Tag Archives: recovery

‘Rain in My Heart’ Drinkers documentary

There was a discussion on Soberistas about this British BBC documentary which I had never heard of before and therefore not seen.

I watched it last night and it reminded me very much of my nursing days which I talked about here.  I also wrote a guest post for Veronica Valli that was my account of caring for a dying alcoholic that you can read here.

It was filmed in 2006 and is a hard-hitting, shocking and saddening account of the lives of 4 alcoholics during hospital admissions and relapse.  If you wanted an insight into my nursing experience then this is a very accurate and true reflection.

Here is the link to the documentary:

Why I am I sharing it here?  Because my nursing experience helps keep me on the recovery path.  Although as a drinker my alcohol consumption never reached this level or had this impact on my physical health I knew that this is where I would end up if I carried on.  It is a sobering ever present reminder to me and maybe it will help you stay on the path if you are wobbling or strengthen your resolve to stop if you haven’t yet.

Discounting the Positives of Not Drinking

This is a kind of selective attention like ‘Mental Filtering’ except this time you are discounting the positives of an experience.  The moderation examples used in the last post would be equally applicable to this.

Or again using my blogging example someone might congratulate me on a post and I would dismiss it out-of-hand, believing it to be undeserved.  I might also automatically inwardly interpret the compliment as an attempt at flattery or perhaps as a result of naivety on their part, as in ‘wait until you find some of the really good sober blogs’.  I might then dwell on how much better these other bloggers are instead.  This is a genuine thought process of mine at times and I’m not looking for people to blow smoke up my arse (thanks FFF!)

As with mental filtering, if you have to accept something as not really bad, then you discount it by saying well it wasn’t really good either.  It was nothing.  Damned if you do, damned if you don’t ….

Here it is important to remind ourselves that filtering out good experiences only leaves negative ones to focus on and that increases the risk of depression.  I’m not suggesting we become all Polyanna-like but I think some balance in our thinking is critical and crucial to our recovery.  We need to celebrate the wins of not drinking rather than dismissing or minimising them as that way drinking again lies.  Sober treats and self-care reminder! 🙂

Guest Post: Addiction and Employment

Today’s post comes courtesy of James White.  He is a content creator for 12 Keys Recovery in the US and enjoys helping people find freedom from their addictions.

Comparing Drug Addiction and Unemployment in the UK and US

Both the United States and United Kingdom have experienced a correlation between unemployment and drug addiction. Studies have found that unemployment increases the likelihood of one bingeing on drugs. Similarly, those who are currently employed are likelier to become unemployed if they are suffering from substance abuse.

When further investigating the link between unemployment and drug addiction, it’s worth considering several aspects of drug addiction and unemployment in the UK that are both similar and different to their US counterparts:

Late 20s and Early 30s Are At the Most Risk

Studies show that, in the UK, the mean age of those unemployed and suffering from drug addiction is 28 to 31. This makes sense because, by that age, one can attain long-term employment while living independently. That factor, combined with potential extra income at that age, make that age group particularly prone to correlated drug addiction and unemployment.

The Harder the Drug, the More Severe the Impact

UK studies have shown that the link between unemployment and “soft drugs” — such as cannabis and amphetamines — is not as substantial as the relationship between unemployment and “hard drugs” — like cocaine and opiates. Although hard drugs pose more of a risk for both self-harm and potential unemployment, it is apparent that all types of drugs can impact one’s employment negatively.

Addicts in the US and UK Share Several Tendencies

Both in the US and UK, unemployment increases a person’s likelihood to binge drink or have a tobacco/drug addiction. There is little difference between the drugs of choice in both countries; the differences primarily involve alcohol, as 18 is the legal drinking age in the UK, while 21 is the legal drinking age in the US. This has little bearing on unemployment-drug correlation statistics though, since employment at these ages is not significant regardless.

Also, in both the US and UK, cannabis is the most popular drug, with millions using it per year. Still, recent studies have suggested that cannabis use is declining in England and Wales. On the contrary, cannabis use appears to be increasing in the United States.

Drug Addiction Is a Barrier to Employment

Even after a drug addict recovers, they will likely find it difficult to find employment due to a criminal record or diminished physical/mental health. Since many drug addicts deplete their funds to support their habit, it will also be difficult to afford aspects like transportation or housing that can aid in a job search.

These difficulties exist in both the US and UK. When one starts to become addicted to drugs, it’s highly recommended to seek treatment immediately. Long-term drug use can result in diminished health and/or criminal charges that can make it extremely difficult to find substantial employment.

Breaking the Cycle Is Universal

Although the US and UK differ in some drug tendencies, laws and treatment, the strategies for breaking the cycle of drug addiction remain the same. By educating people on the dangers of drugs and offering effective, accessible drug treatment programs, both the US and UK can decrease the amount of drug addicts, whose addiction can cost them employment, income and health.

Thanks James! 🙂  Plus when he first contacted me he shared this video too so I’m posting it up for you to enjoy also.

http://www.12keysrecovery.com/blog/unemployment-and-addiction-video/

Any thoughts?

PS I am aware that today was the day that Veronica Valli and I were due to share our first Skype conversation with you.  We recorded it and although the video quality was great, the audio was not and we aren’t happy publishing it until it’s right so we are tweaking the technology and will re-record again soon.  I guess that’s what happens sometimes when you are having a conversation and are 6000 miles apart!

Easter hiatus

Apologies folks for the interruption in service over this week-end.  As I mentioned in a previous post I am doing some work to my blog which involved moving servers and so some functionality was lost for a few days.  Thank you to those of you who emailed me to let me know about the 404 error messages and those who sent text messages to make sure I hadn’t drowned in a vat of wine,  you know who you are  😉  It hadn’t gone dark because I was off drinking – more like tearing my hair out as my luddite technology skills were severely challenged!!

Anyway I am happy to say that the normal daily blog service is now resumed 🙂

And with some news too.  In a couple of weeks I am going to do a Skype interview with Veronica Valli from Recovery Rocks.  If anyone would like to submit a question for Veronica then please let me know on email in the next two weeks.  I am planning on posting the interview up on Monday 12th May.

Here is her bio:

Veronica has worked as a therapist and life coach specialising in addiction for over ten years; her experience includes working with young people in the criminal justice system, primary care adult treatment, outreach services and private practice. Veronica has also worked in local government, delivering local drug and alcohol strategies.

As a recovered alcoholic, she has personal experience of what it takes to recover. Veronica struggled with alcoholism through most of her twenties. Never a daily drinker but a binge drinker, she was aware for some time that something was wrong but was unable to define what it was; a chance meeting led to her finally getting help and turning her life around.

At the height of her drink problem, Veronica was unable to go to work without the aid of a drink; her life and confidence were in tatters. She got sober in 2000 at the age of twenty-seven. She now uses this experience to help and inspire others. She fully believes that all alcoholics and addicts can recover if they have access to the right kind of help, and that they can then go on to live life to the full.

She is committed to educating and informing the public on problem drinking and addiction and has appeared regularly on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire as a specialist guest. She has also appeared on the Lorraine Kelly show on ITV, and an ITV programme entitled The Truth About Binge Drinking; she has also appeared in national magazines and publications, discussing recovery from alcoholism.

Her book ‘Why you drink and How to stop: Journey to freedom’ is available on Amazon.co.uk http://www.amazon.co.uk/Why-you-drink-How-stop-ebook/dp/B00EGD8T3M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382014004&sr=8-1&keywords=veronica+valli

Veronica is married with a young son and is currently working in private practice.

http://veronicavalli.com

http://twitter.com/veronicavalli

https://www.facebook.com/addictionexpert

2013 How to Stop Cover 960x1280

If you have a question you would like to ask an addictions specialist then drop me an email.  Or maybe you’d like to ask a question of me as a nurse?  Whatever we’ll try to accommodate and are really looking forward to it!

Bob The Street Cat

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“It’s incredible,” said Bowen. “When I first saw Bob on this doorstep, I never thought this is where I’d be today.”

I love this true story and I read the book written by James Bowen to describe his and Bob’s journey when it was first published in 2012 and it made me cry.  Now I’m a sucker for a happy ending and this one involves a cat, that looks not too dissimilar to our family cat, so it was always going to be a winner in my eyes.  More importantly this was a story of addiction and escape from it and the hope and change that recovery can bring.

“I think I’ve opened people’s eyes to things they never understood properly,” said Bowen of the book’s success. “I never ever thought I would be able to turn my life around … and be the voice of people who can’t be heard.”

Why I am I sharing this?  Because the companionship of Bob helped James in the same way that I feel the companionship of the sober blogging community helps me.  I also consider that mine is a voice that cannot be heard.  I’m a drinker who had a problem that needed help where traditional support does not exist and yet here it is – in the very ether around me.  I would have been reclaimed and drowned by the sea of booze if I didn’t have the life-line of all of you.  I thank you all for your support from the very being of my soul that is rediscovering itself slowly but surely now that I am hangover free xx

Edited to add 21/10/16

Street Cat Bob: 500,000 Facebook followers, five million books… meet the world’s most famous cat

The Sunshine Award

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Thank you so very much to Maggie from Sober Courage for nominating me for this wonderful award.  Please go visit her blog as I will be doing now!

To accept the award, each awardee must do the following:

  • Display the award on your blog.
  • Announce your win with a post and thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • List 10 interesting things about yourself.
  • Present 10 deserving bloggers “who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.
  • Link to the awardees and let them know of the nomination.

I’m only a relative newbie to the sober blogging community so feel really honoured to have been nominated for this award.  It will definitely strengthen my resolve and help keep me on the path of recovery! 🙂

OK 10 interesting things about myself:

  1. Although I am a UK citizen I was born in Germany and as an adult I have lived with my young family in France.
  2. As a young person I was sent to a single sex religion-led boarding school and yes it did have some St Trinian’s-esque moments!
  3. I came of age during the rave era and will always see myself as a raver.  I am never happier than when listening to dance music and throwing some shapes; ‘big fish, little fish, cardboard box’ – yep that was me! 😉
  4. My favourite bands are The Prodigy, Radiohead and Air.
  5. I love the sea and it is my ‘go to’ place when I need to think and to put things in perspective.  This love has influenced both places I have trained vocationally and where I have lived.  Brighton is my spiritual home.
  6. I am a proud graduate of The Open University.  This organisation ROCKS!!
  7. I am a mum to two fantastic children (although obviously I’m biased!).  This young lady and young man are around the age of the expression ‘give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man’.  I hope it’s not too late.  I hope I’ve not f**ked them up.
  8. I am happily married to a man who used to be my boozing companion and we decided to stop together.  He is 6 days ahead of me in this journey!
  9. I ran the London Marathon in 2011 for the Samaritans and raised over £3,000.
  10. Although I now live in a ‘chocolate box‘ English village I am a city girl at heart having lived in Cambridge, Exeter, London and Brighton.  My favourite city in the world is New York.

Ok, and now a  drum roll and a HUGE thank you to these 10 deserving bloggers who I believe, positively and creatively inspire me and many others in the blogosphere:

Thank you once again, and I hope that you accept this award. I am very excited to learn a bit more about you all!