Where to Now?

I feel that I’m at a crossroads in my life. And it’s quite a scary place to be.

It’s scary because it’s a new experience for me. I actually have choices to make. For so long, I bumbled my way from one thing to another, always pushed in a certain direction by others and latterly by my drinking problem but now, for the first time in my life I have the opportunity to sit back and ask myself; right, where now?

Now that I genuinely feel that I have my addiction under control and the medication for my depression is doing its job, I need another project to be working on. The urges to drink are fading, thank God, but I almost miss the daily battle to keep myself out of the pub.

What’s Left to do in the Fix Artois Project?
This is a very self-indulgent post but then that’s what I started the blog for in the first place; Therapy for my benefit.

I had a meeting with one of my care workers from the local Community Mental health Team yesterday band we discussed my progress. Basically, I’m doing very well; I’ve stayed off the booze for over six months (I think it’s six months anyway, I haven’t kept a proper track of it) and my depressed days are becoming less frequent. I’ve still got an anxiety issue but that, fortunately, is not debilitating in normal everyday life. I’ve met some people who can barely step outside their front door because of their anxiety.

The only “Old Life” thing left to fix is my debts which I must admit I have been putting off dealing with. Stupid really, I have nothing my creditors my take from me so I don’t know what I’m afraid of. Once that’s done and the inevitable bankruptcy proceedings are under way, the old life clean-up project is complete.

Old Life / New Life
When I was still really unwell, bad thoughts would come crashing into my head as soon as I woke up: This is going to happen, that’s going to happen, this creditor is going to call, it’s useless, I’m useless, I NEED A DRINK!

I was given some excellent advice by a care worker at the time, although I didn’t heed it until later, and that was to mentally place all of my problems in individually boxes. Once they are filed away in separate boxes, just open one box at a time and deal with that one only. If you can’t deal with that one straight away, close the box for now and try another one.

I took this advice a step further. I created a mental filing system of two filing cabinets. One marked Old Life and the other marked New Life. I also did this physically with the files on my laptop.

The old life cabinet contains files on my debt problems, my addiction and my mental health issues and all the other stuff from my old life like business contacts and files. The old life is gone and the cabinet will one day soon become an archive rather than a work in progress. It’s a battered old cabinet stuffed full of things that I no longer need and I only open it now and again to file the bad thoughts of the past that occasionally crop up.

The new cabinet however is brand spanking new and barley used yet. It is filled with empty file dividers marked with things such as New Job, New Home, Hope, The Future and the like.

The problem is that when you have a brand new filing cabinet filled with empty spaces, where on earth do you start?

I know that I will never have a second chance like this again, I’m too bloody old for starters, and I’m really afraid that I’ll make the same mistakes again and up back at square one. I must rein myself back and not go too mad; relapse of any kind is not what I need.

Rocky 2013
The only thing I live for now is my children. I don’t mean that in a depressive way but they are who I want to please now.

They have been incredible throughout my problems. They’re only young; my daughter is fourteen and my son is nine and they have seen so many things that young people should never have to see and yet they have coped so well and seem to have taken things in their stride, at least I hope so.

They are as proud that their dad has stopped drinking as they were when I brought home a new car or an expensive gift for them. Children have lot to teach the grown-ups.

It’s time I repaid their faith and got out of this hostel and back on my own two feet.

(Rocky theme tune begins, Artois52 dons tatty tracksuit, limbers up, and jogs down the local high street followed by adoring fans)

OK; perhaps not that bit.