I’ve known Seaweed for a lot of years now. We were always part of the same little punk/rock scene, in the same little West Yorkshire town, hanging around in the same little pubs.
He has an immense beard.
A life connected to any kind of active ‘scene’ is generally a life connected to a drinking culture. It’s just the way it goes – these whole social scenes are booze-centric – and why not?
Alcohol is a social drug, well known for helping to cultivate that feeling of openness and belonging. A social life built around booze can seem like the greatest thing ever – I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the camaraderie of hitting the town with a group of mates, smashing shots, dancing like a nob to 90’s classics in the Camel Club. Vodka and coke at home, beers and Jagermeisters in town, pound a shot in the club, back to a house party for cheap cider and more vodka. Splendid.
The fact is though that this lifestyle can’t be maintained. Hangovers get worse, money gets tight, you get tired, and you get fat. Work suffers, income suffers, relationships suffer. The whole thing stops being fun, and for some people the problem cuts deeper – it strays into mental illness territory.
My mate Seaweed has struggled, and I’m totally proud that he’s realised the negative impact the booze is having. I’m also proud that this little blog has been able to play a part in getting him on the road to recovery.
Below is his story, written whilst he sits in a Psychologists waiting room. It’s now apparent to him that moderation doesn’t work – it’s abstinence or bust when you have a problem with booze. Seaweed is smart. Be like Seaweed.
I’m sat in the waiting room for my follow up assessment with a Clinical Psychologist to deal with long term anxiety issues. It is a bit too warm, no open windows, and my heart is beating like a fucked clock (to steal a quote from Withnail and I).
Last month, at my first appointment it was made clear that while alcohol played such a large part of my ‘routine’, therapy would be as much use as tits on a fish. So I have been trying really hard to not drink.
This blog appeared at just the right time, and I was doing kind of ok. One or two cans, a bottle of wine. OK, no biggy eh?
Then, a week ago, I chose the wrong path, proved I can’t control things yet and got drunk. Boo hiss etc.
This has been a wake up call, and the shitty feeling the next day (not a hangover, just tiredness and anxious/ guilt/ shame) was enough.
Long story short, I’ve been totally alcohol free for one week/ seven days/ 168 hours, and it feels brilliant.
Your tips about dealing with temptation have really helped, especially playing it through to the end. Remembering the morning after feelings can be just enough when I feel the urge.
I have also been telling my other half when the urge is there so she is more aware of what is going on, and I feel supported rather than hiding away and feeling a sneaky can of K Strong Cider is fine and not a problem. This has actually been a weight off my shoulders, and my missus has pointed out I’m nicer to be around already.
Don’t get me wrong, this is only the beginning, I still have days where my anxiety wins, and I can be hard work to be around and support (not ‘deal with’, support. I need to remember this, and return the support when others need it too). However, every battle won is a step towards victory.
Keep it up Seaweed you fucking ledge. One day at a time dude.