Long story short: I've spent the last couple of months doing rehab on myself. No New Year Resolutions per se, but I'm coming back into the land of the living.
Ok, for starters I do like to drink too much too much. As well as going for it for fun, booze has always been my fallback when stressed or fed up. Given that no matter what mood I'm in a few glasses of wine are likely to improve it, it's easy to see how I developed a dependency. Over the years it's caused no end of problems of every kind, but as they say, old habits die hard.
But this last year I started pretty well - first few months totally abstinent, then relatively moderate for a couple of months. Actually managed to go to a conference and having a few beers without making a complete tit of myself, losing valuables or missing my transport home. Bravo Danny.
Some time afterwards I realised I'd slipped back into having something to drink every day. Not good, especially since I was also spending an awful lot of time lying on the settee watching rubbish on TV. So I went abstinent again.
Problem was, even weeks later, I still found myself lying on the settee watching rubbish on TV. Didn't feel inspired to do anything, was letting work slip (despite an empty bank account). Not really getting any pleasure from anything. Finally I did break the abstinence, had loads to drink over a couple of days and at the time felt great, except immediately afterwards was back where I'd started, plus nursing a monster hangover.
Had to act. Proper rehab was an option - my mother was due to be coming over for another long visit (she's here now) so the animals would be ok if I went away. But I was already able to be abstinent, no problem with that in itself. Just needed to clear what would be clinically diagnosed as depression. Not a dramatic woe is me hell-pit, just a general abscence of enthusiasm for anything. (Once upon a time some nasty scratches on my arm were mistaken for self-harm, whereas in reality they were a result of a cat reacting to a visit to the vet...). Years back Caroline suspected I was a bit bipolar because I did sometimes get manic, but that would always be after an extended period of serious boozing. Most people would probably get the same way under the circumstances. Without chemicals I'm pretty level over time, even if that level might not be where I'd like.
So I decided to try rehab at home. Staying sober: taken as read. Removing temptation: not a problem. Removing things likely to cause problems, stress and so on: hmm. The only way I could bring myself to do that was dropping everything, irrespective of commitments. So I did. I simply stopped looking at email (and the online social nets). But as I was already screwing up work, it seemed to make sense to choose the lesser evil long term. Then there's the other bit: therapy.
I've talked to a few therapists over the years from a variety of schools of thought, not personally found any of much use. Similarly I've tried various medications, again, not worth the effort. But to be able to get back into doing productive things, I definitely needed some kind of what might loosely be called occupational therapy.
The answer seemed to be to spend time doing things that I've enjoyed in the past. Basically playing, but it's a little different when play has become a chore.
So that's what I've been doing the past couple of months. Playing. It's seems to have worked, got me out of the immediate pit at least. I did have a brief go at a bit of fresh work-work that looked less demanding than what I usually go for, but backed off soon after starting. Fingers crossed that will still be available now I'm about ready to crack on with things.
Without planning it that way, my play activities have pretty much corresponded to things I should be doing. I've been busy with a fun dev project [that just went live - more on that shortly], but it's a bit removed from the Web of Data stuff. That's involved research, but again a different domain than usual. I've been writing, but not tech stuff, rather tidying up old write-ups of various hobby projects, adding some little bits [some done, but it's ongoing]. I've been doing a fair bit of woodwork, but rather than the long-overdue bits of house restoration it's been making Christmas presents (the fact that I'm too skint to buy anything has been good motivation there) [some still to finish, heh]. Rather than spending time on social nets to engage with the rest of the world I've been working on a little music video project [mostly done, will release in a couple of weeks].
I've not been doing any fresh music to speak of, not least because I was getting frustrated at not managing to produce stuff I liked. I think maybe I was pressurising myself there a bit too - even though it's meant to be fun stuff, I was treating it like I should be doing it. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to get back into it. (Incidentally I've been listening to a mix of Robyn and Led Zep recently, go figure).
Check back here in a year's time to see how well the DIY Rehab strategy has worked. In the meantime (a few hours early) -