I suppose that each great journey begins with one step, but I wish at the moment I could take a few more of them.
It’s been one month and three days without alcohol (Yay!) – which I feel in itself is something of a milestone – but on other fronts I feel I’m not making much progress.
For those following what I’ve been doing so far, some may have noticed my walking updates have been few and far between. Whilst moving about has become easier over the last month since I’ve given up drinking and lost a bit of weight it’s still by no means easy.
Honestly I remain mortally embarrassed by it. I wanted to be further forward and feel more successful, neither of which I feel tonight.
My minor victory (or major victory if I’m forced to put a positive spin on how I feel) so far is that I can now go to do some shopping at a local (small) supermarket and by the time I have finished I only have minor back pain.
Previously this would be severe back pain and trembling until I could be seated again ASAP.
Any distance walking remains frustratingly out of reach though and I’ve had to accept there are real and unavoidable physical limitations that being so heavy imposes. I’ve twice pulled my left calf muscle and had to limp back home – depressingly close to base camp. I also have an odd pain in my right heel since I wrote the new horizon post that makes me limp in the morning.
In an almost farcical turn of events a week ago whilst trying to walk round my block I was stuck for 15 mins about 100ft from my front door sitting on someone’s garden wall in the dark struggling to stand or get my breath.
Home had at the time never seemed so far away.
So a few days ago (I probably should have done this sooner and faced up to reality) I dusted off my exercise bike in the spare room. This is a gym quality piece of fitness kit that a few years ago cost me nearly a grand and a half, when I had similarly lofty fitness aspirations.
I spent so much on it because I was simply too heavy to fit on a bike that ‘normal people’ might use. I’ve lost count of the things that creak and break beneath you when you’re this heavy and I wasn’t taking any chances when this monster was ordered.
I was expecting at the time for the firm to have a specialised delivery team, but instead a poor guy on his own had to manhandle it from his van in a huge cardboard box to my front door before running for the hills after he had his signature. If I’m honest thats probably the hardiest workout anyone has got from it before and since.
For the last few days though I’ve been trying to use it again. This activity is not comfortable either, since I have a rather large gut that gets in the way of cycling, but at least I’m not crippled and can get home after using it.
At the moment its set to ‘normal’ workout, and gives me a mandatory two minute warm up, and then starts a thirty minute countdown for me to stop pedalling.
At the moment I can get to 27 on the counter – so a total of five minutes. This really shouldn’t make me want to drink but it really really does.
Instead of doing it though I’m writing about it, which almost fills the gap.
I’ve recognised that when I fail to constructively fill my time I begin to feel like this. It’s one of my main drinking triggers. Its probably the worst of all actually.
An expanse of time with nothing immediately obvious to fill it.
I can’t fill it with exercise because I can’t do enough of it. Instead I am either left to think about my limitations or go out. Since its mostly pubs open where I live at this time of night the options remain limited and I don’t want to turn up on people’s doorsteps every evening expecting a cup of tea whenever I’m like this.
(Note: Author pauses for a few minutes to mentally slap himself around face several times after reading today’s whining self pitying blog that others are soon to endure as well. Author makes a concerted effort to provide more balanced coverage of this evening’s mood.)
But – I’m aware that at the moment I’m looking at the negatives instead of focusing on the positives.
Doing something instead of nothing is good – even though that something may be small. In time it will get bigger, and I must not mentally derail myself or fall back into bad habits.
I have a meeting with the diabetic nurse tomorrow where I plan to discuss (as well as my still aching foot) nutrition and my planned attendance of a diabetes friendly club like slimming world or weight watchers (neither of which seem to take much account of diabetics from what I have seen in the past).
The morning after that I get to meet my new D&A case worker and discuss how to move forward mentally from my previous drinking habits. I’m actually looking forward to this a lot (although it’s also a bit scary).
On Friday the final visit to the bungalow happens, and that particular shackle will fall off my ankle. On Saturday my brother will hand back the keys to the council a week ahead of schedule.
Once all this is done I need to investigate an evening class or something to fill my time and occupy my mind constructively. I can only do this after I know what hours I’ll need to set aside for anything associated with the clinic, as this above all else must be my focus.
I’m also proud that I’m still sober, given the events of the last month, and I can’t ignore the significance of my positive choices in this respect. I have to recognise (as a friend going through something similar recently said to me) that I cannot boil this particular ocean. Instead I have to take it a cup at a time.
Sometimes though I do wish my kettle was a bit bigger…