This has been a rollercoaster of a week emotionally. My old dog had a stroke last weekend. She couldn’t walk straight, stand up to eat and was really miserable. I waited til after the weekend to call the vets fully expecting to have her put to sleep. Due to Covid they aren’t able to let owners in to the building. I wasn’t going to leave her to die scared and alone so the deal was that one of the vets would come out to the car instead but I had to wait until Wed morning. We sat in the sunshine in the busy car park together and I sang to her and cried. The vet came out and the outcome was to give her a bit longer as she may recover enough to enjoy life again. Apparently dogs often do. A lot of her distress was from nystagmus (rapid eye flicking that makes you dizzy and unable to focus and feel sick) but he had a tablet for that. We went home and she’s still with us. A little brighter but it’s still hanging in the balance. She won’t eat for herself but she’s moving around more. Death is hovering in the wings again, casting a shadow. I can’t help thinking of all the families who have been unable to be with their human loved ones who are sick and have died and I really can’t imagine the pain of that other than to know how unbearable it would be.
Thursday I had a call scheduled with my boss to discuss future plans. I had said I was leaving to work for myself end of August but they persuaded me to stay on some hours to do training, supervision etc. Then my young patient killed herself and Covid happened so I asked if I could defer which we agreed. Things have been ok and mostly I’ve been enjoying work through lockdown. Turns out that’s not possible as the company is looking at a large deficit forecast this year. They can’t afford to replace me now and need me to go when I said I would though I can reduce slowly over a few months. I stayed calm and grown up and got on with my day. I told C and he just said “we’ll be ok” and went back to work. I went grocery shopping after work and ruminated on his unemotional reaction along with the situation. By the time I got home I was tired, hungry and angry with him. I ramped up my emotions and we argued. I got the wine bottle out and poured a glass and took a swig then spat it out. I felt stupid but also a desperate need to go back to not knowing, oblivion, fuck it mode. I wanted him to appreciate how shaken I felt, how anxious I was and to help me find solutions. He pointed out that I’d been wanting to leave my job so struggled to understand my upset. I knew that but now things had been taken out of my control and I was scared.
Later that evening when we’d made up I realised that fear has held me back a lot and fear is the wine witches friend. I was scared to leave my first marriage for a long time until C came along and provided a catalyst. I’m scared to be fully sober and I’m scared to work completely for myself. Fear keeps me stuck in the forest wandering around not sure which way to go. I don’t want to go back to drinking or to working for the NHS but I make half baked choices to hedge my bets. Floating in this limbo makes it more likely I’ll go backwards not forwards. I also realised I don’t like putting the effort in. I’m not very disciplined. I’ve gotten away with that all my life – winging my way along. To make this work I’m going to have to work harder than I’m used to off my own steam. There won’t be anyone else to blame if things go wrong. I’ll have to manage my money more carefully than I ever have. I know what it’s like to not have money from my childhood and student days. Since then I’ve had a well paid job for over 30 years but I’ve not saved or managed it, I’ve just done as I pleased and my current situation is in part a result of that careless attitude. That is going to have to change. To be disciplined I’m going to have to let go of my crutches that ease the fear but keep me stood still. I’ll have to make choices instead of having it all my way. This may turn out to be the best thing that’s happened or it may go wrong. Loss and change are the only certainties in life really. It’s what we do when faced with them that makes the difference. I need to face this, work out what I want to do, feel the fear and get past it through planned sustained effort.
I wrote that Saturday as it is now but I wasn’t happy with it and didn’t want to publish. I thought it sounded preachy and I wasn’t feeling it. I was meeting a few friends for a socially distanced birthday picnic in the park. It was lovely to see them – really special after over 2 months. I didn’t want to drink but I did have a little bit of E. I had a nice time, both before and after the E and if I’m honest it didn’t add a lot to the experience other than I didn’t feel left out. I came home in time to enjoy the rest of the evening with C. I could tell myself that it’s fine – I get to define the limits of my sobriety; but I know that’s not true given the incident with the wine and what I’ve written above. It’s me being scared and retreating back to the familiar and that’s not the direction I’m travelling. The Paul Weller song below has been in my consciousness and on my playlist for many years now – a tune calling me to make changes. I know what I need to do – I just have to get on and do it. It’s the 1st June today – 3 months to get my shit together. When I’ve posted this I’m going to make a start.
“Brand New Start” – Paul Weller
I’m gonna clear out my head
I’m gonna get myself straight
I know it’s never too late
To make a brand new start
I’m gonna kick down the door
I’m gonna get myself in
I’m gonna fix up the yard
And not fall back again
I’m gonna clean up my earth
And build a heaven on the ground
Not something distant or unfound
But something real to me
But something real to me
All that I can I can be
All that I am I can see
All that is mine is in my hands
So to myself I call
There’s somewhere else I should be
There’s someone else I can see
There’s something more I can find
It’s only up to me …..