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Quescience, blogging and alcohol recovery

March 17, 2011

I sometimes stumble across inactive blogs. Well, quite often, really. I like to follow blogs of people in recovery. When these kindred souls appear to vanish, I wonder where they have gone.

I hope they have quietly moved on, the urge to blog forgotten.

Living life in meatspace.

Lingering in dappled groves.

I wonder who has lapsed. Who has relapsed. Who is gone.


I’m well.

Clean and sober 3 years now.

Recovery remains a challenge, but the monkey has become a tiny marmoset.

My life moves forward. I walk on paths shared by many kindred souls.

Be well.

Banjo x



October 28, 2010

I have a list I built.

To do: make a list
To do: make a list

It is an action list.

A list of actions to take when I feel myself spiralling into depression, ennui or hubris.

It’s an amalgamation.

Professional advice I have recieved from various sources.

Things I have learnt through trial and error.

Successes and failures.

Number 1 on the list is this:

Protect and maintain my sleep pattern.


Sweet dreams.


September 11, 2010

In my recovery I’ve received advice from a few different therapeutic perspectives.

Different epistemological paradigms.*

A recurring theme has been the importance of creativity. This seems odd, to one from a scientific background such as myself. But it is a powerful aide-de-sobriété, I have come to realise.

It is not, to me, about possessing any talent or skill in a creative endeavour.

Case in point:

I have no talent for any visual art. Yet I have found it a useful way of identifying and hence addressing the subtleties of my own emotional states. A tool in strengthening my recovery – in exposing those parts of myself hidden from the light and drowned by the drink.

I enjoy writing, and schedule time to pursue this as my primary hobby every week. I treat it like a job – a job I happen to enjoy. I really don’t care if what I produce is classed as crude, clumsy, uncouth or banal.

I’m not trying to make a living from it.

I’m using it to help me live.

* My pretentiously sententious way of saying different types of self or societally appointed “experts”.

Internet Addicted Monkeys

August 29, 2010

I’ve been observing and reflecting on my own behaviour pattern  after reading a post by Daisy recently.

Daisy touched on the topic of substituting behaviour in recovery. Junk food in particular.

At the therapeutic community I lived in, food was a common substitution. It was rare for a resident to not balloon out a bit. Myself included.

What dog?

I still “comfort eat” a fair bit, but can moderate this with generally healthy eating. A fair bit of exercise. Enough balance to stay in the healthy weight range. Or thereabouts. I’m OK with this. For now, at least.

Alcohol had for years been a way to temporarily comfort my discordant psyche. That was how it got its claws in. Once the addiction becomes physical,…the teeth are in as well.

Developing or reawakening a dormant capacity to self-soothe is hard. Some of my psychiatric symptoms, for example, have been at times powerful and persistent.

Taking alcohol out of the picture has been the best thing I have ever done for my mental health. But it fought tooth and nail for years. I fought tooth and nail for years.

Oh dear

Then realised that I needed to accept that gorilla and make it part of me. To integrate and incorporate this aspect of myself. My personal experiences. The paths I have walked.

The journey of internal self-management is one never finished. We all have our monkeys.

If I occasionally treat the monkey to this:

or this:

Well, that’s not a major worry. Comparatively.

If I’m lapsing into craving too much of this type of external self-soothing behaviour, then I use it as a wake up call. It tells me I need to reflect. Take a step back and see what’s running through my head and heart.

Find where the wave of crave has started.

I am spending far too much time wandering aimlessly about on the internet. Spending far too much time trolling through sites bursting with humour, trivia, and distracting interactions with the abyss the internet can be. I have spent most of the day today substituting this false reality for the world outside my door and inside my heart.

This behaviour is a form of avoidance and substitution for me. Avoiding being present within myself. Of experiencing the loneliness that fills many of my days.

As someone recovered from PTSD and familiar with social anxiety, avoidance is a beast I fear. I can see the void that I am trying to fill. It will not be filled with chocolate, cheezels or Chris Onstad.

On days like today, I need to turn off the computer. Smarten myself up. Walk out the door.

Which I shall now do.



August 21, 2010

I don’t think sporadicity is a word. At least, my spell checker robustly informs me it isn’t.

This is my 11th post since I spawned this recovery blog in 2007. That’s less than 3 posts per year.

Sporadic is an understatement.

I chanced upon this blog recently. I’d forgotten that I began it.

I certainly have periods free of most memory.

I will occasionally add to this disjointed compendium of recovery.

Hence the addition of an email subscription button. For my readers (both of you) it saves unnecessary clicking time.

Helps to promote the longevity of that quiet mouse nestled in your palm.

Alcohol and Aboriginal Australians

July 4, 2010

NAIDOC week starts today.

The introduction of alcohol by European colonists (combined with physical, sexual, religious, social and cultural oppression) has caused great harm.

There were several Aboriginal people, from various groups, at the therapeutic community I went to.

I was grateful to be able to support and be supported in my recovery by members of the oldest continuous culture in all of human history.

But the impact of alcohol use is one of the many gaps we must close.

I share the shame of all Australians that our Aboriginal and Islander peoples die 17 years younger than non-Aboriginal people.

Grog is a problem not just for some people, like me, but for our society. More so than any other drug.

Social Networks

July 3, 2010

Arguably my biggest challenge is forging new social bonds.

I’ve had to let go of some friendships.

To move away from some not supportive of my recovery.

Whilst some have moved away from me.

Sometimes, as a consequence of my behaviours when unwell and drinking.

Sometimes, simply as we move in different directions in life.

I am a private person, in meatspace. Guarded about my history of mental illness and alcohol-use disorder.

I struggle still with feelings of shame, guilt and inadequacy.

Despite being a fair way into the maintenance phase within the transtheoretical model, this barrier remains a challenge.

I investigate and explore local community groups, activities, sports et cetera where I will share common interests with others. I diarise, but rarely attend.

I have been back studying again for 18 months now, working with the same people even longer. Yet all my colleagues remain acquaintances only. My reticence and fear is the main barrier. I commit to social engagements outside Uni, but withdraw in fear.

This, naturally, drives people away.

I have not been in a relationship for 5 years now. Unusual in a 30-something.

I am not quite this guy, though.

I have become quite accustomed to interacting with my family, who do drink a fair bit.

I still remain fearful of social engagements with people who might drink, and how they will react to my not being a drinker.

We non-drinkers are in the minority, here in Australia.

Logically, most people probably would not care.

With my history of depression and ongoing medication, I can always say “for medical reasons” if pressed.

This is a challenge that frightens me.