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...
Well, good on you Tom. Just don't put too much pressure on yourself that you "should" feel a certain way, or "should" be doing something you deem more productive etc. Go easy on yourself. A lot of folks would love some downtime between jobs just to kick back and relax. So, make the most of it whilst you can.
Oh course, I certainly understand the appeal of the booze - as it's a great numbing agent for the sensory and cognitive onslaught of autistic life. How about replacing it with another drug - endorphins? Why don't you try a new form of exercise that can give you a post-workout endorphine high, as well as the clarity of thought from increased oxygen pumping around in your blood? Even forgetting all that, I find (intense) exercise is a great way to get out of my head when it's crowded with over-cognitions, and to simply ground myself in my body!
May I ask what field the new job is in - is it in something similar like support / care, or are you branching out on something new entirely? When does the new role start?