This is a repost from my old blog written in early 2012. Just before I met NG. I was clearly in a far better proposition for her then than I am now. What’s the point of my ever writing this journal in the first place if I can’t even use it as my own self-help manual? In the depths of my self-conscious did I write it all those years ago for this very moment in my life. All the answers are here  – I know that. Although what is written below just scares me right now. This is the hard yards I did before. Am I ready yet to go on that journey again?  Can I ever consider going through all that again? Worse. Can I consider not doing it?

So, Day 43 and still Sober. It’s reaching a point where I can no longer count the days but instead have to re-track the date that I quit. April 3rd, 2012. Since my last post on Day 26 I’ve been presented with quite a few opportunities to have a drink.

The most serious of these came on Day 1 of an 8 day holiday from which I have just returned. It was in a very hot climate where I had previously drunk much and often, and it was tough staying Sober in such an environment. When I first got there, I somewhat stupidly put myself in harm’s way by going directly to a bar to watch a Sports Fixture. I was with a friend, also in the early stage of a recovery. We both surveyed our surroundings, cokes in hand, and could clearly see that we were the ‘odd ones out’. And at this very early stage, we both very nearly came without a cat’s whisker of leaving our recovery back home and getting on the alcohol. No one wants to feel like the pork chop at a Jewish wedding after all. We could have both so easily have just asked for a drink and before you knew it, the best laid plans would have gone up in smoke. Not to mention 6 weeks of abstinence..We finished our cokes and wisely got out of the Lions Den, and within a few hours, were both back in touch with our chosen realities. We spent the next week avoiding such places and instead hanging out in safer venues. But it was close there for a while..

Each time I think it ‘won’t hurt’, or that I will be able to have a ‘little drink’ and go back on the wagon afterwards, something inside has stopped me. I’m not sure what is is. Probably a mixture of a lot of things. The thought that does come to mind instantly when I nearly falter is that I really don’t want to undo all the hard work and go back to Day 1 and star tall over again. I might not be strong enough to start all over again. This leads me to ask how can I be strong enough to keep it all going in the first place?

The answer is, I think, a sense of achievement. Does that sound strange? It probably does. But when you have been drinking for a long as I have, every day is a milestone. Not to be shouted from the rooftop, or to wallow in self-glory, but simply to think another day has passed when I will not wake up regretting my actions of the day/night before. Not drinking keeps me safe from that side of things. But of course it has come at a cost.

That cost, for the present anyway, is that I have lost 99% of all my ‘old’  friends – well – not sure if they ever really were my friends as I have said in other posts. There were more than likely ‘drinking buddies’.. I know this because even though I live just a stone’s throw from my local bar, not a single one of them has been to see me. I spend hours and days on my own now. And to be honest, this was always my worse fear – that I would become a recluse.

I have only been in my adopted town a few years and therefore I have only made friends in those bars and have no old timers around from school, and my family all lives hundreds of miles away.  In fact, I have never lived anywhere for the past 30 years for more than 6 or 7 years and that does not lead to a bountiful collection of long term friends.. But I have decided that this will probably not last forever. I will just have to make new friends. And to find a way to do this that does not involve trips to my local bars. A group hobby of some sort, evening classes, charity work all spring to mind and I hope it’s just a matter of time before I put these thoughts into action.  I do have hobbies but they are all solitary ones and I certainly don’t need more time on my own right now. But it will invariably be a very slow process. These things are. And if we could all make lasting friendships quickly, then we would probably never treasure the ones we do have would we? After all, a good friend is hard to find, hard to lose, and impossible to forget…

I did initially think I could go to pubs and clubs and not drink, but carry on socializing. I did this successfully at first but now I think I can’t. Being with people on a ‘different level’ to you is not much fun really. It can be for a little while, but then the gaps open up and you can only laugh with them for so long before ultimately (and perhaps wrongly) laughing at them as they get  louder and drunker..

So right now I feel like I am building a Jigsaw but there are a few pieces missing, and worse than that, I can’t work out what the picture is supposed to be of. I hope that as each days passes, I will find another piece and the image will become more clearer so I can complete it.

Hey, no one said this was going to be easy…