Daily Archives: 06/11/2015

Friday Sober Jukebox – Ghosts

So a couple of weeks  ago it was my 3rd sober birthday.  Drinking is now not a thought that enters my mind.  Chocolate yes, booze no.

it's my party and i'll cry if i want toNow I feel really uncomfortable saying this as it feels really ungrateful but I hate my birthday.  It’s not about my age and the passing of years it’s because I feel that I should be happy like Clare Grogan in Altered Images Happy Birthday and actually I usually feel  all Lesley Gore It’s My Birthday and I’ll Cry If I Want To.

It’s not about that day – we had a lovely time despite me feeling as rough as a badgers arse because of a heavy cold.  There was no point eating cake as I couldn’t taste anything 🙁

It’s because birthday’s are so conflicted for me and one of the days that I usually really went off the deep end with my drinking was THIS day.  Of all the days that I self-medicated the most about, it was this one.  Which is why it’s taken 3 years for the feelings around this subject to become clear which led to lots of tears and finally an understanding of why I felt so sad on my birthday despite desperately trying to appear really happy and upbeat, cos’ that’s how you’re supposed to be right?

As you know from last Friday’s sober jukebox I’ve been doing some deep emotional excavation and processing some heavy shit since going back into therapy as part of my post grad studies.  You also know that it involves family and trauma which links it to my birth, and hence my birthday.  Let’s just say there were some rejection and abandonment issues when I was a baby and then trauma as a pre-verbal toddler.  My way to deal with that (and other stuff) was to shut down my body and stay in my head.  It’s why I collected book-marks as a child and was such a book-worm – I could escape into my head and the stories (I find safety in books which I suspect also fuels my academic striving).  I became literally disembodied.  Well all that healing work means I’m experiencing some embodiment once more and can no longer deny how I feel in my body, which includes my heart.  It roared back to life and felt like it was breaking in two with sadness this birthday as all the stuff I tried to block out with booze made its presence felt.

I know this is necessary and it will ease with time, and I have the lovely Mr HOF and my kids who hugged me hard that day, but god damn it sometimes this recovery stuff sucks.  I’m hoping that this is the start of some more peaceful birthdays now that I feel like I’ve acknowledged the ghosts and laid them to rest.  Which allows me to finish off on one of my favourite tunes and showcase some Old Grey Whistle Test to boot 😉 David Sylvian, circa 1982 ……

Edited to add: 07/11/2015 As I’m posting only every other day now this is up on a Saturday morning and I wanted to share this.  Firstly to say that not all of recovery is hard work and doom and gloom and that those difficult feelings do pass.  Secondly to revel in the joy that is a Saturday morning without a hangover that allows me to watch this and laugh my arse off.  Thanks Drake for the Hotline Bling track and my kind of dancing 😉 and for this brilliant meme 🙂



Offer support not stigma

Blenheim has submitted a response to Dame Carol Black’s independent review into the impact on employment outcomes of drug or alcohol addiction and obesity that recommends support not stigma.

social-stigmaOffer support not stigma





Blenheim has submitted a response to Dame Carol Black’s independent review into the impact on employment outcomes of drug or alcohol addiction and obesity.

The response used evidence from an evaluation of Blenheim’s ETE service in Kensington & Chelsea which included key messages from service users about their needs and the barriers they face in gaining employment.

The key points raised the in response are;

  • ETE services specialising in working with those with substance misuse related unemployment work most effectively when integrated into or very closely aligned to the substance misuse treatment system.”
  • Many clients feedback their experience of feeling ashamed and stigmatised when accessing JCP/DWP. This was felt to lead to some not being “open and honest” about complex health and social issues and therefore missing out on additional help through “fear of repercussions.”
  • In one of the focus groups the ‘benefits’ system received 0/5 for understanding and there was general agreement that the mental health issues linked to addiction were not understood.
  • Many people that access treatment for drug and/or alcohol misuse do so when life has reached a crisis. Many of our clients have either no housing or insecure housing. This alone is a barrier to employment since employers require an address.
  • Prejudice is a serious barrier to employment for those with substance misusing histories and inclusion of this in the Equality Act would demonstrate a government commitment to supporting the recovery and reintegration of drug and alcohol misusers into the wider community.

“People enter substance misuse treatment with a wide range of health and social needs. These need to be addressed alongside building motivation and aspiration for sustainable change. Drug and alcohol users are not a homogenous group. People are drawn to misusing substances from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences and possess a broad range of skills, abilities and talents. For some these need to be re-discovered and all skills and talents need careful nurture. Those best placed to assist this process are specialist substance misuse/ETE practitioners.

Sanctioning those who choose not to take up treatment options runs the risk of claimants not claiming, not accessing treatment and moving further into the margins of society. This not only further damages the individual and their families; it robs communities of the additional skills, experiences and resources brought by recovering substance misusers.”

You can read the full response here – Dame Carol Black Consultation August 2015

Hear hear Blenheim, well said 🙂