Recovery is not about the absence of substances; it’s about the presence of community

And so dear listener, this is the tenth anniversary of my Cold Turkey weekend – my unplanned abstinence from alcohol which saw me end up in hospital for nine or ten days and as a result of which I’ve not drunk alcohol since. 🙂

The weekend started on Saturday, 10th December 2006 and finished with a phone call to my ex-wife and her husband (the only number I could remember) at two minutes to eight on the morning of Monday, 12th December having gone through stuff seeping from my pores, hallucinations, demons and an out-of-body experience.  😦

And I was going to look back at those events in a retrospective kinda way but it’s a good week so far so I can’t be arsed and it’s still looking good. Stuff the retrospective; let’s keep smiling and be grateful. 😀

Y’see, I could also do the stuff about how I’m grateful to wake up every morning; life’s good but there are some things missing; and how the coping mechanisms I learned in alcohol recovery helped me through the cancer recovery.

But I’d rather talk about Hansel and Gretel and my panic over my new phone (but mind you, I may still make the occasional reference to the events and their repercussions)

Anyway, a big thanks to those nice people at the Citizens Theatre who donated tickets to the project where I work which allowed me and a nameless co-worker to take seven refugees to see the preview performance of Hansel and Gretel which is where they allow an audience of local voluntary groups and organisations to see the show the night before the actual opening. 🙂

And it was very good. Slapstick, in the form of a clown’s trousers falling down, is universal humour and gets a laugh anywhere and if the boys learned nothing else, they went home with the word ‘witch’ in their English vocabulary. 🙂

But a big thanks to the Corpie bus driver who took a very quick look at bus passes and just waved everyone on. And I walked back from the Citizens to Central Station cos it was such a lovely still night and the lights were really nice. 🙂 🙂

(One result of ten years ago is that, publicly, I seem very confident but privately I lack a wee bit of confidence and maybe I over-compensate which can cause its own problems).

And I’d a really good party with the folk in the Gaelic class (we did conversations where you ask a partner if they like a certain TV programme at Christmas and it was hilarious) and over the years I’ve enjoyed going to evening classes which have ranged from website design to mindfulness to various writing ventures and they’ve given me an insight into the thoughts and cultures of so many people.

(And early on I happily discovered the niche market of editing essays for students which is more, so much more, than just correcting spelling and apostrophes; it’s about helping people to get their message and meaning across using words which are often worth more than any picture. It’s also a brilliant opportunity to help folk in a way I enjoy and to bring in some money but I must stop reading friends’ mails as literally as I do and I should try to read them in the voice of the person who’s sending them. Despite my use of it, I’m not a great fan of e-mail)

And I’m writing this on Friday so it’s now preview time (altho’ I may do some re-writing over the next few days) and later today I have the works’ night out which starts in a Wetherspoons Chinese restaurant in Glasgow (did such things exist ten years ago?) but I will probably leave early as I want to get to Thistle v Celtic at night…..and let’s just say I’ve had better results on a Friday night and leave it at that.

Now following Thistle and working with the homeless, including refugees, were miles away from my mind when I learned to walk again ten years ago (my balance was totally f*cked and had to start sober life with the use of a zimmer) but I enjoy the football when I get there and I enjoy the job with its challenges and I’m looking forward to moving to part-time days with its fresh challenges. 🙂

(I think the worst time was the calendar year after I’d left the college cos line management offered me no support with either problem. I lived off incapacity benefit and my savings (including a Cadogan Street examination) and worked hard to recover and plan a future. It was later in my life before my pride would allow me to knock on the door of the bank of my sister)

And, as always, so many people to thank and this is no definitive masterlist but there’s the rainforestriverman, the blogmeister, the amazing e, and the equally amazing j, and the amazing Doctor W without whom much of my recent life would have been pretty straight, and Sharon and Jo and study buddie Fi, and Skippy, and Missie K and the Vampire Slayer and occasionally there have been fallouts…….but I still cry at the excitement of waking up every day – despite what I said earlier.

And Moira my addiction worker, who introduced me to the notion that I needed to change my behaviour; not just to learn to cope with an incurable disease – cos it ain’t.

And, for a divorced man who lives alone, there’s an amazingly large family – which is continuing to grow. No, Son Brian, I will never grow up but that doesn’t mean I will ever stop being proud of what you and the lovely KT have achieved in life…..thanks

(And thanks, Son Brian for your help with the new mobile phone but the setting for e-mails has gone and I’ve still to add so many names and the nice lady at 789 was very helpful but how many times do I need to prove I’m not a robot?)

And hopefully Saturday night will be spent in the presence of my favest country fan, j, and the amazing Alabama 3 who were also there for me during my various recoveries. OMG, j, I hope you don’t mind what you’re about to witness (parental guidance, etc)……..

And it was. Woke up Sunday morning and did not buy myself a gun but some Strepsels and my back hurts from the ‘jumping about’ that everyone in the O2 (including the lady with Christmas lights for a necklace) was doing. An amazing live performance which was a perfect anniversary treat for me and delighted to say that j, possibly a non-believer to begin with, enjoyed the show as much as anyone and everyone 🙂 x

Apologies for various tekkie hiccups but this is they…..

And this is they a wee bit more acoustically

Recognise them?

Take care and happy honkytonking but keep it simple, eh?

And my thanks to those who sent/gave cards for the anniversary 🙂




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