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Twenty-One today... Thursday November 26, 2015

In my youth this used to mean getting the key of the door to come and go as you pleased. Nowadays as parents we say "You're twenty-one now, give me back that key and sod off."

What I am referring to is that today I complete 21 alcohol-free days. Four weeks ago I would have given long odds on this possibility. However the consultant has convinced me that I need a long stretch to allow the anti-depressants to do some serious work, instead of merely patching me up. My first target was payday. Now I hope to get to Xmas and see how I feel. I went to a support group meeting yesterday but didn't really feel it was for me. Fortunately I am feeling strong at the moment.

I went back to work last week. Everyone seemed genuinely pleased to see me back so I took a few of my staff into my confidence. Everyone has been really supportive. Interestingly enough the Management Committee with which I had so many issues seems to have imploded in my absence and has gone from being dysfunctional to totally non-functional. This ironically means that I am able to get on managing the business without interference.

I still go to the pub occasionally but I find non-alcoholic beer is not as satisfying and easier to say "enough" to, so I don't feel the need to visit as often or stay as long.

I had expected a smooth recovery. However it seems to go two steps forward one step back. I had a very productive day yesterday getting some key tasks done but I am working from home today as I woke up feeling rough. (I used to blame the beer for this but it now has an alibi!) I have also found the local library to be a quiet place to get on with work. (Libraries: quiet! Who knew?) It also means I don't go to the pub afterwards.

Twenty-one steps into the thousand-mile journey: So far so good...

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Sally Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 6:04am

Well done you! Great achievement. Keep at it. So glad you had a positive return to work . It sounds as if you are not only well liked but valued by the workforce. I hope you go well and achieve those 1000 days, Norman. It's just as we are about to give up hope that things change ,so sticking with it pays dividends. And the very best of luck in life in general to you.

the room above the garage Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 6:20am

Hello Norman, this is wonderful to read! I love that you have both managed expectation to anticipate tough days and changed your routine to help you fight your relationship with alcohol. I felt very bad after I lost my alcohol crutch...I learned it's because you start to feel properly rather than numbing out the emotion. It's not easy but your determination is evident and that is really all you need. I'm so happy to read your update, another one soon please. Power to you! Love ratg xxx.

Hopeful One Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 6:31am

Hi Norman- 21 days may not sound much but it is awesome bearing in mind from where you found yourself. It bodes well for the future especially if you keep that step by step approach." When one is going through Hell ", Mr Winston Churchill said , "keep going ". I am rooting for you!

Lou Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 7:16am


Well done you! Taking that first step is a massive achievement and not to be underestimated. Keeping going is fantastic. Thanks for sharing your achievements here as reading each others stories is really inspiring - especially when our own going might be going through a tough patch. Good luck and, echoing Hopeful One, keep going!


Adam Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 7:37am

Good going Norman! You are absolutely right about "two steps forward, one step back"! My own experience is that this develops over time to become 100 steps forward, two steps back. It hasn't gone away (does it ever?) but is more manageable.

LillyPet Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 8:03am

Hi Norman, I'm so glad for you that you're going for it steadily and have positive and healthy ways of managing your work and social life. We are all rooting for you and your experiences are invaluable to others on here, giving hope and support. Thank you for an inspiring blog! LP :)

Mimine Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 8:18am

Fabulous achievement! Keep strong and enjoy your new freedom!

Mary Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 9:37am

Norman - you inspire me. Not ready to give up the wine yet - but all the folk commenting here who are on top of that demon give me hope.

Bearofliddlebrain Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 9:44am

Yay, yay, and thrice yay! You are such an inspiration us all. Am more chuffed this week than I was last week, for you! Picture this...I'm jumping up and down in excitement for can tell if you listen carefully you can hear the ground vibrate!
There will be times when it'll be difficult, Norman, but keep seeing how you far you have already come and how you feel today and remember the support and love you have here on Moodscope. We're all in a similar boat one way and another.
Flipping fantastic! Am raising my cuppa ree to you, Norman!
Bear hugs x

danielle Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 11:46am

Bear you are always such a ray of sunshine :) i love your comments and posts xxx

Debs Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 1:43pm

I agree Danielle - she's a beautiful presence on this site, I always smile when I see bear hugs being shared ;-) xxx

Bearofliddlebrain Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 4:47pm

Thank you both...that is kind....x x x x

Norman Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 5:49pm

How's the back bearting up under all this jumping?

Norman Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 5:49pm


Bearofliddlebrain Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 8:30pm

Ah, goodly thankees! Feline even bedderer hearing how well you are doing!

Victoria Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 9:44am

I'm really pleased for you Norman. Well done.

Leah Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 9:54am

Well done and thanks for updating us on your progress.

I see your journey as a dance as most dances have steps forward and back and steps to the side and steps in circles and they always finish in the end. So try not to worry about the steps back they are all helping you go forward. Hope that makes sense!! Look forward to more reports from your journey and your dancing!!

Debs Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 1:41pm

What a beautiful comment Leah, I am going to commit that to mind and remember it when I have a bad day. Its just a dance, and there is always a forward step coming xxx

Norman Fri, Nov 27th 2015 @ 11:34am

Hah! Hah! Have you seen me dance?

susan Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 9:54am

YAY Norman!! I read somewhere that if a routine can be maintained for 3 weeks, the body internalizes it. It sounds right...I hope it's right....because that means you've already laid a firm foundation. You should be really proud. Noone says it's going to be easy, but you've got what it takes to pull this off. Really pleased for you. xx

Terence Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 10:16am

How exciting! Being a manager is not easy. You obviously look after your team as they are happy to look after you x

The Gardener Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 10:40am

Oh Norman, how pleased I am for you. Having watched a son self-destruct with alcohol, taking wife, children and business with him - it is the worst nightmare. He is cured of drink - years now, I think - but lost business and marriage. Still very 'delicate' with depression - never know with alcoholics which came first, chicken and egg. Now I have to confess to drinking more than I did. But I think (kid myself) that I have a non-addictive system. When I get back from visiting my husband in the geriatric hospital I am profoundly depressed and scared of the future. I could take a sedative - then probably play solitaire for hours, and, by default, watch TV I'm not interested in - to fill the void. Instead I have a cuppa - then a Kir, read all the Moodscope happenings - get a PROPER meal instead of snacking, then settle for the evening to good music, or good Radio 4, knitting, writing to friends or paper sorting. I do have a couple of glasses of red as well - but at the end of the evening I've done something and go to bed peacefully. Life is nerve-wracking at the moment, but sedatives give me a bigger hangover than alcohol, and, according to Doc, build up in the bloodstream and affect my eyesight. I hope the non-alcohol regime has made you feel better physically, Norman. My son admitted some later that he never felt well, always crotchety, and did not know how he managed his extremely demanding job (plus two hours driving a day). So the very best of luck to you Norman - there's life after beer!

Norman Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 6:46pm

TG some years ago I was doing the finances for a worker co-operative, on the national body for worker co-ops, a member of the City Council chairing an important committee, attending national conferences and organisations, having a wife, two step-children and a new baby son at home, active in politics and on the verge of being selected as a parliamentary candidate. Something had to give and I decided the alcohol was slowing me down, so I gave up for two years. (Then it all unravelled...)

John Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 11:17am

This isn't advice, just personal experience; Soda water is usually free in pubs, so you can drop out of the kitty or buying rounds; don't rush things, just sit back and think before taking action or making decisions; when emotions kick in - let them, don't analyse or recoil.

Hope to hear from you after six months.

Norman Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 6:02pm

Well my non-alcoholic beer of choice is the same price as the alcoholic version!

danielle Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 11:48am

well done Norman what an achievement - every day is another great achievement you should be very proud of yourself

Vivien Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 12:22pm

Well done Norman - fantastic achievement. Onward & upward - keep smiling!

Debs Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 1:40pm

Oh Norman, your post brought a tear to my eye! I am so inspired by who you are and the strength and vulnerability you have given us through your words.... and your actions. I now feel like I have the strength to stand up to my emotional 'band aids' and feel the pain more readily. That way does true courage lie. Thanks you so much xxxxx

g Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 2:15pm

Thank you Norman for this post . I have started going to AL Anon as I have realized that I have a real problem in dealing with members of my family drinking too much and I have learned so far that it is - A day at a time - for all of us and from my faith - we fall but we get up and go on and we fall ... getting up and going on is all that matters.well done.

g Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 2:17pm

other than that I went to check if there were any comments to my post yesterday and I was really touched by Mary's answer to my comment and then saw some comments added today there .Is everybody going back and scrolling or are there beter ways to keep track ? I guess this a question for moodscope ?

g Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 2:22pm

when there is anything happening on FB I get the email about it - sometimes there is nothing to see lol but still I do get notified so can answer , like , comment, acknowledge ...and here I do not want to be rude or miss something or miss out so basically is there a better way ? or eg. if I like somebody's post is there a way to find all their previous posts without checking each one ? sometimes I do not visit for a long time - will be going on a month's holiday with no internet etc. soon....

Bearofliddlebrain Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 4:46pm

Hi g, I think we have to go back to the blog for the day you want and add comments. I often go back a day or so and sometimes add a comment and hope the right peeps have seen it :) Hope you have a wonderful whole month! You'll be so relaxed you'll be nearly horizontal! Bear hugs x x

g Fri, Nov 27th 2015 @ 11:53am

It is nice to see that one's post is read and any reply is great but yours is extra special .I will be horizontal for most of it as gad not been able to holiday for a couple of years due to serious operations - mine and then my husbands - that required long periods of recovery , no flying .. oh and we got a puppy .She is 14 months now - it is going to be so difficult to leave ..

Susan Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 2:35pm

Congratulations! It's Thanksgiving Day here in the US and this is certainly something to be thankful for.

Bearofliddlebrain Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 4:44pm

Happy Thanksgiving Day, Susan :) hope it's a peaceful celebration for you all over the Pond! Bear x

Norman Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 6:53pm

Many thanks for all the kind words and encouragement. I actually wrote this last week so today is day 29 and counting, almost a calendar month. I am going to my son's for Xmas so if I can indulge moderately for a couple of days then abstain again afterwards I will feel that I've cracked it. Plus my finances should be sorted early next year too at this rate.

Bearofliddlebrain Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 8:37pm

Brilliant...glad you have Christmas plans with your son. If he knows you're not drinking, maybe he could limit the amount of alcohol he has in...or how much you have access to! Best of luck and keep in touch with us - it's great to see how well you're doing. Bear x

Rebecca Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 7:18pm

Well done, I did dry September but found it really difficult. Drank as soon as it over but have cut down a lot. Don't feel need to drink every night but when I go out I like a drink but don't know when to stop! Haven't done this for a long time so slowly getting there.

Bearofliddlebrain Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 8:40pm

Ah, there lies part of the problem for me too....can't just have one or two...Well done for keeping on trying, Rebecca. Bear x

Norman Fri, Nov 27th 2015 @ 11:50am

Rebecca: If one drink is good then ten must be ten times better? Right? It is really insidious as drink itself erodes the willpower to call a halt. Glad to hear you are on the right road, cutting down is a bigger challenge than giving up completely so power to your elbow (or not...)

Norman Fri, Nov 27th 2015 @ 11:51am

but not your drinking arm...

Julia Thu, Nov 26th 2015 @ 9:28pm

I'm delighted to read your blog. 21 days is a great achievement. It's good you are on antidepressants because they will make you feel much much better once they kick in and you know that if you start drinking again, the anti depressants will stop working. What good medical advice you have received. It's great you can go into the pub and not succumb to drinking again. It seems to me that you've cracked it. Onwards and upwards. Great stuff Norman"

Norman Fri, Nov 27th 2015 @ 11:54am

When I walk into the pub near my work the staff automatically reach for the non-alcoholic beer. I feel safe knowing I'd have to make a conscious decision to drink again.

Sal Fri, Nov 27th 2015 @ 1:15am

Hey guys, loads of great blogs again since I last looked - but please can anyone get this spamming person (Mary from USA) to stop spamming? :0 <3

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope Fri, Nov 27th 2015 @ 8:20am

Yes, I can and I have :-)

Barbara Fri, Nov 27th 2015 @ 6:01am

How did this Mary from u.s. get on here? First I've seen of this type of problem.
Over to you, mood scope, I guess.

Thank you, Norman, and well done. There is hope yet.

Michael Sat, Nov 28th 2015 @ 9:37pm

I really enjoyed reading your blog today Norman. Honest and positive - you sound like an alright sort of fella. Well done.

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