My name is John and I am not an alcoholic. I just don’t drink alcohol but I am not boring.

And lo, dear listener, it came to pass that I was doing a work placement in a Community Rehab Unit in Easterhouse as part of my Post Grad about three years ago when I was asked to do a ‘share’. Now various explanations are needed here.

A ‘share’ is a basic part of Alcoholics Anonymous and the other fellowships, in which someone who has come through recovery tells their story in the hope that it inspires others – a smashing notion – and reassures people that they are not alone. However, in the very few meetings I attended, I never felt it was a full share in that there was a table between the speaker and the rest of the people and no questions were taken (people are allowed to speak without interruption) but I so wanted to ask so many things……

At New Horizons, people who’d been through the workshops and sessions and survived the process of adjusting to a world, ‘clean and clear’, were invited back to share their stories and take questions. On one memorable occasion the speaker and a couple of the other folk had got locked into a discussion on the whys and wherefores of intravenously injecting diazepam and temazepam. At this point the Chair, one of the workers, decided to exert her authority and issued this command; ‘that’s enough about jagging the eggs. Let’s move on.’ And we did. 🙂

So, in my final week, I was asked to do a ‘share’ but I wasn’t too sure. The relationship I was in at the time was going disastrous and I did not feel ‘in the zone’ but I’d developed a good friendship with one of the workers (a woman) and I spoke to her. Turned out she had problems as well. She had a child from a previous relationship but was now in a lesbian relationship and was looking forward to seeing her current partner’s son that night. I decided to do the share.

Approx twenty people in various stages of recovery from smack and benzos and charlie and about four workers were sitting in a circle and I was introduced. The room was packed. Some knew that I’d had an alcohol problem but others were surprised.

I talked; and took questions. I spoke of things I would never ever discuss with my family; even my current besties, people such as e, Dr W and the rainforestriverman, have never been told these things. They happened in another life but I spoke about them that afternoon. And some of these were pretty horrible.

And then, as I spoke about things like the drink culture in the BBC where I had worked and my bad cancer and how I’d come close to losing my job and the horrors that attacked me when I had cold turkey and those things which I’d like to forget, something hit me.

The thing I had lost most was my creativity and it made sense to those with whom I was sharing cos I had been doing Creative Writing workshops with them and they understood why and what was to be gained. In my latter BBC days I’d been producing shows like Off the Ball and News progs but had added little to them and my teaching (college) days had been similar. Mind you creativity was not encouraged in college teaching and my head of department was one of those to cry me ‘scum’ after my Cold Turkey……but I was in a smashing mood. I had discovered something about myself. I had enjoyed my share and so had my audience. 🙂

My female co-worker hugged me but she was crying. Not joy for me, but she was being banned from seeing her partner’s boy (contact denied) but had wanted to be there for me.

I had discovered something about people who were so willing to be there for me.

Hopefully I’ve done the same for other people. My own relationship went down the gutter it had been heading towards for some time but I came through that horrible time because I had ideas in my head. My creativity had returned and whilst it might be difficult to see the like of Going Ape as being part of that creativity, the freedom of zipwiring over the Aberfoyle countryside and having a friend to talk me through an incident with a cargo net and having the clear head to understand what was being asked of me, adds to creativity because your head takes it all in. FFS, I could never have done that ten years ago.

Other people have been involved in loads of other things as well.

Son Brian and the lovely KT creating a grand-daughter is pretty ace as well.

Just think. If I hadn’t beaten off the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on Cold Turkey Sunday I might never have seen gd, as I call her. 😀

Thanks for listening,

Cya (keep)ing it fun and still wearing that badge? I smile every time I look at it.

Johnt850 and you’ve got to live on the edge or else you take up too much space.

So this blog was started just before my cancer treatment started and that was about the time of the 2008 Grand National and a horse was recommended to me called Comply or Die and when you’re about to start cancer treatment that is such an obvious horse to put money on.

I discovered that lunchtime that Son Brian also had money on it.

Comply or Die romped home at 7 – 1. I won £35. Not sure what my son won but during the congratulatory texts, his final one to me read;

‘The winning jockey is a recovering alcoholic’…………excuse me a second, there’s something in my eye.

The band that got me through this time was Alabama 3. This is an incredibly badly video of them giving the world their version of the Twelve Steps

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