I lie in bed. It's morning and I've got another trademark headache. I never used to get headaches when I was drinking, apart from hangovers..
Sobriety's great but I keep getting these headaches.
I think they're signs that I'm not thinking right, that I need to do more work on myself, like God's trying to tell me to buck up my ideas and get on with life.
I get up and look out the window.
It's the most disgraceful day in the history of the world. Traffic, silent rain, dark grey sky, skeletal trees, no wind, suburban misery; dead.
If SAD had a National Day, it would be today. Behind my left eye, a nerve throbs violently so I start to imagine that I need brain surgery (as you do).
Maybe it's something to do with the frontal lobe.
After Mum gave birth to me, she had emergency surgery on her forehead and now, 46 years later, she has frontal lobe dementia.
I always felt guilty for that, thinking it must have been my fault. The fourth-born. The postman's. Voila le hic. Me.
I lie in bed and I know I need to take some ibuprofen, but first I must eat.
I go downstairs for tea and Shredded Wheat, then I gobble two pills down.
It's funny how I'm so prudish about my tummy now I've given up the booze. Talk about extremes. Twelve pints and ten spliffs and now I can't even bring myself to take ibuprofen on an empty stomach.
After half an hour, the pills still refuse to work (they're the NHS-supplied ones and not the ones I usually get from Poundland), so I lie in bed, moaning to myself, worrying about brain surgery and frontal lobes and how it's all meant to be for the way I treated my Mum before I got clean.
Seeing into the future all too clearly, resigning myself to the knife, chisel and hammer in a matter of minutes, my protective instincts return to yesterday at the care-home.
Mum can't stop saying 'I love you' at the moment. It's like she needs to assure me of her love, so I tell her 'and I love you too, Mum. You know that, don't you?' to which she calms down and smiles. It doesn't take long for her to get upset again, so it's a case of her repeating things and me consoling.
She reacts well to facial stroking and smiling but the illness can jerk her senses around at will, so she's prone to looking at inanimate objects and saying things like 'she's evil'.
She'd be very proud if she knew I'd been clean and sober for nearly seventeen months, but that's too much for her brain to handle.
Anyway, yesterday, she kept saying 'poor boy, poor boy', looking at me with an expression full of fear and despair. I could feel her pain and wanted to help, but all I could imagine was that she felt guilty for not really being there for me after I was born.
My reply to her was 'you did the best you could, Mum. You had three daughters and then me,' pulling a face, 'but look at me now. I'm fine', smiling Les Dawson style.
That took her out of her hell so I'm learning how to deal with it.
Lying in bed, my eyes feel like they're crying dry tears, not because of Mum but because the ibuprofen's trying but failing to win over the headache.
I play with thoughts of seeing the doctor and going in for a scan and being told the inevitable and coming out with a Frankenstein gash across my forehead, wrapped in bandages, looking like a gormless freak, and I know- I'm making a mountain out of a molehill. I know that.
It's just a headache.