven't yet realised that if they understood autism more, they may be more successful. But maybe they're as successful as they want to be? Maybe they're just in it to make money and they're making as much as they want so they don't therefore feel a need to improve things? There are many companies out there like that. It wouldn't do for me, but each to their own and I know that my way of working and seeing the world is most definitely not the best way, I think the world needs all kinds of minds and ways of working. I choose to work with people who share my values and so far, I haven't found anybody, that's why I'll create my own work. 

    I'm glad you at least got some sense of calm knowing that it's all over now, you won't be going back there. You can look back now and remember all the good times you had there, like the ones you've shared with us here, like the wonderful interactions you had with some of your clients. 

  • One of the guys I went to University with worked for IBM and apparently they paid in advance.  IIRC he said part of their thinking is that it makes people think more about leaving, because essentially when you hand your months notice in you won't get paid at the end of that time (you've already been paid for that time) and since most employers pay in arrears you effectively have to go two months without pay instead of just being paid as usual every month.

  • I don't think our lot has the nous of IBM, somehow.  But that's how it will currently stand with me.  I'll get next to nothing at the end of January.  Hopefully, I'll be in my new job role by then.  If not, it'll just be UC until I start.

  • It sounds like it would be a whole lot easier to simply make it so people didn’t want to leave, but I do generally think the opposite way round ti most people! 

  • It depends on what your goals are Former Member...

  • Oh for sure, if they just want to keep people there by any means possible and get the best and most work out of them while they’re there, I can see how they would use psychological warfare, it’s just not my style, but I don’t judge others that do it. If it’s a strategy that works for them then great, it just wouldn’t work for me, it’s far too complicated for me, I’m more for the less complicated the better kind of life!