I got ecstacy but I need some company….You got that mystery. Lord I need a plan. All I need is a compromise and a bag full of alibis, Lord as empty as that bottle of whisky in my shaking hands

So Alabama 3 there, usually the portent of bad things to come but, whilst this edition of the blog is going to talk a wee bit about the coming of the demons to a head near mine soon – in fact it will be mine – it’s a wee bit more than that. Most listeners know about my cold turkey (severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms) of six years ago; the hallucinations; the vomiting and diarrhoea and stuff; and the out of body experience, before being ambulanced to the Western but then wakening up in Gartnavel.

I was in there for about 8 – 12 days (I’ve never asked) and I couldn’t discharge myself, cos not only were there all sorts of drips and needles in me, there were bars around the bed; I had to learn to walk with the aid of a zimmer; there was a lot of lovely blue pills; and I don’t care what anyone says about hospital food, I loved it – three meals a day and they were cooked for you.

And then the diagnosis of cancer later in the year, yaddah, yaddah, yad…….it wasn’t a great twelve months but, hey, look at me now. Alabama 3 make me smile as well as make me review my angst. 🙂

But the last twelve months have been interesting and I’m not going to dwell on individual events and people but more than ever, I realise that my latest and final career change is what I want to do. I bore enough people, as it is, about wanting to work, not just in treatment, but in recovery. The MSc dissertation will tell you more at an appropriate time about the difference and there does seem to be an expectation that I am planning a book. Maybe.

But two events stand out and these were good……..some events were not so good but that’s not what today’s show is about.

The first was a Recovery Day held at Paisley Town Hall where the day was spent with ‘professionals’ and service users. I teamed up with a crew from Moving On in Port Glasgow and any controversy about the debate between ‘recovering ‘and ‘recovered’ was knocked on the head when we decided that the idea was to get ‘clean and clear’ and stay that way. The whole day was spiritual in that a sharing of a good feeling took place throughout all those who were there and we all left with a determination to spread the words that recovery is possible – advocacy for addicts. Telling the whole world the story of your success (or your attempts) ain’t arrogance; it’s justified pride.

The second was the share I did at the placement I did out in Easterhouse. The tradition of sharing is a major part of how AA (and the other Fellowships) operate – that telling your story of how you achieved sobriety can hopefully help others.  Only in Easterhouse there was no table between me and twenty users and workers and there was no ‘one singer, one song’ rule when it came to being asked questions. I found myself telling more than I thought I would and an understanding of how heavy a drinker I had been in my BBC and PR days emerged. Ironically, I had started to get my life together as a college lecturer doing courses’n’that and then mum took ill……….alcohol is good at filling the void.

So I’m here. I’m doing this uni-thing; I’m still doing some editing stuff (with some smashing help); I do some voluntary stuff for an addiction centre out West Dunbartonshire; and some (paid) shifts with a housing charity in the East End – all with a view to full-time work in recovery and some more writing. We’ll see.

So it’s a wee bit more complicated this year, cos on the day itself (12th Dec), I have an appointment with the cancer consultant who told me five and half years ago that I had cancer and the appointment is not about cancer, but you can’t help but think……….and I know some people, including the incredibly rational and patient rainforestriverman, think I bring the demons on by thinking about them. Naw. They’ll come and it is usually just the once very twelve months. Yes. They had a wee go in June but they were forced to flee. Me and my team were strong.

So what, you ask, actually happens? Well actually, and ironically, given why I’m going to see the consultant, I sleep all the way through the night, almost as good as the sleeping pill I occasionally take…….but I’ll get hit by dreams. Bad dreams. I will go to bed, tho’ with a list of good thoughts and I’ll get through the night. The good thoughts, tho’, I’ll keep to myself if you don’t mind. But one of them does relate to the World’s shortest plane journeys. The other night I found the certificate which I’d laminated at my placement in Easterhouse. I was looking for some drugs


And finally, I’ve avoided mentioning individuals and what they’ve done for me over the last twelve months. All positive, albeit in some indirect ways. I get the impression that many of them will receive their recognition in the Blog Personality of the Year Awards in three weeks’ time. Some pretty amazing nominations and voting going on, all of which in some way, reflect the year.

Cya, (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? Yup. That’s the most painful part of the night. I don’t wear pyjamas or stuff 😦

Johnt850, who will be here next week. Honest. And it’ll be a return to normal…….

So nothing below the line this week. If you’ve sat through all the above then you deserve something light but you’re not going to get it. Music has been a huge part of my recovery and the last time I had bad depression (a blackness that lasted about five days and involved an awful lot of walking) I came out of it when this tune came on the MP3 player.

It’s Green Day. Some of you were expecting the Gaslight Anthem, weren’t you? Enjoy!


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