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.

Step 1. Honesty.

No legacy is so rich as honesty.

William Shakespeare

Am I being honest with myself? Do I really understand my situation? Do I know where:

  1. Physically I am
  2. Mentally I am
  3. Emotionally I am
  4. Where I am in the eyes of others
  5. Where I am in the eyes of my higher power

When lost it is best to be completely honest with myself. The hardest part is admitting there is, no thought, no plan, no plot that can get me back on track. And in fact whatever it is that I or you want to do in life someone has done it and it is possible to do.

The Broken Compass hostel, where I found myself consuming magic mushrooms staring at the hostel sign with dragons flying round me pondering: is my life compass broken?

Trouble is, what if you don’t know what you want to do? What if your a little broken? What if all the stuff I have in my life means nothing?

What do you have in your life backpack?

Bear with me. If life is to be experienced and explored, and we are the collectors of people, places and things then we carry a lot. Here a clip from Up in the Air explains much more eloquently about our life backpack:

Up in the Air, 2009

Pack your backpack. All your things, those things you want to do, your relationships, your trauma, your friends, emotions, worries, health, hopes, homes, experiences, mortgage, money, bills, everything. Put that backpack on.

That backpack is heavy. And the pain of that backpack can make us do weird, stupid things. Some people “jay walk” to get a thrill from the numbness of that backpack, metaphorically stopping the flow of blood going round our body.

“Jay walking” is a euphemism for stuff we do to numb the pain. Eating (or not), having sex, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, telling ourselves lies, using people, social media, being codependent, exercising, working, not working, shopping, playing video games, gambling and so on.

None of these things will lighten the load of our life backpack

Imagine a life where you took of your life backpack and walked away. How much freer would you be? How much lighter would your load be? How much more would you be able to live?

How do I do this?

Compassion for yourself. Live with that weight. Not in pain, but in recognition of all the shit going on for you. It’s a lot. Don’t stop to analyse it all. Don’t stop to think. Don’t stop to blame others.

Feel the weight of it all. Yes you. It’s heavy. I know. Let me help you with that.

Stepping out of a spiritual place and into my own head is a dangerous place to live.

My head and my perception of the world can be so warped of my actual reality that it is shrouded in self put, self hate and a whole river of denial (not just found in Egypt).

From the great pain of honesty comes a great strength. It takes a lot carry our whole lives round with us everyday.

When we speak and reveal the truth of anything, we are shining a light on a situation. Revealing the elephant in the room.

And I can share, I can let it out, I can let it go.

The elephant need acknowledgement and validation.

When I am honest with myself, and it starts with me , I am able to share with others, and believe that something or someone else can help me. When I don’t have the basic precipice, honesty, the good will never happen. Sometimes I need to ask for an honest evaluation of the situation.

The checklist I want to do everyday

Checklisting is an effective way of making sure that we’ve done everything we need to and that ensure we’ve evaluated the day. I don’t have to follow it exactly, but it is useful to browse through to pinpoint what it is I need to do, to lighten the backpack.

  • Have I told someone I loved them, the look beautiful or complimented them today?
  • Have I told someone what I really felt or thought?
  • Did I help someone?
  • Have I just told someone about some of the shit going on in my life?
  • Did I smile at a stranger today?
  • Did I try something new?
  • Did I read something?
  • Did I exercise mentally or physically?
  • Did I do something just for myself?
  • Did I recall a dream or something I wanted to do?
  • Did I let go of something that wasn’t serving me anymore?
  • Did I let out my hopes, worries, fears and whisper them out to the nothingness in the hope they would be heard? Did I do this for someone else?
  • Did I have faith in something or someone other than myself today?
  • Did I let go of anything negative and anything that didn’t work out?
  • Was I really honest with myself today?
  • Were the people I had in my company today, the people I want to carry about with me for the rest of my life?

And slowly but surely I became more honest, and continue to do so. And so as I share with the world, my backpack becomes a little lighter. Namaste.

Action

The only limit to your impact is your commitment and imagination

Anthony Robbins

Earlier in the week I attended a workshop on avoidance. Avoidance is a technique I deploy to avoid taking action, overcome anxiety and embarrassment or to simply procrastinate.

We can make no impact in life without first dreaming and then committing to action. How often I have heard friends say, or myself, “One day”, “I wish I could”, “Maybe another time”.

Over time I have learned that sitting on things without action leads me into the ether of nothingness. I am lost. And that action alone is not enough, commitment is just as important, seeing things through to the end. Or nearly complete.

Avoidance or procrastination; do something.

The Secret to building a life towards fulfill me the meant is to move towards it and not to stop taking action. To conjure, propagate, or manifest is one thing to walk the path of our dream by taking action is another.

In my career, for so long I would avoid having difficult discussions, making decisions or moving on. From 10 years of experience I’ve only learned this; keep moving.

The things I avoid:

  • Answering the phone in case it’s bad news
  • Meditation because I can’t sit still
  • The dentists because I get anxious in the chair
  • Making a decision because I worry to much about the outcome without actually knowing what the outcome will be
  • Letting people know I love them because I’m worried about emotional crowding
  • Following my passions and joys because that’s for other people, not failures like me
  • Trying something new because I’m worried it will deflate my ego
  • Talking to people I fancy because I think they are more attractive than me (Hint: it’s not up-to me whether others are attracted to me, like me or not)

Life really is too short

Moving to a growth based mindset, and an agile one has been a big thing. Basically jump off a cliff. Hope there’s a soft landing.

Enjoy the adrenaline or feeling the panic?

I’ve learned that most of the decisions I take will not kill me. Changing job, travelling, taking a holiday, eating chocolate, exercising, new phone, new bike and so on.

Some will. If I ever use again it will eventually kill me, metaphorically, physically, mentally.

Most importantly where there are mistakes. Move on and avoid the psychological freeze of staying still.

Rome wasn’t built overnight

Rome wasn’t built overnight, God even allowed itself 7 days to create all of creation, and 1000s of years to correct the actions of humans. Our dreams take time.

What are our dreams, anyway?

They are the epics in our life that we need to listen out for. They are the things we work on over a lifetime, follow our passions and hearts for. We accept poverty, riches, health and ill health for them. We accept compromises in other areas of our lives for the things, people, places we love.

I don’t know where I will be in 10 years and probably not tomorrow. But I know that as I broke my life, my heart, it all takes time to glue back together.

Sometimes piecing together our broken lives is like piecing together broken crockery. It’s fragile and takes time.

But I know this; as I work my recovery and take small steps I’m piecing it all together, it will take time and a lot of tools. But with imagination, creation and action I will get there.

You need some motivation

Motivational YouTube videos

When I am stuck, when I don’t feel motivated, when I don’t want to. I go and get some perspective and motivation.

There are so many motivating, fulfilling, brilliant life stories, shares, speeches available on YouTube, in 12 step fellowships.

I have created playlists for these moments to remind myself there is a world out there and I can get off my ass.

If you are breathing you can do something.

As I run around London, the sight of people with differing physical ability reminds me of my own good fortune, that I can move two legs in front of one another at a pace of about 4m45s a kilometre.

Today I will hold no feelings of I can’t, won’t, or shan’t do. I will trust in me. I will trust in others. When I fall, I will get back up.

Patience is a virtue

Patience is bitter but it’s fruit is sweet

John Jacques Rousseau

I have never had patience at the right time. The trick of life is not to be so much patient but patient for the right things.

Throughout this recovery I’ve been learning to let this flow and to find my zen. Sometimes I can be a tornado ripping through my village of life ripping everything up and replacing it all with very little grace.

Small steps send us on an entirely new path in life

I have come to understand that it really is the small things and small directions that make the biggest impact. Our first small steps are the most subtle, but most enduring in any forecast of change.

For instance in my life , a simple recipe book, Eat like you give a f*ck resulted in a whole new dietary and culinary direction. Slowly but surely over time I learned the basics and many new things and transformed theory into practice.

So often I have wanted to just change everything all at once; and this is what is happening right now. It terrifies me. Yesterday I was with a friend and anxiety caught up with me; overstimulated, overwhelmed. I’m changing myself and everything around me.

Patience provides the eye of the storm. That moment in the midst of carnage where everything falls still and there are moments to evaluate and pick the most important things.

Meditation is the eye of the storm.

Let me be clear I hate meditation. I cannot sit still. Mindfulness I can live with. Both are the simple act of bringing the mind into the right now and away from planning, thoughts, anxieties, day dreaming and worries.

Image courtesy Pupperish

This comes in many formats:

And so I sat in the National Portrait Gallery in the midst of a panic attack. And shut my eyes, breathed and focussed on anything around me.

Meditation didn’t make me happy but it ended the panic. My anxious brain bought me back into the moment and I was able to focus on what was ahead.

Image courtesy Sarah Anderson

Patience with ourselves and Patience with the world around us

And it is with these techniques that in the panic, stress, anxiety, overstimulation, thoughtlessness, fight or flight that we can develop patience.

And wait for the calmness and the eye of the storm. Through this I develop clarity and let go of the instant urge to overthink, do straight away or act on a compulsion.

I no longer need to be patient, but instead become one with a path where things happen as they happen and I move one foot in front of the other. Never stop moving, and never loose patience.

Soul II Soul – Keep on Moving – A Motivational Song

Quickly/Slowly

Image courtesy of Dental Peeps

Wednesdays are known as hump days when we throw away Monday and Tuesdays and begin to get ready for the weekend. I’ve been fortunate enough to have all the time in the world to devote to my recovery. Today is day 108 of sobriety.

Since the start of my recovery I’ve been signed-off, quit my job, signed on to Universal Credit, deferred debt payments, sought help from the loc council, sought therapy and help from my GP and worked furiously as a Deliveroo rider to make up for my financial short comings and borrowed money from my family.

Help always appears when we hope for it, ask for it and keep trying

Firstly, I am so grateful for these things, being awarded discretionary payment by the local council, a COVID-19 hardship fund, a loving family who has supported me throughout and a grant for when I was unable to work due to self-isolation. And of course I am grateful for all the Deliveroo and Uber Eats customers throughout south London who have got me this far.

Sometimes things happen quickly, sometimes they happen slowly

12 Steps Literature

To my surprise, over the past few days I’ve been negotiating salary with my recruiter. And not only was my ask exceeded but I also got the job. I’m already planning in my head which causes to support, the few material things I’d like to buy, the debts I need to repay and the people from active addiction I owe something to.

Stop worrying about spending. Start to invest in people, outcomes, you.

I always believe in Karma, and throughout my recovery I’ve given what I can, changed to buying from charity shops and always put food into the food bank when visiting the local shop. I cannot expect anything but I can indirectly help someone else everyday.

Bearing in mind that since stopping smoking, drinking, drugging, paying for the apps and getting Uber’s everywhere I estimate I’ve saved £2,268 and that’s conservative.

Money Saving Expert, helping me restructure debts and become a savvy budget person.

I also handed over my financial matters. I was worried when asking for money that I’d wouldn’t get anything, that I was handing over my pride. I worried everytime I wasn’t getting orders to deliver. I was worried that I shouldn’t be eligible for these things and the at my disease meant that I wasn’t worthy of this stuff.

The thing is, it’s not my decision what I am eligible for and what I am not. It is not my decision what job I will get. It’s not my decision which grants I will get or what or when customers will order.

Hand it over. Seek help. Stop worrying about money.

Everytime I turned on my rider app or applied for benefits or a job I handed the decision to my HP. And they delivered. They exceeded my expectations. Sometimes it happened quickly, sometimes it happened slowly. I didn’t get always what I wanted but what I needed and just when I needed it. I missed a bill but didn’t get charged due to an error in the system; a HP moment.

Every customer and penny is a blessing. Becoming a Deliveroo rider. Image courtesy Deliveroo.

I didn’t know I would be able to live 108 days without a main income on benefits which don’t really marry up to living costs.

I know that as we run up to Christmas there will be manny opportunities to give back and give all the gratitude back to everyone who has supported me so far.

Financial security has always been one of my biggest worries. It has led me to suicidal ideation before. The thing is no one was trying to kill me for owing money. That was me.

Money doesn’t make life happy, but it does make it easier.

Sober and the City, 2021

Money won’t make me happy. But it does make life easier and opens up all sorts of doors. I am also looking forward to giving back and returning from shrew to generous.

I handed over my financial matters, and sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly things happened. I was always given my needs and for this I am grateful.

The sand in my shoes

I’ve still got sand in my shoes, and I can’t shake the thought of you.

Dido, Sand in my Shoes

Yesterday I asked my dad to drop me off on the beach after a family event. I discussed my guilt at Nan’s situation and how sad it was to see her struggle to do the things she wanted and used to do.

I have done nothing in my using career to show her my love and I thought of only my own selfishness.

I got to Sandbanks near Poole where I had never been. I cycled past the harbour the beautiful haze refracting the sunlight everywhere giving the whole place a mystical feel. As I continued cycling I took a deep breath and felt the salty, sticky, mugginess of the air. The sea always has a wonderful smell and feeling in the air, having been born by the seaside.

I relished this smell, taste on one of the only warm days this year.

You Only Live Once, run toward life

I arrived at the beach and gazed at the people, the sky coming to sunset. And I had an urge to YOLO to strip down to my speedos and run into the freezing cold sea.

The Beach at Sandbanks – Poole

But I thought to keep things simple. It has been so long since I had felt the sand on my feet. This is not Croatia, but it is it’s own Britishness. I took my shoes off and rolled my feet in the sand, each grain rubbing against my feet. Cool and damp. The sand passed through my toes as I lifted my feet. I rubbed them so more.

It had been so long since I felt that feeling. I wanted to cry. I wanted to let out my grief following the note I sent to A and Sponsor yesterday.

I watched the others on the beach and ogled some rather dandy topless men on the beach. I made resolve I am powerless but I also have my life and I can run into the sea.

With haste I got down to my speedos and rain straight into the sea screaming with the cold chill of the English Channel (La Manche) and submersed my full body, after much hesitation,and let out a cry. I did my own version of Just for Today in the sea. Finally I was going to be cool today!

Always admire the beauty of others

It was chilling but still I swam and I realised it was going to take a lot of training before I can do my first triathlon for charity.

I left the beach covered in sand and ogled the beautiful men even more! How naughty. I could not divert my eyes from those lovely hairy chests or bulging muscles.

The Sunset – Sandbanks – Poole

Life gives us all kinds of treats, savour the moment

I went to the shop and bought a few treats and found a spot to watch the sunset over the harbour. The purple pink orange blue shone over the harbour and reflected in the water as I watched it for two hours. I danced on the harbour beach to phone music. Even when it’s raining, joy can still be found with dance. God knows what the locals thought.

To my family I dedicated the beautiful sunset to my Nan and sent them a video clip to share. She may have limited mobility but she can still experience the world through our eyes.

I went home with a load of sand in my speedos and I’m in my shoes. I might keep a little there to remind me of this moment.

The remnants of the actual sand in my shoes and clothes.

Be Happy. Be Wealthy.

I am sitting under a tree in Dorset. I’ve just finished a long bicycle from Poole with a big orange bag in my back full of homemade cake, flowers, decorations, the big book, note pads, pens and all sorts.

Trees, in Amsterdam, not Dorset. It’s a nice photo though. Photo credit Sober and The City.

I needed my time alone. I sat next to my Nan chanting “be rich and happy” in Cantonese to me on repeat over and over, slumped low in her chair. A shadow of her former self who used to be up at 6am preparing lunch, curry.

I used to visit every month as a child and steal all the biscuits from the biscuit tin. We used to run around and walk to the river. But it’s always been a strange place. It’s always been odd. Grandad used to sit upstairs on his computer all the time whilst we watched the Sound of Music or aunts would come in and visit. The place was crowded and me and my two brothers would share the sofa bed in the conservatory to keep Nan company. Mum and dad would sleep on cushions in the lounge to keep Nan happy.

It was last year, 2020, when Grandad died and passed away from cancer. He was totally emaciatedby the end. I said my last words. I didn’t know how close I was to him, and the words I chose were not mine. I was carrying them for the love of his life, “Please don’t go, please stay”.

Life is sometimes dramatic. But enjoy the ride, we don’t control the outcomes or others.

It was at his funeral that Grandads numerous trips to Italy with A children’s charity and the mystery woman that mum spoke about came to light. Grandad had had a kind of son figure in a different family whilst having an affair. There was an unexpected extension of our family at that funeral.

I laughed, I thought it dramatic. As I carried grandads coffin into the chapel, I imagined him smiling down on us. And in that moment the sun suddenly shone into the chapel lighting the whole place up. He had a sense of humour, and now we all saw him. All of him. His faults, his sins, his gift, credit, worth and life. All that time he had remained with his wife out of love and duty. And here he was fully revealing himself to us. I’ll take the humour of the whole situation. Nan in an oversized hat to stop her seeing the other funeral. As the service went on Nan shouted “Is he in the ground yet”. Tears fell down my eyes as I felt the emotion through the air. Like electricity this final moment lit the air with grief and loss.

Emotions can suddenly crop-up. Random scenes of crying are a real life thing.

Earlier in the year, before sobriety, it was over wine when I was chatting to a friend that I started crying profusely. It suddenly made sense. For decades Nan had been left alone in a relationship that had faded. A Chinese woman in the middle of nowhere with no one but her family who’s would occasionally visit. Relishing the company her excitement would be to cook us breakfast lunch and dinner all by 3pm everyday. It was love and every porridge I made, every cup of tea, every kiss, hug, conversation and film was a moment of connection that she relished and celebrated in earnestness.

I see her slumped in that chair today, and it is a sunset. A beautiful moment. But over COVID, over my own using and my own self centred ness her dementia is far worse than I could have thought. And it brings me grief. An anger at myself for living in my own melodrama. A sense of loss, of connection. All she craved was a connection and I live in my world where it is too anxious to make one.

But despite her health. She has a wonderful honesty and wish. Be happy and be wealthy.

Return of the Hero

The other day I went to the rather emotional 12 Step meeting where everyone shared on the experience of trauma, pain and healing within their recovery.

It is true all of our experiences will be different in recovery. It is true that we all used differently and had different experiences. All of our pain is unique, not better or worse or more or less. And this combined experience of the fellowship is something I am grateful for.

At the end of this meeting I played Mariah Carey “Hero” because of the lyrics. Yes it is a bit self willing but;

“When the hero comes along, with the strength to carry on, you’ll finally see the truth, a hero lies in you.”

Mariah Carey – “Hero”

Over the past couple of days I’ve witnessed a flurry of newcomers, shy returners and people back from a relapse come to meetings. I was so happy and grateful to see these people back or new in. They are my heroes. Admitting I had a problem and swallowing my pride has been one of the most profound moments of my life.

It doesn’t matter what I did, how much I used only that I had a problem and wanted a solution.

Change is Chaotic.

Yesterday I went to the Turner exhibit “Turners Modern World” in the Tate Britain. In a fuck it moment, I bought a Tate membership. I have a list of fuck it’s everytime I really want to use.

A view from “Turners Modern World” – Tate Britain

And for the price of a Netflix subscription I now have a perfect date venue and free entrance to all the normally paid for exhibits a year.

It was here that Turner used so many metaphors for the cost of war, industrial change, chaos, human rights and slavery.

Steam Boat Off Harbours Mouth – J.M.W Turner

When he created illustrations the storms would become worse over time, the seascap swelling or smoke billowing more in the background. He’d use light to shine the cost of war on people. Turner was highly criticised for showing the true cost of war. For showing the idealic agrarian culture against the bee industrial steam age. It was never the process that Turner concentrated on but nature and people.

All change is brutal. It’s fucking hard. But it is with a few small changes it starts. Just coming to a meeting meant that all of a sudden I had to give up drink, drugs and the “essential gay apps”. It also requires brutal honesty with so many people. It’s a new way of life.

Sober & The City – 2021

And it Works.

Since the start of my journey subtley, surely, slowly things have been changing and I have felt the promises come true. Only my HP knows how great my future wil become.

And it is with each newcomer I am grateful for the opportunity to do service, to remind me that sobriety is the way forward and for each “hero” adding to the rich tapestry and experience of our fellowship.

Turner went against the grain and showed the real cost of change in his paintings. Yes change is hard when you’re going through the detail. But when I stepped back and looked at the bigger picture I saw all of the beauty of the complete picture and the true message he was trying to carry.

I am grateful for my recovery, newcomers, my fellows experience and for change happening in us all.

Pain & healing

Just like there is always time for pain, there is always time for healing

Jennifer Brown, Hate List

Today was an absolute smasher of a day. I am truly spoiled by this heat, by the sun and the wonderful buzzing atmosphere in London everytime the sun comes out.

I walked past Caffee Nero and suddenly remembered I had a fully stamped coffee card. Oh the treat when you don’t have any money. They even kindly let me have a super green smoothie instead of coffee. I went to the park and completed my journal entry for the day and gazed at the copious number of runners out and about (some with their tops off!).

I got back home and was immediately invited out for drinks by my best friend and to play with his new kitten, Loki, who I am cat godfather too. He was absolutely adorable. We went out for (non-alcoholic) beverages and caught up over our family struggles, his fathers cancer, boy troubles, money troubles, hopes, holiday plans and so on. It is truly wonderful to be able to just talk about what sometimes see like the banalities of life.

Loki – The Kitten – Animals are known for helping destress their human friends

I then went on a long cycle ride to the Royal Albert Hall where I was to listen to the Proms.

I was meeting up with M, and I haven’t decided yet if we are “seeing eachother” or if I am “friend zoned”. A very confusing conundrum.

It was here that I listened to Camille Saint Saens – Symphony Number 3 in G major. I don’t know classical very well. And this was a knowledgeable (white) middle class audience maybe. I engaged with a discussion with a gentleman outside and confessed.

I’m completely uncultured I have no idea what to expect! And yes banging my hands against my thighs is the only music I can play.

Sober and the City, 2021

Listening to the piece is like being teased.

The conductor brings the whole orchestra in and out, quite and loud, focus on the strings, the brass, the triangle, the organ. Slowly building, sound retreating quiet then loud until the respelendent finish which sent goosebumps down my spine.

BBC Proms – Royal Albert Hall – Tickets from £9

M had booked us standing tickets in the audiotorium. Never had I imagined in my wildest dreams would I be here. It had always seemed unobtainable, something that only posh people did, something I wasn’t sure I could listen to or like.

We went for dinner afterwards outside and had some Chinese. It was hear that emotions ran high and M spoke of his frustration about work, I queried and he got rather frustrated and angry.

“You really piss me off sometimes B, when you’re like this”

M, in a heated moment

“I’m only interested because I care. I won’t have the answers, but I can’t listen”

Response after me deliberately pushing M’s buttons to talk

I could see he was frustrated. He asked me about my family and I took him through the death of grandad, the stress of my relatives caring for Grandma in dementia, the suicide of my aunt a decade ago, the drama of divorce and the constant feed of don’t tell your mother this but…

And my own powerlessness in this situation. Sometimes the download of all the family situation felt, wrongly, that the buck stopped with me.

I wanted asymmetry of honesty and communication in my relationships. It was only this morning that I needed to realise I need to demonstrate compassion in these relationships. That this constant feed of downloading about life is people’s therapy in a stressful situation.

Information Asymmetry in Relationships

We cycled home. M didn’t see the tears rolling down my cheeks. I cycled behind when this was happening. We got to his house and he wanted me to cuddle him. I just couldn’t, I was upset and he wasn’t there and then, at 23:00 going to understand why.

Family matters are complex but I am glad that I managed to share just a little of my “inherited trauma”.

And so the day came to a close, with a slightly bittersweet ending. A wonderful day, I am still unsure of where I am in my relationship. We had a fight and some brutal honesty. I am grateful for this.

Everytime I feel emotional pain, trauma and memories I am giving the time to heal and all wounds in time heal.

The first kilometre

Yesterday I decided to press the reshuffle button on life. After doing a mini self inventory on my defects, on the train back from Poole I decided I needed to approach all situations with compassion, action, service and curiosity.

I’ve also decided to do a new health and excercise kick. It was with great surprise that my weight was lower than I thought it was and that other vitals were all fine after four solid weeks of enjoying ice cream and chocolate.

So to turn the page on my health I decided to take action and exercise and transition to being vegan again.

I did my HIIT and had a wonderful but slightly bitchy conversation with a fellow. Although it was naughty it was a reminder there is humour in recovery.

The first kilometre is always the hardest

Sober and the City, 2021

I went for a run, the first kilometre is always downhill, fast but has the most temptation to run back to the house. I think of recovery like this. The first bit is always hard and a good old humbling always feels like a downhill.

I wanted to stop but I knew the uphill segment, although difficult, would be much more easier in its own way. One step, one day at a time. I was practically sprinting.

I started my ascent up the high hill and a recruiter called; it sounded like an application was progressing as we were negotiating salary, without an offer. A slightly tense outcome as although there is progress there is no commitment.

Life is full of the unexpected. Expect the unexpected. Be the unexpected.

It was then I decided to run all the way back down that big hill and sprint up it. It felt so fast running up the hill and it was a lot quicker than I was expecting. It reminded me that in life with short breaks we can always restart, retry and approach life’s troubles with tenacity. Be fierce.

I ache today, and hurt but it feels good providing some tough love to my body!

Putting together our story is catharsis and pain.

I also had a soul searching moment today when the DWP called for a capability for work assessment.

  • Yes I have been depressed since I was 14.
  • Yes I have had drug and alcohol problems since 2013.
  • Yes I was diagnosed with HIV in 2013.
  • Yes I’ve tried a whole plethora of prescribed drugs and am grateful for the Prozac which seems to be taking effect.
  • Yes my anxiety gives me panic attacks in large gatherings.
  • Yes stress is a major risk of relapse for me.
  • Yes I can work, but no I don’t always know if I will wake up with vivacity for life.
  • Yes I have put a belt round my neck to end my life more than once.
  • Yes I’m waiting for an assessment for ADHD
  • No, rehab has never been an option for me
  • Yes I have paranoia and disassociation symptoms from life as a result of withdrawal which seem like long term effects of my ex friend Tina.

Although challenging me, after all the relapses it reminded me how far I had come. I don’t know the outcome of this assessment but I hand it all over and hope things work out just fine.

It was a meeting that I met the glorious A who is so inspiring as a character and reminded me of so many basic things in prayer and meditation and presence in my recovery. It was wonderful to be there and even more wonderful to follow it up with a conversation with my sponsor where I fessed up a few sins!

No matter the climb, no matter how difficult. If I keep going I will go further than I think I can. I have my whole recovery family cheering me on, the whole way.