Storage

Recently I’ve been getting really frustrated about all of the clutter in my house. Mainly that there’s just so much stuff everywhere and little place to put it. It can feel overwhelming.

I wanted to move and change everything. Then an epiphany came; I didn’t need to move just change how I was storing stuff.

Finding a compartment and place for everything. That’s my main challenge this year: storage.

Much like life there’s a place and space for everything. In the midst of everything, I need a metaphorical and physical tidy and organisation. A space for everything. A tidy place. And a bin for anything that no longer serves me.

And just like that; once my home and I am organised I will be able to keep storing, finding and keeping things as I need.

Not to Plan

I’m sitting on the toilet seat in a pub in South East London on New Years Eve. Plans A, B, C, D & E never happened and I’m on plan F. That’s COVID for you!

I face a feeling of defiance and also deep loneliness. I just want to connect. To something that isn’t recovery, isn’t drinking, isn’t listening to the the hard reality of peoples lives, isn’t related to my preferred sexual position, the size of my dick or “hole”, how sleazy I am or what I think of extreme fetishes. That isn’t gossip or politics or family troubles.

Right as we sit here, waiting for the fireworks to go off and for a new future to happen.

And I am alone.

I don’t know what it is I’m feeling. My thoughts tell me that I’m just not a social person, that I deserve this, that this is all to teach me a lesson.

The reality is my intention is to connect, to dance, to not be alone. That may not be what this is right now. It may be hard to stand up at the bar not smoking, not drinking, not talking, not part of anyones group.

Maybe this is my own fault for not be social, friendly, chatty, kind, thoughtful enough. But I also know; I don’t have to think that; I can think I am enough.

As my history in this place reminds me, drunken follocks, eyes glaring and fazing all over the place in my past . The pulling, the Grindr, the unwanted approaches. I am still right now. It’s all history.

And I am hoping that here in my glittery shoes, that at least tonight I can dance. I won’t have to be alone, that as a minimum this will only be for another couple of hours.

If this is a lesson it is cruel. I’m not in danger. I just want to shrug it all off and dance the night away.

Time to Dance

Forget your troubles and dance them away

Anonymous

Last night was a work do. I was slightly trepidous to be around 100’s of people drinking in an environment that I knew no one. How would I actually talk to people?

It was a busy evening in which I got down to my black tie suit, made myself up and had my first haircut in a while.

For so long I had wanted live music and the opportunity to have a little dance. Dance to me is like releasing all forms of energy; fun, sexual, joy, self-sexuality and removal of awkwardness.

Release the soul

I often find myself in the same routines, meetings, places and people. Dance is an impromptu opportunity to move and let the body flail about. A way of releasing the souls in the moment.

A view from the bridge

It was also a way of overcoming my relived experience of showing up to work functions as *that person* who had had a little too much to drink, swaying and slurring and obnoxiously loud.

But not tonight – network darlings.

Making a tit of myself

I’m not sure if I won the favour of others; but in this post lockdown world it’s incredibly hard to remember the basics of networking and forming new relationships.

Those moments

I walked over to the CEO of the organisation and made a complete a tit of myself; in Bridge Jones style I completely froze and couldn’t really say anything. But I could smile and express gratitude.

But never mind, there is nothing that can’t be achieved with a big smile, the release of soul, a sprinkling of gratitude and a dose of positivity. Good news: I did manage to network a little, once over the initial nerves.

Joy

When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves

Buddha

There are moments in our meetings when I scream the word “joy”, as it’s read out in the meetings. On several occasions I have been called out for startling those with neurodiverse conditions, complimented and given strange looks.

In it’s definition joy is “elation or happiness” – or more precisely the feeling of “elation or happiness”

As I walk around the Autumn with all the colours come out, I often wonder why peoples faces, the weather, fashion, the emotions I receive and responses I get, can be so grey.

When was the last time you physically expressed your happiness?

For so long my emotional state and wellbeing was that sense of grey. And with the greyness around me and the dullness of life I was lost in a great big grey blanket where even if gratitude or joy existed it was like a very small light in a very big and dark room.

It seemed futile to express it in a world where there was little emotional frivolity or variability.

A smile could seem so hard to come across in lockdown. As I browsed the gay catalogue Grindr I was more likely to see an ass, a frown or a penis more than I was a smile or expression of joy.

And I held back with purpose. But also on what I was feeling. In the process of receiving never ending feedback that I was inconsistent, sad, depressed, confused, unfriendly, basically, imperfect, there was little joy to find in myself.

Joy in a footstep *crunch*

As the autumn has come I’ve long waited for the moment to run through a big pile of crunchy leaves and listen out for that small moment of joy. That feeling of the leaves crumpling to dust, the sound of the crunch, the sight of leaves floating into the air as I run through the pile.

The colours change from blue, white and green into an explosion of reds, oranges and browns, the long sunsets and sunrises coming through the new season.

The colours of autumn

Be someone else’s joy

I was holding a long conversation with a fellow who listed out a long list of health complaints, relationship complaints, recovery complaints, life complaints. Sometimes life is hard. And I felt guilty in the moment for being giddy with joy and completely unpresent in someone’s moment of sadness.

But as I have learned to let go my anxieties, the thoughts which are trying to make me control something, and release it. I am able to clear my mind and let the heart take over.

And then comes the time to dance in the rain. And become that little candle of joy in the big dark room. Let one candle light another.

Following suggestions

The people with the best advice have usually been through the most

Anonymous

Yesterday I started the day relatively early. My new resolve is to get my suggestions complete over the start of the day and rise nice and early. As the days get shorter it will be more important to maintain routine, keep mood up and take Vitamin D.

I had a very quick cycle along to South Ken, where a friend was an hour late for brunch which provided an opportunity to write a short story about an estranged father separated from his son set in Norway and New Zealand.

A very expensive Avocado toast. Photo edit: Pexels.

Feeling a little out of place, and having spent £25 on some really expensive Avacado toast. I followed my fellow fellows to the SRC meeting on step 11. I may have accidentally lied to my sponsor; I find meditation the hardest discipline.

My sponsor provides me with a list of suggestions to follow, which provides that balance between maintaining independence and having something always there to support me when I need to share.

I am not invincible, I am not an Island

I am neither invincible or the worlds strongest man, but I use perspective to understand and heal myself. Perspective will come from the love, care and sharing of others. I need to listen.

No man is an island. Photo credit imgshutr.

I decided to leave fellowship and cycle home for a wonderful round of Deliveroo, but ended up with a puncture. I was close to tears. I don’t think I was upset just emotionally muddled as the day had been such a mix of things. Being my main income until my job starts next month, life is a little on edge. And I really want to enjoy the autumn before job starts.

What am I trying to control today?

Was I trying to control myself? Was I trying to control what I needed to do? What was my HP thinking?

All the shops were closed so I went home on the train and consoled myself with virtual fellowship, fish and chips and some ice cream!

Tomorrow will be another day, I thought, and I will be able to fix my bike up and be on the road again.

Today I am greatful for the connection I am able to make to others, for the ability to hit reset to find the moment and for suggestions which I can use to improve my recovery.

Getting shit done

The joy of life is made up of seemingly obscure mundane victories that give us our own small satisfactions

Billy Joel

Sometimes I really appreciate boring horrible days where there’s nothing else to do but life admin.

Today I chipped out all of the ice from my freezer, which had been building up for a while (there’s a metaphor there – let me know if you get it). This small act was a pain in the backside to get done but I now have a gorgeous, hygienic, eco friendly and tidy refrigerator.

Stop avoiding, start doing

I then turned to bills and the inbox and slowly filed away all the stuff that needed to be kept and all that which needed to be thrown away. I finally spoke to my neighbour to help me get my water meter fixed.

I called the bank and the water people, stuff I had avoided because I didn’t want to own up to the fact that my situation was changing.

I got out my phone and began to randomly dial fellows from my recovery black book. And finally I managed to make a connection.

Money doesn’t make us happier but it does make life easier

Having gone from rag to riches to rag to riches to self made, getting jobs, earning commission, healthy bonuses, Paying off debts, consolidating debts, receiving payouts, asking for money, giving money, it will always flow as it is needed. And from feeling suicidal about my debts I now know that the only person who was genuinely going to kill myself over money was myself.

As long as I keep chipping away at the ice and the life admin I will always make progress.

Today I am grateful for a recovery that provides me with the will, discipline and gratitude for getting the shit done that I previously avoided and creating the solid foundation for a future of my dreams. Once the house is in order, the mind follows, and so does life.

Sunrise

The secret of your success is hidden in your daily routine

Anonymous

What are those things each day we bookend? What are those small moments of passion, pleasure, indulgence and no-stop bliss that we always have to do.

Our passions are already in front of us. We do them everyday. Mine is coffee, food, exercise, prayer, socialising, environment and so on.

Throughout recovery I’ve placed much emphasis as possible on living my own values and holding myself to account in them.

This started with an audit of my own value and how I lived upto them. What were my values:

  • Empathy
  • Environment & sustainability
  • Human rights
  • Food
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Family & Friends
  • Generosity
  • Photography
  • Wellness
  • Music
  • Dance
  • Drag

The list went on and on. But the most important thing was the audit. My bank account tells me how much I spend each month by category. I’d highly recommend Revolut for all the incredible features. Yes you pay for the card but what you get is so much more!

On auditing my accounts I realised that I wasn’t very generous. My total giving to charity was zero. I took action to give to a different charity each month and set up regular payments to those aligned with my values. Over Christmas Revolut gave my spare change to Rainforest Conern – about 100 euros. I didn’t even notice it was gone!

I’m not supposed to reveal the hood I do, but I’m going to use the promotion of giving by your spare change to needy causes as a moment where I can increase impact!

Mindfulness of action

In this example I’ve highlighted how I:

  1. Understood my intent
  2. Audited my actions to understand how I was living up to them
  3. Made a correction to my daily actions to live up to my value
  4. Continued to audit and understand my impact

Mindfulness isn’t just about breathing or rolling about a grape on a table. It’s about bringing our full attention to each action and the emotion it brings, the sense it has and the impact of what we’re doing.

Human autopilot is dangerous.

So often we’re on autopilot we forget what it is we are doing. There are loads of micro actions

we can take everyday to live up to our values. Even small things like switching cleaning products to sustainable products, making a call to someone each day, joining a political party, joining a Meetup group was a baby step to a much bigger picture: Me.

Our small actions add up over time, but be careful not to overwhelm ourselves

One of the biggest areas of change in my life has been physical wellness. It’s taken a decade of change to get the body I want, the weight I want and the diet I want.

I couldn’t run more than a kilometre, certainly not up a big hill, I couldn’t do more than six press ups and weighed 105kg (nearly 18th one) at my peak weight.

I took lots of small actions;

  • When I worked at McDonald’s I had bunless burgers, sugar free drinks
  • I walked everywhere
  • I took the stairs and climbed the escalator instead of standing still
  • I got a job where I had to exercise; Deliveroo
  • I switched meals, diets, got rid of meat, tried fasting, joined a slimmers club
  • I started with six press ups and today got to 100

I found out what worked for me. I did Big Bang and small bang change. Throughout that process I took on what worked, what didn’t I let go of and always kept moving, changing.

Sunrise in London

Another change is my daily routine, I never used to be a morning person but now capture the 7am sunrise in London whilst running up one of the steeped hills in South London.

I love this change; I now start a day with a massive rush of endorphins.

The most important thing is to only take on change I can manage or which feels just a little outside my comfort zone.

So I’ll ask you this; what’s the one small change you will make today, tomorrow, the next to change your life?

All we need is love

Love, love, love, There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done

The Beatles

I started the day with vulnerability and with a phone call to mum to borrow some money for a tyre and inner tube. My niece Abby was staying with her dad this weekend.

I spoke on the speakerphone and Abby shared she was saving £5/month up until Christmas to buy everyone’s Christmas presents.

We spoke about the trip that Aunt Laura and I were planning to Harry Potter world and Walt Disney World for my nieces, and that we’d also be saving at least £5 per week, for maybe a couple of years. I could hear Abbys mouth drop.

We also had a quick discussion over “into the unknown” from Frozen 2 about the merits of attending Frozen the musical with her cousins. “They weren’t very friendly” she said “it must be because I’m six months older”. Oh to measure age difference in months! Children have such an innocence about framing things.

Mum then asked for advice on a family member who was having issues with alcohol. I sent over a load of zoom meetings, my ex therapists information and loads of stuff on rehab. Whatever you do open them up to a whole world of recovery on zoom and not just some local meeting in the middle of nowhere!

Do I need sex: No

I went to a meeting where the topic was love. Do I need sex: no. Do I need love: yes. Can I choose the love I want to accept: yes. Can I love others without loving myself first: no.

Types of Love. Courtesy FTD.

Love is complex, because there’s all different types; brotherly, friendship, romantic, intimate, family, sexual. But it is also unconditional. I’m not sure my using friends nor I offered a lot of unconditional love in active addiction, it literally needed substance.

I spent the afternoon out on my bike, managed to catch the sight of the sunset and the few rainbows 🌈

I often joke that when it’s raining and I’m in my green lol outfit I’m the leprechaun under the rainbow! Someone once said “it’s not about waiting for the storm to end but learning to dance in the rain”

You can just see the rainbow outside MI6

I made a few plans for fellowship today before heading off to enjoy my bike some more and get some more deliveries in.

Recovery is everywhere

I went to sleep thinking about the big book. And all the different types of meetings. Some people really don’t like online meetings, but attending meetings like Saturday night fever, 7am daily and the big book study florida, really opens up a global perspective to recovery; and from the atheists to the fundamentalists there’s a whole load of perspective, suggestions and advice out there.

I am grateful for a loving family; who will always provide the love I need. Be they my family, friends or fellows. I never need to use to find “love” again.

Standing still

Take a deep breath and remember who the f*ck you are

Anonymous

Today I started the day with a run, as quickly as I could. I was almost sprinting. The air was sticky wet, the sun rising the air lit orange in the mist. I got back and went to my new meeting where one thing stuck out; living in a fishbowl, looking out rather than being out and smashing the bowl.

I have no idea why it affected me but I live in a world of both Gods will and self will. I see this as what I hear and see from the world around me; and what my gut is telling me feels right. Moreover I recognise my own stubbornness and my fight against the will and wishes of other people.

The fish bowl to me is indecision but also those moments in recovery when you can’t tell what HP, ego, self, service, common sense or intuition is.

London at Sunrise

Then I turned my attention to life admin. This involved speaking to the job centre about my job search and starting my annual accounts and tax return.

I love to get things out of the way so they are out of my head; and I’m almost there after forensically going through all my business activities for the past two years. It’s something I’ve left for a long time and I’m glad I’m almost very there with it!

Gods will, my will, or trusting in myself?

I attended my regular Wednesday meeting today. I’ve been hearing a lot about Gods will and praying, this meeting was about trusting in oneself.

Right now I have the time to stand still and do nothing. It’s actually very painful. It’s actually very lonely.

But I love a graceful stop to just self evaluate, listen, let perspective heal and just sit with the difficult emotions and do nothing. It’s like a spring clean of all the emotions, letting them bubble to the surface and understand where I am at. Let them rise, label, move on.

Loneliness: missing people, places, things

I realise I am missing someone, a lot. I hear that I need to be of more service. I see a lot of pain in the world around me. My higher power right now wants me to stand still. Breathe and feel everything around me.

And I don’t know where I stand. When I feel lonely; I don’t know if I love someone or if I’m using them out of my loneliness. I also don’t know how others use me. And I don’t want to be codependent.

Like the feeling of that warm, orange, sticky air this morning. The world is full of chaos and it is a privilege to be absolutely still. Over time it will become clearer what my HP path is, right now I just need to stand still and look ahead.

Today I am grateful for a programme that provides me with all I need to get through the difficult emotional moments. For the air and space to breathe. For my fitness and health. For my patience for paperwork and sorting out money matters returning.

Life through rose tinted glass

You can change the world by changing the way you see the world

Anonymous

I went to my regular early morning meeting. The reading reminded me I am my own worst enemy but also my own hero. An anti-hero of sorts who is complex. But most importantly; I am here.

Having the whole morning to myself (almost) I got all the stuff I didn’t want to do out of the way. Ready to come back to a freshly made bed, tidy house and right state of mind. I love starting the day with a clean sheet. The ocean ahead.

I need to change: act don’t preach

I wanted to share at a meeting but I felt a preacher come on and lowered my hand. I wanted to preach about the power of change as a vehicle that washes everything away.

Like moving house, the more shit you have the harder it is, the more help you need. And the temptation is to always leave those couple of boxes of random shit lying about to sort out “one day”. But we all have those still right?

Meme from the internet

I wanted to share my experience of changing everything around me, but it is only now that I have begun to change me.

Personal change needs fertile soil for new shoots to grow. Changing me in the wrong environment is like trying to sow seeds at the wrong time. You’ll never get the fruit. I need to wait for the right moment.

Instead I listened. As my sponsor says to change me, I really need to listen for the solution. This will only come from elders with longer sober time.

My thoughts raced about my previous counsellor whose suggestions I would challenge, fail to implement. Who am I to question someone with more sober time than I am old?

What’s important in recovery?

The most important thing for me is to live in hope, faith and trust:

This requires prayer.

I have a strong sense of wanting to do service:

This requires going to meetings.

I have a strong sense to move from telling to asking, preaching to being:

This requires a sponsor.

I went to a third meeting. It was in this meeting I felt a great sense of unease. I felt all my character defects being unravelled in front of me; self-centredness, ego, stubbornness, self-will, arrogance, greed, ungodliness.

We don’t have to act on character defects

I had an immediate urgency and sense to run a few doors down and use. This was an anxiety attack in the midst of a meeting :-/

This was a flight response. But I also understood that I could fight myself, and what I was feeling, right there and then. I could shift my body language, my thinking. I

Moving, changing, being, enlightenment

Everyday I wake up to the challenge of progressing on Mallow’s hierarchy of needs. And I live in the full knowledge that I live in a relatively privileged position. That others are going through the same or similar circumstance.

Modern Day Interpretation of Maslows Hierachy of Needs

The only way up the hierarchy of needs is with motivation, hope, faith and trust that each spiritual step forward improves my living condition.

I can choose to live in my pink cloud, with pink glasses, pink clothes, pink make up and pink hair. A decade of using has taught me that life is so much better with hope, faith and trust. I’ve cried at Banksy’s “There is always hope ” in a moment of accepting that Hope does in fact exist.

I used to be desolate and without hope. It was through this programme I am saved.

There is always hope, Banksy

Today, I worry what others think. I worry what I look like, I worry about my defects, my ego, arrogance.

I don’t care. Progress over perfection. Ebb and flow. One day at a time. If I thought I had to solve my whole life problem at once I’d do something for 12 hours (or 7 days) that would appal me. I will not be afraid.

I get to pick which glasses I wear each day. I get to choose to be cynical or optimistic in the moment. Life is so much easier when we use the rose shade more than the cynics shade. And much more joyful. I don’t have to always be a cynic nor wear my rose tinted glasses.

I will live in my pink cloud, pink clothes, pink makeup, pink hair. Because most people are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.