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Twenty Nineteen Plus One a Sobering Year

Somewhere over the Rainbow

Twenty Nineteen Plus One a Sobering Year

Yes, last year, the unforgettable and sobering year, has passed.

We have now, thankfully, moved from the Plus One to the Plus Two; Twenty, Twenty-one.

Tim Stix: 400 Days of Sobriety - The End of the Rainbow
The End of the Rainbow

Oh, what fun!

Twenty, Nineteen plus one. Memorable for all the wrong reasons. A forgettable year, yet one that we will never forget.

Well imagine living through all the fun of a viral year combined with mental-health issues, on a rickety wagon. Yes, you guessed it!

I lived that 365 days, plus one, strapped to a water-wagon, on an extremely bumpy road

If you think that is amusing? The truly funny thing is that, somehow, I managed to remain in-position and onboard for my full term.

What! You didn’t fall off once?

Apparently not.

Starting a Sentence

While not exactly a sentence in the legal sense, it was a sentence imposed by both myself and my psychiatrist.

Honestly, it was not the first attempt and probably won’t be the last time I have to make the attempt. But an attempt was planned and executed on the 2nd of January. I can’t remember now, why the resolution was postponed until the 2nd.

But, for whatever reason, January 2, was the day

A usual, 3 weeks in rehab, followed by lots of best wishes and finger crossing.

Armed with phone numbers, prescriptions, 2 weeks supply of medications and pre-booked Psychiatrist appointments. I left the bubble and re-joined the real world.

I don’t know whether any of you have ever spent time in a low-security mental-health facility. But if you have, you will know how much of a shock it is to go back to the noisy, fast-paced, disorganised chaos, that is our normal, everyday lives.

It is really hard to describe just how different and difficult the transition back is

As usual, I was encouraged to spend time preparing for the event by writing and talking about it. But no matter how many times you go through it, or how much you prepare; difficult is the only way to describe it.

Anyway, enough of that. Let me take you back to the start of last year.

Before the Plus One

2020 started as a standard year, not really different to any other, of the new millennium. I made a traditional New Year’s resolution, and everything appeared normal.

But that was before it became the Year of the Virus

As we all know, 2020 morphed from a normal year into the one we weren’t expecting. It became that year.

Twenty-nineteen Plus One!

Twelve months that were very unpredictable and hard to manage for everyone, but particularly for those of us struggling with mental health issues.

Addictions and Mental Health

Alcohol and mental-health are two things, that quite often go-together, but shouldn't go, together.

Alcohol is a depressant and while it can help with some of the side-effects. Generally, it causes more problems than it solves.

Kicking Alcohol in the Leap-year of COVID

366 days is 8,784 hours or 527,040 minutes. At times, you count through every one of the over 31.6 million seconds in a leap-year. And every minute seems like an age, an eon.

How many eons are there, on the road to sobriety?
The first 129,600 are the hardest, the most important!

Nearly one hundred and thirty thousand eternities, or minutes to the average person, is ninety days. After nearly three months, new habits are forming, as the brain rewires itself to a new lifestyle.

Holy Sh*t! Does it get easier after 90 days?

The short answer is, "Yes". But cravings can hit you at any time. Depression is a big trigger, along with hypomania. Both classic symptoms of mental health.

Other situations to be careful of are gatherings, celebrations, bad-days, good-days, Fridays, Saturdays and pretty-much any day really!

An [im]Possible Dream

Is it possible for someone with a drinking problem, potentially an alcoholic, to sober up? Anything is possible, even for sufferers of mental health conditions.

How does a New Year’s resolution, a dream, become a reality?

Determination is NOT enough. While incredibly important, determination or will, very rarely stands the test of time.

White knuckling it, a term used by the AA community, very rarely works. Gritting the teeth and battling through the cravings. A new battle every day until you finally succumb and lose the war.

Geographical’s is another. Moving to a new City or State, hoping that a change of location and a fresh start will be the answer. But, generally, the added stress just makes it harder.

You can only do it with help

You need a medical practitioner onboard. While my GP knows and understands my situation, the first port of call is my Psychiatrist, who I see regularly.

Not only does she help me stay on-track and drag me back when necessary. But it is important to work on the reasons why you drink and what causes you to disembark the wagon.

Apart from that, you need a support network, either professional or not. It may sound strange, but you need to take on the responsibility of NOT letting people down.

So, you want as many people in your life as possible to know about your situation

Counting the days is another great motivator. It may sound too simple, but after getting to 20 or 30, there is nothing more annoying or gut-wrenching, as having to go back to zero.

It really does work

There are plenty of other options such as Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Step program.

But if you have a drinking problem ...
Please discuss it with your GP or Therapist

Was it REALLY Harder in Twenty-Nineteen Plus One?

Of course, it was. But not nearly as bad as I thought it would be, when COVID started to ramp-up.

Sure, as we all know, it was a really awful year. With bad news in the Media, most days. But everyone had to deal with it in one form or another. So, the best thing was to just get on with it.

It some ways, it made me more determined to see it through. There were lots of people and places, much worse off than me.

It seemed sacrilegious or weak-willed, to feel sorry for myself and give in to oblivion.

Reward Given

The light at the end of the tunnel was not an oncoming locomotive after all. The reward for a year or more of sobriety is immense.

Tim Stix: 400 Days of Sobriety - Nature's Reward
Nature's Reward

Being able to get in your car and drive at any time of the day or night, is empowering. If my daughter needs a lift anywhere or wants to be collected at midnight. No problem! I can power up the car without any fear of police cars and breath tests.

I have so much more free time. Evenings are no longer spent bleary-eyed in front of a television screen or Youtube. Now I write articles, web pages or have a bash on my electronic drum-kit. Without the neighbours complaining about the noise.

I won’t bore you with endless examples, but the final reward is probably the most important.

Your relationships improve, particularly with the people closest to you. What could be more rewarding than that!

400 Days Ago and More

Here’s to the first 400 days, with hopefully another 400 and more.

Just remember, NO TOASTS!

Originally Published on Vocal Media

This Article was originally published by on vocal.media.
Jack D - Jan 2021
Jack D is a Bass Guitarist and friend to all of us at 1.01 World Net. He is an occassional contributor to the BoK, focusing primarily on Mental Health issues.
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