I promised myself, I made a vow, I swore an oath to myself that I would never become like the people I encountered at the Job Centre, there was no way I would become like them, I wasn’t like them, I was looking for work, I wanted to work.
I have to work, I’m useless unless I’ve got something to rise each day for, something of purpose, but the problem is I have to really get out the house to do it. Any work at home is hard work for me to get round to, at home there are too many distractions, I struggle to get motivated to even start to do any work, never mind keep my concentration if I do get round to doing it.
The long and the short of it is, a) I have to have a purpose to get up and b) I have to get out the house to do it.
So going out to karate was fine, I was out the house, I had purpose, so getting out to teach was good, as stated before karate got me away from my problems, when my superman karate suit and belt went on, I assumed a new personality and rose to become a leader, then the suit came off, I would go home, usually via the pub, to face the mess which was my life, then turn away from the responsibility of it all and jump into a bottle.
Occasions when I had work to go out to were fine too, I would get up get ready and leave the house, happy to have purpose, looking forward to earning money, part of me knowing that I would get paid, money meant alcohol and if there was any left after that I could pay the rent and the bills, my priorities were screwed by this point, I was only looking out for myself, lost in that bottle.
But when the work had dried up, which it would do for days at a time, sometimes even weeks on end, it was nothing to have no work for as long as three weeks. In those times I was at my worst, completely lost, unable to fight anymore, able to pull it together for karate, but sink back once that was over.
When work first dried up, I signed on at the Job Centre, sitting there looking around as I awaited my interview, I could see a few different types of people, firstly those actively looking for jobs, wanting work, needing that purpose, that was me, I wanted to be able to work and provide, I didn’t want hand outs, I wanted to work my way through life, or so I thought.
But there were others that I spied, secondly I could see people beaten down by the rejection, their fall and descent through redundancy and the job rejections they received had sucked the life from them, probably shadows of their former self, all self confidence removed, life’s zombies.
But it was the final group I really didn’t want to be like, life’s takers, those that have never done an honest day’s work in their lives, put nothing into the system, but willing to take any hand out our governments are willing to offer, trapped in their lives, living their days chained to their arm chair, no need for a clock in their lives, they can tell the time of the day purely by the TV program they are tuned into. I would see them in my local shop when I was fetching my alcohol fix, buying packets of fags, cheep vodka and scratch cards, I was determined I wouldn’t fall that far, I just didn’t want to lose my purpose, but that would all eventually fall apart, big style.
I’ve never been good at working from home, I’m not very good round the house, DIY is a big no no. The idea of me cooking is a joke also, I can microwave things, toast is ok, I can just about make a sandwich (as long as it’s just salad cream or cheese and onion crisps), anything else is again a massive no. I recently learnt to use the washing machine to wash some clothes, that was big day for me, I would wash the pots every now and then, but anything other than that I was either useless or just too idle to do it.
I know it really isn’t an excuse, but my Mum did everything at home, my Dad went out to work, yes he dealt with the DIY, but never lifted a finger to do house work, I guess I just carried on like him, as I say it’s not a very good excuse, maybe when I was working full time I could use it, but now I was at home for days on end, there was just no excuse, I was just lazy. I coined the term for my self “Domestic Retard”, I know it’s not very politically correct, maybe even offensive to some, but I just couldn’t do housework.
In the early days I just put things off, I just went along with the idea that there’s no rush, I can do it tomorrow, then tomorrow came and the same thing, I can do it tomorrow, that tomorrow never came and things I needed to do never happened, they just got forgotten, left for someone else to deal with, I was busy doing nothing, lounging around, playing computer games, watching that cycle of television programs day in day out, the longer it went on the worse it got, I was starting to fall into that trap of a life I promised myself I wasn’t going to lead.
The longer this went on, the more I descended, even though I looked forward to days or weeks when work was there, there was a part of me that resented that work, I would miss my TV programs, I might miss something important that may happen and wouldn’t get time to watch it again before the next episode, I really was that sad.
Monday’s weren’t good days, I would generally drink more at the weekends anyway, I had no karate on Monday nights, so if there was no work, I was lost in my world, TV, computer games, music and clock watching.
Clock watching, the hardest part of my day, the part of the day that took the most effort, if it was 11.00am, then I had seven hours to wait, 12 noon, 6 hours, 1pm, 5 hours, I’m sure your getting the picture now, I was watching the clock waiting desperately for 6pm, tea time, the first point in the day where I could justify starting drinking, who would begrudge a man having a pint or a glass of wine with his tea, if I waited till then it looked normal. Sometimes if there were still cans in the house and I was alone, then I would have some at dinner or in the afternoon, but get rid of the evidence before my partner came home with the kids. But I still didn’t think I had a problem here, I just liked to drink, simple, I could stop anytime, right?
So I would start at tea time, carry on through the evening, until I just fell asleep where I lay, mostly on the settee, sometimes just on the floor, the computer would still be on mid game and I would just wake up whatever time the next morning and carry on where I left off. If was a karate day, at first just Tuesday and Thursday, then eventually Fridays, I would refrain from drinking, I would wait until after classes, that was the only element of control I had over it, never before karate, well almost never, I would sometimes have one can with a spot of dinner, but never anymore than that, I was always in control for karate, as it was the only place I felt normal, I had to maintain that sanctuary from the mess that was my personal and professional life.
Eventually on those none karate days I would just give up, start drinking in the afternoon, hide all the evidence, go buy more after tea, carry on drinking again until I dropped off to sleep, sometimes still holding a can or bottle tightly in my hand, miraculously hardly ever spilling a drop.
I was just losing the will to live, I had to have purpose, I had to get out to work or karate, I was ok then, but once back through that door, it was back to the old routine.
I spent summers behind curtains, I lived in the front room, hidden behind the curtains, I didn’t want anyone looking in on my life, I wanted to hide from everyone, I was living on this settee, I was in clothes sometimes I had lived in for days, slept in, spent my days in, walked to the shop to buy alcohol in, these periods I was unwashed and unshaven for days, I was becoming a complete layabout, a tramp. I would wash and clean myself up if I was going out, but if not, why bother, if I had nothing to get up for, why bother, the purpose of life was fast disappearing and with it my will to fight.
I never opened my post, just bills and letters requesting money, I couldn’t deal with that, I couldn’t face it, I couldn’t pick up the phone and explain what was happening, I couldn’t admit I needed help financially, I would have to start making repayments and repayments meant less money for drink. I don’t know how I found the money sometimes, I guess I begged, I borrowed and I stole. Don’t get me wrong here, I never went out and burgled my neighbours, but I took my kids birthday and Christmas money, always with a promise I would pay it back, but I never did and they never complained, that thought still makes me feel so small, even now when I am starting to rise above my past and free myself from it’s chains.
I was washed up, I was a complete mess, addicted in many ways, addicted to alcohol mainly, that was the killer, but addicted to the routine I had formed for myself, addicted to the my TV routine and my computer games and even porn.
I was a wreck of human being, but I was putting on a good show, I cleaned myself up enough to go through my performance, the greatest acting performance since Otto in Airplane!, I deserved an Oscar for the performance I was acting out. To the outside world I was just happy go lucky Wayne, struggling a little for work and money, likes a drink, but he looks like he’s doing well to get through it all. How wrong they all were, I had become trapped in my routine, desperately wanting a purpose, then resenting it for taking me away from my hidden life.
There was only one way for me to change this, only the realisation that I had hit rock bottom, that I’d got to the point where everything had fell apart and the choices were end it or change it, as you know I couldn’t end it, so the only route was to change it.
Of all the songs that I have posted with my Blog entries, Beautiful Darkside by The Classic Crime truly describes this period of my life, it’s almost as though the writer has looked into mind and pulled out the words.
The faster I find the bottom
The sooner I turn it around
It seems as though I’ve forgotten just how far down
I can go in an instant
And I can take you there
I can take all my friends and family and I won’t care
(Beautiful Darkside by The Classic Crime)
Part of the reason I walk so much is to get out of this room, I don’t want to be trapped in here for too long, I fear that if I get too comfortable in here I will start to sink back into that former life, so I get out the house, every morning whether I’m going out to work or not, I get up and walk regardless of what else there is to do. I’m stronger now, I believe I can rise above most temptations now, I can fight it with the help of a higher power and I’m going to fight hard, I’ve got a purpose now, maybe at the moment that purpose is recovery, to wake everyday and focus on the recovery and rebuilding process, to follow my path on the journey through the life our God has granted me.