Friday, January 01, 2016


So, on the 30th December I hopped in my car and paid a visit to my ex editor in his new abode in Hove (Brighton). I was there to deliver a chair I had repaired for him and I took my drill down to bang a few holes in his walls to secure a bookcase and a mirror. The plan was then to head over to Hastings and meet up with someone there for a drink, then go to a party on New year’s day.
(Pictures here from Hastings)

On the 30th I drank red wine, maybe a bottle or more – as had been my custom in the past when visiting down there. I didn’t feel great drinking it and then the next morning I woke with panic attacks and anxiety. I persevered and the next day in Hastings I just stuck to a couple of beers. Almost from the first sip the anxiety kicked in. I felt sick with it. Returning to the flat early I just stayed in my room. Mediation brought me out of that but I felt incredibly tired and went to bed at 10.

This morning, waking with panic attacks again, I packed up early and said my goodbyes – I simply could not face that party.

Back here a meditation raised me out of it a bit and I went shopping. Next, after eating something, a second meditation left me incredibly weary and miserable, but I have since shoved myself up out of that.

I begin to wonder now if my years of heavy drinking are the biggest problem, while the grief and accompanying shitstorm just knocked the scab off that wound. If you drink a lot you lose your natural mechanisms for coping with stress. Without alcohol you cannot cope and along comes the depression, anxiety and panic attacks. I of course ended up in a cleft stick because the alcohol also had the effect of making me more depressed, so I couldn’t use it as an out.

Anyway, after this wake-up call I have my New Year’s resolutions. No more alcohol. Frankly I’m getting frightened of what it does to me now. I’m also starting – today – an eight week mindfulness course. These resolutions sit on top of my ones for exercise, learning Greek and writing. I’m tired of this shit and will work every waking moment to beat it.

Happy-fucking-New Year.     



Happy New Year Neal. I hope it's a good one for you.

David said...

I think you're making the right move. Alcohol definitely has the potential to aggravate anxiety over the long term (

If I may, I'd suggest that you might find Scientific American Mind to be of interest. I subscribe and it has great articles an a range of issues concerning our noggins. This month's issue has an article about drug vs non-drug addictions in terms of how they work brain function and changes, etc.

Kaunaz Isa said...

Happy New Year! Lots of inspiration and loads of positive things in 2016.

Martin Sommerfeld said...

Happy New Year, all the best!

Brian said...

Hi Neal,

Writing this, hoping it can bring you some help:

Your making the right move on greatly scaling back or completely stoping alcohol.

You see, my dad of 79 lost his GF som 3 eyars ago. She died from many years battle with cancer. A lovely lady, with 3 lovely daughters.
My dad has always lived a simple life. But with a drink (white wine mostly) now and then, which he always enjoyed, but also a bitter in the morning.
This year, we've seen that the last couple of years drinking heavely bitter (Gammel Dansk, Jaegermeister etc) drinks. have taken a turn for the worse for his liver.
He's now into Liver Cirrhosis, which if he does not eat plenty everyday, drink water, and goes to the bathroom, then he goes into liver coma, which is basically amonia going into the blood, then goes to the brain, which makes him deranged, confused and unable to remember anything.
This happen as the liver is unable to break down alcohol, sending the toxins into the blood instead of the urin.
He was in hospital for 1 month, during which we visited him every day. None of it he remembers.
Without alcohol and anything to do, his mood is so-so. okay but not fantastic. Being old is not good for anyone, when past strength is now gone.
What i'm trying to say. Stop drinking while you can, you liver can regenerate, but only very slowly. Drinking heawely in a short time span, can severly damage your liver and your future health. There is such a thing as alcohol-dementia. You don't want it. trust me.
Me and my brother now have to take care of our once strong father, due to his erlier alcohol abuse.