Thursday, 21 May 2009

It’s life Jim but not as we know it.

Wasn’t that in the lyrics of that annoying Startreking novelty record years ago? Whatever it’s where my head is at at the moment.

I had a really really crap day Tuesday. I was completely overwhelmed by the demands of the new job culminating in a meeting where someone was laying down the law about what she expected my new team to be doing and I was thinking… hang on this is one bullet point on the role description and if this is the level they are expecting that is an 80 hour a week thing just for that alone. I went into a spiral of can’t do this, can’t do that, too difficult, I’m useless, exposed as a fraud, lose my job, wish I’d just taken the redundancy, blah blah blah… I ended up with huge chest pains, headache, dizzy feeling, nose bleed… etc. I couldn’t get to sleep for ages either.

Yesterday I tried to tackle the issue but doing an action the team had asked me to marshal our thoughts on the issues and we met briefly to discuss that and agree some next steps – which I’ve further worked on today. Better, just do what you can and be honest about it. Essentially as a team we’re asking for some support staff to do much of the mechanics of these processes so we’re not totally swamped. We’re meeting our boss hopefully on Tuesday to get his backing for that. I also spoke to one colleague who I have great respect for – he offered some suggestions on this as well. Actually just doing that and foregoing my usual “I must fix this all myself or be a failure” mode of operation is pretty good for me.

I went to my regular Wednesday AA meeting. At the moment it is my role to find speakers for the meeting, we had a “group conscience” meeting last week and it was pointed out that all the speakers this year with maybe two exceptions have been male. Fair point, the meeting has normally a few more women present than men and my predominance of male bookings reflects that I take very strictly the “male to male” suggestion in the fellowship – my close friends, confidents and advisors are all male. It was summed up at the conscience meeting as “You need to get more women” – which brought much hilarity to the proceedings. So out of the hat last night I produced… a woman speaker!

It was for me a fantastic meeting, that room has held many for me and why it is such an important meeting for me. A lot of talk about “struggling in life”. We all have different things, some relationships with children, others dealing with issues as they are trying to study for a degree, others dealing with the aftermath of their drinking and break ups of marriages and separation from children etc. I spoke about my turmoil about the job, the lady speaker said “But you’re looking at the positives aren’t you? They gave you the job and wanted to keep you on, it’s a job that people want and need hence the initial overload etc.” Simply – no I’d not been doing that. I refer you to the list of negative emotions/thoughts I’d been having Tuesday evening.

Being a recovering alcoholic is simple – Don’t pick up a drink. Life is the bloody difficult bit. I’m so lucky my kids still are part of my life, I hope they still like me and I hope we have mutual respect for each other, my wife hasn’t thrown me out and refusing to have anything to do with me, I do have a job where others don’t. As I listened to all this stuff going on in others lives and our common bond which simply is this is the stuff that makes us drink as we can’t cope with it, do normal people cope any better? I don’t know but however they cope I know my default coping mechanism… get drunk, hope it goes away, if it doesn’t sabotage it, bluff it, bullshit it whatever to get through… then to cope with the emotions around all that… i.e. go get drunk. Stay permanently numb to the world and to people, squash the emotions that I don’t want and that includes both good and bad ones… simply just try to go along on a flat line with no reality of emotion.

These days I have to deal with feelings, mine and others. I have to go through it and learn and face it… it is life, real life but as I say it’s still a life I find very alien to me at times after an adult life of 25 years drinking and 5 years not drinking… I’m really still in my head an adolescent learning how to cope with the basics in life, it’s a journey.


  1. It's at times like these when others point out the positives in your life that you realise what you have, but sometimes we all question the purpose of it all.
    Wish I had the answers.

  2. and just cos you know the positives doesn't really make it easier to get out of the hopeless self recrimination stuff does it? but it DOES make you realise that it's worth trying to get out of it.
    somebody told me I'm not a negative personality , that's cos i can count the positives, but it's still bloody hard at times . . . . from the little bit I can see you're doing really well in spite of how hard it is :)

  3. Not really on topic per se, but re: dealing with feelings. Drinking or not, I think most men dont discover, even in the best of circumstances, that they even HAVE feelings until they're pushing 40. And then, because we've never dealt with them, here they are all foreign and complicated, and just when we think maybe we're getting a grip on life, here's another emotional response to..well, life. Yes, its a journey, and I think its ever evolving until we take our last breath.