Archive for the ‘Alcoholcs Anonymous’ Category

‘It’s not enough to just survive something, right? That’s not the point of life. You’ve got to thrive, you’ve got to feel happy.’ (Duchess of Sussex)

January 10, 2020

And so, dear listener, I had actually taken a note of those words from the Duchess of Sussex (or Meg as we call her down the Elephant (and Bugle) down the Maryhill Road – a boozer with strong connections with the Highland Light Infantry whose barracks were where the Wyndford flats now are) long before she chose to announce her decision to move on and become independent and earn her own living ……..and Harry……Harry knew about it as well. He was consulted. He’s doing it as well.

It’s interesting. tho’, isn’t it?

Y’see in the same way I confessed last week to reading the Daily Mail from time to time cos I get bored with reading things that I agree with, I have another peccadillo (sp?) to ‘fess up to. 😉

I am fascinated by stories about the Royals.

I mean, I’m not one of those people who still has a Charles’n’Di mug or wants to be on the streets of Windsor when there’s a wedding or cries when one child or another starts school.

I love the behind-the-scenes TV docs on Channel 4 or 5. 🙂

It can be a look back at Mrs Wallis Simpson and her love affair with Thingy (I can never remember the men’s names) or why the current Queen loves Balmoral or, and this was the most recent, a look at how they prepare for a banquet at Windsor which I saw a few days ago.

They get through one helluva lot of bevvy if the number of glasses at each setting is anything to go by and do you know they even have two men with a big stick so that they make sure that every seat is exactly the same distance from the table?

It’s stuff like that that fascinates me and they, even the servants, seem to live in some kind of existence that is totally cocooned from life as you and I know it and I’m never sure quite what to make of that except to wonder why the Queen Mum was allowed to build up such a massive overdraft at Coutts and I have heard some good stories about her and some others which have made it onto these programmes but the Royals have good lawyers (as do I but they’re maybe not that experienced in these matters) so I won’t say too much openly.

See me in the Elephant (and Bugle) and I’ll tell you but I trust the former SAS officer who told me about what happened on the old Royal Train when it was parked overnight in Central Station a few years ago.

And none of the above should be taken as approval of the Family or certain members of it, especially Andrew…..except, maybe, Anne……..

And if we’re talking about people for whom we have respect, can I just highlight Son Brian who, as well as helping me so much over the last year or so, found time to undertake some kind of challenge which saw him running a distance of 5k on a daily basis for the month of December.

I don’t think it was ever seen as a fundraising exercise but funds were raised and I know a reasonable donation was made to Prostate Cancer UK. No. No reason. 😀

And finally, the ‘proof reading’ is back up and running. The reason for the quote marks is because I don’t actually read proofs; I, and business partner, my good friend e, copy edit. But I, cos I’m the main man, am getting a wee bit unhappy. In fact, it’s a wee bit of a dilemma. What is acceptable short notice?

So, what I’ve started to do is to give students deadlines so I get work in in in plenty of time and it is realistically do-able but I did say no to someone who sent me stuff late Thursday night (so I didn’t see it until Friday morning) and wanted it back by two o’clock on Sunday afternoon. I turned that one down. I felt bad. 😦

And then I think about trying to book my car into a busy garage for its MOT, or me to a busy dentist (not ‘til 3rd Feb cos I want early morning), and then I don’t feel so bad. 🙂

Tioraidh (and I’m considering duolingo), still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple but with a smile.

Iaint850, and don’t worry. I think that’s enough personal outing for one year.

So I’ve spoken a wee bit recently about some of the debate currently raging within the world of addiction (or dependency) and abstinence (or harm-reduction) and how do you recover – if ever.

I’m not going to say too much tonight, and there is a danger it might become too academic and this blog was never meant to be that, was it, Skippy?

But there’s a number of politicians making lots of statements at the moment and they’re coming in for lots of criticism for doing so but not everyone who talks the talk will have walked the walk. Do you always need that lived experience in order to make good suggestions or is it possible to bring everyone together? My addiction worker did not have lived experience but had the skills and expertise to help me considerably – motivational interviewing – and it worked.

It used to be said that there are many roads to recovery and one of them will be the right one for you……….

So, as you know, Ted Danson (and it’s not his birthday) is married to Mary Steenburgen who wrote Glasgow which was sung by Jessie Buckley in the film, Wild Rose

Okay. So someone has asked. 2020? I plan to go back to smiling a lot (me, 31st December 2019)

January 3, 2020

And so, dear listener, that is indeed my revolution for the new year and I did broadcast it to the world on Hogmanay. ‘Revolution’ was used by one of Thomas the Tank Engine’s friends (Gordon?) and indeed, for some strange reason, Thomas was discussed by grandparents in a get together just before Christmas. Grandchildren looked on bemused and said things like, ‘Grandpa iaint850. Play’ and I did. 😀

The revolution is nice and simple and doesn’t involve going to the gym (altho’ I’m beginning to walk round the graveyard again) or watching too much what I’m eating and drinking (a sensible range and orange juice) or, well anything like that. It is, in fact, going back to the proper meaning of Keeping it Simple and looking for the smile first – just like I used to. 😀 😀 😀

Now it could take various forms. A New Year’s Day call from grandchildren helped and I don’t mean just before midnight and I don’t think they pressed the numbers but you know what I mean.

And here’s another example. Yes, eventually, I will come into enough money to enable me to consider an extension to my semi* but one of the nicest things over the Christmas period was getting book gift tokens – or whatever they’re called these days – and having the ability to go into a bookshop (guess!) and spend what is basically surprise money on something that gives me a fair amount of pleasure. 🙂

*and everyone tells me to make sure I get a downstairs toilet………why?

And it’s that time of year again, isn’t it? That marvellous moment when you take something out of the freezer which has no label on it, allowing it to defrost and find something that you’re happy to eat. So far, so good. 😉

And 2020, is this the year when Mad Dog comes of age?

And my car passed its MoT without any problem and I actually own it later this year.

I even smiled at short notice editing this weekend altho’ it did mean I couldn’t take up a short notice invitation……at short notice. 😦

And a big well done to Greta Thunberg for going along with the Sharon gag………that put a smile on my face……..and the vegans I know and meet for lunch also smile a lot, care about both people and animals, and are part of the real world.

And finally, maybe this is the year when I should improve my handwriting. I woke up to a note from myself that seemed to say ‘didn’t’. Some of the notes I left to myself during my drinking days made much less sense than this but ‘didn’t’ seemed to be a denial. What didn’t I do?

Had I become some kind of Jekyll and Hyde character – or a justified sinner? I worried. 😦

Until later in the day it hit me. It said ‘dentist’. I lost two fillings over the holiday period. I blame myself for keeping Wine Gums in the fridge so that they become harder. 😦

So first thing on Monday, I will make a phone call to the dentist; after all, there’s no point in smiling if your teeth ain’t good.

Tioraidh, keeping it simple and still wearing the badges

Iaint850, grizzly as heck (Skippy, have I got that right?)

But smiling a lot doesn’t mean I’ll stop talking about the serious stuff as well……..and highlighting idiots as well. For example, Tory MSP Brian Whittle who, in an article in the Scottish Daily Mail which I read from time to time because I don’t understand the need to read newspapers or websites where you agree with everything without questioning it, was talking about ‘alcohol addiction’ and used a lot of stereotypical terms which showed a complete lack of empathy and understanding.

He attended an ‘addiction meeting’ in Kilmarnock organised by Addaction – a smashing organisation – which was attended by ‘what are euphemistically called ‘service users’ – alcoholics to the rest of us’* and it’s when I read something like that that I worry.

*service users are people who use a service – no euphemism at all.

Yes. There is a well-known self-help group which does use the word ‘alcoholics’ but that does take us down a road where people are deemed to have a problem for life. I don’t but I do understand the problems other have. Let’s look at why people use alcohol and offer an alternative.

He says that ‘only three elements are required for a healthy lifestyle; a good diet, being physically active and easy access to a support network like a club with instructors, facilities and information.’ Mens sana in mens corpore as the Prime Minister might say.

To which I can only say, food banks, poverty caused by Tory austerity and a need for more support workers – Monica Lennon for First Minister!

And in fairness (?) to the Scottish Daily Mail the next day they published a well researched article on the same subject By Prof. David Nutt; Whittle admitted he’d used ‘anecdotal evidence’ for some of his.

So, let’s go back to smiling!!!!!

I saw this on TV and it made me smile

‘What doesn’t kill you gives you a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms and a really dark sense of humour.’ (Monica Lewinsky)

December 13, 2019

And so, dear listener, I feel that I should make some kind of political statement after Thursday night but I’m not sure what to say.

Except……….

More than ever before, I feel that, politically, Scotland is a separate nation from England. I’m still not sure about Independence but was appalled during the various leaders’ broadcasts how little was appreciated of the devolved nature of Scotland and issues such as the NHS in the Scotland. I voted SNP as I believe they offer the best opportunity to protect things like health, education and legal rights against the Boris Johnsons of this world…… 🙂

And it didn’t do Boris Johnson any harm to say ‘no’ to going up against Andrew Neil. I think all leaders will question these invites in times to come. I think political journalists will also question their ‘sources’ and may slow down their responses when posting on Twitter. :p

And it might do Labour activists some good to look at life outwith London. 😉

(And I chose the word ‘outwith’ deliberately because it is not a recognised English word. If you don’t believe me, then do a ‘fact check’. Google it.…………there are academics who will not recognise the word, in the way that many political activists do not understand life beyond the M25)

That’s enough!!!!!

Apart from the fact that I notice that every losing politician and political party is now about to go through a period of reflection…….Don’t effing reflect!!!!!!! Effing act!!!!!!!

But I’ve been doing a wee bit of reflection as well…….a wee bit of counting blessings as we approach Christmas and the Christmas Cracker edition of the blog (next week).

For example, Scottish Water have been and they are going to excavate my driveway next week to fix my seeping toby without any question but I have running water unlike some of the people from Lancefield Quay who have no homes after the fire. 😦

Legally there’s still a wee issue with regard to the settlement of my sister’s will but I do feel you folk have lived through much of the legal process but it must be recognised that the need for a settlement only came about because of the passing away of my sister. She had a house in Garelochead and a flat in Glasgow but she had worked hard during her life and she loved that part of the Clyde……..

I can now begin to make some plans for myself.

I may extend my semi. I may buy a new Casio. And, and, and………..I’m not too sure after that. Any ideas?

But I have started to catch up on meeting up with folk. For example, I’d a wee catch up with Missie K in Princes Square the other night and whilst the whole place was busy we managed to find a comfy seat in D’Arcy’s and we discussed the environment.

Can I just say that I learned the word ‘bio-degradable’ in the seventies and think that organisations like Greenpeace, FofE and WWF have worked really hard for the environment and should be recognised as such? They may not do New Age dancing but I do feel that being ‘woke’ may be a little bit more difficult in the years ahead. There are difficult times ahead under what could well described as a ‘no-nonsense’ government……. 😦

And I grew up in the North East of Scotland where it was almost impossible to do anything other than buy locally and eat seasonally…..Tricky in Summerston, mind you but that’s no excuse.

And finally, I’d like to say thanks to all those who made contact in one way or another when I highlighted the fact that it is now thirteen years since I ‘cold-turkeyed’ and I just don’t drink these days but there are so many people who I have to thank. And did. 😀

Incidentally I’ve been trying to explain to people how I perceive the difference between being ‘in recovery’ and someone like me who quite happily says ‘I don’t drink these days’ and all the roads that exist on that road to recovery. Another time.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges but always looking out for more and always keeping it simple.

Iaint850, who went to bed not long after he heard the Exit Poll.

And just a brief word to say thanks to all those who’ve been in touch about the Blog Personality of the Year Award with suggestions for the actual personality (which doesn’t have to be a person); we’ve had good suggestions for both the track of the year and team of the year but I’m short of suggestions for Lifetime Achievement Award. Any thoughts?

This seems to be very popular at the moment. It’s David Bowie and Bing Crosby.

“That’s how the first lady got involved. She’s got a son, together, that is a beautiful young man and she feels very, very strongly about it. She’s seen it. We’re both reading it, a lot of people are reading it. But people are dying with vaping so we’re looking at it very, very closely.” (Donald Trump and I think the ‘she’ is his wife and the ‘young man’ is their son)

September 13, 2019

And so dear listener, many people are asking – I’m not saying this – but many people are asking how my toes are after last week’s bloody interlude and I’m just saying what they’re saying.…..and so, I’m just saying what people are saying in the style of snidey and cowardly Government minister, Kwasi Kwarteng*, who didn’t have the guts to actually say what he felt………(I can’t remember what about tho’…….Brexit?)

One Sunday newspaper described him as having ‘slimed into action.’

And then I saw his boss, Boris Johnson, being heckled and you realised that he, and they, can’t handle criticism. They have lived such privileged existences that they don’t understand what it’s like to be challenged. 😀

And I learned the art of handling hecklers when I debated at Glasgow University Union, where if someone heckled me, I’d say something like ‘If brains were taxed then my honourable friend is due a rebate.’ 😀 😀 😀

It was often said that I was a master debater.

Sorry. Where was I?

Oh, yes.

I was going to use that style of ‘some people say’ to talk a little about gender transition but not about people but about penguins and Fireman Sam and someone else but Piers Morgan and TV chef, James Martin, and someone else all got involved and it became a bit of a slanging match on social media and then my washing machine began to behave erratically and a cheque for £702 came in from my new solicitor but before I add two and two together and buy a new machine I will contact AS Electrics at Charing Cross and they will tell me if my very old washing machine is dead. 😦

And then I breathed out (see last week for details of my breathing) and reached for a pack of Thorntons Triple Chocolate Caramel Shortcake Bites available from the ASDA for 99p and ate three.

(They’re quite sickly, aren’t they?)

And all I’ll say is that I don’t think penguins give a toss about gender identity as long as they get plenty of fish and I love it when they jump feet first into the Antarctic and I was told that, during the Falklands War, never having seen helicopters before, as they flew overhead, the penguins would lean further and further back and land on their backs long before David Jason did it in Only Fools And Horses. 🙂

I also think Fireman Sam, Postman Pat and Colin the Coastguard (an idea I had from long ago that never made it out of my head into a programme proposal and only works if you say it out loud…….go on. Try it.) are all animated characters from some time back but should be used not be used as part of an argument in which they cannot take part but as props for conversation….discussing situations……….I think we’re in danger of rushing into so much cos we’re scared of being seen to be non-caring without thinking what we’re caring about.

#stopthedeaths

I’m also a wee bit tired. There’s been a lot of editing – which is good. It’s been a difficult few months with various moments of anxiety and depression but it has helped to have those words on the screen and I enjoy it and I feel I make a difference (and I do get thanked as well as paid).

And I do understand if people don’t want to meet up with me. Don’t be pressured but don’t be pressured not to…….(eh?);)

However the 100,000 word PhD on the social issues caused by a major dam project in China as seen by a Chinese accountant was quite a challenge but my work, so far, has been well received by the author and I think any time anyone says to me,

‘Still doing the editing, iaint850? What is it? Just checking spelling and apostrophes?’

I will happily send them the original work and the finished work after two readings.

(And a big thanks to my business associate who helped with some of the editing and whose daughter, RJ, turned seven last week and Son Brian turned thirty-three. Nick Cage at the Tramway, here we come!)

Sorry, Skippy……???

Nick Cave at the Tramway here we come!!!!!

And finally, I’d like to pay credit to the Queen in this era of climatic concern, who seems to never stop planting trees and who also seems to have a wee woman’s smile on her face. I’d much rather have a wee chat with her than many of those I gloss over on social media. 🙂

Tioraidh, and I’ve lost one of the badges but I am still keeping it simple

Iaint850, and, now that I am no longer totally pescatarian, I often spend my nights binging on wine gums after a hard day’s editing.

So, there’s quite a lot on all forms of media just now about the number of drug related deaths and that something should be done but not all of them are saying what they want to see done. The SDF Conference I was at a couple of weeks ago had a number of people who had lived experience and positive contributions to make on the basis of that. I’m in the middle of writing up the Conference Report and will post a link to it eventually.

One was the high profile Garth Mullins from Canada who describes himself as a drug user activist who used to use injectable heroin but is now on methadone. He is the executive producer of the Crackdown podcast where drug users cover the drug war as war correspondents.

The other was Fiona Gilbertson who has twenty-five years of advocacy experience in HIV and sex work and who believes that the fundamental way to tackle stigma and discrimination is through policy changes. Fiona works with an organisation called Recovering Justice and is in long terms abstinence based recovery.

It was like being at a meeting in the early days of the trade union movement. The talk was of getting organised. And if there’s a common link to the eight hundred words above it’s an attempt to recognise my own rights and those that other people have. Take care.

I’m no longer a member of the NUJ but the last time I was in their offices in Union Street someone was singing this. They were good, but they weren’t no Bruce Springsteen, who’s just about to turn seventy.

Don’t forget you’re human. It’s okay to have a meltdown. Just don’t live there. Cry it out. Then re-focus on where you’re heading.

August 30, 2019

And so dear listener, apologies for the lack of a blog last week.

As some of you know there have been hiccups with regard to the settlement of my sister’s estate. I can’t say much as, by its very nature, it’s a legal process, so I can’t say much. But I have changed lawyers and I have known my previous lawyer since university days (the first time) so some decisions have been hard.

I have a new lawyer and I think we’ve found the tunnel but I’m still not sure whether that what we’re seeing is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel or the light of an oncoming train.

But I’m happier and what I refer to as moments of anxiety and depression are beginning to recede but they are real and usually the coping mechanisms that I talk about help but no amount of going for a walk can sell a house you thought was already sold altho’ it hasn’t not been sold.

But I did have to clear away a lot of dead wasps from my sister’s house last weekend AND altho’ she’s dead I don’t think I’m unusual in still thinking about her and what she would make of the various happenings.

But I did mention some of this to another friend from my first time at university and therefore of that generation. His advice was to ‘wake up and smell the flowers’. It’s funny. I’ve done suicide intervention training on two occasions, and used it successfully twice, when working for Blue Triangle.

It wasn’t easy and it might have been so much easier had I been able to say to them ‘Wake up and smell the flowers!’ No, I didn’t get thanks and I had loads of paperwork to do after it.

And then I got a message on social media from someone from whom I had not heard for years but who does seem to follow me and this show somewhere.

Here’s one quote; ‘I have to admire that you can pull out the positives and I wish I was more like that.’

So, dear listener, which of the messages had the more positive effect? Or need I ask? Thank you Chris. 🙂 🙂 🙂

And finally, it’s been a bit of a one-subject blog but there have been good things this week. It’s my grand-daughter’s fifth birthday this week and I did get her a proper card as opposed to the one that said ‘Sorry, I forgot your birthday’ that I started the week with, I was at a smashing conference organised by the Scottish Drugs Forum (#stopthedeaths), it’s been a wee while since I’d eaten at the Hanoi Bike Shop so thoroughly enjoyed eating there again , I’m slowly working my way through a 100,000 word edit and I’ve been shown the actual bin where I can drop off used coffee capsules for re-cycling.

But maybe more of that next week,

Tioraidh, and an Oxfam collector in Buchanan Street recognised the Prostate Cancer Awareness badge and let me past, and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, and what I do do is take a wee walk in the garden when it’s dark but I do have lights so it’s very pleasant and very relaxing,

Last week, when the blog didn’t happen, I had planned a political ending.

I was, either, going to have a go (as I have done before) at Iain Duncan Smith whose think tank has proposed setting the date for your pension at 75, or Harry, Meghan and Sir Reg Dwight.

IDS is the idiot who approached Alcoholics Anonymous in 2011 or 2102 and suggested that convicted drunk drivers should be compelled to attend AA meetings. What he didn’t realise was that AA meetings are voluntary and the word ‘Anonymous’ means you don’t have to give your name and so there is no record of attendance. What an idiot!

As is Sir Reg Dwight who felt that paying for H & M’s private jet AFTER the event (and I’m saying nothing about the ecological impact) would stop the criticism of them taking a freebie rather than a commercial flight.

Have you ever been on the Glasgow to Edinburgh train (on quieter times than last weekend) and decided to chance your luck in First Class but you only have a normal off-peak return and the conductor comes in and you offer to pay the difference but he says ‘no’ and he chucks you off at Linlithgow saying, ‘try it on the next train’ (a friend, honest, and a long time ago).

Where’s Sir Reg when you need him?

So, in the real world, I note that there are concerns that children no longer have invisible friends but they have friends they ‘make’ through computers.

Skippy’s doing fine thank you. She’s travelling the world at the moment and sends postcards from time to time – invisible postcards of course. She seems happy and I’ll pass on your best wishes.

Skippy is/was a coping mechanism but you’d guessed that a long time ago, didn’t you?

Maybe so are you, dear listener, and I thank you for listening.

So, in the latest in the well received series of good looking women in country music, here’s Dolly, Lind and EmmyLou……..

Old age, believe me, is a good and pleasant thing. It is true you are gently shouldered off the stage, but then you are given such a comfortable front stall as spectator. (Confucius)

July 19, 2019

And so, dear listener, some more good news on the health front. A few weeks ago I got some revised repeat prescriptions and a message from the GP to check in with a nurse (never a problem) and come in to get my blood pressure checked.

So I waited until the aneurysm scan was out of the way and phoned on Tuesday looking ahead to the next week. ‘Can you come in now?’ said the voice of NHS Scotland.

And so, dear listener, that’s how I learned that the revised medication seems to be working and my blood pressure is down. 😀 😀

But Tuesday was a mixed day. Facebook does this thing where it reminds you of something you said or did ‘on this day’. Apparently exactly three years ago I was enjoying working in the Mitchell Library so much (my home wi-fi was down) that I felt the need to tell the world. 🙂

Then, I got home and a certain USB stick was missing. Many listeners know the story. Let’s just say Tuesday was definitely a mixed day. With lots of walking. It’s my basic coping mechanism for anxiety anmd depression and is approved by medical and counselling folk I’ve spoken to. Informally. But my wee legs were tired. 😦

Monday was a good day. I met up with former BBC colleague Jayne and we went to a local garden centre where, even at the age of 65, I still feel and look younger than most of the clientele. 😀

We’d also like to say thanks to the young barista, Emma, who told us all about her grandad’s 60th birthday. Why? Well we asked. I’m not so sure the people in the queue were that impressed.

My wee legs were tired on Monday as well but that’s cos we took the furthest away table in the whole place which was 17 MILLION MILES away. I spilt so much coffee that I just tipped the tray and drank it out the corner. Nice catching up j (different j)

And nice birthday lunch on Thursday with good friend e, RJ and AJ but I made a big mistake. AJ had decided to try something new (calamari) and I agreed to share a starter plate with him. Schoolboy error. On my part. The schoolboy decided he liked them and I thought the one I had was very good……..never again. 😀

And finally, I spent Friday morning in a classroom of my first alma mater, Glasgow University, attending a kinda class on Illustrated Glasgow looking at a range of illustrations including maps and coats of arms and photographs and all sorts of stuff. And very good it was too and the lecturer was good and I’m going back to something similar next week. 😀

But what I found really strange was that everyone there was my age or thereabouts. The last time that happened to me would have been at secondary school. It was uncharted territory and whatever my reasons for going (read what you will into that) I may have to think more about this in the future.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges (in my winter jacket cos that’s what the weather’s been like) and still keeping it simple (hey, you may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one)

Iaint850, and no, there’s not a lot happening on the settlement front. Maybe soon?

And you’d expect me to comment on some of the coverage of the Scottish Drug Deaths. So I have done.

First, a big well done to SNP MP, Alison Thewlis, who made the point that drug consumption rooms would be clean and hygenic. Bringing users into these not only allows them to inject safely but brings them into contact with addiction workers and health pros. Have you ever seen the health damage done by dirty needles? Botulism, blood borne viruses and leaking wounds.

Have you ever seen a serious drug user’s kitchen? Trust me. You don’t want to go there.

Literally.

Most other politicians tried to make political capital out of it. Alison didn’t.

And then there was former policeman, Joe Duffy, on BBC Scotland’s fast improving Nine o’clock news, who made the point that, financially, the only people making money out of the illegal drugs industry are the criminals who couldn’t care less to whom they sell or what they sell.

‘Street valium’, and God know what’s in them, sell for approximately £1.50 for five.

In December four guys went down in the High Court for manufacturing street valium in a Paisley lock-up with a machine capable of pressing 20,000 tabs an hour. Do your own sums.

Imagine if it was legal, say along the lines of the alcohol industry………the tax taken alone would do so much for education and the health service. Imagine.

And then someone jumped on a personal hobby horse and said there was no need for charities. The government should provide – totally ignoring the fact that governments are slow and ponderous in acting and tend to do so for political advantage and that non-governmental organisations such as Addaction and Turning Point and (the one I volunteer for) the Scottish Drugs Forum can react more quickly and more directly and more effectively.

Most residential rehab is in non-governmental hands.

And can you see the Government even attempting to start, let alone run, an organisation like Alcoholics or Cocaine or Narcotics Anonymous? They started at the most basic of ground-roots with two men and one book and cost virtually nothing to run.

And here’s fifteen minutes of Burt Bacharch in concert…..eventually. No. No reason.

Ageing’s alright; better than the alternative which is not being here. (George H. W. Bush)

June 28, 2019

And so dear listener, in two days I celebrate my 65th birthday and, like many people, I never really thought about what it would be like being 65 when I was only 20 as, after all, I was at university (first time) and hadn’t even started real work.

Or 30, when I was happily married but without child at the time altho’ Son Brian wasn’t that far away and I was working for the BBC as an established radio producer.

Or 40, divorced and back at the BBC (contract and casual) having had a career break in the wonderful world of public relations but living in what the wonderful Tom Shields once described as the independent republic of Summerston.

Or 50, when I’d left the BBC (or had it left me?) and I was beginning life as a subject tutor at Glasgow Metropolitan College and trying to teach potential young wordsmiths in an atmosphere where teaching wasn’t necessarily everyone’s main reason for being there but administrative ambitions came first for some management people (of which I’ve never been one)

Or……. well no, by the time I was approaching 60, the shit had already hit the fan and I was going through a period of ‘what the hell was that all about?’ and hoping that I was about to settle down again and maybe write a much better version of the book that I had already written about the alcohol dependency and the cancer.

The ‘Cold Turkey’ I talk about (unplanned withdrawal from alcohol over one weekend) had seen me being visited in the old Western Hospital by close family and friends who did not expect me to make it through the night – but I did; and when I was receiving radiotherapy (thirty-seven daily sessions) I attended the funeral of a friend’s mum only for the ‘mutual friend’ standing next to me to say ‘to be honest, I was expecting you to be the next’ – but I wasn’t….or ‘haven’t been’ to be grammatically pedantic.

But then, just a couple of years before the sixtieth I made one of the greatest decisions of my life; I went to UWS (Paisley) to study drink and drugs for two years. There were some who said, ‘Well if you want to go back to university and become a student again (sic), then why not do American Literature or something like that?’ but now I felt I had something to offer in the field of addiction treatment but also wanted to learn more about the part drink and drugs had played in my life.

And by chance I made some amazing friendships amongst fellow students and staff – including recently Instagram voting for a member of staff’s grand-daughter in some shopping centre competition and any grand-daughter named after (wrong spelling) a rock drummer of the sixties and seventies deserves my vote.

And the months around the actual sixtieth birthday saw me abseiling for charity, zip-wiring for fun, being a zombie (at a well know theme park near Motherwell) for devilment…….and a few years later saw some anxiety and depression and a heart scare.

The anxiety and depression still hang around but I do know people who have considered taking their own life and there are times I talk to them – about all sorts of things AND I also meet an NHS nurse (a different one each time) every six weeks to get my bloods taken and I have an AAA Screening Ultrasound Scan in a few days’ time in Stobhill Hospital so lots of people still look after me. So, it’s the least I can do for others.

I noticed the other day that Holly the Dog’s mum had written ‘Iaint850=65’ on a kitchen calendar which I though was an optimistic view of the future and then we discussed non-alcoholic drinks including a new one called Slipknot (that’s not quite right, is it Skippy?)

And I’m not long back from a long weekend in Arisaig of which I shall talk more at a later date but a wee bit of the anxiety showed on the morning of the day I was due to return when I worried about the train back down from Arisaig being cancelled and I’d be stranded. It wasn’t and I wasn’t.

But along the way there’s been graduations (me, Son Brian, the lovely KT and my grand-daughter from nursery with grand-son to follow) and there was a wedding six years ago and all the usual ups and downs associated with being alive……..

And I’ve spoken lots about the people who have helped so much over the years, the majority of whom are women………but maybe they’re more understanding than men who, in many cases, may feel threatened by some of the things I talk about. Many don’t believe, for example, that I am now simply someone who doesn’t drink alcohol; for many I am still a recovered alcoholic which is good in itself I suppose but may prevent others from recognising their own problems.

Mind you, in many ways, I am my own worst enemy. I’m not a great one for re-unions with people with whom I’ve lost contact and some organisations (e.g. the BBC) don’t seem to be great ones for re-unions. I was, however, supposed to attend one that was a celebration for someone who had worked (and still does) with the Beeb for forty years but a job opportunity got in the way. Or did it?

Anxiety maybe kicked in.

But if I’ve learned anything from the last few years it’s that there’s more to happen in the years to come. My (now) late sister made it to sixty-nine and she had supplied a great deal of material support for me in recent years. Indeed, once the will is finally settled she will continue to do so both for me and the rest of the family.

So you know where to find me and my diary will always remain flexible.

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple

Iaint850 who, having written all the above, now fully expects to get knocked down and killed by a passing bus within the next few days.

And after all I said about the importance of women in my life, here’s four guys who are kinda role models for me and the song certainly is

‘but I am still alive’……….and anything is still possible.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can hurt forever.

May 6, 2019

And so dear listener, you know what it’s been like over the last few weeks; the build-up, the anxiety, the analysis; and then the final ninety minutes. What drama…..

But I’ll come back to the feature length episode of Line of Duty later 😉 first Partick Thistle.

I wasn’t there on Saturday but I watched it on Twitter and some very descriptive writing and pictures. A three-nil win away to Queen of the South means that I will probably be contacting the ticket office later this week and renewing my season ticket.

Maybe it was the special training they had had this season; not just the well-publicised event of this week where all the players had to come up with the team they wanted for this Saturday; write it down on an anonymous sheet of paper; and put it in an envelope so that the management team could see who each other trusted.

What if you were the only one to pick yourself? Not so anonymous then, eh? 😀

But I put it down to another event earlier in the year not long after Gary Caldwell took over as manager and after good friend e and I had seen them in training at Glasgow Uny Science Park.

They were taken down to spend a day teambonding in a session with the Paras down at their Garelochead base. According to (only) one tabloid, after the squad thought the session was over, ‘an SAS squad swooped in to stage a mock kidnap that involved blindfolds and interrogation.’

It left one player (who I shall not name) in tears and ‘four soldiers were apparently required to capture Bruce Ntambe when the midfielder made a bid for freedom.’

Neither player has remained with Thistle but that’s not really surprising, is it?

Now do you understand the link with Line of Duty.

But first, I was at a book signing and reading last week presented by the former Head of Radio Scotland, Jeff Zycinski, and very good it was too. I’d read the book and knew the stories but Jeff tells them well. Plus I’d worked for a few weeks in Selkirk and I did love the old BBC building in Edinburgh at 5 Queen Street which was something like three buildings badly converted into one and I am convinced that there was one door that if you did manage to get it open had a brick wall behind it. 😀

However there was one OOOPs moment. 😦

Just before it started I was asked if I’d like a glass of wine? ‘No thanks but could I have a soft drink?’ only to be told they didn’t have any. Seriously. Luckily I carry a plastic bottle of strawberry flavoured water and whilst that might not be popular with Xtinction Rebellion, it helped to quench my thirst.

Apart from any other consideration, I was driving.

‘And where was this this?’ I hear you ask. In Waterstone’s the bookshop at the top of Byres Road – next to a large Supermarket called Waitrose……….OOOOOOPs indeed. 😦

And finally, there’s not much left to say about Line of Duty. It took a dive for me when Ted went renegade, went to the nightclub, escaped by a door that nobody knew existed and ended up with the OCG in a warehouse full of cocaine.

And how come he didn’t know how to delete his browser history of porn – I mean I do. (I could probably have phrased that better)

And why is there always a bent copper as part of the armed guard for the final interview?

And because it wasa full length episode (well actually 85 minutes) theer was so much time left to fill that you knew the policewomn going to the loo with Gill was dodgy.

Still……that DCS Carmichael (‘ma’am’) is one helluva scorned woman – so watch for her come the next series. 😉

But it’s just a TV drama – so ‘stop making a tit of yourselves and piss off.’

Tioraidh, still wearing the badges and still keeping it simple – a constant in the sea of climate emergencies

Iaint850, who’s tried sucking diesel and didn’t like it.

It is well known that Adrian Dunbar had issues with alcohol a wee while back and he is quite open about the fact he has attended AA meeting over the last twenty years. Apparently he has not attended meetings recently but is aware that they are there ‘if needed.’

Recently he was seen with a couple of bottles of beer and the tabloids were ‘full of it’; ‘back on the booze’ and ‘off the wagon’. Bloody hell!!! I think it’s a ‘well done’ for not drinking for that length of time; not digging him up for having a beer. I know no more than that but we know many people who had drinking problems who are now able to control their drinking.

Anyway, a lapse does not erase progress.

Let’s encourage people who make an effort and not condemn them with the first words that come to mind. Think a little about the effect that words can have.

Here’s a song about bent coppers featuring Ted Hastings;

Now, one might well question the wisdom of sending you here, of all places. Out of the frying pan into the, well, maybe not the fire but certainly a different type of frying pan, or some sort of wok at the very least. (Sister Michael – who else?)

April 18, 2019

And so dear listener, there I was driving out of Garelochead last Sunday morning at about nine o’clock and it was a lovely day for a drive home. I was wishing I was a passenger and understanding the attraction of living in the likes of Kilcreggan or similar. 😀

(I remember driving down to Kilcreggan a few years ago with the good doctor W to buy homebrew making equipment….and Helensburgh Pier played a part in that story as well) 😉

Anyway, smiley, smiley and then it happened. A warning light came on in the place you hope you will never see a warning light. It was an exclamation mark so I tried the handbrake but it was off so it wasn’t it. It was in the wrong dial for that and it was orange. 😦

But you see, I wasn’t sure if I could stop to look at the manual.

‘Why not iaint850?’ you ask.

I was slap bang next door to a big nuclear submarine base and I suspected that if I pulled over and sat there for any length of time, men with submachine guns would come rushing over and before you could say ‘Julian Assange is not a journalist!’ I’d have been surrounded and forced out of the car. The safety catches would have been on but their thumbs would have been trembling. 😦

I made the decision to keep driving. I could neither feel nor hear anything. Those days have long incidentally.

I got to Helensburgh and pulled in on the front. According to the manual it was tyre pressure but I looked at the tyres. They seemed fine. I kicked them as J had once shown me how to after the Clyde Tunnel incident but it meant nothing. 😦

Indeed there had been no flippety-flappety noises that you get when it’s a tyre (or two as in the Alderman Road incident)

I decide to phone the AA but had to do so up a close where there’s a restaurant called the Something and Creel (No, Skippy. That’s not its real name. I just can’t remember the first bit of the name) and as I was doing so a young couple came out of a door and nodded to me……it must happen a lot.

The AA did give me a time which kept changing and I was beginning to get fed up but I noticed along the front that there were some tables and chairs on the pavement. It was a café, open at nine on a Sunday morning. A godsend. As is the fact that the public toilets are also open at that time (next to the pier) and they’re free. 😀 😀

I finished my coffee and returned to the car. The woman from the couple came out and offered me a coffee which was very nice of her. And the AA man turned up. And checked pressures and pressed a re-set button and I was safe to go. Except I went back to the toilet…….just to be sure.

So I drove back up the road – back through the village of Cardross which has a co-op I plan to stop at at some point. I do not think I’ve ever had an incident in Cardross.

https://finder.coop.co.uk/food/store/G82-5PD/main-road

Much relief. My own toilet. 😀

So, finally, as you, hopefully, enjoy a holiday weekend, I plan to do so as well. Some garden work and maybe buy some new books and music. There’s still a wee bit of electrical work before my sister’s other property goes on sale but we have reached a stage (almost) where everything is in other people’s hands and I think my sister would be impressed – especially as we did it without an Excel spreadsheet!

Emotionally, I’m shattered, but yet again, in my life, a support team came into being over the last few months. I do hope I repay some of all that help.

And thank you anonymous lady in Helensburgh. 😀

And the PT fan known as Bean who reminded me about the existence of AS Electrics when I worried needlessly about my cooker. 😀

Tioraidh, actually wearing two badges on one jacket this week, but that’s still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, with some cool things coming down in the pipeline.

And so I mentioned AA last week and the fact that, eighty years on, little has changed in the way they approach alcohol issued – it’s still based on the Twelve Steps and going to meetings.

Lots of them.

Except….

About seven years ago I became aware that the meetings could be found online. Somebody I knew well at the time. You didn’t have to take part in these meetings (in fact you don’t have to speak at any meeting) but just listening in seemed to give her comfort.

And then there’s Twitter – something of a cesspit at times – but there’s #RecoveryPosse which gives folk the opportunity to voice fears and achievements in a short space of words and to get an almost immediate response.

I write one thousand words a week for different reasons but it’s always nice to get a response. 🙂

And I’m sorry bellechere lauren, but you’re not allowed to sit on the fence in the great Fleabag versus Derry Girls debate. Apart from anything else, the Derry Girls had music like this. Scarlet with Independent Love Song;